Hatrick's Orlando Holiday Guide
Get there for less than you think, and discover more than just theme parks!
I decided to write Hatrick's Orlando Holiday Guide last year. It took me nearly a year to complete it, and it launched in April on iBooks, Kindle, and in hard copy (available on my website). It's 52 pages of essential and humorous info that, even if I say so myself, is a must-have for any Orlando visitor!
I've been fortunate enough to go to Orlando many times in the last 10 years, with and without family/young children, so I have a lot of experience in what it takes, and the stress of traveling from Europe to Orlando!
If you're going with young children or teenagers, they're more than likely going to be extremely excited. With all of that adrenaline, you'll be glad that most flights have plenty of movies and TV to keep your kids occupied. Once you arrive, it can be another hour or more to get through passport control, luggage/baggage collection, and car rental or transport services—so, it's definitely a long-haul experience.
My first piece of advice is to drink plenty of fluids (non-alcoholic, despite the potential temptation!), and take your time as you walk through Orlando International Airport. You can save a bit of cash by bringing your children's car seats with you rather than getting them from the rental car supplier, but just beware of carrying them with your luggage, as it can be too much for some situations.
Make sure you have some cash, as you'll be dealing with road tolls or food and drinks when you arrive, and not everywhere accepts credit cards.
Eat lunch at main restaurant chains to get better deals, and sign up to restaurant apps to get free meals on your birthday (Golden Coral), and specials on McDonald's, KFC, etc. There are also vouchers, which can be obtained from tourist offices and hotels/shops, which can save you money at premium restaurants, too.
If you're needing a light snack, try the 7-Eleven petrol stations, as they sell fast food for surprisingly little money—ideal for a hotdog and soda, or a piece of chicken!!
Tickets to the theme parks are pricey, but there are special offers all the time, and you can sometimes get discounts via your hotel or the main US websites that can be cheaper than those from your travel agent. Avoid secondhand tickets, because they are very risky and, chances are, you'll turn up and get rejected due to security/fingerprint requirements. Then, you'll have to pay full price at the entrance, too!
You can get money off tickets by using timeshare deals from Westgate, but they will require you to sit through hours of timeshare sales meetings, which can easily take up to a day, and cost you more than you intended. So, I would be very careful of using that route.
Villas or hotels are probably your next big question. Which is better? Well, that depends upon your circumstances. I would usually recommend a villa, for the space and privacy, as hotel rooms can be quite basic. However, if you're at a Disney resort, then it has its advantages, as you can get in earlier, get access to dining (sometimes included in package holidays), and don't have to travel far to enjoy the theme parks.
There is so much more to Orlando than just the theme parks, though. If you would like to find out more, then please buy a copy of my guide which is available on Kindle and iBooks for just £3.99, or get a printed copy sent to your door for just £5.50. Just visit www.hughhatrick.com to get your copy now.
I'll do my best to write more short advice slots about Orlando here on Vocal so look out for great advice and offers! Thanks, and enjoy Orlando!