FLorida tips --First timer

    Hi we are planning our first florida holiday in 2009, and are really in need of some money saving tips the best deal so far is 2800.00 for fam of 4 going to pop century for 2 weeks at the end june, but think i can get better ideally im looking for 2500.0. if any1 has any hints and tips please let me know.




    Have you tried Travelcity direct? Will try to get you a link to ther website or just google it. I went with them a few years ago and they were very reasonable. I would also recommend staying in International Drive, Disney hotels are not worth the money.


    Travelcity DIrect tend to have really good prices, a number of people here have travelled with them

    We went this April with Virgin and it's our fourth time with them as we've always found them to be reasonably priced and great service. This year we stayed at the Hawthorn Suites in Lake Buena Vista and found it much nicer than on International Drive where we've always stayed before as it was much quieter and less hectic. Admittidly not so much to do in the evening unless you've got a car but only about 2 miles from Downtown Disney and is walkable at a push (but you wouldn't want to do it both ways and on a regular basis, taxi to and from Downtown Disney cost us around $7 which is about £3.50) and this is great fun at night and in the day. We didn't have a car and got free shuttle buses at this hotel to Disney, Universal and Seaworld, took a while but they were free, what more can you ask for. You also get a free breakfast and we saved a fortune, pigged out at breakfast, had ice-cream or similar for lunch and then only had to pay for one dinner. For 5 adults, 3 kids and a teenager it cost around £6300 in April so not far off your budget and like I said, you then get free breakfast and free transport so no fuel costs, car insurance, toll fees and car park fees to pay so cheaper when you get there.
    P.S. Take a spare suitcase, if the exchange rate is still as good you'll buy loads!!

    Original Poster

    DO you know when virgin do their 15 % off? The cheapest i found was thomas cook.. Having two young princesses i thought staying at disney would add to the magic. !!



    Not sure when they do their 15% off, sorry, but noticed you mentioned you have two princesses. We have 2 daughters aged 7 and 3, in fact it was the eldest's 7th birthday while we were out there and you HAVE to book a meal at the Cinderella's Royal Table at Magic Kingdowm (in the castle) where she had her birthday dinner. You have to book by phone 6 months before you go as they book up early but it is magical. It cost us around £75 for the 4 of us with the exchange rate at the time and for this you got a 3 course meal, refillable drinks throughout, the girls met Cinderella as they went in and she spent time talking to them properly, then they had a photo taken (you could also take your own) which was then processed and put in a lovely folder, 10x8, and was brought to you at your table free of charge also with 4 6x4's to keep. The girls were given a plastic wand (the boys a plastic sword) and a glass wishing star again to keep, throughout dinner ALL the princesses came round each table to say hello, sign autographs and have photos ten halfway through voiceover man came alive and the children had to close their eyes and wave their wands over their wishing stars and make a wish to the words bibbidi-bobbidi-boo and thousands of twinking lights lit up around the ceiling. It really is a magical meal, our daughter even got a certificate and a cake included in the price as it was her birthday and was worth every penny and as you have 2 princesses I just had to let you know - make sure you book it!!

    Forgot to mention, I think I'm right in saying that if you book a Virgin holiday with a virgin credit card you get 10% discount. You can also get 3% through quidco which on the amount you spend with them isn't a bad cut. I can't really comment on the disney hotels as I've never stayed in one (could never afford it) but comments I've had from people who have is that a) you definitely need a car if you want to go anywhere but Disney and b) it's quite expensive to eat in their hotels and there's nothing around nearby unless again you get in a car. At least in Lake Buena Vista or International Drive there are restaurants and shops within walking distance so you have a bit more flexibility. I know how you must be feeling, going to Florida is like a minefield, far too much choice!!


    The Hotel rooms are very small at disney and very cramped you would be better off staying off site unless you get a suite, 4 people in a room is dreadful, you just want to get out every day and there s nowhere to relax. Personally with young children I would stay in a resort or a villa where you can let the kids play in the pool and relax and take your time in the mornings and when you get back late at night sit on the verandah when they hav gone to bed - remember its your holiday too, also if you booked a resort you would have company at the pool (not so at a villa - depends on how quiet you would want the holiday) there are some lovely resorts not far from disney and I think its more of a treat to be going there with the monorail etc and just getting there is exciting for them it will also give you a chance to see some more of the surrounding area, having lived there andvisited every year also I would not recommend International Drive - never really liked that unless you are non drivers I will give you some addresses if you want of places that are really nice, just pm me if you want them, you are going to have a Magical Time

    You will have such a good time, planning is the key! I go on ]here quite a bit, definitely useful for newcomers, there is also a UK board :thumbsup:

    We go once/twice a year sometimes and have stayed on site and off site. There are advantages to both, as a previous person posted the rooms at Disney's Pop Century are a tad small but we find it adequate for a family of five (5m, 4yr, 10yr). We don't spend much time in our rooms anyway, always busy at the parks or shopping so never been an issue for us.

    As a first time i would personally recommend staying on site just to get your bearings and suss everything out. It is also nice not having to drive everywhere as i do find this tiring although there are quite a few hotels off site that provide transport.

    If you like shopping i recommend a trip to Beltz shopping mall, plenty to keep kids amused as well and you can pick up some great bargains.

    I have three boys so when it comes to all things 'princess like' i am not the one to speak to but i got married in Disney and we had our pre-wedding get together at Cinderellas castle and i must say the food was superb and the kids had a day to remember, definitely worth booking :thumbsup:

    As previous people have said, travel city direct are good and they have new planes arriving for next yr. Personally i go with whoever are the cheapest! I have been with every tour operator you can think of and never had any problems

    If you need any help with anything, just PM me :thumbsup:

    Original Poster

    Wow , i didn't expect so many replies you guys have been great i really appreciate your help. i have one princess who has gone to bed tonight so excited about the prospect of meeting the princessess (sp). she is crying. we really want to do this!

    Not quite sure how quidco works, but is very appealing again(sp). too many vino's sorry.

    Thanks to everyone who as put forward a tip or two.

    All the best

    and two very impatient princessess.

    im just back form florida and i would say def do it, its amazing

    we stayed in the clarion hotel which was suprisingly nice for the price 18 nights for the 2 of us cost 400pounds and that was a room that could easily sleep four.

    There were free buses to disney and universal from the hotel and wet and wild was directly opp the hotel
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