We are planning a big trip to Orlando next year. It will be our 3rd time visiting, and I am so excited. The last two times we have visited we booked packages through Virgin Holidays, but this time have decided to book the holiday separately. It has taken so much research and there are so many different aspects to consider when booking a holiday separately. It is something I have done for the last few years, and if I am honest I really enjoy the challenge of getting great quality and a good deal. I love researching hotels, flight and putting it all together. Clearly this has a certain amount of pressure attached as if we don’t like any aspect of a holiday there is only me to blame.
I have been researching for a year to book this Holiday and still there is so much to do, I have already shared some aspects, such as how we got a great deal on flights to Miami with British Airways. And the fantastic deal with the free Disney Dining Plan,booking the Saratoga Spring Hotel and Spa direct with Disney.
Today I thought I would share what I have left to plan and organise. My wish list for the rest of our visit.
I still need to arrange:
1. Transfers to the Airport
2. A one-night stay at Miami Airport
3. One-way car hire from Miami to Downtown Disney
4. We have booked Disney for 8 nights
5. 2 or 3 nights at the Hard Rock Hotel
6. Universal Orlando Tickets
7. One-way car hire from Universal Orlando to Miami
8. 2 or 3 nights in Miami
When you look at that lot maybe it is easier booking a package. However when you consider the fact that we are going to save around £3000 booking separately rather than as a package, it makes all the research worth it doesn’t it? That’s a colossal amount of money to save.
Airport Transfers; We always us Barrowford Premier Travel, We have used Peter for years, the great thing about Peter is if he can’t fit you in due to other bookings, he has a network of contact and arranges your transfer for you. He has never let us down and is always on time 100% reliable
We have decided to book one night at Miami when we arrive as after the long flight we know, we will want to get off the plane and chill, rather than set off on a 3-hour drive to Orlando. The Hilton Miami Airport looks fantastic, it has a great pool, and on site restaurant. Just what we will need after a day travelling, leaving us refreshed to get up and drive to Orlando the next day. And a bargain at £90 a night.
One-way car hire from Miami to Orlando; National Car Hire enables you to hire car from Miami Airport and drop it off at the Walt Disney car care centre for £27.00 including insurance. What a fantastic price. Yes we could hire a car for the whole two weeks, but as Chris covers a lot of miles every week at work, he does not want to drive daily. Staying in Disney you have full use of the Disney Transport System, so he can relax and not worry about having to drive. And as I have no intention of driving in the U.S, this is a great option.
The Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando, now this is a pricier hotel, but has the added benefit that hotel guests get the Universal Express Unlimited Pass. This is amazing as you get to access the express pass queue unlimited times. And saves many hours of queuing. You also get to enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter an hour before the park opens, wow. If you have read my blog before, you will know I am a mad Harry Potter Fan.
I think this option is brilliant for Jack, as he has less chance of having a hypo in a queue if we are queueing less. Bookings have not opened yet for the dates we want. So I am waiting to get booked, so I can then book our Miami Hotel.
Car hire Orlando Universal to Miami; I haven’t even started to look for this yet, I need to get the Hard Rock Hotel booked first then I can start researching pick up points, I guess it will be a similar price as the outbound journey.
Last but not least, a Miami Hotel to chill for a couple of days on the beach after all that Orlando chaos; I cannot wait to watch the sunset on the beach with a cocktail. See the craziness of Miami. I am torn between two hotels; one is the Trump International, which looks like ultimate luxury. And the other is the Redbury Hotel, this is a ultra trendy boutique Hotel, a friend of mine stayed at this year. I trust her opinion and the tripadvisor reviews are amazing too. So decisions, decisions. Once the Hard Rock is booked we can make a decision and get one of these two hotels booked.
There you have it, our Florida wish list. We have so much to be excited about. And will be able to do things we couldn’t do on a standard package holiday for 70% of the price of the standard package holiday price. Of course if any aspect is not perfect Chris and the Boys will be looking at me rolling their eyes. And the buck really will stop at me. I am the travel agent, but hey I am feeling confident. I have spent a year plus researching this holiday. I have tailored it 100% to the Christie Families needs. Yes I still haven’t finished booking it all, but I feel so excited that not only am I planning future family memories but some serious blogging moments.