Plan A Trip to Orlando

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Hi everyone,
This post has been highly requested so I wanted to make it as detailed as possible. This was my third time to Orlando and every time it’s just as good as the last. I love it there, so much so that next year I am going to start my pilot training over there. I had originally planned to do it in Ireland but better weather & training in Orlando sold me.
So I’ve broken the post down into sections as I thought it would be easier and I asked you guys what you wanted to know during a Q&A I done last week so I’ve included answers in the post too. All links in this blog post are NOT affiliated or sponsored in any way by any company.
First thing a lot of people have asked is whether to book separately or all together with a travel agent? We personally always book separately as I research so much and don’t mind it. If you don’t want any hassle of course, a travel agent can do it all for you.
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Flights
We flew with Aer Lingus who fly direct from Dublin to Orlando but you can look up cheapest flights on SkyScanner for your required dates. This will give you a list of airlines including Aer Lingus and prices also. If you are travelling with children I definitely recommend a direct flight. A tip at the airport if you have a baby and no bassinet is available for them to sleep. Ask for a row of four if seats are available. This way the baby can sleep in the middle of you on two seats and you don’t have to have them on your lap. This is obviously providing seats are available and you aren’t travelling in peak times.
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We also booked 51st & Green which is the lounge that is right beside the runway. It’s definitely worth it just make sure you give yourself enough time to actually really enjoy it. The lounge is €35 p/p online or €39 at reception and is complimentary to business class ticket holders.
You get the following:
  • Drinks, snacks & fresh Irish dishes with an American twist
  • Barista coffee and cocktails
  • High speed Wi-Fi to download in-flight entertainment
  • Entertainment screen with live sports
  • Quiet space to work with multiple charging units
  • Shower facilities to freshen up before your flight
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Car Hire
I highly recommend renting a car when in Orlando. There is so much to do and see that I personally think it’s so much more restricting if you bus everywhere or Uber. When you collect your baggage go downstairs and that is where you can rent the cars. We booked ours through Aer Lingus Cars also. They do drive on the other side of the road and the other side of the car so make sure that is something to note.
Accommodation
Ok so I need to be honest about this. For me accommodation is the states is very limited. If you stay in a 5 star, it’s really a 4 star, a 4 star is really a 3 star and so on. I searched and searched for hotels and accommodation. Lots were actually booked up that I liked and lots were just WAY WAY too expensive. I always use Booking.com for my accommodation.
We were staying for 9 nights. I came across this resort called Regal Oaks. It’s a gated estate with villas and houses. The prices are so reasonable and you have your own house. For us with Lily it was so perfect and we felt like it was a home away from home. I would highly recommend it as it’s very central but like I mentioned a car is definitely needed. We were 15 mins from Universal, 15 mins from Disney and 10 mins from the shopping outlets to give you an idea of how close. It was brilliant and we would definitely stay there again next time. You spend very little time in your actual accommodation so spending a fortune is really unnecessary.
NOTE: You can use my code aoibhe05 to get €15 back on your card in cash when you return from your trip. This code is put in on the final booking page on the left hand side UNDER Special Requests.
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Tickets/Parks
We booked our tickets a few days in advance on the official websites. I recommend triple checking the websites as some people can go into the wrong ones and are charged much higher prices. For you guys I’ll link below the websites I use so it’s easier.
These are the websites I recommend below:
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So a few tips for a couple of the parks from my experience.
  • If going in off peak season, do not buy a fast pass to skip the lines. If going in peak season, personally I think it’s so worth it. Paying another $100 to skip the queue on all the rides rather than waiting an hour or more for each ride is worth every single cent. I know it’s a lot of money but if it’s just you and your other half it is worth it. If going with children, you need to weigh it all up. The long queues are mainly for the big rides. All the smaller rides won’t have as much a wait time.
  • When in Busch Gardens, definitely do the All Day Dining deal. It’s extra on your ticket but allows you to have so much throughout your day at Busch Gardens.
  • If you want to go to Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal and you want to go on the Hogwarts Express, you need BOTH park tickets. So you need Universal and Universal Islands of Adventure. If you are going to Universal, I personally recommend getting a two day, two parks ticket. You will not do both parks in one day as there is so much to do in both of them.
  • Disney parks are so great. I adore Magic Kingdom but be prepared to wait. Queues are long and it’s probably the busiest park of them all. It’s for everyone but especially the younger kids.

My personal favourite parks are Universal and Universal Islands of Adventure. They have Krustyland (land of the Simpsons) and they have The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Both parks are incredible and I wish we spent more time in them. I think 2 days minimum for them so buy a 2 park, 2 day pass.

I also love Busch Gardens in Tampa too. It’s an hours drive but well worth the spin. It’s full of rollercoasters so we loved it.

Eating
There are so many places to eat in Orlando, you’ll be absolutely spoiled for choice. I’ll do a list below in no particular order.
  • Maggiano’s
  • Bahama Breeze
  • Holler & Dash
  • Maria & Enzo’s
  • The Boathouse
  • Miller’s Ale House
  • Red Lobster
  • Carlo’s Bake Shop
  • Raglan Road
  • Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley (Universal Studios)
I adore Disney Springs for food. It has so many beautiful restaurants and really amazing day or night.
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Shopping 
My personal favourites are The Florida Mall and Mall at Millenia. The outlets are great too especially for children and boys/men but not so much for women. You can get amazing gym gear in the outlets for women though. They do however have discounted stores for Michael Kors, Coach and Prada handbags for those who love them brands. The Florida Mall is insane and I highly recommend it.
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I think I have answered the majority of people’s questions.
Some more questions that was asked…… 
How long to stay in Orlando?
Personally I think you need a minimum of 7 nights in Orlando.
Is it expensive and how much would I need daily?
This honestly depends on yourself. It can be as expensive or dear as you want it to be. Generally food is quite cheap and alcohol just regular pricing. If you stay in a villa, obviously you can get your food at Walmart and then eat out on days you like for dinner or lunch etc.
What else can I do other than go to the theme parks? 
iFly Orlando is indoor skydiving. A wind tunnel to make you feel like your skydiving
Disney Springs is fabulous. You can do the small hot air balloon when you are there. It’s $20 for adults and $15 for children. Free for infants.
Universal City Walk is cool. Eat donuts at Voodoo Donuts, go to the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium or go to the Hollywood Drive in Golf 
Helicopter Tours Orlando
Volcano Bay is a waterpark at Universal if you fancied a water park
Icon Orlando is basically Orlando’s equivalent to the London Eye but bigger
Walks around Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve
Wonderworks Orlando – fun for all the family
Madame Tussauds Orlando
Ice Bar Orlando – adults only
Crayola Experience – great for kids
Go to Disney Boardwalk for a stroll or boat ridescreen-shot-2019-02-18-at-03-09-15disney-springs-logo1-700x278screen-shot-2019-02-18-at-03-09-04screen-shot-2019-02-18-at-03-35-27
These are just some of the things you can do, obviously there is probably lots more but some of what I would recommend.
What was it like travelling with a baby?
You can actually read my blog post on travelling with a baby HERE.
If you do go to Orlando, let me know what you thought on Insta 😉
Happy holidays.
Love Aoibhe xxx
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