FINDING YOUR OWN MAGIC
I honestly can’t believe I’m even writing a blog on Orlando. It’s a place I’ve wanted to revisit for so long.
When I was younger, my family and I used to go to Orlando and stay in Disney and Universal. I treasured those memories as they were really magical to me being so young. I always wanted to go back as an adult and enjoy the other aspects of Orlando, like the bars and shopping.
This year I was able to do just that thanks to my new business and I feel incredibly lucky. I was only there for a week so I didn’t manage to get to do everything on my list, however that just gives me an excuse to go back..right?
The Magic Village
There was a large group of us travelling (I would say around forty of us). We decided to all stay in the same location. This complex was only a five minute drive from the convention centre we needed to go to.
The villa accommodation is called Magic Village and was perfect as could hold up to eight people per villa. The villa was roomy, with two double beds and two twin rooms, all of which had an ensuite. There is a garden area with BBQ and dining table too. The complex is huge, with a stunning pool area and on-site restaurant.
The complex has a private gate so it is completely safe. The complex is a twelve minute drive away from Disney Parks and Disney Springs. If you want to visit Universal, then it is a half hour drive. This didn’t cost much at all when you split with a group in an Uber.
While I was out in Orlando, I only had time to go to Magic Kingdom. Here’s the best advice I can give if you are visiting any of the Disney Parks:
Once you have planned your Orlando trip, make sure to download the Disney World App. You can book your fast passes in advance. Just connect the fast passes with your Disney tickets, and then scan your tickets outside each ride when the time is available. If you don’t do this then you could expect to be queueing for an hour or two for each ride.
You can also book any shows or restaurants within the parks too via the App. This will limit the queues and guarantee you will get in.
During the whole of October, Disney have their Halloween decorations out. This includes the special Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Nights featuring the Boo-To-You parade. You need tickets for this event as they only have this on certain nights so make sure to book in advance.
If you want to ride the Peter Pan’s Flight ride, I would suggest booking this on FastTrack+. The normal queues were insane. Unfortunately as I didn’t book this in advance, I didn’t even manage to get on this ride throughout the day.
The most popular photo opportunities are at the front of the Castle. However there’s a place called the ‘wishing well’, which is much quieter. It offers a stunning photo opportunity, if you can find it.
If you want to buy merchandise, I would recommend going to the shops as the park is closing. There are less people and the park stays open for around an hour after the fireworks display.
If you are leaving the park straight after the fireworks, the quickest way would be by the boat. Everyone else usually runs to the monorail which means the boat is quieter.
The best part is, it’s a stunning view to see the lights twinkle on the lake. Plus it wont be as busy as the monorail.
If you are in no rush after the fireworks to leave, stay behind to watch the ‘Kiss Goodnight’. This is when the castle twinkles and plays ‘When you wish upon a star’. It’s really pretty and perfect for photo opportunities as the crowds die down.
The fireworks start at 9pm so I would suggest finding a good spot around forty five minutes before. If you can, get one of your group to stay in the spot while the rest grab snacks.
Florida is known to shower all the time, these showers will only last a few minutes but are extremely heavy. I would suggest taking hoodies or buying ponchos as you don’t want to get caught in it.
As I was only there for a week so I didn’t have time to go to Universal. I did take a course which allows me discount on park tickets for a year. Here are some information and tips I learnt:
There are three main parks, Universal Studios, Island Of Adventure and the waterpark Volcano Bay.
It would be a good idea to buy a park hopper ticket. This is so you can travel on the Hogwarts Express. This goes between Hogsmeade in Island Of Adventure, which features Hagrid’s new ride, and Diagon Alley in Studios.
There is an area called City Walk which is free to visit. City Walk has a variety of restaurants, bars, mini golf and a cinema, making it perfect for a fun day or evening. We went to Antojitos which is a Mexican restaurant.
Island of Adventure is where Jurassic Park is, making you feel like you’re on the actual set.
Buy an express pass to avoid the lines for the rides.
Download the Universal Resort app. You’ll then have park maps, current wait times for rides, dining options, and you can buy tickets from your phone.
The best time to visit would be in September as all the schools are back so it’s quiet.
You can use an option called ‘Child Swap’. This means that if your child does not want to go on a ride, you can stay in line and take it in turns for the adults to go on.
Go to Harry Potter attractions in the afternoon. The first place most people run to when entering the parks are Harry Potter. Your best bet is to wait until the afternoon, when it will be quieter.
Check out the Volcano Bay waterpark, with the iconic volcano making you feel like you’re sunbathing on a beautiful island.
Let’s Talk Business
So if I wasn’t spending all my time in Orlando at the parks, what was I doing there?. My travel business had a convention where we celebrated success. This was the first year for the UK team to join too.
The convention was held at the Gaylord Convention centre, which by the way is stunning. It had a beautiful tropical garden inside complete with turtles.
The three days were mainly spent learning key strategies to create a successful business. It was powerful and I am so thankful I was able to go. I met some incredible people throughout this week from all different places and backgrounds. We spent the Saturday celebrating the awards being handed to the teams. Then we ended the event with an afterparty.
The other days we had spare we ended up having a pool day within our villa complex. We also went shopping in one of the local malls.
I recommend going to Orlando as there is something for everyone. You can choose from a large choice of restaurants, bars and shops, to all the theme parks, waterparks and activities.
Chilled out days by a pool and beach or fun days out, the choices are endless. For anymore information on Orlando, feel free to send me a message.
Have you been to Orlando? which park is your favourite?