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How to plan a trip to Disney and Miami

How to plan a trip to Disney in Orlando?Or rather, how to plan a PERFECT trip to Disney in Orlando?This was a question I asked myself for many months before my first adventure in 2015. And now, in 2018, going for the second time, I came to many conclusions that I will share in this article.

*** Post updated in January 2019

How many days to stay?

Let’s start at the beginning lol.Before buying tickets, I strongly recommend taking the time to define how many days you want (and can) stay at Disney in Orlando.I’ll tell you right away that less than 10 days is a waste of money on airfare.But my friends, if you only have 7 days and a dream to visit Disney, GO STRONG and you’ll come back very happy, believe me.

The ideal to enjoy great part of the parks, outlets and having a few moments of rest (which you will need) is planning a trip to Disney that lasts between 10 and 15 days.To decide whether you should stay for 10, 12 or 15 days, I recommend doing a quick check with the list below:

  • Where does your flight depart from and how much commuting time you will need.Generally 1 full day is what I consider, leaving SP (1/2 to go and 1/2 to return).
  • Which parks do you want to visit?So you already define how many days you will have to dedicate entirely to the parks.
  • Are you going shopping?With what intensity?LOL.Will visiting an outlet and stopping by WallMart satisfy you?If you’re short on time, remember that Amazon Lockercan be your best friend at this time.
  • How much rest you and the people traveling together will you need it?It’s worth including a day of rest every two park days, especially if you’re traveling with children and older people.
  • Going there in the summer?Don’t forget the water parks and dedicate a day to the hotel pool, you’ll want to cool off in it lol.
  • Want to see an NBA game in Orlando?Any specific event, show, theater?
  • Let’s talk Money!!!How much money can you spend for this trip?Each additional day will cost you more in hotel rates, travel insurance and local expenses (food, etc.).Critical success factor for this item.

Passagens:

Try flying direct to Orlando, if you can’t make it and need to get off in Miami or Fort Lauderdale, consider this travel time in your travel itinerary.The best place to find deals on tickets to Orlando is the Viajando Barato Pelo Mundowebsite, follow along on the web and on social media.

Tip for those who are from São Paulo or you can take a flight from here, Azul Linhas Aéreas makes a daily flight to Orlando from Viracopos in Campinas.The aircraft is often not full and promotions appear, Campinas is about 100km from São Paulo, an hour’s journey and days with mild traffic.

Build a two-step itinerary:

Tickets in hand?Now it’s time to put together the travel itinerary and the first tip I give you is: break your script into two steps.The first phase of the trip is to explore the parks of the Walt Disney World complex (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, etc.).The second phase is to explore the other attractions;outlets, Universal parks, Sea World etc.

Why do I recommend this?For one reason only;It is very worthwhile to invest a few days of accommodation in a hotel that is inside the Disney complex.Here in this articleI give more details but in summary;Disney hotels offer transportation to/from the airport and parks, you can book Fast Pass before other people, have food offers and many other perks.They even deliver pizza to your room lol.

So what would a perfect 10-day travel itinerary look like?Something like:

– 5 days at Disney hotels interspersing the busiest and quietest parks (Epcot, for example) and a day touring Disney Springs (a center that has become a Disney Center).

– 2 days of shopping, swimming pool and downtown Orlando tour halfway through, here you may have already moved to a downtown hotel from Orlando.

– 3 days or more to visit Universal parks and other attractions.These days can have shopping and swimming days interspersed as well, a less tiring suggestion.

Here in this other articleI tell you in detail.On this first trip I included Miami (that’s why the itinerary is 15 days) but the Disney part is well explained.

I also think it’s important to create an itinerary for each park.Which attractions should be seen first according to the desire of each of the group and always going counter-clockwise to catch smaller queues.With the itineraries in hand, be sure to book restaurants and Fast Passes (Disney’s queue skippers).The parks are big and with a lot to see, organization is an element that will make your trip more productive.

Consider thehigh season: December, January, February are the coldest months, June, July and mid-August are months of intense heat.

The right choice for hotels:

For the first stage of the trip, which I recommend hotels in the Disney complex, you need to make your reservation through the website (Portuguese version), authorized agency (CVC is one of them here in Brazil) or by telephone with service in Portuguese as well.I did everything through the website and found it super practical, I had to call a few times just to link the tickets in the My Disney Experience app.There are four room categories and a camping option, the economy category has prices similar to hotels in downtown Orlando but has numerous advantages.

Site to book hotels, buy tickets and packages directly with Disney.

But if you don’t like that idea, there are also excellent hotels that are relatively more affordable and with perfect infrastructure in downtown Orlando.I recommend looking for hotels around Avenida International Drive at the time of Universal’s parks.This area is the main tourist area in Orlando outside Disney, you will be close to the other parks (Universal etc.), right next to the Orlando Eye, great restaurants, supermarkets etc.

What was my experience of staying at the hotels in the Disney complex

I recommend staying in this region for the second leg of your trip, or for the entirety of it if you really don’t want to stay at the Disney complex.I stayed at Best Western Gatewayand my experience was GREAT!!With all capital letters lol.The hotel has a delicious infrastructure, rooms with soft beds, “chubby” style shower, impeccable cleanliness and above all;in the pool area there are two Jacuzzis that relax you to the core after the rush of the parks.

How was my experience at the Best Western Orlando Gateway

Below are also some hotel tips in the region :

Radisson – at the foot of the Disney parks

Comfort Inn – close to the Universal parks

Ramada Plaza – if you want to stay on International Drive

Park Planning:

Orlando has manyparks, more than we can imagine and see around.Very important factor to avoid frustrations.Bush Gardens, for example, is the park with the most extreme roller coasters and is a little further away from Orlando.Magic Kingdom and Disney parks have a lot of magic and adventure at a medium level, Universal is where the Harry Potter attractions are.

It also has Legolandia, the Kennedy Space Center and many attractions in downtown Orlando (Madame Tussauds wax museum, Ferris wheel, upside down house etc.etc.).Here on the blogI wrote a review of all the parks we visited on our trip.

Buying Tickets:

After you’ve spent some time choosing which parks to visit and fitting them into your two-stage itinerary, just buy your tickets 🙂 🙂 Here are the tips

Disney Parks

  1. Buy directly from the official website (where you booked the hotel) or with official operators.The online carrier I recommend is Get Your Guide.I’ll leave the links for the Disney ticket combos below.

    1. Disney Combo – 7 days at the park with park hoper
    2. Disney Combo – 5 days of park with park hoper
    3. Combo Disney – 3 days of park with park hoper
    4. Combo Disney – 2 days of park with park hoper

  2. Buy the combos where you get a ticket, I really like the 7 day park where you only pay 5.
  3. Consider two days for Magic Kingdom, one to explore almost everything.The second day is to arrive a little later at the park;explore what you didn’t have time for the day before and watch the nightly fireworks show.

Other parks, shows, etc.:

  1. Buy through Get Your Guide, they offer the best prices.
  2. Yes, invest in the park hoper option for Universal parks, that’s the only way you’ll enjoy the Harry Potter train.
  3. For the NBA, buy through the Ticket Network which is more affordable.
  4. ATTENTION to the dates and expiry dates of the tickets.
  5. Attention to tickets that ask to exchange the printed voucher for the ticket at the entrance to the park.

Outlets:

There are so many outlets in Orlando that you will be lost.What I did and what I recommend you do is also the following, I went to the websites and saw the list of stores, guided myself by their location and bingo!We defined the top three outlets that would please everyone traveling in my group.In addition, I took the time to go to Walmart at least 3 times and it was a short time huh lol, this supermarket is practically a mall.See below the main outlets in Orlando and what I thought of them:

The Mall at Millenia: we only went to eat at the Cheesecake Factory because it is very similar to the Florida Mall we went to twice.

Florida Mall:went twice and I like it for a few reasons;greater variety than in outlets, more relaxed, there is the MMs, Apple and JC Penny stores.The JC Penny at this mall is great, I’d say you can do all your shopping there, even your trousseau.

Orlando Vineland Premium Outlet: GREAT!It’s not as close as the premium one but it’s in Orlando and super fast.Few people, great prices, variety and promotions.

Orlando International Premium Outlet:We went and LOVED it!Several very important discounts, lots of people speaking Portuguese and Spanish, discount coupon booklet at the information desk and a more complete mall.Brazilians need to have a valid driver’s license and a PID (international driving permit).For the first leg of the trip I DO NOT recommend a car if you are staying at the Disney complex.For the second it is essential.Below I will leave a link with promotions for renting via RentCars, they are very economical and partners here on the blog.

Food and drinks:

Don’t forget about this part of the trip as planning where and how you will eat around Orlando and at the parks is very important.I’ll give you some tips:

  • Buy a basic meal plan for the time you stay at the Disney hotel.It includes two meals and two snacks per day of accommodation.Can be used in parks, hotel restaurants or Disney Springs.
  • Buy fruit, water, beer, wine, yogurt and snacks to keep in your room and take to the parks.You can go to the supermarket on the first day of your trip or pick up an early delivery from your hotel, which is very common in the United States.
  • Plan which restaurants you want to visit and make reservations.Especially those inside the parks (can be booked 180 days in advance).
  • Use and abuse breakfast, whether at your hotel or at a restaurant in Orlando, they give you energy to withstand the rush of the day.
  • Include the Cheesecake Factory in your itinerary, not only because it has the best Red Velvet on the planet, but also because it’s economical.

In summary:

Finally, now you can put on paper (or in Excel) your detailed roadmap, day by day, park to park.I think these are my essential tips for planning a successful Disney trip.Some articles that I mention throughout the text are complementary and highly recommended.Then tell me in the comments how your trip was planned 🙂

Go here –> DISNEY ORLANDO TRAVEL GUIDE – blog post index

EPCOT Flower Garden, held every year in spring.

One of the perks of staying at a Disney hotel is being able to arrive early and not have to queue for photos with the characters.

Os fogos finais

Another advantage is being able to return to the hotel and rest before the evening shows.

Mais foto do Castelo rs

Magic Kingdom

Mais um bloco de quartos do All Stars Sports

Hotel inside Disney – All Stars Sports

A saborosa loja da MMs

The tasty MMs store at Florida Mall

Universal Studio entrance, next to Island of Adventure and UnUniversal City Walk, a shopping center and delicious restaurants

The Orlando Eye

The Orlando Eye

Disney Downtown

Disney Downtown

Toys R Us, um paraíso em brinquedos!!

Toys R Us , a paradise in toys!!Florida Mall.

Disney Downtown

In Disney Downtown there is a super fun Lego store..

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