Our first ever trip to Orlando Florida was way back in 2015 when hubby was working out there quite a bit so I decided to join him on one of his trips. He flew out on Sunday and I flew out on a Wednesday and made use of the free hotel room from his work and we paid for 3 extra days ourselves. Strangely his work conference actually took place in the Hilton Double Tree which was a Disney hotel so there were plenty of coaches taking you to all the parks daily which was great! I remember spending 2 days shopping in all the local malls waiting for him to finish work (lady of leisure!) then I would join his colleagues on whatever they had planned in the evening like a basketball game or just a meal out somewhere.
We were not huge Disney fans and I am not a morning person so we brought discounted park tickets which gave you entry from 3pm on wards which suits as fine. Fast forward 4 years we now have a little girl who is a HUGE Disney fan and even more so after our trip to Hong Kong earlier this year visiting Disneyland Hong Kong!
Hubby is likely to be heading to Orlando again early next year for work and we will be joining him for a few days or a week! This trip will be a packed schedule with every day park visits, so I have started looking at Orlando holidays and doing some proper research before we book anything.
This time round I want to visit all the the parks and try and pack everything in either 5 days or a week. Since the little one will only be 4 yrs old we won't be going on all the rides and I want to keep it relaxed so it's not too intense and tiring for all of us. Last time we didn't get round to visiting the beach either so I want to do that this time! The key thing is to plan and have and itinerary so you can roughly stick to it.
From my research online, here is what I have learnt so far...
Plan to visit the parks on the days when each is open the longest if you are staying in a Disney Hotel onsite.
Print out the park map and circle / hi-light all the "must do" things and download the app so you can see the waiting times and plan your way around.
Magic Kingdom / Tomorrowland takes the most time so if that is more important (it is for my girl) make sure you allow enough time for it. Don't forget to stay till the end for the fireworks. Magic Kingdom is a huge park so if planned properly you will be less exhausted otherwise you could be wasting your time going back and forth.
Epcot is a lot less intense and probably more suited to older children so we will just have a wonder around. Again print out a map in advance and take note of the showtimes so you don't miss anything as we would only be doing a 1 day visit.
Hollywood Studios again is more relaxed and it's a smaller park so you can easily do everything in one day. There is less to do here for younger children so we may actually skip this all together and spend more time at Magic Kingdom.
Animal Kingdom I hear closes earlier so you must arrive at opening to make use of the full day. Sometimes it might be quicker to work your way backwards going to see things that are furthest away then working your way to the front of the park. Again print a map in advance to hi-light everything including all the shows so you don't miss a thing!
It's worth paying for Fast Passes with a toddler as we all know they have no patients! Again plan wisely for dining and table service restaurants will obviously cost more and take more time. At least plan 1 meal in the restaurant so you get to meet the characters. You can do the simplest of things like eat early to avoid the rush.
The main thing going with a toddler is to relax and just enjoy it!