This is from my experience and based on my own opinion of Orlando, Florida.
Theme parks are very expensive if you chose to buy your tickets from the park itself they are $100 each per person and children’s tickets are similar prices to adults.
I would advise buying your tickets before you go I always buy mine form a site called Orlando ticket deals, just check that other sites are genuine when looking online, you can also book through travel agents but they are making commission on them so you may pay a little bit more.
You can get Disney passes for all parks and the passes vary for the amount of days you want it to last for, they do 7 and 14 day passes this means you can go to theses parks as many times as you want from the day of your 1st visit.
Universal studios do dual park tickets for there and island of adventure they can last from 2 days to 14days again depending on how many times you want to go.
Seaworld used to do pay on the gate for a 1 day pass and get a 2nd day free (this did have an expiry date to be used by) and I’m not to sure if they still do this offer but they did last year.
For visiting theme parks I would advise going early for when the parks opens and get to the rides you most interested in going on first as they que’s can be as long as 3-5 hours depending on what ride it is, and in the heat this is a long time to be stud still, or I would recommend getting fast passes for the rides which give you a time slot to come back and hop straight on, this does cost a little more but I think it’s worth it especially with children who can get bored easily waiting around.
Getting into the themes park has got stricter over the years with security checks they have checks you would get at the airport from putting your belongings in a tray and they get scanned as well as walking through the scanners checking for sharp objects etc, I had a bottle of water taken off me one time as they only wanted liquids brought in the park.
The cost of parking in the parks is $20 per car per day which is a lot to pay out if visiting all theme parks take this into consideration.
The best parks in my opinion are;
- Universal studios
- Islands of adventure
- Magic kingdom
- Animal kingdom
- Hollywood studios
- Bush gardens
- Kennedy space centre
The best water parks are;
- Blizzard beach
- Typhoon lagoon
- Wet n wild
The best beached to visit;
- Fort Lauderdale beach
- Clearwater beach
- Treasure island beach
- Cocoa beach
- Daytona beach
- Miami south beach
The best places to go shopping;
- Premium outlets Vineland road
- Premium outlets international drive
- Florida mall
- Mall of millennia
- Disney springs
- Buena vista outlets
- Altamonte mall
My favourite places to eat;
- Five guys
- Cheesecake Factory
- Dunkin doughnuts
- Charley’s steakhouse
- Logan’s steakhouse
- Shake shack
- Sugar factory
New to Orlando this year is the I drive 360 which used to be called mecarrdo I think when I was younger,at the I drive there is lots to do and see ranging from restaurants and shops, as well as the Orlando eye, Madame tussards and the sea life centre, it’s free to park and located on international drive just pass the conference centre and Wonderworks the upside down house which is a museum I think of strange things.
I got to go to the sea life centre which was really enjoyable I went as soon as it opened at 10am it wasn’t busy at all 10ppl if that where inside, you get to see lots of tropical fishes including nemo and dory, along with turtles and eels as well as walking through a 360 degrees tunnel with sharks swimming over or under you, there is a bit towards the end where you can touch some of the sea life and I got brave and touched a starfish and learnt more about the creatures in the sea, kids of all ages will enjoy this and I was there for about an hour it was well priced at $16 each or you can buy tickets to all three attractions and save some money.
We also went to Madame tussards Orlando, I had been to the one in London last year and I hated it was way to busy full of rude people pushing in and was over priced, the one in Orlando however was completely different, it was the same price as sea life centre and had lots of cool celebrities inside for example, Shaq, Walt Disney, Obama,Michael Jackson, miley Cyrus,Jennifer Anniston and my favourite Marilyn Monroe + may more, I was able to get a picture with them all it was really quiet we went on a Monday at 10am when it opened there was sections where you can interact and dress up to take pictures which was fun and great for kids (defiantly would recommend to do this and the sea life centre).
If you are looking at going to Florida and you have children I would recommend taking them at ages they can walk around on there own, as most rides in parks are aimed at children over 6yrs old, I went when I was 4yrs old and don’t remember it to be honest I was far to young to take it all in and remember it.
I’ve flown with a lot of airlines to America and would recommend thomsons or virgin Atlantic ,virgin is more expensive but if you book a year in advance you can get a better deal average flight prices start from £580 and upwards.
Florida is 5hrs behind in time to us in the uk and takes a few days before you fully adapt to the time difference.
When eating out you are always meant to leave a tip which is about 15% of the meal price I always left about $7-10 dollars for a $50 meal, the dollar rate isn’t very good at the minute I think it’s as low as $1.26 for every £1 you change, I was lucky enough one year to get it at 1.76 but this was a few years ago.
I would highly recommend getting your own car as you get to see more of Florida and you can drive to the beach which is an hour to cocoa beach, there are iride buses and taxis as well if you aren’t comfortable in driving on the opposite side to us, but hire cars are cheap and so is the fuel.
Hope I’ve covered most basics of Florida tips, best bits and must sees.