Helen has just returned from a family holiday to Orlando.

“My ideal holiday is laying on a sun lounger, drinking cocktails and coming home all relaxed with a fabulous tan! Theme parks & water parks are a nightmare for me so this was going to be a holiday outside of my comfort zone. I never usually pre-plan my days whilst on holiday – however that was all about to change!

A year before travel, Virgin released their flights and Disney offered the ‘dine-around’ offer which they do at certain times of the year. My son was going to be nine years of age so we thought this would be the perfect time to take him and so after much thought we decided to just go for it and blitz Orlando. We opted to do seven nights at the Disney Beach and Yacht Club and three nights at the Loews Portofino at Universal. We didn’t have a car as the two hotels are in perfect locations and the Disney hotels offer free transportation to all of the parks from their hotels. The Disney Yacht and Beach club is minutes away from Epcot and a 10/15 minute walk or boat ride from Hollywood Studios. We were able to walk or take a boat to both Universal or the Islands of Adventure Parks from The Portofino.

Once booked I’d advise you to start your planning! The Disney dining options offer many restaurants throughout the parks & hotels and we pre-booked all our restaurants which I would recommend. At peak times the better restaurants are extremely busy and it also helped us to build our days around the restaurant we had booked for that day.

We tried to organise our days so that we had either the beginning or the end of the afternoon at the pool so that we had a break but could go back into the parks on an evening if we wanted to.

As we were staying in a Disney hotel we were able to pre-book three rides a day at a certain time which is called a fast pass. This is essential as queues can be up to a couple of hours especially for the thrill rides!
At Universal we were entitled to the fast pass for all rides apart from the Harry Potter ones, however we were able to enter the park an hour before it opened so we didn’t have to queue too long for these unmissable rides.

I am so pleased we organised our days so we didn’t miss anything in this magical place. Maybe I didn’t come back with the usual tan and umbrellas from my cocktails, but I came back with fantastic memories of a truly amazing family holiday and proud that I broke out of my comfort zone and went on as many rides that I could fit into the day!”

 Helen 1 Helen 2