Disneyland, Orlando: A Quick Guide

disneyland discounts

With so many places to check out, tickets to book and logistics to figure out, planning a trip to Disneyland can be intimidating especially for first-time visitors. We’ve come up with a handy guide to provide you with an overview of Walt Disney World in Orlando to give you an idea about what you can expect. We’ve also have some great tips and tricks to help you organise your trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Let’s get started!

Theme parks

Walt Disney World Resort is made up of four theme parks: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom and Epcot. There are two water parks, namely Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach. If your family is fond of swimming, the add-on for the water parks is a good idea. If your hotel already has a pool and other water features, that may be enough for you and you won’t have to spend extra for tickets to the water park.

When to visit

The best times to visit Disneyland are during the off-season weeks: the last week of August up to the third week of November, the first two weeks of December as well as the second week of January until the second week of February. Aside from the lower ticket prices during these times, Disney also offers additional off-season discounts when crowds are expected to be smaller. You can get a discount of up to 30 percent on hotel rooms and even for packages that already include food, tickets to the parks and accommodation.

Tickets

You have several options when buying tickets to Disneyland. You can purchase tickets to see one park a day or for an additional $50-$64, you can go for the park-hopping option, which lets you switch parks in one day. There’s also an add-on for entry to the water parks for an additional $70 for each ticket. Purchase your tickets in advance so you can skip queues—book Fastpass so you skip the long lines at Disneyworld’s most popular rides.

Where to stay

Visitors have four hotel categories to choose from: Value, Moderate (including cabins and campgrounds), Deluxe and Deluxe Villas. You can of course choose to book rooms outside of Disneyland, but you would have to use private transportation to get to and from the theme parks.

What to eat

There are several restaurants and dining places in the resort—you can even have a buffet breakfast with Mickey Mouse! Visitors can choose from a range of prepaid dining plans that Disney offers or pay for food out of pocket. Some Disney packages already come with a dining plan, so make sure you check those out before you book. It can save you the hassle of having to think of what to eat when you’re there. The plans vary depending on your dining style and how much you eat.

With all these options, you can customise your Disney vacation according to your family’s budget, schedule and interests. Make sure you do additional research on the terms and conditions of the packages you get offered so you can be certain you’re getting the most value for your money and make your vacation all the more worthwhile. Have fun!

 

 

What are the Best Beaches in Florida?

beaches

When you get exhausted from all the theme parks that Florida has to offer, it’s time to unwind and relax at its world-famous beaches. Also called the Sunshine State, Florida features more than 2,000 kilometres of coastline and over a thousand kilometres of beautiful sandy beaches affording gorgeous views of Florida’s finest seascapes.

Here are the best beaches you should definitely visit while in Florida.

Clearwater Beach

Often considered as one of the United States’ finest beaches, Clearwater Beach is spread along a 5-kilometre stretch of the Gulf Coast’s Pinellas Peninsula. To the east lies the serene Tampa Bay; to the west is the Gulf of Mexico. You can play beach volleyball, go on a cruise to see some dolphins, try parasailing, go fishing or simply work on your tan—the options are endless at Clearwater.

Caladesi Island State Park

Beachcomb along the bright white sands of the Caladesi Island State Park and you can find sand dollars, or simply grab a beach chair and marvel at the beach’s azure waters. This island beach is located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, just a little bit off the coast of Dunedin.

Canaveral National Seashore

Measuring more than 40 kilometres, the Canaveral National Seashore is considered the longest expanse of undeveloped beach on Florida’s east coast. It sits on a slender barrier island and is a sanctuary of sea turtles and other wildlife. Beachgoers who want to experience this paradise can find it between Titusville and New Smyrna Beach.

Grayton Beach State Park

This park located on Florida’s Gulf Coast boasts a coastal dune lake that you can explore in a paddleboard or a kayak. With its fine white sand and majestic sunrise view, Grayton Beach State Park is a must-see for beach-loving adventurers.

Siesta Beach

You will want to take a siesta, or an afternoon nap, once you arrive at this beach in Siesta Key with its cool sand—made almost entirely of quartz crystals, mind you—and gentle sea breeze. Watch the sun set, collect shells, go on a picnic, take to the water in a kayak or simply stroll along the shoreline.

Barefoot Beach Preserve

Pristine is one word that will surely come to mind when you see what Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park has to offer. Its mile-long beach sits on one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on the southwest coast of Florida.

St. Joseph Peninsula State Park

Just across the bay from Port St. Joe, the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park is home to around 16 kilometres of white sand beaches, a heavily forested interior and striking dune formations—indeed the tallest sand dunes in the whole state. Camping is a must-do!

Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

If it’s shelling and snorkelling you’re after, head on over to the Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park in Naples. Dive in and see the wonders the Gulf Coast’s reef has to offer—you may even see some sea turtles and manatees frolicking along. Birdwatchers are also treated to several owls, migratory seabirds, ospreys and bald eagles, the only eagle unique to North America.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

What makes the beach at the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park stand out is its historic lighthouse, which is the oldest standing building in Miami-Dade County. You can go on a tour of the lighthouse and even fish along the seawall.

St. George Island State Park

Located on a barrier island, this state park features nearly 15 kilometres of strikingly white sand. Spend the night at the park for some stargazing and see the Milky Way it all its glory without all the city lights.

 

Top 5 Things to Do in Orlando

meeting mickey mouse

Orlando, Florida in the United States is often deemed as the theme park capital of the world. It’s filled to the brim with various attractions for the whole family, making it a top vacation destination. You’ll never run out of options and things to do—here are the top five, including a non-theme park must-do when in Orlando.

Meet Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World.

Perhaps the most popular attraction in Orlando, Walt Disney World is actually made up of four theme parks: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Epcot centre and Magic Kingdom. For an exhilarating ride, buckle up for Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, which takes you through the Himalayan Mountains on a speeding train. To meet the famous mouse, visit the Magic Kingdom, where you’ll find the majestic Cinderella Castle and the whole gang of Disney characters. Don’t forget to hop into It’s a Small World and sing the tune while you’re there!

Swim with dolphins at SeaWorld.

SeaWorld is for enthusiasts of marine life and is best known for its live shows featuring majestic killer whales (all named Shamu over the years). Improvements done to the theme park include a high-tech marine playground and Turtle Trek, a 3D movie that immerses guests in the world of a deep sea turtle hatchling named Nyah. This 36-degree attraction is so realistic you’ll find yourself moving along to duck sharks and flotsam. At SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove, you’ll get the chance to touch, play and swim with smart and funny bottlenose dolphins, so make sure you include it in your must-visit list.

Immerse in magic at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

For fans of the story of The Boy Who Lived, head on over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park where you can step into the magical Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you’ve always wanted to try butterbeer, here is your chance to do so after browsing the shops at Hogsmeade. Muggles are of course welcome to visit and ride the Flight of the Hippogriff and the Dragon Challenge. Afterward, drop by Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour for soft-serve ices in interesting flavours—including butterbeer, of course!

Marvel at Legoland’s architecture.

Legoland is close to the heart of those who have built things with the little coloured bricks. Covering 150 acres and featuring 50 thrilling rides plus numerous shows and attractions, Legoland is every Lego-lover’s dream. There are 10 themed areas to explore, from medieval castles to pirate ships. If you have smaller kids, make sure you check out Duplo Valley for a bit of rest. There’s a Splash & Play area for toddlers—bring an extra set of clothes because everyone’s bound to get drenched (but definitely refreshed!).

Take a dip into Orlando’s Natural Springs.

Orlando features several non-manmade attractions as well, as being home to several natural springs. Most of the springs in the state parks are fantastic for snorkelling and swimming. The most popular are Kelly Springs, Rock Springs and Wekiwa Springs. Kelly Park is a vast 245-acre wildlife haven, featuring hiking trails, a playground and several wet and dry activities for those who love the outdoors.