So, it’s been a while since I paid my first trip to Orlando, and boy do I miss it! These past 7 months have completely dragged and I’d quite honestly jump on a 10-hour virgin flight in a heartbeat if I could!
Whilst I’m feeling in the nostalgic mood, I thought I would share with you my top tips and recommendations for all you newbies out there who are thinking about taking your first trip to Florida!
Orlando is pretty much on all our bucket lists; it’s been on mine for about 20 years (I’m 25). Situated in central Florida, Orlando is the king of the world when it comes to theme parks. Home to Walt Disney World, and Universal Studios, it hosts some pretty exciting rides to say the least!
My Disney Itinerary
Call me old fashioned, or downright stupid, but I didn’t have a clue what an ‘Itinerary’ was, prior to planning this trip. I personally think creating an Itinerary is completely up to you. As we were travelling to meet family who had been out there a few days, they were the ‘Itinerary-iers’, and with this, we pretty much followed everything they had planned, in regards to parks. We did however have days where there would just be the 4 of us as opposed to 9 of us; and in these days, we honestly just winged it! As a family, we’re not very structured at all, we don’t cope well with planning, and we just like to take it as it comes, so for those days, that’s what we did. Granted most of those days were spent in Disney Springs, but hey! I’m not complaining!
If you would like to see an example of an Itinerary, here is ours for reference (using the word ours as a broad term). You can copy it if you like! 😝
Just to clarify, I don’t mean the official Disney Dining Plan. As all 4 of us were adults, we didn’t really feel that getting this was necessary. However, our other party did purchase a dining plan and from what I can recall, they thoroughly enjoyed using it, and they thought it was well worth it! So if you’re travelling with kids, this is one to consider!
In terms of actually planning your meals, I would highly recommend getting the Disney World App, where you can view menus and even reserve tables from all over the parks. This will guarantee you a seat in those hard to get places; like the famous Be Our Guest Restaurant, for example! This restaurant was fully booked for months prior to our visit, so if you happen to stumble across this blog post months before your trip, I’d have a look now if I were you!
As much as I loved all the lovely dishes I had to eat in my time in Orlando, there are a lot of restaurants I didn’t get to eat at. But never mind; there’s always next time! If you’d like to view the places I did eat at, I wrote another blog post on that too!
It’s All About The Money, Money, Money…
(We don’t need your Money, Money Money… No? Just me? Ok!)
Having never been to America before, let alone somewhere big like Florida. I had no idea how much money to take. I found myself searching around different websites for other people’s opinions on the matter. From what I recall we took $1,500 cash (between me and my boyfriend), and I uploaded £600 onto my Monzo App!
Let me take a minute to talk about the Monzo app
I’ve wanted to talk about it since we got back and I never have, so it’s been a long time coming! I was completely sceptical and a bit scared to use the app. I remember uploading the initial mandatory £100, and using that as a trial run before putting any more on there. I had heard of Aaron’s friends using it but I didn’t really trust their word; I mean, money is a big thing! Especially abroad!
Pack All Your Troubles… I’ll stop now.
Getting my suitcase for America was a moment I’ll probably never forget for as long as I live. From what I recall, our flight was on a Monday, and we got our cases on… yep… you guessed it! Saturday! With our flight being a 7am number, it was quite a bit of a restriction in the old clockity clock area, if you get what I mean.
Me: “There’s nothing like buying your suitcase just over 24 hours before you’re due to set off to the airport”Cashier Lady: “Oh really?… Where are you going?”Me: “Florida”Cashier Lady: “Oh, really?! I might be on the same flight as you!”
Emma’s Ultimate Packing Guide
- o 6 T-Shirts – Honestly, this ones being generous; you’ll buy loads more!
- o 4 Pairs of Leggings – Assuming they don’t take up much room! Very handy to keep in your bag for those downpours.
- o 3 Pairs of Shorts – It’s very warm even though it’s wet – Wear them like jeans!
- o 2 Pairs of Jeans (One for travelling)
- o 2 Pairs of trainers/shoes. Ideally comfy ones. I brought 4 pairs with me, and switched between 2. The other 2 I don’t even think I’ve worn to this day!
- o 4/5 Dresses – It really depends when and where you’re going out. I brought 6 dresses with me and I’m sure I only wore 4 of them. I generally just dressed up with shorts and t-shirt most nights.
- o Swimming Gear – I brought about 4 swimming costumes and used none – I’d plan your trip first and maybe bring one if you’re unsure about a water park; that’s really the only place you’ll use them!
- o Makeup – the list would be endless if I’d be writing mine, honestly.
- o Underwear – Take a couple more than actually needed; just in case!
- o Contact Lenses – Not sure if this is essential for you, but it is for me!
- o Jewellery
- o Hairbrush & Hair styling things – I don’t really do anything to mine, so this is entirely on here for you!
- o Perfume – I usually use the little samples, they’re really handy for travelling, and I tend to find my favourites this way!
- o Deodorant – Roll on was my preferred choice, I got a bit concerned about the cabin pressure and all that.
- o External Batteries for Cameras – Alike the contacts, this is just personally suited to me. I knew that the 10 hour flight wasn’t going to be crammed full of activities so I only really needed one full battery. The rest could live in my case until I landed!
o Ladies Items – Oh, okay, FINE! I’ll say it. Sanitary towels; don’t forget them! I didn’t get chance to try the American ones, but I was quite happy with good old always thank you!
Here’s a brief inventory of what was in my travel bag:
- o Glasses
- o Sunglasses
- o Sudoku – Don’t judge me, I promise I’m not 92.
- o Books/Magazines
- o Earphones
- o External Battery Charger – Check airline regulations first.
- o Your camera, of course!
- o Chargers. I brought my MacBook charger; just a heads up, only some seats on the plane have sockets – mine didn’t! (You have to pay for WiFi too)
- o Notebook
- o Moisturizer & Lip Balm, under 100ml of course!
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- o Toothbrush & Toothpaste
- o Tanning Lotion, Sun Protection etc.
- o Face Wipes/Face Wash – (I nearly died, I had to buy these when we got to America, and I couldn’t find them anywhere, and I couldn’t get my makeup off! – It was a nightmare, trust me)
If you’d like to see some of my views on the rides I went on, I’ve got a full playlist live on my channel!
First of all, the girl that really inspires me, and she probably won’t ever read this but Em, if you’re reading this, hello! I’m not sure if it’s Emma or Emily, but your accounts say Em, so hello Em! Okay, so I found ‘@emhalford‘ when she was posting on the ‘it’s Orlando Time’ Facebook group that I am a part of, and even if I never go again (never say that again Emma) I’ll probably never leave!
Mouseketeers and Butterbeers
So with that, ladies and gents, I’m going to leave you with some of my own favourite Instagram pictures of my holiday. Feel free to follow me over at @ariverofroses