Sunshine Villa Florida

5 Tips For Planning Your Orlando Vacation

5 important tips to plan your orlando vacation

Plan

It’s impossible to fit everything in one visit. There just isn’t enough hours in a day to squeeze in all the fun to be had in Orlando. Draft an itinerary outlining what and when you and your party would like to accomplish during your visit and try to stick to the plan. If you Google “theme park itineraries” you will find plenty of sites dedicated to help you plan your trip.  There are also websites dedicated to predicting theme parks busiest times and crowds. It may be a good idea to check these sites before booking your park days.

Flights and Transportation

In my experience, booking flights well in advance yields the best price.  I used to wait close to the travel date but found that doing so ended up being more expensive.   Most airlines offer domestic and international travel to Orlando so it’s important to shop around and find the best deal. Hopper is a handy app that will show you fares from several airlines and you can even set an alert for price drops.

There are plenty of transportation and ride share services available in Orlando, but if you are like me and don’t like waiting to get somewhere, then I highly recommend renting a vehicle.  Again, booking your car rental in advance is likely to get you the best price.  Sign up for reward programs like Alamo Insiders who periodically will send special offers to your inbox.  If you have a Costco membership you can get a discount on a rental car through Costco Travel.

Theme park and attractions

Booking theme park tickets in advance is usually cheaper than buying them at the gate and also eliminates wasting precious ride time waiting in ticket lines.  Check for discounted pricing on sites like Mousesavers or Undercover Tourist.

Dining Reservations

While there are an abundance of restaurants in Orlando, there are 100 times as many travellers.  And there is nothing worse than being “hangry”. It’s a good idea to reserve dining in advance.  This tip is especially important if you are travelling with a larger party.  Booking in advance is vital if you want to experience character dining or special restaurant experiences like T-Rex, Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest.  Disney has made it very easy to book dining reservations at their restaurants through the My Disney Experience App.

Down time

There is so much to do and see in Orlando. Your days will be jam packed with fun and excitement. One important tip I have is to also schedule in some downtime, particularly if you are travelling with children.  Plan a pool day, or movie night to help refresh and rejuvenate.

Whether you’re a planner or not, visiting Orlando will be an experience the entire family will enjoy!

For some extra tips be sure to read our blogs like our list of 8 must have dollar store items to bring with you to the parks here or 5 places to recharge at Walt Disney World here.

2019 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Dates Released

halloween

Start thinking about your Halloween costume because Disney has already released the schedule for the annual Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom.  Like last year, the Halloween party will start in August.

Get your favourite costume ready and make your plans to live it up—collecting candies, sweets and delightful treats—all while Magic Kingdom park thrills and chills you with special fireworks, eerie entertainment and Disney Characters that go bump in the night.  Children of all ages can enjoy the fun.

The park is adorned with spooktacular Halloween décor, special entertainment and fireworks.  Get in the spirit with spellbinding performances, phenomenal fireworks, wickedly wild processions and more. Each night, when darkness falls, the park comes to life with weird and wondrous one-of-a-kind experiences as frightful as they are delightful.

Is it fun for adults? Yes!  We wrote this article on why the party isn’t just for kids.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2019 Dates:

August – 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30

September – 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27 and 29

October – 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 29 and 31

November 1

Got an allergy? No problem.  Disney had made sure guests with a nut allergy can still enjoy some safe candy options.

The party is a special ticket event and offers entry into the park at 4:00pm, but the festivities commence at 7:00.  Guests who purchase a regular park ticket will also need to purchase the party ticket in order to stay in the park past 6:00. Otherwise, guests with no ticket will be escorted out.

Ticket prices vary by day and if purchased in advance, range anywhere from $79 to $135 each.  You can purchase tickets through the Disney website or the My Disney Experience App.

Disney has not released the entertainment schedule yet but we will keep you updated.

Photo courtesy of Disney Photo Snapper

How staying in a vacation home on your next Disney vacation will save you money (and your sanity)

saving money in a vacation home

Walt Disney World can be described as many things: Magical, whimsical, delightful, fun, exciting, exhilarating to name just a few.   But cheap is not one of them. Especially when it comes to travelling with families.  We’re here to tell you how you can save money (and your sanity) by staying in a vacation rental like Sunshine Villa Florida.

Booking direct

Booking direct is the sure fire way to yield our lowest rates. Big travel sites charge the guest and owners booking fees.  Why give this money to those sites when the booking fees you will save by booking directly can go towards other things like parking, souvenirs or snacks. Always #bookdirect

Space

More space = less money? You may be surprised to learn that this is accurate.  You can find vacation homes for less than the cost of a value resort. Why is a home better? To me, spending my downtime after a long day at the parks in a cramped hotel room with kids is not my idea of relaxation or fun. With a vacation home, children and parents will have their own rooms and bathrooms. Some homes are even large enough to fit 2 families (like ours) allowing families to share in the rental costs.

Downtime

Day after day, hour after hour in the Walt Disney World parks can take its toll on the little ones- not to mention the adults! We’re exhausted, it’s hot, everything is sore and kids will have meltdowns. The easiest way to combat the meltdown is to take time away from the theme parks. In the past, we have left the park mid-afternoon to come back home to recharge either by taking a nap, or cooling down in the pool before heading back for the fireworks.  Taking an entire day away from the parks is also a good idea.  With all the onsite amenities that we have to offer, like the slide and lazy river the kids won’t complain they aren’t at the parks.

Meals

Remember, unless you score free dining food comes at a premium price when staying onsite. Don’t waste your precious time waiting in line ups to get you & your family food. Prepare and eat breakfast in our fully equipped kitchen before you head out to the parks.

Buying food in the parks is costly.  With a fully equipped kitchen you can prepare & pack snacks/sandwiches and drinks to take with you to the parks. Yes they allow it! We even provide you with a cooler & ice packs if you choose to use one.  Groceries can be purchased online and delivered to the home or purchased at the local grocery store within walking distance.

Tip: Freeze water/juice bottles in the freezer the night before so it can thaw gradually throughout the day and remain cold.

Transportation

I don’t like being tied to a schedule. Especially when kids are involved. When travelling with children, it’s nice to leave when you need to leave. While Disney transportation is free, we have waited hours for buses and ferry’s, especially during peak times and when the parks are closing- everyone just wants to get home.  We always search the internet for the best price on car rentals and rent a vehicle. You can find discounts through Costco, and sites such as Hotwire. Sign up for reward programs like Alamo Insiders to get the lowest rate.

Child Equipment:

When travelling with children there are loads of things we need to bring. You shouldn’t have to worry about where your children will be sleeping and how to get them around.  Many vacation home owners provide free use of items such as cribs, play pens, bed rails, strollers and safety gates (we do!).  Some resorts have these items available at a daily cost when staying on property.

Tickets:

Of course you can purchase your tickets directly through Disney, but normally base 1 day tickets are not discounted. You can find some deals online through websites like Undercover Tourist, Mousesavers and even purchasing them through our Expedia counter situated at front reception when you check in.  Other discounts may be available through CAA/AAA, Military discounts, and multi-day tickets.

Don’t forget to read our guide of dollar store must have items to take to the parks with you. Being prepared in advance will save you money in the end.

We hope we have provided you with some insight as to why we feel staying in a vacation home is in many ways a better option for families.  Whichever you choose, we wish you a magical vacation!

After sharing all our money saving tips, what would you spend your savings on?

Quick Guide To Walt Disney World

quick guide to WDW

For some a Disney visit is a once in a lifetime trip. Others try to visit as many times as they can.  For us it’s definitely the latter, but we have come to learn that many of our guests are visiting Disney for the first time. For those of us who are Disney veterans, its quite simple to make plans to visit Disney but for the first time visitors, it can get overwhelming.

What is a Fastpass? How many parks are there? What is the difference? Which park(s) would my children enjoy more?

We try to provide you with as many Disney tips as possible like what to bring to Disney and free games at Walt Disney World. So we thought we would help simplify things for those visiting for the first time by creating a Quick Guide to Walt Disney World.  We’ve included some of our favourite must see attractions and food. You can save this for your future trips and even print off a copy and take it with you. Don’t forget to pick up your free “First Visit” button that you can sport around the parks proudly.

We certainly hope this makes things a little easier for those newcomers to Disney and get them returning year after year for some Disney magic. After all, it is the happiest place on earth.

.quick guide to wdw

Orlando America’s Most Visited Destination!

It’s official.  In 2017, Orlando welcomed a record setting 72 Million visitors making it the most visited destination in the United States.

It beat the previous record of 68 million people who traveled to Florida in 2016, making Orlando the first U.S. city to surpass the 70 million threshhold for tourists, according to Visit Orlando.

In comparision, about 62.8 million people visited New York City in 2017, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said, while Las Vegas attracted about 42.2 million tourists.