I went to Orlando, Florida back in January for a week and it was amazing. The most perfect time of year to go in my opinion, the weather was incredible, no humidity but still sunshine and the queues in the parks weren’t too long or none at all! In this blog I’m going to list what we did while we were there day to day for any of you who plan on going for the first time and are only going for a week and not the typical 2 weeks. It’s very possible to still get everything done 🙂 Don’t forget to scroll and look at some pics from my trip!
Where to stay?
We stayed on International’s Drive in StaySky suites, it was such a nice hotel. We had an apartment with our own kitchen, living room and big room. There is lots of hotels on International Drive and they vary in price and quality etc but it’s a great place to stay as it’s close to everything by car and loads of restaurants around and things to do when you are not at the parks.
How to get around?
If you are staying in International Drive then you can walk to restaurants easily within distance of you hotel, just know that if you are walking you may get some strange looks from people in cars. It’s something I noticed a lot while I was there and not many people do walk around International Drive unless they are tourists!
To get around the city of Orlando and go to shopping malls, parks etc then I would definitely recommend downloading Uber. We don’t have Uber here in Ireland and I cannot understand why it was so easy to use and so cheap!! It was very handy for us to use as a big group rather than looking around and waiting for a taxi big enough to take us we could just pop in what car we wanted and got in usually within 3 minutes!
We flew from Dublin straight to Orlando by Aer Lingus it took 9 hours and by the time we arrived we were exhausted so the first night was pretty much a write off, we checked in to the hotel got some food and crashed for the night.
Our first day in Orlando we went to Walt Disney World. We had prebooked our tickets and got them delivered to the hotel. We got an Uber from the hotel to the Ticket and Transportation Centre (TTC) and from there we got the ferry to Magic Kingdom. It was our first time in WDW Orlando and it was so amazing to get the ferry there we could see Cinderella’s Castle as we were coming closer. We had fast passes booked for The Haunted Mansion, Monster’s Inc Comedy Show and Space Mountain and they were spread throughout the day so we loads of time to explore the park inbetween. We stayed till close to watch Happily Ever after and they were the most magical fireworks I have ever seen. Be sure to check out my post on tips for WDW and how to do 3 parks in 2 days and hopper tickers etc that will be up during the week. We left the park, got an uber back to the hotel and ate at a restaurant near before hitting bed for the filled day.
We bought hopper tickets for Disney which means we were able to do 2 parks in 1 day so on our second day we hit up both Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Again we got the hotel shuttle bus to Epcot where there was lots of other free shuttle buses to bring you to the other Disney parks. We went to Hollywood studios first, this is where we booked our fast passes for Tower of Terror, Rip Rocket and The Little Mermaid.
After we had wondered around the park and did our rides we got another shuttle bus to Animal Kingdom. Because we didn’t get to Animal Kingdom until the late afternoon we weren’t able to go on many rides here but we did manage to do a safari which was worth the 1.5 hour wait! When the park was closing we got an uber back to the hotel and crashed.
Our third day was a little less filled, we had a planned a day of shopping at the Premium Outlets. We looked up both outlet sites in Orlando but I feel as tho the premium one had a lot more stores. You can get a booklet full of offers at the reception but it’s not necessary most stores have extra discount anyways.
That evening we had reservations at the Hard Rock Cafe on Citywalk. Citywalk itself is a great place to walk around at night time it’s so vibrant and full of bars and restaurants you have so much choice to choose from. The evening we went it was so quiet so we got to really take it all in. The food in the HRC also never disappoints and while there we spotted Voodoo Donuts and made a pact to get some the following day after Universal Studios.
We booked a 1 day ticket for Universal Studios 2 parks; Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We didn’t have a any rides booked but we picked the best day to go as all rides had a maximum wait of 10 minutes and it was the perfect day the sun was shining and around 20C and no humidity amazing for walking around. All rides I went on in Universal was incredible, there wasn’t one that I didn’t like maybe bar The Mummy cos I’m a scaredy cat and that made me scream so bad but it was still great!
While in Universal Studios I met Josh Dallas and Ginnifer Goodwin from Once Upon A Time one of my favourite TV shows so it was a pretty big deal for me. I was so nervous but they couldn’t have been nicer around my awkward ass. After this we got the Hogwarts express to Islands of Adventure and explored the rest of the park before closing and heading back to the hotel but not before getting those donuts from Voodoo. Hands down make sure Universal Studios is on you parks list for Orlando it’s amazing and has something for everyone!!
We only wanted to do WDW and Universal while in Orlando, we’re not big into water parks or anything like that so once we got those parks done we just wanted to chill and enjoy our last few days. We decided to go shopping so we went to the Florida Mall. It was huge and again like the outlets most shops had great offers especially Macy’s they had up to an extra 50% off everything so definitely look into this before you go so you can get the best value for money. It was here I got my MacBook Air as an early birthday present from my mam and I also dropped a lot of money on makeup so keep an eye out for a haul post soon! This shopping centre was so big we ended up spending most of the day here and I got to try Taco Bell for the first time. Chef’s Kiss!!
Or second last day was the chillest day we had we just hung around by the pool in the hotel, packed our things and ate all the junk food we had accumulated over the week from Walmart and Target. We also walked around International Drive more and that was pretty much it.
Our last day, our flight home wasn’t until 9pm so we pretty much had the whole day to do whatever. We checked out of our hotel and they left us leave our luggage there while we were out. We decided to head to the Mall at Millenia because it was raining and we wanted to be indoors, bad idea tho because we ended up spending more and having to book on an emergency suitcase full of stuff. We spent a couple of hours here before we had to leave and head to the hotel to pack another suitcase and head to the airport. The airport was pretty busy so always make sure you’re there with some time to spare to get through and make it to your gate.
Orlando was amazing and I can’t wait to plan my next trip back, my biggest tip I will take away from this is the time of year to go. Always go when its not in peak season so you have less waiting times and more tolerable weather especially if you are Irish like me and you’re not exactly used to heat!
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