Since we went to Florida last summer I’ve had a lot of friends ask me about who to book with and how we booked our Disney World holiday. We didn’t go through a travel agent and saved quite a bit of money so I thought I’d share my tips on how to book your own holiday to Disney World and save money.
There are some cheap Disney World packages out there but we chose to book every part of the holiday separately. It does take quite a bit of research and extra planning, but it’s definitely worth a look.
Finding Flights To Orlando
I started off by searching for cheap flights to Orlando, as you need to be sure of the dates before you can do anything else. We did look at all the options through the usual travel agents but the costs were ridiculous. We went during the summer holidays and they really do double or triple their prices. However you do it you’re not going to find hugely discounted deals on flights to Orlando in the school holidays, but there are ways to make sure you find the cheapest options.
I always use Sky Scanner to find the best deals on flights. If you haven’t used it before it’s basically a search engine for flights. You type in the airport you want to leave from, your destination, dates, number of passengers, and whether you want to fly direct or don’t mind a few stops.
Sky Scanner will then find you any flights matching your criteria and show you the cheapest ones first.
You may need to play around with the dates to find the best prices as different days to vary a lot. If you’re going away in the school holidays we’ve always found that flights to any destination are cheapest in the first and last weeks.
We flew with Thomas Cook Airlines and booked directly through their website just for our flights to Orlando.
Finding Accommodation in Orlando
Before you start your search for somewhere to stay in Orlando you need to think about what you’re after. There are definite pros and cons for both staying in a Disney World resort and staying in your own self-catering villa nearby. We looked at all options and decided on a villa in Kissimmee but I’ve shared some tips and advice on Disney accommodation here to help you decide what’s right for you.
We found an amazing villa on Owners Direct. You do an online search for accommodation and deal with the owner when you want to book. We paid a deposit and then received the keys a few weeks before we left, after we’d paid the final balance. It was all very easy and we had no issues at all.
This is the amazing villa we stayed in which was about half the cost of a Disney hotel. It was in Kissimmee and only about 10 minutes from the Disney parks by car.
Buying Cheaper Disney World Tickets
There are so many websites to book your tickets to the Disney parks and when you’re parting with such a lot of money it can be a bit scary not to just book directly through Disney World themselves. If you hunt around though you can find some good Disney World ticket deals. We used Florida Tix as we had a few people recommend them to us.
I did a few searches and compared prices on lots of websites, and Florida Tix definitely had the best Disney ticket deals at the time. (We also used them to book our tickets to Universal.) With the deals on these tickets, you get Fast Pass and Memory Maker included as standard which I’d definitely recommend.
Look out for deals on Disney tickets that offer 14 days for the price of 7, this way you can afford to have a few days off if you need it and spread the visits over two weeks. With these tickets you can also go to more than one park a day, handy if you want to go to one of the water parks during the day and then to see the fireworks back at Magic Kingdom in the evening.
If you want to chance it, you can get some good ticket deals on the gates but I like to have everything sorted before we go away, just in case!
Hiring A Car in Orlando
We hired a car to collect at Orlando airport through Holiday Autos. You choose the dates and location and they will search through all of the various rental companies to find you the best deals on car hire. Then you just pick the type and size of car that you will need.
In Florida, children up to the age of 5 years old need a car seat. Children aged over 5 years don’t. It’ll cost you around $100 to add a car seat onto the price of hiring a car. If you have a child 5 years or over and want to use a booster seat, a top tip from us is head to the nearest Walmart when you leave the airport and buy a booster seat for around $25! You won’t be breaking the law by not placing them in a seat straight away, and I would recommend using a seat if you do at home.
Booking transfers to and from Orlando Airport
If you don’t want to hire a car then you’ll still need to find a way to get yourself from the aiport to your accomodation, and back again at the end of your stay. We’ve used Holiday Taxis a few times on other holidays and they’ve always been very reliable and well priced.
As you enter your flight details you don’t need to worry about your taxi not being there if you’re delayed as they’ll keep an eye on the status.
You can also download the Holiday Taxis app and have all of the booking details on your phone.
Get Your Holiday Insurance
However you book your holiday you’ll need to sort your own travel insurance. We always use the comparison sites and pick the best deal. Book this as early as possible as it will cover you should anything happen before you go.
Make sure your insurance has enough coverage for your baggage, especially if you’re planning on bringing back a lot of stuff from Disney.
Planning a trip to Disney World is so much fun, I hope these tips give you some ideas to get started – and save you some money on your Orlando holiday!
If you’ve been to Disney, did you book it all yourselves or did you go through a travel agent?