We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

Which Orlando hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Secunda
Level Contributor
3 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

I'm planning a trip for me and my 9years old daughter, I'd like to take her to Disney world, please advice on how to go about planning this trip, nice reasonable hotels to stay, places to visit while we are there.

Cocoa Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Cocoa Beach
Level Contributor
2,520 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

I would start by looking at similar questions from other posters here on TA. There are also many books especially suited for first-time visitors.

You have many choices. Some of the main questions you will need to ask yourself are:

1. What is your budget and how long will you stay in Orlando? When are you coming, as there are busier times, and hotel rates vary accordingly?

2. Do you want to visit attractions in Orlando other than Disney, such as Universal, Sea World, Kennedy Space Center, shopping malls, etc.? Orlando doesn't have any beaches, but there are some an hour to tne east or two hours to the west.

3. Will you be renting a car? This impacts your selection of hotels and the flexibility to visit diverse attractions. Driving in Orlando is not difficult, and rates can be quite inexpensive, but some just don't want to try it. If you are staying at Disney hotels and aren't going to other attractions, a car isn't really necessary.

4. Do you want to stay at a Disney resort, right on-site at Disney World? Staying close to the parks does allow you to easily return to your room for breaks during the day and take advantage of some perks like extra ("magic") hours at the parks for hotel guests only, and free shuttle from the airport.There are three levels of lodging -- from value to deluxe, and you can add a meal package. There are also a number of hotels very close to Disney, offering free shuttles to the parks. Finally, there are numerous hotels (dozens, if not hundreds) located farther away, requiring some form of transportation such as car, bus, or paid shuttle/taxi.

5. What amenities do you want in a hotel? Will it just be a place to sleep, or do you want deluxe accomodations with room service, nice pools, kitchen, etc.?

Once you determine tnese preferences, you will have an easier time looking at the choices available, and studying the reviews for the many hotels. That's when you can ask specific questions of other posters here.

Edited: 18 February 2013, 09:52
Secunda
Level Contributor
3 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

Thank you for your much needed advice, i have been browsing on the internet, with sucess of finding similar questions, I'm an easy person, it would be nice to stay close to the park as its the sole purpose of the trip, with an option of taking public transport to another place on anyday. As for the budget I'm flexible too.

manchester
Level Contributor
3,571 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

Depending on when you are booking for & if you do go for onsite you make be lucky enough to get the dining plan free

even if you don't have a look at the website below for menu choices at the Disney restaurants

for the most popular table service restaurants you need to make reservations , reservations start 180 days in advance especially for things like character meals

http://allears.net/menu/menus.htm

Cocoa Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Cocoa Beach
Level Contributor
2,520 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

That helps to narrow down the choices.

If you stay at one of the Disney resorts, you can fly into Orlando (MCO) airport, and take a free "Disney Magical Express" shuttle, with baggage handling. Have you looked at the choices of resorts on the Disney website? I would play with a few possibilities to see what the rates would be for your planned dates, and whether you want to try the food & beverage plan, which is sometimes used as a free or discounted incentive.

Disney World is 43 square miles, and things are quite spread out. Given your daughter's age, and the fact that you are from South Africa and might not find Animal Kingdom or the African-themed lodge there particularly unique, you might want to stay at a hotel that is convenient to the Magic Kingdom park. The ones on the monorail line (Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Contemporary) are particularly close, and allow you to easily come back to the hotel for an afternoon nap or swim in the pool. You can also get to MK by boat from certain resorts.

The MK resorts are also convenient to EPCOT, which is more adult-oriented than MK, ibut still worth a day if you have the time. as mentioned, Animal Kingdom may or may not be as interesting, given that it is a simulation of Africa and Asia. Hollywood Studios is also worth a day, but probably no more for a 9 year-old.

The two water parks can be fun, especially during the hot summer. They are somewhat like the one at "Palace of the Lost City" NW of Jo'burg. A possible plan would incorporate two days at MK, and a day at each of the other three parks and a half day at a waterpark (Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon), if you enjoy those. I would allow another day or two to look around Orlando or at maybe visit Sea World or Universal (especially Universal's IOA, which has some good thrill rides, including Harry Potter). I also highly recommend visiting one of the shopping malls -- there are some "discount" outlet malls, plus the large Florida Mall, and tne more upscale Mall at Milennia.

Disney has a shopping area called Downtown Disney, which is worth a half day, but it really is more specialized shopping and not a substitute for one of the malls if you are wanting to buy sone American clothing for your daughter.

If your daughter is interested in science or history, Kennedy Space Center is a full-day trip, about55 mi,es fro Orlando. You can rent a car just for the day and also visit the Atlantic Ocean at Cocoa Beach, or can find a coach excursion tthrough Gray Line.

Once you have determined the number of days and activities at Disney, you can look at the admission tickets, which are priced separately from the Disney lodging and meals. It seems like you may be looking at a 5-6 day ticket; If possible, I would plan it so that you don't need the "park hopper" feature, which just adds extra cost.

There is public transportation available to get to other theme parks and the malls from Disney, although some waiting will be involved. There is no public transit available to Kennedy Space Center.

There are a number of non-Disney hotels located on or near the Disney property, such as at Lake Buena Vista. If you look at a map view of hotels, you will see their proximity. The popular International Drive (I-Drive) tourist area is located away from Disney, and few hotels would provide free transportation to Disney,

Edited: 18 February 2013, 11:01
Secunda
Level Contributor
3 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

Your advice is so valuable, i'll defenitely use it. I plan on coming to Florida on the 23rd June 2013 and to leave on the 30th June 2013. I'm going to explore all the possibilities you listed and try and get a feel of how much everything will cost me.

Edited: 18 February 2013, 11:43
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Cocoa Beach
Level Contributor
2,520 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

Disney will be into the summer peak season by late June, so the parks will be more crowded. That's not a reason to cancel, but it means that it will take a little longer to see things, so I would definitely plan on a couple of days at MK if you agree that your daughter would be most interested in that park. Also, it will be the type of warmer, humid weather that will make some pool time or a water park visit enjoyable.

If two of your days are travel days, that will limit your attraction days to five, so you may have to set some priorities.

Good luck with planning and pricing your trip. Actually, that part can be fun!

Edited: 18 February 2013, 14:46
UK
Level Contributor
1,164 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

PhotoTravels does bring up a good point - it will be busier by late June as American school holidays will have started by then.

This is only my opinion, but I would say that it'd be best to try and stay at a Disney hotel. This way you can get free transport to and from the parks, and the Downtown Disney shopping centre, as well as hopefully being able to use the dining plan, as ManchesterDiane says.

I believe you'll also get extra "magic hours" - where Disney hotel guests are allowed into the parks early, and allowed to leave later.

There are a lot of Disney hotels, though the most notable would be the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary and the Polynesian. This is because they are all located around the lagoon (so you can watch fireworks from the Magic Kingdom) and have a monorail station allowing you to get to the parks easily. But even if you don't stay here, the other Disney hotels all have regular bus services.

If you have five full days, I would recommend two days at Magic Kingdom to ensure you get to do everything (don't forget, it will be busy). You don't have to take these days together. I'd also recommend a day at Epcot, and at least one day at a water park (if you choose to do water parks). You can also go to Downtown Disney - it's a great place in the evening.

Again, these are all my opinions given the amount of time you've got and the fact there's just two of you going. I would probably not want to do any non-Disney parks given the amount of time you're there and that Disney is a priority, but if you were I would recommend either SeaWorld or Aquatica, or for something really special, Discovery Cove. Bear in mind though that you would have to arrange transport to and from these parks, as well as tickets and whatnot. To be honest, I would think there's more than enough Disney parks to keep you busy.

I would also recommend you have a look at the Disney websites, or indeed any of the websites for parks you are thinking about going to, and look at the maps. This gives you an idea of what is in the park so you can plan what you want to do and what takes priority. There are a few websites as well, such as Undercover Tourist, which provide good hints.

Make sure to have fun, and ask if you've got any questions. And, if you're stuck out there and need any help, just ask the locals - Americans are pretty friendly.

pa
Level Contributor
53,716 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

I would also recomend staying at a Disney Resort, it can be one neat package, all transportation, room, tickets and even Dining Plan. I would give yourselves a full day at each of the 4 Parks and revisit your favourite on the 5 day

Suggested Resorts

Value - Pop Century

www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2207254

Moderate - Port Orleans Riverside

www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2851271

Deluxe - Wilderness Lodge

www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2778033

To get an idea of price, go to

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com

Or get a free quote from

www.dreamsunlimitedtravel.com

They can help you every step of the way, they deal directly with Disney for you. All payments go directly to Disney. All policies are Disney Policies. They can Modify your reservation When the New Summer Discounts are announced :)

Stay with us on the forum, you will have it sorted out in no time

Edited: 18 February 2013, 20:42
Ladysmith, South...
2 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

Hi there. We are in the process of planning a trip for 2 adults and 2 kids, but can't decide between Oct and early Dec. Oct may mean time off from work but it is also cheaper. When will it be more feasible? We do have a strict budget but want to be able to enjoy the amenities offered. Please assist.

10. Re: Visit to Disney World from South Africa, please help

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 31 May 2014, 05:16