Dreams really do come true!
The title of this post speaks for itself and I am thrilled to tell you all that we have booked a holiday to Walt Disney World on the 11th June for two weeks so that means we only have 25 days to go – OMG!
If you have followed Disneyfind for a while now, you will know that I have never visited Florida and it has always been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. My cousins visited with their families when we were little and I remember thinking how far away it was and how magical the place seemed and now I am finally going. I have also found myself over the years looking at other Disney accounts and seeing their photos and finding it is so hard to imagine that I would one day visit myself.
Pic credit Vickie Thompson
Before I start this post I just want to let you all know that we paid for our own trip. In a way I am glad that we have for our first trip ( not that we would have said no to a freebie like 😆) but I now feel that I can give you an honest review of the whole experience from the booking, the planning to the holiday itself and I don’t feel compelled to write anything other than my own opinions.
So, we had always planned to go to Florida but we thought we would wait until the boys were a little bit older so they could get the most from the experience. However, we had a few tough months as a family with one thing or another and we decided that if we could get a decent price then we would go for it. The only downside to this trip is that Aoife decided that she didn’t want to come which does upset me a bit but I also know what she is like and I don’t think two weeks in Florida with her family is really her cup of tea ( crazy – I know?) We also decided that the timing was good as James is still in nursery ( non compulsory education) and we don’t yet have to pay for Joseph and I am not working (in a restrictive job) and I know that one day I will be again.
Pic credit Vickie Thompson
So we started looking around for a holiday and I have to admit that initially we were shocked by some of the prices we were quoted. As we live in Newcastle there is only one direct flight and that is through TUI so naturally we started pricing the holiday through TUI and for two weeks staying at All Sports with dining plan was coming in at about 9k and I have to be honest Gareth just thought this was too much and despite my desperation to book the trip, I was inclined to agree.
We also went into the TUI travel agent and didn’t have a great experience. Gareth is the kind of person that “needs to know everything” , especially if he is paying that much money. We went in to talk with the travel agent and left feeling less informed than when we went in. One particularly shocking moment was when Gareth asked what the difference was between the three car insurances and the lady said “it has more ticks 🙈” so I am sure you can see it wasn’t an especially positive experience.
I kind of resigned myself to the fact that this trip wasn’t going to happen when i decided to do a little more research. I looked back through my Instagram posts on all of the previous questions I had asked and I decided to look at some of the suggestions.
We definitely wanted to travel from Newcastle as with the two little ones we didn’t want to have to add travel to Manchester or Glasgow. The return flight to Florida from Newcastle was 1k which isn’t too bad at all. I thought it would have been a lot more, especially given the fact that we only booked 6 weeks before travel.
Then I saw that someone recommended Attraction Tickets Direct to me, so I had a little look on their page where you can also book Disney hotels alongside your park tickets for both Universal and Disney, so I checked the availability for our trip. We decided to look at doing a week at a Disney hotel and then a week elsewhere as this seemed a much cheaper option. I know that this wouldn’t be for everyone as some people wouldn’t enjoy the hassle but we are pretty chilled as a family and if anything it’s fun to have different experiences.
So we found a week at Art of Animation for four of us with Disney dining plan and park tickets for two weeks and it was £2.5k which is brilliant compared to what we were being quoted with other companies. I couldn’t believe it when I saw this offer as Art of Animation had been fully booked for all of the time I had tried to book previously and it was actually the hotel that I most wanted to stay at.
Finally, we needed to book our final week and I think you all know just how much James loved Jurassic Park so we looked to see how much it would be to stay at Universal. We looked on Expedia and found that it was £950 for our second week to stay at Cabana Bay and I actually think that Gareth and James are more excited about the second week than the first ( bet they change there mind though!)
So there we have it! We managed to book the whole trip for almost half the price that we were quoted from TUI and other bigger companies that we looked into. The experience that we have had so far with ATD has been superb, I initially didn’t book a dining plan for Gareth (oops) and they were so helpful replying to my e-mails and sorting it out straight away. I feel like they have a really personal approach to their business and thus far that has shined through on the dealings I have had with them.
So if you are considering a trip to Florida next year, I would really recommend checking out the prices at ATD . I have looked for the same time next year for the four of us and it is only £1610 for All Sports and this includes FREE Disney Dining plan and a gift card for $300 – and once park tickets are added the total would be £2787 which is a great price! Having compared it with some other companies, ATD seem to be coming in a lot less expensive and with more perks. Here is the website for ATD
So YEY the trip was booked, I then had to get to grips with the whole booking with My Disney experience, but I’ll save that for my next blog post, it has been an enjoyable experience so far, although it has slightly taken over my life 😆