Travel

10 Mistakes Families Make on a Florida Vacation

Orlando is arguably the happiest place on Earth, offering some of the best rollercoasters, exciting movie attractions, and unique dining experiences. Yet, a few mistakes during the planning process can detract from a fun activity or cast a shadow over a memorable vacation with your nearest and dearest.

Don’t allow a few gaffes to ruin a hard-earned getaway with your children, partner, or relatives. Here are ten mistakes families make on a Florida vacation.

Mistake #1: Not Planning an Itinerary

An itinerary could help you realistically squeeze every bucket list attraction into your travel schedule. Plus, an understanding of attraction dates will allow you to book tickets in advance, which could avoid disappointment while saving you a substantial sum of money.

A detailed itinerary will ensure you know what you and your family will do every day on vacation. As a result, you can buy tickets in advance to save money on attractions, shows, or dining experiences to avoid disappointment.

Learn about the different things to do in Orlando to create a fun, realistic itinerary during a stay. Prioritize attractions at the top of your and your loved ones’ bucket lists and check off less important attractions if you have the time. It is important to be realistic about your timeframe, as squeezing in too many activities could lead to stress or disappointment.

Dedicated more than one day to larger theme parks, and ensure you leave a little wiggle room for rest, meals, and transportation to and from an attraction.

Mistake #2: Underestimating the Size of Theme Parks

Forget what you know about theme parks, as Walt Disney World Resort will blow them out of the water. Yet, many first-time visitors underestimate the size of the world-famous attraction, which may result in them failing to leave enough time to explore its many rollercoasters, rides, and experiences. 

To put it into perspective, Walt Disney World Resort is roughly the same size as Manchester, the third largest city in England. Also, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando are anything but small, which is why you must factor in their size and attractions when creating an itinerary.

Mistake #3: Expecting Non-Stop Warm Weather

The Sunshine State isn’t sunny around the clock. Thunderstorms can strike, chilly nights can arise, and rainfall could dampen your plans. Despite being fleeting, you must wear the correct clothing to protect yourself from the elements.

As Florida has more than 300 sunny days per year, you might make the mistake of expecting non-stop sunshine and glorious temperatures during your visit. However, despite being nicknamed the Sunshine State, the weather isn’t perfect throughout the year. 

Thunderstorms can strike, and nights can feel chilly. Bad weather often passes as quickly as it arrives, but you would be wise to pack layers in your luggage to ensure you wear the correct clothing throughout a vacation.

Mistake #4: Sleeping in Late

Crowds will form as the day wears on at a theme park. Arriving early can help you step onto a rollercoaster or ride without waiting in long, busy queues.

Make the most of a fun vacation in Florida by arriving at the various Orlando theme parks as soon as they open their gates. Rising from your bed at the crack of dawn might not sound enjoyable, but you will be glad you woke early when you are walking onto rollercoasters without waiting in a long, boring queue.

Mistake #5: Not Scheduling a Rest Day

Sore feet, aching muscles, and a stiff back can arise from non-stop walking and waiting in long queues. A rest day will provide a mental and physical break from the theme parks, ensuring you feel refreshed for scratching more activities off your bucket list the next day.

Sun, fun, and non-stop walking will take a toll on your mind and body. Give yourself a much-needed break by scheduling at least one rest day into your itinerary. Spend a day relaxing in your luxurious resort, treat yourself to one or more spa treatments, or lounge on a beach a short drive away from Orlando. A chilled day will boost your energy levels and ensure your bones and muscles are ready for exploring a theme park or natural attraction.

Mistake #6: Exploring Theme Parks Incorrectly

Skip long queues by starting at the back of a chosen theme park and working your way toward the entrance. You will wait in shorter queues and are less likely to miss an attraction along the way.

Most people explore a theme park from its entrance, but this is a huge mistake. Unless you are happy to miss many fun rollercoasters and attractions during a visit due to busy crowds, you would be smart to start at the opposite end of your chosen park and work your way forwards. It will not only help you naturally work your way through every attraction before walking out the gates, but the rides at the back are more likely to have shorter queues.

Mistake #7: Skipping Restaurant Reservations

Disney breakfasts, fine dining experiences, and popular restaurants should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment.

Most families don’t like the restriction of restaurant reservations, as it isn’t always easy to stick to a strict schedule when you have children. Unfortunately, if you don’t make a reservation at a popular restaurant, you might struggle to secure a table and sample its delicious dishes. 

Reserving a table is a must-do if you dream of experiencing a Michelin-starred dish at Sear + Sea or don’t want your kids to miss out on a Disney character breakfast. Otherwise, you might need to settle for fast food or wait for a table, which can feel the opposite of magical.

Mistake #8: Failing to Upgrade to Fast Passes

Gain quick access to the best rollercoaster and rides by paying more for a fast pass at a theme park, such as Universal’s Express Pass or Walt Disney World’s Genie+ service with lightning lanes.

The biggest and best theme parks in Orlando provide various fast passes to help visitors beat the queues, tick off every attraction, and make the most of their time. Universal Orlando Resort offers an Express Pass to help visitors skip regular lines for many rides and attractions.

Walt Disney World Resort offers something similar, as it has lightning lane entrances for select attractions with the Genie+ service. Also, you will receive tailored recommendations and a personalized daily itinerary to fit more into your visit.

Mistake #9: Visiting During Peak Season

Save money and skip the crowds by traveling to Florida off-season. Your money will go much further when traveling between September to November, excluding public holidays.

Unless you love being surrounded by crowds, waiting in long lines, and struggling to secure reservations, you would be wise to travel to Orlando off-season. While the city offers guaranteed fun throughout the year, peak seasons will result in much hustle and bustle that might cast a shadow over your vacation. What’s more, you will likely need to pay considerably more for flights, accommodations, and theme park tickets during the height of summer or over the Christmas holidays.

Save yourself time, money, and energy by booking a vacation to O-Town in September, October, or November. However, you must avoid planning a getaway on Colombus Day, Labor Day, Halloween, or Thanksgiving. 

Mistake #10: Choosing the Wrong Accommodation

The likes of International Drive and Kissimmee will allow you to explore the best of Orlando with ease. Skip boring journeys and choose a resort or hotel that is close to most attractions on your itinerary.

It is crucial to pick accommodation that matches your family’s specific needs and budget. Disney accommodations are fantastic and often include free transportation, but you will likely spend a considerable amount of money for a stay. Instead, it is much cheaper to stay at an off-property resort that doesn’t force you to compromise fun, comfort, or luxury.

Also, select accommodation close to the many activities on your Orlando bucket list. Otherwise, you might waste much of your time traveling to and from an attraction and less time having fun with your children. If in doubt, you cannot go wrong with Kissimmee or International Drive, which offers central spots to the finest theme parks, outlets, and attractions in Orlando.

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