Tips for Traveling from the UK to Orlando
Many thanks to Liz-Anne Vanderplank for starting this list of tips for travelers from the United Kingdom.
British Airways have been giving free interconnecting flights from many of the smaller UK airports to London. If you live a long way from London, Gatwick i.e.-Cornwall, then this is well worth it. The seats are gone quite early though, as the planes are usually small. Again this is not really a consideration going out but when you come back, your luggage goes right though to your home destination. (When you leave for Orlando, your luggage goes straight there and you have time to do the shops at Gatwick instead of standing in more lines). If you have air miles then British Airways will give you a good discount with them.
Shop around for your package deal. We have had a quote from the same travel agent on the telephone on 2 consecutive nights and it was £100 less the 2nd night!! Avoid 'super deals'- instead get a quote from them, then try and get your local travel agent to match it – then you have a home base and a face to talk to if you have any problems.
A lot of travel companies use charter flights in their package deals. This usually means that the plane will be full and luggage allowance will be very small. Airlines that have their own planes i.e.: – British Airways and Virgin use scheduled flights. The advantage being planes are not always full, flexibility of days on which you want to travel, flexible length of stay, and a much higher luggage allowance. The luggage allowance isn't a consideration going out, but the last time we went out with 3 bags and came back with 7!!!
The baby car seat laws are different in the USA from England. You need a car seat for children up to 5 yrs of age in USA. We always take our own car seat with us, as the travel companies want an awful lot of money for the privilege of hiring one out there for your length of stay. (You could buy one brand new at Walmart etc. for less!!!, but you cannot leave the car depot without one). We have always used our car seat on the airplane too and it meant that our daughter knew that she had to stay in her seat, as it was familiar to her. You have to clarify with the airline first though as some car seats are bigger than others are. If you cannot use it on the plane, then put it through as baggage. It is well worth it.
Prepay your car insurance with your package deal when you book your holiday -this can include CDW, LDW, all airport and local taxes, if you take their gold/5 star package (read the small print!), which is about £200/week on average. Sounds a lot, but if you don't buy a decent insurance package when you are thinking straight from the comfort of your own home, you will get to Orlando (tired) and you are hit by a huge sales pitch on insurance, upgrades and whatever else the car companies can sell you. Prepaying allows you to pick up your car much quicker on arrival, instead of standing in a very long line of tired travellers trying to decide what they need. The last time we bypassed all of that completely with our prepaid voucher, picked up our keys and off we went.
Preplan your days from home. You can find out what parades are on at each WDW Park each day, by going to their website, finding the calendar for the month that you are there and clicking on the days on the calendar. You get a little pop up menu for that date with the parade times on it. (Very helpful when planning from UK).
If you are planning to have any character meals when you are out there, you need to book them well in advance from home.
If you are phoning WDW from the UK, they are very helpful for special accommodation requests like ground floor rooms. Do not leave it to your travel company, especially if it is Virgin, because they ignore your request and do not pass it on to the Disney hotel. Call direct numbers from the web site and Disney will try to help you. It is usually cheaper to phone from your contract mobile than from a land line. (Steve Hickling from Nottingham)
After travelling from the uk make sure that you stop off at Publix or one of the other big supermarkets on the way to your Disney hotel. The crisps and coke are a fraction of the price that you will pay on site and a handy supply of biscuits is also welcome after a hard days slog around the parks (Steve Hickling from Nottingham)