FairFX Travel Heroes: The Disney Mouse’keteer
This is how FairFX customers like to travel.
My love of Disney comes from my very first visit in 1989 with my Mum, Dad and younger brother. Back then you didn't tend to hear of many people visiting Disney World in Florida, I guess due to distance and the fact that not many carriers went from the UK compared to today. I felt very privileged even at 10 years old to be able to visit the place where I would be able to meet all my favourite characters from the books and films I loved. Little did I know that from this very first visit, Disney would forever have a place in my heart.
Subsequent visits were made to Florida every year until 1995, these were to now include my beloved grandparents to whom I was very close with. These annual holidays to Disney World gave me so many happy memories. It was a time to be with my family and a chance to leave any worries or troubles behind for a while and come together in a place of fun and laughter.
When I turned 16 years-old we stopped visiting as a family. Exams and college were beckoning me and then the big wide working world came into the picture.
I met my husband in 1997 and we married in 2000. I knew where I wanted to go on Honeymoon, Disney of course! This time due to work commitments and the fact we had a two-year-old son, we couldn't take the time off to travel to the USA so we decided to go to Disneyland Paris.
A different kind of Disney
The magic was different to Walt Disney World but it was still 'Disney' magic. We had an amazing honeymoon and my husband who had never visited Disney before (he thought it was just for kids!) fell in love with the magic too.
After our second child had turned 2-years-old I felt it was time to introduce my children to Disney and hopefully build some happy memories for them, just like I had had at their age.
Of course visiting Disneyland Paris with children was another amazing experience and gave the holiday a whole different feel, but the excitement and magic I felt for this place still reigned supreme!
Disneyland Paris’s biggest fan
Another 3 trips to Disneyland Paris were made before we took the decision to take them to Walt Disney World in Florida. My husband who by this time was now officially Disneyland Paris' biggest fan was about to embark on something much bigger!
This was in 2007 and since then we have been back five times; some of these trips we have taken on our own, others with our parents, and another with friends.
I have an upcoming trip to Walt Disney World in Florida planned for this September for just my mum and I, but before that I am off to Disneyland Paris at the end of this month with my daughter, my best friend and her daughter. As you can probably tell Disney is still a huge draw for me even after all this time. As my children get older I'm not sure how many more times they will want to visit with us but my husband and I are already planning a trip for adults only. Disney is not just for families….
My favourite park is the Magic Kingdom at WDW as nothing can beat the feeling you get when you pass through the entrance turnstiles and you get your first glimpse of Cinderella's Castle. It's magical and without fail it brings a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye every single time I visit.
Why is Disney so popular?
I think people are attracted to visiting WDW because the Disney brand name carries such high standards. It’s a dream destination, perfect for families and couples alike. Whatever your age, it is filled with fun, adventure and entertainment. I couldn't think of anywhere else I would rather be!
So, how much does a trip to Disney World cost?
Cost wise, of course, it can vary to the time of year that you travel, the standard of accommodation you choose, whether you hire a car or not, if you fly direct or indirect, if you book a package or tailor it individually (my preferred choice) so to put a ball park figure on it is almost impossible, but for a family of four you aren't looking at anything less than £5000 in the school holidays. Then you have to factor in the cost of the park tickets too, but it’s worth the experience.
Over the years we have taken travellers cheques, cash and credit cards but these days it’s more convenient to take travel cash and prepaid currency cards.
My Top Tips for visiting WDW
Do your research before you book! There are so many great Disney forums around on the internet these days and I can highly recommend The Dibb as it is a free UK based Disney community of which I’m a member. Also the ‘A Brits Guide To…’ books written by Simon and Susan Venness were a big help to me when we first decided to go.
Where to stay
We have stayed in hotels/motels/apartments and villas, as our family’s needs changed and so did our accommodation requirements. These days a villa with two bathrooms is a must, but when it’s just my husband and I then a hotel will be more than adequate.
Our favourite stay so far has been at the Sheraton Vistana resort in Lake Buena Vista and International Drive, although I'm due to stay onsite at WDW in a Villa at Disneys Old Key West resort and the benefits you get these days whilst staying onsite are massive compared to staying offsite. You can benefit from advance restaurant bookings and Fastpass+ where bookings can be made 60 days in advance of your stay, whereas if you stay offsite they can only be made 30 days in advance. Disney transport is provided to all areas of WDW so a car is not needed. They even pick you up from the airport provided you fly into Orlando International. We have found that the benefits are fantastic if you stay onsite.
By Anna Strudwick