Anyone who has planned a Disney World vacation, especially one involving young children, knows how stressful it can be. A year or more before you set foot in the park, the questions (and hunt for answers) begin.
Where do I stay?
What are the best rides?
How many parks are there?
How many days do I need to see them all?
What will food cost?
Wait, I need to make dining reservations???
What’s a fast pass and why do I need one?
No stranger to Disney World vacations, Joe Phillips is familiar with all those questions and more. Yet, when planning his recent Disney World vacation, he knew all the answers because his Travel and Transport Vacations advisor, Jenny Serena, arranged his trip and provided all the plans and information he needed to enjoy his trip stress-free.
“Disney World is a stressor because you’re always on the clock to get something done. You have to plan every day out months in advance to avoid spending all your time in lines…But what Jenny did was amazing,” says Joe. “She is all about you and what she can do to make your trip better for you.”
Get a Game Plan and a Professional Travel Planner
People who plan Disney World vacations on their own, or make the trip without a plan, often end up disappointed, dazed and even confused during their time at the park. Especially when the trip involves toddlers and small children, too much time in lines can lead to miscues, meltdowns and overall mania.
Working with an experienced advisor not only made Joe’s trip magical, it made it less expensive as well.
Having such a good experience with Jenny led Joe to plan a trip to Universal Studios Theme Park in Orlando with her as well. Jenny kept the trip within his budget and saved Joe money.
“Before calling Jenny, I worked with a local travel agent in my home town, but the quote they came back with was far more than I wanted to spend,” says Joe. “Then, I contacted Jenny. She gave us everything we wanted for about $1,400 less and secured about $1,000 more in incentives to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel. She was able to upgrade us to a Royal Suite, which included a free continental breakfast every morning; bottled water, snacks and sodas all day; and hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and an open bar every afternoon. At night there was a delicious dessert. When you factor in the cost of all those meals and treats for several people for seven days, it was a huge benefit.”
Joe recalls Jenny also being able to save his family money on their flights and a special side trip to Sea World.
“She was able to book flights for all three of us to fly down and back for $1,000. We knew people paying $2,400 for the same thing,” says Joe. “Then, when I mentioned that I wanted to take the kids to Sea World, she got us a deal. She took care of the tickets and transportation. The only thing we had to take care of was our food that day. The place was empty. We saw every show and rode all the rides. I’ve never done that. It was amazing.”
Follow These Tips on Family Trips
Having taken a number of family trips now, Joe has some helpful advice to pass on to others thinking about planning a theme park vacation.
- Build in some downtime.
- Plan a day at the pool to relax and recharge your batteries.
- Stay in the park if you’re going to Disney World.
- Have a game plan or else you’ll spend all your time in line.
- Get the Flash Pass (Universal Studios) and the Fast Pass (Disney World).
If you haven’t used a travel advisor before, Joe has some helpful advice on that front as well. “Shop around a little bit. Go to two or three different ones,” he says. “If you don’t find one you like, call Travel and Transport. Honestly, I have not had a bad experience.”
Joe’s Theme Park Must-Sees
Beyond planning trips, Joe has a few rides and experiences he highly recommends to first-time Disney World or Universal Studios visitors. While Peter Pan is his personal favorite, he thinks anyone would enjoy the following.
- Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Of all the rides and experiences at all the theme parks, it is the best.
- Avatar and Galaxy’s Edge at Disney World are a close second and third behind it.
- Stay at the Hard Rock Hotel for sure!
- A lot of the rides are indoors, so rain isn’t as big of a problem as you might think.
- Ride the new Skyliner at Disney World. You’ll be at the park in 8 minutes and will get a bird’s eye view of Orlando!
Now that Joe has done and seen all that two of Florida’s major theme parks have to offer, he’s on to planning his next trip with Travel and Transport Vacations. This time around, he has something a little more relaxing in mind.
“My next vacation is going to be at a beach on an island under a tree with a piña colada in my hand,” Joe says, laughing. “I’ll probably drag some friends along with us, and I’ll use Jenny again for sure.”