Whatever you decide, have a magical Disney holiday.
A FEW DISNEY TIPS
We admit to being Disney freaks! We travel from Guernsey to Florida every year to worship at the Temple of the Mouse. If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World for the first time (or even the tenth time!), here are some tips that may help you get the best out of your visit.
If you have children, take them with you. Theyíll be a nuisance, but it's better than leaving them at home and worrying whether your house will still be there when you get back to Guernsey.
If you have children (or even if you donít), use Virgin Atlantic to get to Florida. They are BY FAR the best airline on the route.
If you are choosing a package holiday, use the Virgin Holidays brochure to decide what you need, then find another tour operator that will sell the same package cheaper.
OK, Iíll be more specific Ė take a look at the JETLIFE brochure. They offer Virgin Atlantic flights, and are a lot cheaper than Virgin Holidays.
Donít book through a local travel agent or direct with the tour operator Ė youíll usually pay the brochure price. Several phone-based or internet-based travel agents offer a good discount off brochure prices. We use THOMAS COOK DIRECT (not the Pollet version!)
Where are you planning to stay? Disney hotels are wonderful, but very expensive. Youíll only be in your room to sleep, so consider if it is worth the money.
What about off-site hotels? You'll pay half as much for the same size and quality room. You'll lose a little of the Disney magic, but you can buy that back in other ways with the money you'll save.
Better still, do what we did a couple of years ago. Rent a luxury villa, and get a lot of space and a private heated swimming pool of your own. The cost is a lot less than you might think. It can be as low as £400 a week for a three-bedroom home. That's the equivalent of £19 per hotel room per night. The Jetlife and Virgin brochures both have villa rental options.
Best of all? Buy your own villa in Orlando, and keep going back! Only joking! - that's what we did, though, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made. Rental bookings pay for our home while we're in Guernsey, and our free accommodation is waiting for us whenever we can find the time to go. Take a look at our home at Bay Meadows.
If you're planning a villa holiday, book directly with the owner if you can (not with us, though - we're booked up well into 2001 already!). Owners rates will usually be a lot lower than brochure or travel agents, and you have the advantage of getting to know a bit about the owners and their home in advance of your visit.
Watch out for car hire costs. Car rentals sound cheap, especially when the basic cost is included in a fly-drive package. Add-ons for insurances, taxes and other charges make an enormous difference, though. You need to budget around £150 per week in addition to the basic rental cost.
Disney (and Universal) entry is a major cost. Think about how many days you want to spend in the Disney parks before you decide on what tickets you want to buy. If you're like us, an annual pass is the best option - the break-even point is around 6 days admission. It's also an excellent excuse to go back within the same year, so you can use it again! There's a lot more information on Disney's web site.
Do your homework before you go. You'll get a lot more out of your visit if you plan your days in the parks. Read a book (there are several good ones), or browse the internet. Our web site (link above) has a link to a good basic range of Disney information web sites - but there are many hundreds more.
When the dreaded last day of your holiday arrives, be grateful that you chose to travel Virgin (you did, didn't you?). Use their early morning check-in facility at Downtown Disney, and enjoy your last day without having to drag your luggage around with you. You can head back to the airport later, too, as you'll already have your boarding passes.