Enjoying (and Surviving) Orlando, Florida

Disney World Castle

As I am off on my holiday to Florida, I wanted to be able to provide relevant content for you as my readers. Trouble is, I have never been before! Having hypothetical posts are ok but I really wanted to get some insight into what it is like to visit Florida, Orlando and of course Disney World. So, I have asked some blogging friends to step in to give us their experience and views from travelling to this part of the world.

Today’s guest post is from Phil who blogs at The Parenting Phils with friend, Phillipa.

Enjoying and Surviving Florida

My partner and I visited Orlando a few years ago, pre-kids, which meant we got to enjoy the best of both worlds… day times in the various parks and evenings hitting restaurants and bars without the worry of childcare.

We are planning a massive trip back to Disney World with Pips (my fellow Parenting Phil) and her family in October 2020 to celebrate her 40th birthday, which I am so excited about… particularly because there is a new Toy Story land-world-type thing opened recently and I cannot wait to see my boys faces when they get there.

It’s going to be really handy having been before as we will hopefully use that experience to ensure we visit everything we can over the 2 weeks, which believe me is not a long time once you’re there, and also hopefully use what we learned to have the best time and avoid any holiday disasters.

When I heard Emma was off on her travels to Florida, once I had gotten over the all-consuming jealousy, I thought I’d share my top do’s and don’ts for enjoying and surviving Florida.

Top 5 Do’s

  • Pre-book an outdoor table at one of the Epcot restaurants for early evening, making sure you time it with the fireworks, so you get to enjoy the view with a seat and some nice grub (and obligatory frozen cocktail)!
  • Make sure you check out the Harry Potter rides at Universal Studios… THEY.ARE.AWESOME. We did have to queue for almost an hour (in really hot temperatures) but it was so worth it! You are entertained as you move around the queues, through the grounds, with different Potter things so it makes it more bearable… just make sure you take bottled water with you if it’s hot! Universal is split over 2 parks- both worthy (and needing) of spending a full day in, so don’t try and do both in one day!
  • Make sure you visit the ‘Finding Nemo: The Musical’ theatre in Animal Kingdom. We very nearly didn’t bother but so glad we did… the kids and grown-ups will love it! Also, the Little Mermaid shell ride was pretty magical if you’ve got kids (or a fellow parent) who knows all the words!
  • If you have never been to the US before then I’d recommend going and checking out a local sports bar. If you are staying around the International Drive area, then there are a few good ones dotted along it. The one we visited a few times was called Orena Sports Bar. It’s so different from UK sports bars, the sheer number of screens and a variety of sports showing all around is unreal and you’ll find yourself hooked on a sport you’ve never watched before. For me it was NFL… couldn’t get enough of it! If sports aren’t your thing then the beer taps are awesome and the Buffalo Wings to die for!
  • There are so many great bars and restaurants to eat at… but sadly not in the parks themselves, which we found over-priced and really poor quality. A couple of places to check out if you get chance are Kobe Japanese Steakhouse for the cooking in front of you style service, Bahama Breeze for the frozen margaritas, Denny’s for breakfast and my favourite, Marlow’s Tavern… Fish Tacos and deep-fried Okra… AMAZING!

Top 5 Don’ts


  • Don’t worry about doing a massive pre-holiday diet! Trust me when you get there, you’ll look like a supermodel regardless!
  • Don’t order anything green because your body is craving something fresh or healthy after eating chips with every meal… I can guarantee you whatever comes out will be caked in butter! Just accept that for 2 weeks or however long you are there for, that you will ONLY be eating ‘crap’!
  • Don’t have too high expectations for your hotel. I was so surprised by just how ‘dated’ everywhere was. We stayed in a Rosen Inn and it looked like a bad 70’s make-over. But the fact is, you are out and about ALL DAY so you really only sleep there!
  • This one is for the Dads… when we went in September time, it was 36 degrees and 100% humidity so walking around Animal Kingdom was pretty unbearable with lots of miserable looking sweaty dads. Just don’t worry about it, you won’t be alone with a sweat patch on your back just get in there and try and enjoy it… and if like me you are overly self-conscious about this sort of thing, then hit the log flume rides… you’ll be drenched through to your pants and have the excuse!!
  • A personal one for me, so each to their own, but avoid getting caught up with anything involving animals. You’ll see bars and mini-golf places with alligators on leashes with people paying to have photos with and even ON them! Not nice IMO. I also stayed clear of Sea World out of choice just because I think I’d have found it hard to watch.

So, if you are heading off to Florida on your holidays have an amazing time, it really is as magical as you’d hope… and I don’t hate you at all, no, not one bit, NOT.AT.ALL!

Thank you so much for sharing your tips on enjoying and surviving Florida with us Phil. If you loved this as much as I did, you can read more from both of them over on their website.

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