Question for those in the UK

Who do you book a disney/universal holiday with? and why? (Disney, Virgin, Charter, British Airways, Expedia). And any thoughts on what you reccomend we do please.

Last time we went to Florida our flights were a present from DIL’s, and I booked our week at the Poly with Disney directly, it was the best deal I could find as we got 2 nights free. This time we will be in Orlando 14-16 nights leading up to Easter 2019, and we’ll be visiting, WDW, Universal, and Seaworld. We don’t want to hire a car, and plan to stay at 2-4 different hotels.

My research so far
Holiday Hypermarket - Flies into Sanford and you can only choose 1 hotel.
Virgin - Does everything you want but I know I can find a better price.
Charter - They’ve given me various quotes which I don’t think I can beat, but if I don’t book now and wait until May when other flights open up and Disney has free dining offers the price will have gone up.
Disney - As next years prices aren’t known I can ony guess. If we only want to stay 5 nights at the AKL then free dining is a good deal, but if we can stay 7, then we get 2 nights free and that saving is about the same as the DDP offer.
British Airways holiday - If you’ve paid the high flight costs then they do give you a decent discount on the hotels. But again I’m only able to look at this years prices. We have a free upgrade voucher and I think there’s a good chance we’ll be given another one in 6 months time. That would be enough to upgrade us all for the flight back.
Expedia - Seems like it could be my cheapest option, at least for hotels. Direct flights seem to be as expensive as everywhere else.
Thomas Cook flights - These could be cheaper flights based on this years prices.
DVC Rental - Last time I ruled it out as too risky, but research has led me to belive it isn’t.
Avios points - We don’t have enough to be worth putting towards flights or the dulux hotels, but a possibly a good idea for a few nights at either The Swan or Renaissance.

We’d really like direct flights, but I have been weighing up the possible savings of a stop over. Do you always fly direct?

@missoverexcited I see your planning a trip for august 2019 do you always use Charter? Have you always found them the cheapest, or is it because you can book 18 months out?

I’ve only used them once, we used to just book our own flights and a villa. They were the cheapest for onsite though, and my parents used them last year for an offsite stay.

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I’m a control freak, so I like to make my own plans.

Last year I booked Virgin via Trailfinders. This year I booked direct.

Last year I bought my tickets from an online seller (forget which — it was recommended on This year I’ve gone to Disney and Universal direct.

My accommodation is free as I use a friend’s house.

I’m fairly sure I’m not saving any money (except for the accommodation) by doing it this way. But it makes me feel in control of the process.

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so we booked through an independent award winning travel agent. We wanted a split stay between disney and universal and club level at universal etc got an online quote from Ocean who seem to be pretty good on pricing but the independent was cheaper by £50 plus bigger car etc. When spending huge sums i wanted to have the insurance of the whole trip being covered by ABTA not just the flights etc. also with so much planning involved in advance for when you are there i didnt want the extra hassle of sourcing flights and car hire and rooms etc separately.If anything goes wrong i will just call the agent and they will sort

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We were told Ocean has great pricing but they were £1000 more for us than Charter, and about £700 more expensive than the other TA we tried, I can’t remember who they were but they were also recommended to us.

@claredyer I got a quote from Ocean and found it about a grand more expensive too.

I called Avios to see how I can use my Lloyds upgrade voucher but you can only use it on flights booked with Avios and only if you are paying all with Avios or all cash, not mixed. Which makes me wonder if we’ll ever use them as we’ll never have enough Avios points and the cash price is more expensive than booking elsewhere.

@profmatt who do you book your flights with and do you fly direct? I’m a control freak too.

Anyone gone via Dublin and cleared US customs there?

I researched the new Visa (can’t remember the name but it lasts for 5 years and means you avoid customs. However it also involves an interview which you can’t do in the UK. There are some airports where you can finish your application instead of waiting through customs but MCO isn’t on the list. Nor is JFK, I didn’t check any others.

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i would only use avios for short haul flights to europe etc. we have used ours last couple of years, for Italy and spain. for long haul the taxes make up so much of the price that they still feel expensive yet use lots of miles. all 5 of us flew to bilbao and back business class for £90 total, ie just the tax, during school holidays. had to book outbound before inbound as booked on day of release of tickets. can also use to take cash off paid tickets but again not the best use of them. plan a long weekend somewhere and fly for free


I like the BA Holidays site as you can customise your trip, with a TA you have to keep asking for different quotes.

I booked this year’s flight direct from Virgin online. I will only consider direct flights. I hate flying and connections usually involve smaller planes with no decent upgrade paths. I’m flying Virgin Upper Class this year (found a great price). Did Premium Economy last year.

Last year I flew via Boston as I was meeting a friend there. We flew down to Orlando on JetBlue, who were excellent. We paid extra to sit in the front row, which had OK leg room.


We have booked this our Christmas trip with Kenwood Travel, Pam was really a helpful TA. There website breaks the costs down really well and they are helpful over the phone. She even booked our seats our seats on the plane for us (which I’ve usually had to do myself)
I suppose it depends on how much time you want to spend on reaserching the different options. I know I could probably get a cheaper deal elsewhere, but I find it a bit of a headache! I would rather put my time into planning the actual holiday😀

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I’ve used avios for both Swan and seaworld Renaissance before

I’m lucky that I get loads of them to spend. Enough to pay for universal deluxe as well.

I don’t use for flights as can never get the right flights and enough for the family etc

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We always use Virgin Atlantic for flights as direct and we love the Disney Springs check in on the day we go home (can drop the bags and have a final day at a park without fuss). I’ve got loads of air miles with Virgin but we are going in August this time so couldn’t use them - but did get an excellent price on upgrades to Upper Class/Premium Economy.

To be fair we wanted the convenience for the flight not the cheapest price so didn’t look around. For a hotel we’ve used due to cancellation policy at the universal hotels (up to week before). We have Universal AP but no AP discounts for August yet - if one comes out we will book direct and cancel booking, if not we at least have a room secured with EP benefits!

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We used for HRH.

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Thanks for your replies @missoverexcited @steveknightbg2 @interested @AllmadhereUK @profmatt.

What would your best guess be re the times that free dining is available for please? I know it usually comes out in April. But last year I think it was for then until the end of March, and we are going April 2019. If April is included in the free dining do you think it will be available anytime in the couple of weeks leading up to Easter please?

When free dining comes out in April, it is usually for the whole of the next year including school holidays.

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Thank you, that is promising

Couple more questions please @missoverexcited @steveknightbg2 @interested @AllmadhereUK @profmatt @claredyer

At MCO once we had cleared customs and retrieved our bags, I remember having to lug our bags up an escalator and I think take a tram to a different terminal. If we were to get an uber from the airport would we avoid this please? When the magical express travels back to the airport, does it drop everyone in the same place?

When you clear customs you can drop your bags again and they will go over to the baggage claim area with all the others. You then take the light rail over to the main airport area.

I guess at that point you could wait for them and collect them before getting an Uber car. Or if using DME you hand over the luggage receipts and let them collect them.

But I think you have to go over to the main building to get a taxi/Uber etc.

Same coming back, everyone gets dropped at the same place, where you either check in or drop bags.

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Thank you. We were scared to let them transport our bags between the terminals in case is meant another long wait.