As with flights, there are many different ways to book accommodation for Florida when you are travelling from the UK.
I am going to explain several of these options to you and give my opinion on the ways that we have done it. This list will not be exhaustive and there may be people who do it slightly differently, but I will explain to you the ‘usual’ ways here in Great Britain.
1. A package holiday though a travel agent (this could be either in person, on the phone or on the Internet). This would be where you book your whole holiday through an agent, so it would include both the flight and accommodation of your choosing, plus many other things i.e. car hire etc.
2. Accomodation only through a travel agent. This would be where you have booked the flights yourself (perhaps by using air miles as we have done before) and just need to chose where to stay.
3. Direct through the hotel, villa, private rental home etc. Again this may be by phone or over the Internet and can be surprising as to the difference in cost.
There will of course be other options too, a friend of mine is lucky enough to have family with a time-share apartment in Orlando and another associate has access to a villa. Sadly for us, our family chose to buy their holiday home in France instead as it was easier to get to from Englad (must work on the in-laws and continue to plant the idea that they need to invest in DVC before they retire …).
We have used all 3 of these options for holidays to the US in general, but for the purpose of talking about WDW, I will stick to options 1 and 3.
So, option number 1. The package deal. I think that this is probably still the most common way to book a holiday abroad any kind in the UK even though it may cost more that doing it yourself. Certainly, when we have just been to Disney as a couple and when we have paid for the holiday ourselves, we have chosen to book both the flight and hotel through an agent.
The reason for this is two-fold – 1. it allows you to pay for your holiday in installments and 2. it gives you extra protection, in my opinion, obviously so long as the company doesn’t go under!
Both times we have booked through an agent and gone on our own we have chosen to stay in a hotel, and (shock horror) off-site. This again has been for two reasons – 1. cost and 2. not being submerged in Disney 24/7. The first point being the most important and the second being a stipulation by DH, what can I say, he’s not so much of a Disney-aholic as I am, but I have convinced him to stay on-site for our first ever trip to DLP this summer so we’ll see. But returning to cost, as it already costs up approximately £6,000 for 2 weeks in sunny Florida, we can’t justify another grand or more to stay at The World, even with the perks of free DDP etc. (I know, I am working on it, believe me!).
What about choice number 3, booking direct. The first and latest time that we travelled to Disney, was a treat by my in-laws. Each of these times we DIY’d the holiday, booking the flights and accommodation seperately. For the first trip, my MIL did everything, including finding the villa on the Internet and phoning the owner directly to arrange to stay there. For the latest trip, the responsibility was passed to myself. Now here in the UK we have a wonderful and major time wasting (by which I mean I spend far too much time on it instead of things like the ironing …) forum called The DIBB (Disney Information Bulletin Board). On this font of all knowledge site is an area where villa owners advertise their wares. And I stumbled across a lovely lady who had wonderful villa in the same area as we had stayed before (Claremont). As I was a regular user of this forum and she was an English owner who was fantastic at correspondence, I felt safe and happy booking the accommodation this way, and we were thrilled with the end result when we arrived. If I have not convinced the family that we NEED to stay on-site next time, we would not hesitate to use her again.
However, if I have worked my magic, I will be looking to book direct from Disney UK as they have some great offers!!!
So there we are, a very brief look at how things can be done over here in rainy Blighty.
Thanks for stopping by!