How to plan a Disney World trip

I love Florida, visiting Disney and the other theme parks can be a full on affair, you’d be pushed to do it all in two weeks.  My top tip is to book as long as you can afford!  Interested in how you can plan a Disney World trip?  These tips are based on having at least seven months before you go, whilst it’s still easy enough to plan after that, you may need to have your plan less rigid otherwise if you want to factor in converted restaurants such as O’hana or Be Our Guest, plus pick up those fast passes for popular rides such as Flight of Passage in Pandoraland at Animal Kingdom.


As soon as you start planning your trip make a list of exactly what you want to do, with six Disney parks and water parks, three Universal parks plus SeaWorld, Discovery Cove Aquatica, Busch Gardens, not to mention Legoland, Kennedy Space Center plus shopping and swamp tours to name a few you could easily spend a month in Florida and not scratch the surface!  If you have limited time. Work out what you would most like to do.


Work out a rough budget, whilst you can do Orlando on the cheap, you can also spend a fortune.  If you are trying to save cash a last minute deal, booking it yourself or saving money on theme parks can help reduce costs.  Being from the UK the 14 day ultimate tickets are good value if you are going to be at Disney a lot of days, however if you are only doing one or two, it makes sense to look at Magic Your Way tickets for the exact number of days.

Decide what time are year you are going.  Do you need to factor in school holidays, do you hate bugs (avoid the lovebugs in May and September), or would you like to see Mardi Gras, Halloween or Christmas? Are you a foodie or love flowers?  Then you might want to check out Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival or the Flower and Garden Show, or SeaWorld’s Food Festival.  I personally love October going into November because not only do I get to see the Halloween decorations turn to Christmas decor, there’s special events such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween, Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party as well as the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  There’s so much going on!


Decide what sort of holiday do you want – do you want to be in the Disney bubble, maybe just a hotel nearby or perhaps Harry Potter is more your thing and you want to stay at Universal.  Do you need a cheap place to stay and you want a shuttle as you don’t fancy driving? Or how about you want a villa with your own private pool? Or how about a twin centre holiday, a relaxing few days at the beach, seeing Miami or Key West?

Armed with what events you are attending and what you want to do see, check out the DIBB park hours and busy day guide.  With this, I work out a plan of what days to go which are least busy, making sure I can see the main events, for me the fireworks at Magic Kingdom, and other evening shows. Next I work out my Disney restaurants around this, so I’ll try and plan for Be Our Guest one evening we are in Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks etc, maybe a meal at a resort nearest to the park we are at that day.  If you are getting the free Disney Dining Plan with a Disney hotel stay you really want to be reserving restaurants to make the most of it.  If you have little ones they may love dining with Mickey and pals or those Disney princesses!  Reservations open at 180 days prior, to get those coveted restaurants, especially for a large number of people you need to be hot off the mark.  But if you’re unsuccessful do keep trying as cancellations do come up, especially the day before as Disney charge a fee for no shows and so people have to cancel the day before to avoid those charges.

Next up it’s fast passes assuming you are doing Disney.  Fast passes are the best invention, they can save you queuing for hours!  You can book three a day, once you’ve used them you can get another. The best thing, at Disney they are free!  Downloading the My Disney Experience is great for changing them on the go should you wish.  When planning fastpasses it’s best to work out the rides or characters with the longest queues.  For example at Magic Kingdom I would be picking fastpasses for the Seven Dwarves Mine Train first or Talking Mickey if character visits are important, followed by less popular but still a queue Space Mountain, the Runaway Mine Train and Splash Mountain.  But for shows such as Mickey’s 3D PhilharMagic Orchestra, I would be doing that as a walk on in between fast passes as less queue.  A book, such as the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2019 (The Unofficial Guides) can really help here as can help you decide which rides are the most important to do.  As we’ve been numerous times I don’t have to worry about that as we know what love and I’d quite happily never set foot on It’s a Small World ever again!  Definitely research will help you here, you can even find touring plans to help you decide what to do exactly to make best use of time.  For Disney hotel and good neighbour hotels you can book fast passes at 60 days out for the length of your stay.  Off site guests at 30 days.  Be prepared, those coveted fast passes like Flight of Passage go fast!

If you have little ones, or you just want a slower pace, block out some non park days, perhaps you’d like to visit a spa, do a shopping trip or a water park or pool day.  Planning an anniversary or proposal, there are plenty of things to do, from fine dining at Victoria and Alberts, to a trip to Disney’s town, Celebration or how about a hot air balloon over Disney Springs?


Well I think that’s information overload for beginners for this blog post!  I hope it helped get you started, feel free to post questions I will answer for you.  If you are feeling completely overwhelmed I offer a complete travel planning service.  Get in touch at  Likewise if you want to plan something special for a loved one, or make a proposal, having got married at Disney World I know all the best places!!

Cocktail in hand – 2017, a year in review

I’ve been so busy lately I’ve been slacking on the blogging, but hopefully you’ve been following on Instagram!  This week, Facebook did it’s year in review video for me and reminded me of a few things which happened this year, but here’s a highlight for the blog.

NYE eve fireworks at Magic Kingdom
NYE dance party at Italy, Epcot








I started off January 2017 partying at Epcot, Disney World in Florida, USA.  We arrived a few days earlier and saw the NYE fireworks the night before New Years Eve, this was a great tip so to see NYE fireworks in both parks.  Epcot celebrated when it turned midnight in each country and I would definitely do it again, of course the speciality glow cocktails and Grey Goose slush cocktails in France certainly got the party started!

Enjoying the speciality glow cocktail in France, Epcot, NYE
NYE fireworks at Epcot











We’d took a trip to Disney World to carry our wedding planning and menu tasting sessions and whilst there enjoyed our favourite theme parks.  After Florida, we flew back to the UK to see friends and family, we’d flew in from Australia via Kuala Lumpur, Thailand and then Germany, so although the flights were getting a bit much, it was lovely to see them for a little longer after being away over a year.  Of course we enjoyed plenty of cocktails with them!

Sydney Harbour Bridge
The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains









Later in January, we headed back to Australia.  We spent most of the year in Sydney whilst saving up for our wedding.  Although we managed a few trips such as the Blue Mountains and Jervis Bay.  We enjoyed going to Vivid, tourist attractions, some trance nights and bunny sitting, plus getting a city centre apartment.  For my birthday weekend we enjoyed various cocktails including at the top of the Sydney Eye Tower at 360 Dining and the dry ice skull cocktails at Assembly Bar.  Many more cocktails were of course consumed at the various happy hours I managed to find!!

Birthday cocktails at 360 Dining above Sydney
Working my way through the various skull dry ice cocktails at Assembly Bar, Sydney












Purple Martini photo at the Tower of Terror Courtyard in Hollywood Studios, courtesy of Misty Miotto Photography 

In October, we headed back to the UK to catch up with family for a quick trip prior to the wedding.  We enjoyed the rest of October and early November in Florida celebrating our Disney World wedding.  Our favourite wedding cocktail was a Bramble for the early evening, and at the after party we had a Purple Martini, a sweet and sour twist on a Cosmopolitan, complete with glow cubes.  Later in the trip we enjoyed various visits to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, a firm must do for my year!  This year it was super fun with our family and friends


November also saw us take a trip to New Orleans, were I sampled the famous Grenade cocktail and drank Love Potion No.9 shots in a Vampire Speakeasy.  They helped ease the fact that my unbacked up iPhone broke and I lost all my photos from the last few months.


We followed that by a trip to New York, of course many cocktails were consumed there, and I loved checking out the small bars.  Following that we headed back to the UK, were I tested out a few new places.

Today’s view of the Sydney city skyline


December sees us just arrive back in Sydney, writing this I have a perfect view of the city skyline complete with the Harbour Bridge.


Who knows what 2018 will bring, my life has most definitely become less organised!  But one thing’s for sure, it will certainly involve more cocktails and travel!


Darling Harbour happy hour cocktails
Working our way through the Hard Rock happy hour cocktails!

My favourite travel experiences!

I’ll be blogging about these experiences in greater detail, but wanted to put together a compilation of my favourite travel experiences. I feel so honoured to have experienced these things:

  • Seeing wild dolphins in Florida
    Mother and baby dolphin in Key West

    – I love dolphins so much, it’s fair to say every holiday (before leaving to go travelling) evolved around them! But, nothing had prepared me for the sight of wild dolphins, two natural experiences I had were just the best. The first time in Key West in 2014 and the second time in 2015 on a trip to Clearwater. Such amazing experiences, my heart lights up.

    Dolphins in Clearwater
  • Flying over Heart Reef in the Great Barrier Reef –
    Heart Reef in the Whitsundays

    Never did I think I would get to experience it for real, but the opportunity arose when visiting Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, when we took a scenic reef flight. The scenery so was stunning, the vibrant colours, so beautiful. The heart, a natural formation of coral was smaller than I imagined, but definitely my favourite thing to see in Australia.

  • Yi Peng,
    Yi Peng in Chiang Mai

    the sky lantern festival in Chiang Mai – Absolutely stunning, the sky was awash with thousands of sky lanterns all coming from different directions, and the river with krathrongs. Truly romantic, truly amazing night!!


  • Maya Bay – The Beach from ‘The Beach’ –
    Maya Bay – The Beach

    Doing my research on Thailand I wasn’t sure I wanted to visit the beach, whilst researching I’d viewed lots of articles and photos including that it had been CGI-ed and didn’t actually look the same. However experiencing it as the only tourists there was so amazing, the stunning white beach, crystal clear blue waters and tropical surroundings where a wonder, this is the best Thailand has to offer, everything I imagined from watching the film.

  • Meeting my favourite DJ,
    Paul Van Dyk at Genesis White, Sydney

    Paul Van Dyk – I’d been itching to go back and see Paul Van Dyk since seeing him at Gatecrasher in Nottingham a few years ago. I’d been in love with his music since I first heard a spine tingling track at the age of 15. When he happened to be in Australia at the same time as us, John and I attended Genesis White in Sydney in October 2016. It

    Meeting Paul Van Dyk!

    was a great night, his set had just ended, finishing with ‘For An Angel’ the very track I first heard of his, which engaged my love of his music. John spotted that Paul was right near where we were dancing, what seemed like an eternity, but was only moments later I’d spoken to him and had a photo – smile firmly plastered on my face for the rest of the night!

  • An engagement at Jervis Bay – I can’t write a post about my favourite experiences without our engagement being one of them can I?! It was Anzac Day 2016 and we’d took a day trip to Jervis Bayas had I’d read up on it’s beauty, we spent the day exploring the National Parks and pretty beaches.  We found a private beach surrounded by stones on one side and sat on a log and chatted whilst looking out toward the ocean. Just before the sunset John gave a little speech (I can’t
    Sunset engagement

    divulge too much information can I?! – I’ll embarrass him!), asked me to marry him. I accepted, we kissed and I confess to shedding a little tear! After that, we watched the sunset and took a few selfies with my princess cut ring, basking in love’s glow, before speaking to our families.

Engagement selfie!