Planning for your family’s Best Vacations Ever trip to Orlando, Florida, during a peak holiday travel period? First of all, zap those holiday pre-travel fears because research shows that planning your trip can boost happiness, releasing endorphins. Plus, Best Vacations Ever helps unburden the stress some travelers feel when packing and planning, and not knowing what to expect during such festive times of the year. With its subtropical climate, it doesn’t take magic to know that booking well advance during the peak season is most important, especially during the holidays and most fickle weather season. Best Vacations Ever travel provider Preferred Guest Resorts is here to release you from many stresses and help you prepare, plan and pack for amazing holiday adventures in Florida. If you haven’t already booked your Best Vacations Ever family holiday vacation, call one of our travel representatives now at 800-656-2780 and save hundreds of dollars of your family vacation at the most-need time of the year.
When to Visit & What to Expect
During the holidays and seasonal times of the year, visitation is high, travel costs rise, the competition for hotel rooms and dinner reservations fuels up, and the crowds and lines at theme parks get bigger and much longer. Orlando is a year-round destination, and the number of visitors varies seasonally, depending on school vacation schedules, local events and festivals. This is the best area where a Best Vacations Ever promo trip to the most popular family destination during an expensive time of the year. Call 800- 656-2780 to find out just how much!
Weather or Not
Weather is a critical consideration when traveling to Orlando since there are certain times of the year when Orlando’s subtropical climate can make your trip spectacular or less enjoyable, like average temperatures ranging from a low of 48 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and averaging temps of 92 degrees Fahrenheit in mid-June to mid-August, often with much higher heat indexes and lots of humidity in July and August. Slow season in Orlando doesn’t really follow the same general rules as other destinations. It really isn’t “slow” as much as it “less busy,” with some travel-expense differences. Along with spring break and Mardi Gras time March to April, and the long hot summers months that include July-August, High Season in Orlando includes Mid-December to Early January. Low Season is May, September and November to Early December-January; and Shoulder Season is February, late May to mid-June, mid-August to August and October. Locals, however, say there are two seasons in Florida: Summer and December-February. If you’re headed to Orlando during the holiday season, expect the unexpected with very fickle weather patterns. One could be washed with absolutely gorgeous blue skies and temperatures nearing 80 degrees Fahrenheit, then two days later a cold front could hit that drops temps down near or at freezing—but they don’t last long at all. But when they do hit, these cold fronts can be dangerous to indigenous animals, plants and our ever-popular orange groves if lasting 6-8hour or longer and can be surprisingly biting—a bitter wet cold—for visitors out at night, especially out at the parks where it is not uncommon to see guests are not an uncommon sight and are highly recommended items on your packing list. Remember, even in winter you can still burn in Florida (locals call it a winter burn), so a year-round packing staple should be sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Watch the Weather Channel and keep an eye on the 7-day forecasts the week of your trip.
The In Crowd
The theme parks are swarming with visitors when kids are out of school, especially during spring break in March and April, which tends to be busiest, followed by the weeks around Christmas and New Year’s, and then Memorial Day to Labor Day, peaking in July. You’ll also see bigger crowds and longer lines on weekends and holidays when locals and day-tripping Floridians run out for the holiday annual festivities and dazzling decorations at all the big-name theme parks, as well as other holidays like Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando ®Resort. For numerous reasons travelers visit Orlando during the holidays, see our blogs Holiday Happenings Part 3 and 4 of 4: Christmastime and New Year’s Eve.
Orlando doesn’t slow down at all and theme-park closures are pretty much nill —you can even still visit water parks in January when it’s 50 degrees out, or spend Christmas Day at the Magic Kingdom Theme Park of Walt Disney World® Resort. Closures of again kind typically only occur with some of the bigger rides and roller coasters when there are high winds or possible ice on tracks from rare cold-front freezing temperatures. However, during slower periods, theme park hours of operation are reduced; and in the winter, Walt Disney World Resort closes one of its two water parks on a rotating basis for cleaning. Also, rides are most likely to be closed for maintenance when visitation is down, so there is little chance of anything ruining your holiday vacation in Orlando.
How and When to Save
Overall, the most expensive time to stay in Orlando is during Christmas week, followed by spring break. You can expect high rates for stays over most other holidays and major local events as well. The best part is that with a Best Vacation Ever promotional vacation package typically includes complimentary accommodations usually at our preferred-partnering Walt Disney Good Neighbor® Hotel located right in the heart of the attraction action. Call one of our travel representatives at 800-656-2780 to find out more and how you can get a complimentary vacation package to Orlando and Daytona Beach with our a weeklong Alamo rental car, a PGR preferred partner! Just be sure to call one of our travel representatives well in advance before vacancies fill up during peak holiday travel periods. Follow the general rule of thumb, and book at least 8 weeks out, if not more for Christmastime. Another area that also requires plenty of forward thinking is dining reservations at any of the theme-park’s popular restaurants, like dining with Shamu at SeaWorld, and special shows like Cirque De Soleil and Blue Man Group or concerts at Amway arena—some of these high-end experiences are booked months in advance.
Keeping Warm in Winter
When heading to Orlando during the winter holidays, the key phrase is LAYER, LAYER, LAYER! Remember, Florida has a fickle subtropical climate and temperatures that many northerners still consider shorts weather. Packing heavy cold-weather clothes can take up so much room in your luggage, you may get stuck with extra baggage fees. Layering allows you to add warmth while also being able to peal extra pieces off as days get warmer. Layering the right types of clothing can make the packing process much easier. Here are some basic Orlando weather items to have in your wardrobe during your Best Vacations Ever holiday trip the Sunshine State:
- Bag the bulky, long wool coats. Go for a more form-fitting, fleece-lined insulated jacket with a detachable hood and carry it on the plane or in the car to save luggage space.
- Long sleeve knit shirts and a sweater or sweatshirt or two. Again think LAYERS you can add or take off. Pack versatile items that create multiple looks and do laundry.
- A bathing suit if you are northerners willing to brave chillier water but higher temperature days, plus possibly heated hotel pools and hot tubs at your hotel. You can buy cheap flip flops for the pool at a nearby drugstore.
- Earmuffs or knit caps that cover your ears for those chillier than expected nights out at the parks.
- Waterpoof, flexible gloves, socks and knit scarves to protect your hands, feet and neck from the chilly temperatures and wind that can be much colder in Florida than you would ever expect.
- Walkable shoes, like flats, and especially tennis shoes and versatile closed-toe shoes that go with a variety of outfits both casual and nice, and save your feet an awful lot of pain when you will be walking great distances. Think versatility and flexibility, as well as space luggage space by limiting the amount you bring. Seriously, leave the stilettos at home!
Saving Luggage & Carry-On Space
- Leave bulky books at home and use the extra saved space for souvenirs. Let technology can be your best friend here – your single, easy-to-pack smart phone or tablet can act as your library, tour guide, GPS and attraction finder, plus you can download apps for finding those special places and restaurants and seek online reviews.
- Buy sunscreen and toiletries or necessities in small sizes at a nearby drugstore instead of packing it so you can save space.
- Use the concierge at your hotel for best recommendations, directions and much more.
- Call ahead and find out what kind of hair dryers are supplied in the rooms. If they provide sufficient wattage for your type of hair, leave yours at home and save the space in your baggage.
- Leave your valuable jewelry at home (unless it’s a ring or earrings you wear all the time) where it is much safer on many levels and you don’t run the risk of no in-room safes etc.
- Trust in the advanced modern conveniences like the in-room alarm clock and leave your travel alarm clock and any unnecessary gadgets at home. Call ahead to ask about provided room amenities.
- Limit the number of toys your kids take to save space and remind them they will probably get souvenirs that need room home, too.
- Pack and carry-on a backpack that will be the ultimate and comfortable carry all while park and attraction hopping.
What are some of your top planning and packing tips for a winter trip to Orlando?