Question: Hi there, really need the advice of someone in the UK! travelling next October, have booked 14 night stay at POFQ. Haven’t booked flights yet but from the ones going out this year it looks as though we will arrive at MCO about 13:30. We are getting the magical express in but then will prob go to our room as we have 2 small kids. We have 14 day passes but I don’t want to waste a pass for just a few hours of use on that first day as we will be knackered and finding our feet. Do you think it is worth it and is it possible to extend our hotel stay by 1 night so we have 14 full days to use the passes? many thanks
You’re right that you won’t use your passes on your arrival day – in our experience anyway. Depending on your flight, you’ll get into Orlando early afternoon – but it takes several hours to get your bags, get to the hotel and get checked in and to your room. We find we’re usually all sorted by about 4-5pm – but that is 9-10pm UK time, after a day of travelling. Sometimes we’ll have something to eat or a swim, but usually we go straight to bed. I know some people do hit the parks, but with kids, it is pretty unlikely. If we get to bed early, we’re up early enough to get to Magic Kingdom for it opening the next day – get there 15-30 minutes before park opening and you get to see the opening show before the gates open which is such a great way to start any Disney trip!
So, do you need to extend your stay to get the most out of your 14 day Disney passes? I personally don’t think so, but if you want to squeeze every drop of value out of them, then yes. So you’ve got 14 nights, which means including both arrival and departure day, you have 15 days total. The flight home on your final and 15th day is usually late afternoon/early evening. This gives us enough time to get packed up and check-out of our hotel. We then leave our bags at the hotel (there is a secure store with the bell hops) and head over to the parks for about 3 hours, before we need to head back to catch the Magical Express. So we do utilise all 14 days of our passes – however – we’re obviously not making the most of the pass for our 14th day.
If you want to use your passes to the max and have 14 full days in the park, then yes, you’ll need to extend your trip by a day. It is absolutely possible to do this – either phone the company you’ve booked with and ask them to cost for an extra night. Or alternatively just book one extra night at the same hotel on a separate reservation and when you check in, let the hotel know that the two need to be linked. They should be able to sort you out. You can’t book for just one night via the UK Disney site, but you can via the US one (go to the main Walt Disney World Site (not the booking pages – if you’re there, click on the WDW symbol in the top left corner) scroll to the very bottom of the page and change the ‘International Version’ to the US). You can also book one night via sites such as hotels.com.
But here’s why I don’t think extending your stay is worth it, if it is simply to get the most out of your ticket. The cost for a 14 day ticket is currently £252 – so each day works out at £18 – or £16.50 for kids. Assuming you’ve got two adults and two kids, that’s £69 worth of ticket for that 14th day. The cost of one extra night in POFQ is going to be around £100 – so in terms of monetary value, it will cost you more to spend the extra night than you would lose by not utilising the ticket. And you’d likely use some of the 14th day anyway.
Also bear in mind that if you’re doing the typical Saturday flights, that while you leave Orlando on the Saturday, you get back to the UK early Sunday morning. If you extend your trip by a night you’ll be arriving on the Monday morning and will need to take an additional day off work, if that is something you need to consider. I think it is possible to get a day flight (most go over night for the Orlando to UK trip) so that might be an option to explore if this is a problem.
And finally, very few people visiting form the UK manage to make full use of their 14 day ticket. Either for the reason you’ve discovered or simply because they buy the 14 day pass for Disney but then choose to spend a day at the pool side (Disney can be tiring!), or going shopping, or visiting the Universal Studio / Sea World parks. I usually tell people to plan exactly what they want to do. If they’ll be visiting a Disney park more than 8 or 9 days then getting the 14 day pass is still the best deal. But if they plan to see some of the other parks and so will be visiting Disney for less than 8 days, then it works out cheaper to buy the US passes – which you can also do in advance. Obviously if you got your 14 day pass as part of your hotel deal, then this is irrelevant. That is what we often do – but then we spend all 14 days at Disney
Having said all that, I’m all for spending as much time as possible in the Magic, so having an extra day could never be a bad thing! If you choose to do it, you’ll have a few extra hours on your final 16th day, between checking out and needing to leave for the airport and you will have used up your Disney passes. Most people don’t want to swim and have wet things and the chlorine smell to travel with, so I would recommend a trip to Downtown Disney – there’s no fee to get in and a last wander round the Disney shops and a bite to eat can be a relaxing end to an amazing trip – and a way to use up the last of your dollars!
Hope that helps!