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Author: British Diva

Every Adventure starts with a dream, and your Disney holiday is no different…..but you will need your passport, your ESTA, some travel insurance and so on and so on……..

First things first, “Where’s my passport?”

It goes without saying that UK visitors to the USA will need a valid passport which does not expire for at least 6 months after your scheduled return from holiday date. You are also required to apply online for your ESTA travel authorization visa costing approximately £9, this somewhat new system takes the place of the old visa waiver and will be valid for 2 years, or when your passport expires; whichever comes first. You cannot travel without either of these important documents.

Once you have booked your flight it will be necessary to complete an online pre-flight registration where you will be asked to provide all these details; you will also have to confirm that you have purchased adequate medical and travel insurance for your trip. Living here in the UK we take our National Health Service very much for granted, but do not underestimate the cost of healthcare over in the US; a trip to the Doctors office once cost me over £130 – not including the further pharmacy bill for my prescribed drugs!! Ouch.

Before landing in the States, there are yet more forms to fill in. This time it’s a declaration form to hand to the US Border official; generally speaking vacationers have ‘nothing to declare’ so this last piece of pen pushing is quite straight forward, and should not be too taxing on your relaxed holiday brain!

All joking aside, the tedious paper work and security checks are worth the piece of mind they give you when travelling abroad; so do them with a smile on your face! =)

Travelling form the United Kingdom to the United States for most of us means booking a flight, get this bit right and you’ll be up, up and away in no time at all!

Flight time is approximately 9 1/2 hours, but these days there are a variety of inflight seat back entertainment to amuse you which makes the hours ’til Disney fly by quite quickly!

Living as I do in the far South West of England, where I fly from is a big consideration. Checking various airports, flights and times can have a bearing on which company you finally choose to book your package with. Orlando is already far enough away, so any savings made on ground travel time is a major plus, especially for a family of six like us; after all no one wants grouchy children or indeed a husband before they’ve even left their own Country! With that in mind, we fly from the reasonably close by (2 1/2 hrs by car), and relatively compact Bristol Airport (BRS). Unfortunately, flights to Orlando; at present are seasonal; May to October, but that’s all good as we like to visit WDW within that window anyways!

Flights from Bristol arrive at Sanford, Orlando; another quieter more condensed airport, which is where you will make good time going through US immigration in comparison to Orlando International (MCO). You’ll be enjoying the first glorious moments of Florida heat much sooner than you think when you arrive at SFB!
On the return journey, I can highly recommend the use of ‘The Royal Palm Court‘, Sanford’s executive lounge. Here you can watch a film, use the internet, gab a bite to eat or just chill out with a drink while your children play in the toy room. The quiet sanctuary it offers you before take off is worth every penny, and comes as part of the deal when you up grade to a premium flight. The only thing missing at Sanford is the use of Disney’s complimentary Magical Express service, in time perhaps, this practical transportation service will be rolled out here too – fingers crossed!

If you are lucky enough to live close by to a major airport like Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, and so on; flights to Orlando operate year round. These airports give you the option to fly into the nearer to Disney; Orlando International (MCO) the much bigger, busier, bustling big brother of SFB. Here you can make full advantage of the Magical Express buses, and perhaps can get away without hiring a car.

In my opinion, the extra hours drive it takes you to get from Sanford to your resort, is far better than waiting in line for the massively crowded US immigration at MCO. Having experienced both, the only queues we want to combat whilst on holiday are the ones at Disney!

The Relaxing Royal Palm Court.

So don’t be a Dumbo, do your homework and you’ll soon be enjoying the Disney adventure you’ve always dreamed of!