During our Walt Disney World holidays over the past few years, we have noticed that there a number of things visitors from the UK & Ireland do differently to tourists from within the USA. Every time I speak to someone, or read an article from one of the many Walt Disney World related blogs, I find more and more differences between how we plan, organise, book and enjoy a Walt Disney World Holiday compared to those who travel to Walt Disney World from the UK.
Although there are also many similarities between UK and USA Disney Holidays, the areas were these trips differ can cause some issues when researching your trip online; and because many Walt Disney World related sites are American based, these differences can lead to some very misleading information for parties from the UK and Ireland. Here is a collection of issues I’ve found cause the most differences between our holiday formats, and how these can impact your own trip.
We Book Earlier
The first major point I’ve noticed over the years is that British and Irish families tend to book their Disney World Holidays a lot earlier than their American counterparts. Most Americans will book their trip 6-12 months in advance, compared to us, who will generally look 9-18 months ahead when planning our holidays. This difference is understandable, as many Americans can nip down to Disney World for a weekend break – British and Irish travellers are planning in a long haul flight and as such Disney is seen as a bigger holiday which requires more time to plan and save for.
We Stay longer
Again, due to the length of travel time, many visitors from the USA will spend a few days to a week at Walt Disney World, with those looking for a longer break considering 10 days maximum. One ‘Disney Bucket List’ article I once read even had a 2 week holiday on it as it would be like living there! 2 weeks in Florida however is very common for travellers from the UK and Ireland, and many parties even consider staying for 3 weeks to make the most out of their time in the USA. Again, this is down to differing travel times, but the amount of paid holiday days also comes to play here, as Americans generally get less days off per year to use on travel than we do.
We find it Cheaper
Any holiday to the States is expensive, so many people will scoff at me referring to anything related to a Walt Disney World holiday as ‘cheap’, but many travellers from the UK and Ireland find that once they arrive in the States everything is much more reasonably priced than comparative items at home. Naturally, items within the Theme Parks are more expensive than those without, but to those who are used to British prices, a meal in Walt Disney World will work out the same as paying for a meal at home. Naturally, Americans who are used to the cheaper, outside Disney prices, find Walt Disney World very expensive and will often complain about the inflated price of merchandise and food. For visitors from the UK and Ireland, it is important to remember that Walt Disney World will be more costly than the comparable outside Disney price in the States, but it will still work out the same or cheaper than what it costs us at home!
Our Offers Differ
One of the great incentives of choosing to stay in a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel is the many special offers which are released throughout the year. However, the types of offers, and the times at which they are released differ for American and British audiences. A good example of this are the Current Offers; currently, UK guests are being offered Free Dining for 2017 Dates, while US guests can avail of a save 25% offer. UK guests can also avail of exclusive 14 and 21 Day tickets, currently not offered to the US market. It is important to remember that neither audience is being offered more or less than the other; Walt Disney World simply tailors its offers depending on what sells to which group of people. When a website advertises particular Disney World offers, please double check to see if the offer is available to you.
We don’t get our Magic Bands
You’ll often hear many people speak with excitement about the arrival of their Magic Bands before their holiday, but if you are from the UK or Ireland, please don’t get your hopes up for this parcel. Currently only US guests receive their Bands before they travel. For travellers from UK or Ireland, we can customise our Bands through My Disney Experience and they’ll be ready to pick up at our Resort during Check-In.
Our Payment Schedules Differ
According to many Walt Disney World websites and blogs, American guests staying in Walt Disney World must pay the balance of their holiday 45 days before arrival. However, guests from the UK and Ireland must pay the total balance of their holiday 8 weeks before departure, which works out as 56 days; or 10 weeks if you’ve booked a flight inclusive package through Walt Disney World. While the weeks difference in payment schedule isn’t a massive difference, it is important to be aware that the information given on blogs and websites will be dependant on the terms and conditions for holidays provided to the country where the site originates (mainly USA), so please check for the important dates relevant to you to make sure you have paid the balance of your trip on time.
I’m sure that as the years go by, I will discover more and more differences between how guests from the UK and USA do Disney differently. Many differences I see today may also change as Walt Disney World changes its operations (Im hoping that eventually our Magic Bands will be posted to us!). Always make sure that you do a bit of research to see what does and does not apply to you and your trip. Be particularly aware of the origin of the website you get your information from – Americans visitors to a British website will be as confused at our tips and advice and a British guest will be on an American site!