A Brit’s Perspective – Only 4337 Miles Away from Walt Disney World

| September 11, 2013 | 10 Replies

Hi, I’m Rory, a new blogger at the DIS and currently, give or take a mile, I’m about 4337 miles away from Walt Disney World. This is important as it means I’m residing in the United Kingdom and is the reason I’ve been invited to write for the DIS. I’m here to offer up a different view and look at WDW and Disney through a Brit’s perspective.

Hot Air Balloon

While writing this blog, I’m staring out my window upon another gloomy wet day in London as autumn arrives, but reminiscing about the first time I experienced a bit of magic in Florida. Back in August 2009, I went on my first once-in-a-lifetime trip to Orlando.  After the obligatory long travel day involving an indirect flight from London that required running through Newark Airport to make our connection to Orlando, I eventually arrived in Florida. Despite the excitement of being in the U.S. for the first time, all I wanted after such a long day was a nice relaxing sleep; of course this was thwarted by jet leg that had other plans. So I found myself stepping out onto our villa patio at about 5:00am the following morning watching a stunning sunrise. But the magic came as I surveyed the sky and saw a seemingly never-ending parade of hot air balloons come across my view. This beautiful sunrise coupled with the strange oddity of so many balloons going over the villa bought a big smile to my face. This smile didn’t disappear until I reluctantly had to leave the delights of Orlando three weeks later. This magic ingredient has prompted me to return for more exciting experiences for the last three years in a row. That once-in-a-lifetime trip just seems to keep happening to many other British people as well.

I cannot conclusively think of one sole reason why so many Brits visit Orlando each year. The whole package creates a must for us to visit for the first time and to come back for subsequent repeated visits thereafter. Nowhere else in the world can you find all of the following in one location:

  • 7 World Class Theme Parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios, Islands Of Adventure and Seaworld. This is not including other area parks such as Legoland, Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens.
  • Splashtastic fun at Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Aquatica and Wet’n Wild. You can also visit a beach on the east and gulf coasts of Florida such as Clearwater or Daytona.
  • Smaller attractions and experiences such as Gatorland, Holy Land Experience, Kennedy Space Center, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Titanic the Experience, Wonderworks and Fun Spot.
  • Watch a game of American sport with nearby major teams such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (football), the Orlando Magic (basketball) and the Tampa Bay Rays (baseball). Try your hand racing at the Richard Petty Driving Experience or take a trip on an airboat out in the swamps.
  • There are four golf courses just on Disney property, let alone the countless others in the surrounding areas, along with loads of crazy golf courses for the less professional, such as the Hollywood Drive-In course at Universal.
  • Indulge in over a thousand restaurants in the Orlando area covering all manner of cuisines and tastes. In particular, I’m a fan of BBQ ribs, a scrumptious steak or some buffalo chicken wings all washed down with a good old pint or a fruity margarita.
  • Yes, you can count on a 3’oclock thunderstorm most days during the summer months but you can also find glorious sunshine and hot temperatures pretty much year round. Not something we can count on in the UK.
  • Shop until you drop with bargains galore at the outlet stores and malls.
  • Stay in a luxury villa with your own pool or stay on site at Disney being immersed within the theming at resorts such as the Polynesian or Animal Kingdom Lodge.
  • Take advantage of having more money due to the good exchange rate between the US Dollar and the British Pound.
  • An English-speaking nation despite some changes from the Queen’s English. Because of this, I hereby apologise for this post and all others that may contain overuse of words such as lovely, the correct spelling of words like colour and rumour, or sayings such as jammy bugger, not my cup of tea or codswallop.

Just some of the reasons why over 750,000 Brits visit Orlando every year, so many that it could often feel like you are in a town in the UK if it wasn’t for all that sunshine and palm trees. The list above is definitely not exhaustive and it is this that I hope to expand upon in future blog posts primarily focusing from the perspective of a Brit. From the tipping culture and etiquette in the States or how Brits can get exclusive tickets to the parks and discounts. To getting a bit of that Disney magic closer to home or how our country is portrayed in Orlando, such as our pavilion at Epcot. But I don’t want to make anyone else unwelcome so some blogs will be suitable for all. I will be covering the never-ending dilemma of onsite or offsite accommodation and taking a look beyond Walt Disney World’s gates at all the other attractions and activities Florida has to offer.

Let me know in the comments anything else you would like me to write about!

On the lot at Walt Disney Studios.

On the lot at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.


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Category: Disney World

  • Daneen Matts

    So right about the numbers of folks from the UK! When we were in WDW this August, we saw/heard so many Brits, i thought perhaps the whole country decided to visit at the same time. Looking forward to your contributions.

  • Clare

    Looking forward to more input from you on this. We have our first trip coming up next August and a Brit perspective is very welcome!

  • Margaret Mrda

    Great blog. Looking forward to more!

  • Calcium

    I am also a Brit hooked on DIS. My first trip was with my sister in 1994 to Disneyland California, we loved it so much we came back the following year 1995. Then in 1996 I went with a boyfriend to WDW and stay off property. I loved Disney so much that I had to convert my fiancé so in 1998 I took him to Dis California to ease him in gently, he loved it so much that in 2000 we spent our honeymoon on property at WDW, we then came back in 2008 with our 3 children and stayed on property, and have booked to come back again in 2014 and stay on property again this time at the beach club. We love disney USA so much.

  • AliceMouse

    Hi Rory! Welcome aboard! I loved your first post and I’m looking forward to reading more. I’m an American, myself, and having traveled very little outside the U.S., I always find myself wondering how natives of EPCOT’s World Showcase pavilions perceive the depiction of their homelands. I recently took a 64-year-old co-worker who was raised in the former Soviet Union to WDW. I was curious to see what she would think of the World Showcase, but we only had one park day, so I took her to Magic Kingdom instead. I’m so glad I did because seeing her face light up on It’s a Small World might just be the most magical Disney moment ever for me!

  • Tracey Johnson

    Just found this site and thought I must give my thoughts! I too am a Brit from Birmingham, in 1999 we came to WDW for my daughter really, her 9th Birthday. I thought I would give it a visit. I was converted, hooked and mad for it, as was my daughter and husband ! It was so lovely to go back to my childhood, I have remained there since. 13 of us will be coming in 2014, it will be our 9th time, staying at Old key West ! We came for our 30th Wedding Anniversary April this year, on our own for 18 wonderful nights!!! It was different not to have our daughter( who was travelling the world with her boyfriend, how things have changed) with us, but she will be with us next year with the new convert (boyfriend) and we are already counting down, and planning our time on the most Magical place on earth.

    Tracey (with a big smile on her face).

  • JulielovesMickey

    Well, well, well! We are neighbours, I live in Carshalton and share a passion for all things Disney. I’ve been to all the parks and can’t speak highly enough of Tokyo. We are at Disney’s Vero Beach and it too has all the pixy dust of Orlando and the sun.look forward to reading your reports.

  • Rory Hurren

    Thanks for all the lovely comments!

    I look forward to writing more blog posts from a Brit’s perspective in the coming weeks.

  • maxadriane

    Looking forward to reading more about your perspective. It’s amazing to me that you spent 3 weeks there. That must be interesting in itself. How to spend that much time in a hotel room or the leisurely way you can visit the parks over 21 days! Looking forward to immensely.

  • Tracey

    I too love Disney. As a child I watched ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’ on TV, and fell in love with all things Disney. I have been to WDW several times and hopefully will be going in 2015. There is truly no where better on earth.