Our September 2024 Walt Disney World Trip

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We’re creatures of habit, and yet again we’re travelling to Walt Disney World during September. Our previous trip in September 2022 didn’t really go to plan due to Hurricane Ian hitting towards the end of our stay. Obviously, we’re hoping that our trip will be better this time.

So in this post we’re going to go over our trip, our plans, and how we decided on what we’re doing. As we get closer to the day we’ll be updating any pending plans listed.


‘Pre-Travel Day’ Hotel

This is a frivolous spend for us. As we live within a 30 minute drive of Manchester Airport we don’t usually have an overnight stay at the airport, but this time we’ve decided to stay at the Radisson Blu Manchester Airport. When booking our flights we try to keep as flexible as possible in terms of dates to ensure that we get a points flight (more below), and in this case it nearly overlapped with a pre-existing booking that we had at the Lowry Theatre. To keep it simple we decided to stay overnight at the airport, rather than head home and back into Manchester less than 6 hours later.

We picked the Radisson Blu as we had some points left over from our stays at the Radisson Blu at Disneyland Paris, so with using 20,000 points it knocked £20 off the nightly price. With a standard queen size room that came to a total of £133.85 for the night.

Total Cost: 20,000 Radisson Rewards points, and £133.85

Flights

We’re flying Virgin Atlantic from Manchester Airport (MAN) to Orlando International Airport (MCO).

Our booking was done using Virgin Atlantic Flyingclub using Virgin Points. Per person, the flight cost 25,000 point plus fees and taxes of £261.62, and this gave us a return flight to Orlando in Economy Classic.

Frustratingly, Virgin Atlantic has changed its policy since we last travelled with them in 2022 and doesn’t offer free seat selection in advance. We ended up picking our usual seats (towards the back of the plane) for an extra £67/pp rather than leaving it up to luck of the draw at a later date.

When it comes to using loyalty points for any bookings (either hotels or flights) we’re in the ‘min/max’ camp, in that we’re trying to get maximum value out of the minimum points. We have a Virgin Atlantic Credit Card for most of our daily spends and using this accrues enough points for return flight each year, combined with our break during 2023 we could afford a return flight in Premium (plus more in taxes and fees), but have decided that we’d rather have two economy flights rather than one!

…also, we just don’t think Premium/Upper Class on Virgin is worth the extra cost, but that is for another post!

As we’re staying at the airport we are also going to make use of twilight check-in to drop the bags off at 4pm the day before. This will save us the pain in the morning by not having to haul them down and drop them off.

Total Cost: 50,000 Virgin Points, and £523.24

Airport to Resort Transport

We’re going to buck the trend of most people and keep avoiding Mears and other services that transport you from Orlando airport to your hotel. Every time we’ve visited Orlando we’ve used Lyft to travel to/from the airport and sometimes between resorts.

A Lyft XL ride (XL is a SUV or larger vehicle) from Orlando Airport to a Disney resort usually costs around $60 and takes about 35 minutes.

Our total spend on Lyft for September 2022 came out at about $250 including the airport runs, which included some XL and Preferred rides, which cost a little more than the standard. We understand that its not for everyone as a lot of visitors prefer to rent a car for the time they’re there, but for us we don’t want the hassle and pain of driving and parking so we opt for Lyft instead.

If you’re new to Lyft are interested in using it, we can offer a referral code which give you 50% off (to a maximum of $10) for two rides in the Orlando area.

Total Cost: $120 - $250

Hotel

We’re Disney Vacation Club members, and we own 250 points at Disney’s Riviera Resort, as we didn’t take a 2023 trip we’ve banked our points to make them available for the 2024/2025 period, giving us a total of 500 points to use for that ‘use year’. We’ve decided to split them into two trips rather than have a blow-out single trip, but as we had passed our seven month booking window for our home resort of Riviera we were unable to secure a room for the dates we had the flights booked for.

Thankfully, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa is such a large resort that availability usually isn’t an issue and we were able to snag 15 nights for a total of 185 DVC points.

DVC and how the points work are a whole other discussion topic that we’ll cover at a later date, but if you wanted the equivalent stay without being a member you could rent DVC points through one of the many online agents for about $19/point. That would make our stay come out at about $3,515, or about £2,784 at the time of writing.

Total Cost: 185 DVC Points

Disney Tickets

Park Tickets

Disney offers special tickets for visitors from the United Kingdom. Over the years the offer has changed but the key part is you get more days access than you purchase, in the past it was buy 7 days and get 14, or buy 14 and get 21, but in recent years Disney have now dropped the other options to leave ‘14 Days for 7’ as the only option.

These tickets allow for 14 days of entrance in a 18 day period, so with our trip if we have a mall day or don’t go to the parks one day the ticket will cover us for our entire trip.

As a bonus, these tickets include Memory Maker, which is the service where you can get all of your PhotoPass photos available for free through the Walt Disney World app.

For September 2024, the tickets come in at £499 each as its part of the ‘value’ season. The price does vary through the year, but even the ‘peak’ period is only £70 more at £589.

Event Tickets

We were able to book for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for our trip, we really enjoyed the event in 2022 and decided to give it another go. We picked a mid-week event that came to a total of $296.08 including taxes, and the conversion rate at the time brought that to £234.67

For our cancelled February 2024 trip we had tickets booked for Cirque du Soleil ‘Drawn to Life’ for Jo’s 40th birthday celebrations. We decided to rebook for this trip, and opted for Golden Circle tickets at $185 each to a total of $413.96 including taxes and fees. After conversion it came to £328.10. Its a pricey show, but it is very much going to be a one and done for us, so we might as well spend a bit more to get the best seats.

Total Cost: £1,560.77


The Grand Total

This is by no means the total total, as we’re yet to actually go on this trip, also we’ve not accounted for items we’re planning on booking soon (airport parking, and so on).

  • £2,415.87
  • 185 DVC Points
  • 50,000 Virgin Points
  • 20,000 Radisson Rewards Points

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