The Sheraton Vistana Villages – International Drive, (not to be confused with the Sheraton Vistana Resort) is where we decided to stay for our 2 week trip to Orlando. This is a large villa complex located on international drive, midway between both the Disney and Universal theme parks.

The drive from Orlando International Airport (MCO) took about 30 minutes, and the route is fairly straight forward. You will most likely go via a toll road, but this wasn’t a problem as our Alamo car rental included the Sunpass facility.

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There is no day 10 due to the fact we barley did anything. We had a leisurely day to have a break from running around the parks, had a nice bbq lunch at the hotel (a blog about the hotel will come soon), and a little bit of shopping. Plans changed and we ended up going to Hollywood Studios, but we only did 3 rides and came home again. Which due to a 15 minute drive and not paying to park it was worth it.

However today we went back again to Universal Studios. There was nothing new, no new rides, and no new rides to go on etc. Plus we’ve talked about the rides on our previous posts this holiday about Universal Studios and Universal Islands of Adventure.

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The park opening time was 9am, so we decided to be there for about 8:30 because there’s a decent walk from the car park to the actual park. However we also needed to nip to a USPS along the way to send some postcards home. So the plan was to wake up at 6:30, be ready by 8 and leave, since Universal is only 20 minutes away.

What actually happened was we woke up at 6:30, jumped out of bed, and got ready so fast that we made it to USPS before 8am. This then meant we were at Universal around 8:20! The park didn’t open till 9, but you can go in and wait inside the grounds. You’re able to get early entry to the park but since we have not yet had to stand in big queues anyway we didn’t think it was worth it.

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Our second full day in Orlando! Still can’t believe that we are here, it’s amazing and I keep thinking how wonderful it is to be here. So we decided to go to Universal Studios. Where we are staying is situated really nicely between Disney and Universal so all the parks are around 15-20 minute drives away.

Universal Studios opened at 9am, so we decided to get there for opening. Once parked you go over a couple of travelators, you then go through an airport style security check (which is good and very very quick). From here you walk through City Walk, which is restaurants and shops, and a cinema. Before arriving at the entrance to the park you pass the big Universal globe where everyone stops for photos (this can be done later so we just rushed passed everyone).

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I’m not going to kid anyone, I started packing about a month ago! Why not? All the clothes I want for Orlando aren’t going to be worn in the Winter in the UK; shorts, t-shirts, sandals etc. But packing over a month in advance does also mean re-packing a few times (maybe 4 or 5 times for me). However it also means you’ll know what things you have forgotten by the third re-pack as well as things you need to go out and buy such as suncream, shaving gel, etc.

You’ll never be finished packing until the morning you leave for the plane but you can be as close as possible!

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It’ll be both of our first time in America ever. Therefore there is a nice list of places that we want to go to while we are there. Some of them are Florida related others just simply ‘American’, mainly food places. It’s more of a food list than anything else, nevertheless they are all places we want to go.

Recently we decided to plan out our 2 weeks there and realised there might be a chance we don’t get to go to all of these places. Especially as we are doing Disney and Universal as well which will take up a lot of our time out there.

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So we decided a month or so ago that we wanted to buy new suitcases. This is because neither of us has bought a suitcase for years and ours are super heavy compared to the new light weight ones. I personally also wanted ones that matched, because I knew I wanted a cabin case as well as a suitcase and they should be the same design for me. So we had to consider, the sizes, weight, design and where we were getting them from.

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This is a must get as soon as possible – not because they will sell out or anything, but because I want to hold my Disney ticket! That and Martin wants his Universal ticket – can you tell we’re excited?? Having these tickets is another step closer to our holiday.

For finding the best deal with the tickets, well Google really becomes your best friend! We sat and looked together, I was searching on my laptop and had it showing on the TV screen and Martin was looking on the iPad. We wanted to see who could find the best deal for both Disney and Universal for 14 days, park hoppers.

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It’s 7 months early but we both started to talk about how we want to go to America (this discussion has happened several times in the last 6 months, none being as serious as this one) and to go to Disney World (for me) and Universal Studios (for him). About a week after having just a random look, we booked the hotel, the flights and a car to use while we are out there. January 17th is the leaving date, which means we have 7 months! This is where the planning begins…

Now there are about a thousand things to think about and all the details with them, what car insurance should we go for? Are there any extras we might need? How much money will we need out there? What is everything going to cost? What exactly do we want to do? Is there anywhere specific we want to eat or see?
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