Orlando Disney1

First class to Disney trip.

What started out as a random conversation in traffic one afternoon during mid June regarding my late 1980’s adventures to Disney World in my youth and how awesome it was as I still rate it as one of best days of my life, got the kids worked up again , ‘please lets not go to back Maldives, lets do Disney’ was their response after experiencing a bit of theme parks in Malaysia and Singapore during April trips abroad.

Stuck for time with baby number 5 soon on the way, it would have to be a family split trip, myself and the 2 elder kids, aged 12 and 6, however, kid aged 4 said no way! she can come too she will manage without mommy, I was concerned on the walking as she coudn’t do 2 walking hours in a mall then and needing the pram most times. Come Disney day a few weeks later she did 13 hours walking, not one ‘pick me up’ and no pram needed, part and parcel due to training 5 days in New York some days before I guess.

Lets fly.

Flying in:

6 Seats available of 9 in First class for reward redemption with super low taxes on the 2 best planes, The Dreamliner and the Double Decker .

I ran the maths on miles and points with all logistics and all seemed good, however the theme park prices are super high in Orlando, especially from countries with a struggling currency. Without a real agenda my proposal was:

Fly into New York First Class on Etihad A380.  Cost: Zar 1023 per ticket

(Etihad Guest is geared up for searches without having miles or the need to log in, check it out)

Stay 5 nights FREE in Hilton Garden Inn Times Square using Hilton Honors points ( earned a chunk load with the brilliant 1st quarter promo in Labriz Seychelles trip in March that also netted me free nights in Conrad Bali and Conrad Singapore in that year).

The A380 Flag ship that has the best first class product in the business.


Cabin manager letter.

First class etihad on A380 is super spacious.

Follow @jetzetterz on Instagram for a whole lot more kid-inspiring trips and reviews. @jetzetterz for next generation of travel bloggers scoring the globe, run by Zeenat, Zineera, Zariya, Ziraar and Zaliha. #bykidsforkids

The lounge on board being taken over.

Looking into the daily price per ticket I suggested rather:

Flying to Hong Kong and doing the super cheaper Disney there straight after USA trip either from the main land or come back home and jet off the next day.

July summer New York was amazing, having just been there in March, some 3 months prior in the freezing cold. Will update the “doing New York free”  trip soon with all info, booking screenshots and upgrades ( currently on my Instagram scroll down to July 2017)

Flying in First Class again:

As time was not with us to get a decent deal early to Hong Kong after NY and Delta Airlines having a great sale, we opted to venture down to Orlando in economy in any event, with still no plan in place. As a Delta Platinum medallion I have been upgraded many times to First or at least Comfort Plus class, Not only for myself but for +1 on the PNR. Here again, I had heaps of upgrades for 2 pax In trips to Hawaii , San Francisco and Los Angeles during March, see my Instagram for more info on these dates.

As expected Delta offered 2 upgrades over the fone to First Class, however I made a special request at check in at the gate in La Guardia and they upgraded all 4 passengers to row number 1 on boarding, leveraging the Platinum status and TL team together ( take note USA Curling team winning Gold in PyeongChang and getting upgrade denied over Twitter making headlines some days ago).

Last of 4 flights to get to Orlando.


Row 1 taken up

Skyteam priority. Bags come off first.

Hotel Booking:

Landing in MCO, I booked Sheraton Vistana Lake Buena Vista using Starpoints, Amazing Amazing value. For a free night on a weekend its just 3000 Starpoints ( and 4000 Starpoints for free mid week nights).

Upgraded? Offcoarse

As a Platinum Elite Starwood member I got free breakfast and upgraded to the largest suite the hotel has for the stay. #theTLway

Note: following the Sheraton stay we ventured to Cape Canaveral to The Kennedy Space Centre ( another trip review coming soon) and used Radisson Goldpoints for another free stay. The full trip abroad including premium Times Square New York I had not laid out 1 cent on accommodation, nor taxes nor resort fees nor breakfasts costs. 

With this all these savings the theme park tickets became highly affordable. Little did I know there was more to be had for less.

Renting a vehicle.

Hertz Presidents Club gave the best deal and a topless upgrade. I blended this with their Marriott 5000 points per rental FTP option as the Etihad Miles promo ended. We got a Chevy Camaro ( Bumble Bee car) however the trunk or boot rather needed a flap to be pulled eliminating size when going topless.

So Hertz got me another car from their depot instead, a Mustang, I had this same car in red for touring Hawaii during March’s trip. No flap needed to go topless made all the difference in space.

Much better!

Ready to roll in The Sunshine State.

Buying the Disney tickets.

There are tons of outlets doing tickets, Shops in the street, timeshare agents in the malls, online, at the gate, however I used the guest services at the hotel, not only did they offer me the best deal but they also threw in a extra day with the hopper option, what a score as hopper tickets are so much more.

Tips for Disney:

Make super sure you rest out fully from any tiredness or jet lag, we had a good 5 days in NY. Don’t think you will fly in and make full use the very next day.

Get to the gate as early as possible to maximise your time inside. At the end of day, camp in front of the Disney Castle for the fireworks display, bring a light mat, lay on floor and use your backpack as a pillow. You may want to get those air sofas from the outlet mall stands for better comfort, they fold so small and easy to use.

Make sure you have the most comfortable sneakers you can find that’s worn in, one that’s marathon comfy worthy. Do not use your new shoes you scored day before at the Outlet. You will be walking hours and hours and will die with feet pain. Personally the Nike Flyknits and Adidas Adizero range seem to be the best in comfort.

Bring water – heaps of it, if you have a pram all the better to add it in and not get carry / back fatigue. Get a pack from any local super market or just ask your hotel to send you extra to your room. Water is super expensive in the park and the free water taps don’t taste good at all.

Fast Track+. Amazing skip the crazy que’s on 3 occasions initially by booking your time slot then one at a time thereafter, TL clients can contact me for finer info on how to have this unlimited and avoid every que ( except Frozen at Epcot – for this you have to book 2 months prior… imagine.

Check the forecast – keep a light plastic poncho in case of downpour, get them at a supermarket as the gift shops and theme parks are pricey

Getting to Disney.

Don’t drive in, its a 20$ parking fee, use the resorts free shuttle or taxi in to get there on opening, I use Lyft over Uber in USA. Resort shuttles may have multiple stops and arrive some time after gates open. If you on a hopper and on a time limit you may decide on taking your own car to get between parks faster than waiting for the internal free Disney buses. We hopped on day 2 between Epcot and Blizzard Beach and there was ample time for all including the free bus. Disney World, Hollywood studios and Animal Kingdom will require full day to explore in my opinion. So take note when paying for tickets with hopper options.

Knock Knock do you wanna build a snowman.

Through the castle.

Rides galore beyond the Castle.

Pirates of The Carribean store.

Meet Ariel, The Little Mermaid, daughter of King Triton.

The parade is something not to be missed. Beauty and the Beast.

Elsa, Anna and Olaf.

Captain Hook looking for Peter.

Flaming dragons.

Snow White

The crowds following the parade .

Long lines at most attractions.

You get 3 Fastpass’s to be used at once then its on a one on one basis. If you going to Disney the TL way, let me know Ive got a tip for you that will get you que-less-ness each and everytime.

Fast Pass que…

This is like VIP in a theme park as one would find in Airports and Hotels and Car rental agencies.


I must admit the characters are 10/10 for being in tune with their guests.

Characters even spare a moment for a chat like they talking to grown ups.

Kids and adults playing about in the water features. This place is amazing.

Its not possible to blog on each and every thing Disney offers, you just have to experience it for yourself. A trip to Orlando checks all the boxes most travelers yearn for.

Up next: Trip to Disney’s Epcot and Blizzard Beach Waterpark.

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