This time last year the U.S.A. was somewhere I’d only visited via the movies and TV shows of my childhood. Despite it being firmly on my bucket list, it just hadn’t ever made its way up the agenda to become a reality.
2019 was the year that all changed – circumstance and an opportunity for a big family holiday saw us leap at the chance of taking our girls (and their Mum) on their first transatlantic flight, to experience life stateside.
America was everything I imagined it to be and so much more. From the very first ride from the airport (Atlanta, Georgia) to our first pit stop, it was like something from a movie. The roads, the trucks the, everything was just so vast, so….American.
Like a child, I went through that holiday mesmerized by every meal, every drink, every person I spoke to and every sight along the way. It’s safe to say the U.S of A had me at hello.
So as it happens, America is still on my bucket list. For a round two, or three or four. I’d love to explore new corners of the States, the west coast and the national parks. With plenty of affordable deals on 535 family villas in Florida through Clickstay, I’d even break my own self imposed ‘no return’ holiday rules and return to Florida at any opportunity, and there are plenty of reasons why.
Walt Disney World
I challenge anyone who says they don’t fancy the idea of Disney World to spend a day in one of the parks and stand by their original opinion. The place is just epic, and the attention to detail on the rides, backdrops, gardens and landscapes is just mind blowing. So if princesses aren’t your thing, or rides don’t do it for you, you won’t have to look too far, there is truly something for everyone.
I’ll never forget skipping through Epcot with my daughter and niece singing ‘we’re in Disney World’, seeing a group of Maccaws swooping over our heads in Animal Kingdom, or watching Tigs dancing with Belle – those euphoric feelings are right up there with the unforgettable moments of life to date.
Of course the one thing that Florida Disney guarantees, which our European Disney version does not, is the sunshine. Sure, you might get some rain, but even the rain is something to behold. If you are a sun worshiper like me, the rain may fall down on your parade, but pull up a chair, enjoy the moment, because the sunshine is never far away to dry up all the rain…
We witnessed a hurricane move in over Daytona beach and from the safety of our room, we witnessed nature first hand, then walked along the beach as the calm resumed and the sun burned through.
I knew the food in America had a lot to live up to, but boy it did not disappoint. From the most amazing Mexican food I have ever tasted, to the fast food that has the Americans going crazy for a reason (hello waffle house), it became my two week mission to tick off every American cliche one by one…
Come to mention it, I also rate the coffee and the Disney specials (pineapple slushy, oh. my. god.) were something I’d definitely travel 4359 miles for.
And then there is Walmart. Can we just talk about Walmart, and the fact that if I ever go in there again, I may not come out for a month. Insane!
Florida is seriously set up for family holidays. We stayed in the most amazing villas in Florida with a private pool which is fairly standard for that part of Florida (Kissimmie). In actual fact, the villa was the cheapest part of the holiday when you consider flights and park tickets as a rate per person, and our 10 person villa worked out really reasonable per person when you compare it to the equivalent in the U.K (and that is without a pool).
You will be eternally grateful for a nice place to recouperate from your Florida adventures and down time with a private pool to cool off will be as perfect a holiday memory as meeting Mickey Mouse, trust me.
The stuff I didn’t do
Despite spending the biggest block of our trip in Florida, with travelling to other parts of the U.S.A on our road trip we had just 5 days in Florida; three days in Walt Disney World and two very much needed days to chill by the pool.
There is of course SO much to do in this region; Disney world aside (we did Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and Epcot but skipped Hollywood studios, the new Star Wars park and the water parks) there is also Universal studios, Busch Gardens and Sea World.
I can totally understand how someone would spend a fortnight doing it all, but you would certainly need to balance your days with rest time – a full day at the park plus firework finale will take it out of you!
There is so much more to see, to do, to experience. I know without a doubt that following our first trip to Florida, we will return with the girls when they are a bit older. And I can’t wait.