MOST POPULAR EASTER DEALS
What's the weather like in Florida at Easter?
It's great! At floridaholidayplanner.com we count late March/April and late October/November as the ideal times to visit Florida weather-wise.
Daytime temperatures in Orlando at Eastertime are around 80f and in the evening you can expect a balmy 60-65f.
As you travel further south in the Sunshine State temperatures increase slightly. Fort Myers on the Gulf Coast is a real suntrap and temperatures rise to 85f in late March and April. If you're looking for a world class beach holiday at Easter consider Sanibel, 5 miles from Fort Myers and with a perfect climate.
Easter is also low in rainfall and humidity. It's the ideal time to visit Disney and Universal with the children. If you go in the summer the very high temperatures, afternoon rainfall and humidity can make the attractions tiring for them.
What's going on in Disney at Easter?
Easter in Disney is very popular and Walt Disney World is busy during Easter week. Most British visitors who come for 2 or 3 weeks can avoid the peak days if desired with plenty of opportunities before and after the Easter weekend to make the most of the parks.
Disney makes every effort to entertain during Easter so expect special parades, lots of fabulous live entertainment and numerous themed events. You will be seeing the Easter Bunny!
One of the most popular events at Eastertime is the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival. This runs from March all the way through to early May. Dates change slightly from year to year but in 2012 the Festival ran from 7th March to 20th May so all Easter visitors can benefit. The Festival features a massive array of flowers, gardens and topiary. Most of your favourite Disney characters can be seen in topiary. Keen gardeners can meet expert designers full of ideas for your garden back home. Casual visitors can enjoy the views! Live music is a big part of the Festival. The Flower Power Concert Series features a different artist every weekend from the 60's and 70's performing at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot. Highlights in 2012 were The Spinners, Chubby Checker, Herman's Hermits and Micky Dolenz. If you're as old as the writer you'll know them all! Admission is by way of your normal attraction ticket, no further payment is required.
How about an Easter Egg Hunt? Visit the United Kingdom Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot on Easter Sunday (March 31st in 2013) and the children can join in the Easter Egg Hunts and Relays. Mr and Mrs Easter Bunny will be around to sign autographs for most of the day.
Some Disney hotels have their own Easter Egg Hunt and you will come across more Hunts at other places in Disney World. Make sure you check the Disney website before your visit as Mickey Mouse has been known to change his mind on venue/timings etc. If you are staying in a Disney hotel during Easter you might meet staff dressed up in themed costumes and some of the Disney hotel restaurants run special Easter meals on Easter Sunday.
Generally speaking you cannot pick a better time of year to visit Disney World. Lots going on and a great atmosphere make for a happy Easter holiday.
What's going on in Universal at Easter?
Mardi Gras is a big deal at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Events run from mid-February to mid-April so if you are in Orlando at Easter you will catch the last couple of weekends. Universal does a fantastic job of creating the New Orleans atmosphere.
Celebrations are centred in the Universal Studios French Quarter Courtyard. Here expect food, drinks and musicians straight from New Orleans. Some of New Orleans' biggest bands fly in for Mardi Gras and the sounds are authentic. So is the cuisine and you can try gumbo, jambalaya and red beans and rice among other dishes. A big feature is the Mardi Gras Parade which is at around 8pm depending on time of year. The special Mardi Gras floats are the real article, Universal have them made by the same craftsmen who build the floats in New Orleans. Doubloons and bead necklaces are dished out generously. An excellent show.
After the Parade you can see a live band in the Music Plaza. Previous headliners include Cyndi Lauper, KC and The Sunshine Band, Diana Ross and Willie Nelson. It can get crowded with stars like these so grab your places as soon as you can. If you are a little further back you can look at a big screen. These headline bands are generally on the Saturday night, sometimes Friday or Sunday. Have a look at the Universal website for the Easter 2013 line-up (not released at time of writing) and it does chop and change so check back regularly.
Admission to all these good things is by way of your normal Universal ticket. No extra charges are made even for the headline acts. Thoroughly recommended.
If you are lucky enough to be staying on-site at Universal at Easter the Hard Rock Hotel, Portofino Bay and the Royal Pacific Resort all have an Easter Sunday Brunch and the food is very special.
How about other Florida events at Easter?
Lots going on all over the Sunshine State in March and April 2013 - here are our 3 favourites.
Drive over to Cocoa Beach (60 miles from Orlando) for the Ron Jon Easter Surfing Festival. Dates in 2013 are 29th-31st March. A big annual Florida event and you can see plenty of surfing talent. Admission is free. Binoculars and sun screen are a good idea. Surf's Up!
If you are taking advantage of low season flights for an early Easter holiday head for Daytona Beach (55 miles from Orlando) to see the world's largest motorcycle event. You will not believe the machines on display at Daytona Bike Week 2013. Forget about sunscreen and take earplugs! Dates are 8th-17th March 2013 and are similar every year.
Again for early visitors the Florida Strawberry Festival will be held in Plant City Florida 28th February - 10th March 2013. Plant City is an easy drive down the Interstate 4 about 60 miles from Orlando. They grow lots of strawberries there and they use them as an excuse to hold an enormous festival every year. A big funfair, folk music and dancing, a million different strawberry foods, a huge country music stage and dozens of stalls and eating places make for an authentic Florida day out. This is the real Florida and you will more than likely be the only Brits in attendance. The writer has been to this festival a couple of times and it's a great day out.