During this time of austerity there are a number of ways of saving money on a trip to Orlando. This is aimed mainly at people living in the UK but the ideas can also be used by persons from other countries. You can save money when you first book a holiday by using vouchers from T**** Supermarket; from their loyalty scheme. They are worth 3 times the face value of the vouchers and you can use up to £525 a person with V***** Holidays or £300 a person with C***** Holidays. Check their websites to give you an idea of approximate price per person without any website savings. Check the price of their car hire because it can be cheaper to book via other car hire websites.
Because we are use to living with smaller cars at home, when you arrive at Orlando to collect your hire car and a lot of people will only have booked a compact or economy car because this is the cheapest option. The hire company will now try to persuade you to upgrade to a larger car and may even show you pictures of cars so small you would lucky to get one person in it. You now have a choice; if you are worried about the size of a compact or economy car go to the where the hire cars are parked. This is usually no problem because you normally allowed too choose your own car and they are lined up in the different groups. I bet you will be unable to find any really small cars where the compact or economy cars are parked. If you decide to stand your ground you may be able to haggle over the cost of an upgrade if you fancy something larger.
Lots of hotel rooms come equipped with a microwave, fridge and coffee maker. Unfortunately there are usually no utensils in the rooms so bring some of your own or pick up some disposable ones at a super market. Some hotels provide a free basic breakfast, which may save you time and expense. You can save a small fortune, the same as home, by dining in. Some supermarkets provide loyalty cards where you can save money on purchases. Whilst there it was reported on the local news channel that there were lots of meal deals to be had at local eateries but be aware that fizzy drinks can be expensive compared to the meal. This was backed up by people standing at intersections with large cards advertising meal deals. Take a drinks cooler you can pack it with chilled drinks and save money in the theme parks over their prices. If you really want to save money refill a bottle with water from the drinking fountains. It costs $14 a day to park at theme park. Most hotels have buses going to the major parks and you can save on the cost of parking. I returned to Epcot one night to watch the fireworks and discovered you could get in the car park for free. There are a number of gardens, zoos, boat trips and museums to visit in the area and these are much cheaper than the major theme parks. If you were on holiday in the Med you would be probably working on your tan and you can do the same lying on a bed at the hotel swimming pool, which never seem to be busy during the day.
If you look at the UK website of the largest player in Orlando, WDW it will only shows 14 day tickets for £232, 21 day tickets £264 or 5 day tickets for £225, 14 day and 21 day tickets are good value if you want to spend long periods using all the features of the tickets. If you only want to spend say 5 days in WDW theme parks and do not require any other extra features you can purchase base tickets. These only allow you to go to 1 park a day. The tickets are cheaper and can be purchased at the entrance to any WDW theme park. If you wish to purchase them in advance there are details of reliable sellers on this well known website together with more information for other parks.
Thanks to all the contributors, this thread has also been very useful to me as I intend travelling to Orlando in May for the ISM conference and opportunity of vacation and sightseeing. My question are as follows:
Are there buses or rail transport from Orlando to Miami? I am really not too comfortable with the idea of renting a car as I am likely to fall fowl of the driving rules in the US, i.e speed limits, where to turn and where not to turn or stop, etc. I am comming from Africa and such rules are not too stringent.
What are the interesting things for an adult to see or do in Disney (i have heard so much about Disney) and would like to have the experience but I have always thought disney to be some sought of amusement park for children.
Thirdly, are there trains from Orlando or Miami to Maryland? Thanks all for the anticipated useful guidance.
Orlandos BEST MOVIE THEATER
1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland,
Fondest memory: The Enzian is the area's best bet for an evening at the movies that won't leave a patron ruing the state of cinematic entertainment. Intelligently selected indie fare is place's continuing calling card, though its popularity also has a good deal to do with the availability of good food.
Favorite thing: My sister pretty much left me in charge of planning the entire trip, and I would say that the few hours I spent looking up different websites and digging through my Birnbaum pocket guide really made a difference. Even though everything is so well organized at Walt Disney World that you could easily get by without having done any research beforehand, having an idea of what you want to do and knowing when's the best time to do it definitely allows you to make the most of your time at the theme parks. Reading a description of all the different rides can be quite useful if you don't want to spend too much time waiting to go on a ride that either proves to be too wild or too mellow for your group, and knowing which rides you should get a fastpass for also really helps. There was a nice feeling every evening when we left a theme park knowing we'd seen and done everything we'd put on our list!
Unless you are staying within the Disney complex and you are not going to venture out... you need a car to get about.... and the beauty of having a car means that you then don't have to be tied to the Disney complex... and if you are not tied to the complex you have a broader scope of accommodation available to you. A good base for exploring, not just Orlando but around, is Kissimmee - there are also some "lesser" attractions in and around Kissimmee, such as Gatorland Zoo.
Orlando is a great initial base and if you are not wishing to merely spend all of your time trudging around large theme parks it is worth exploring Florida in more detail and a chance to go to the Everglades National Park should not be missed.
Fondest memory: Of course, one of the most wonderful things about Orlando is just how child friendly it is - this is probably one of the easiest places for a family to holiday!
Favorite thing: keep an eye out for coupon books and discounts for themeparks, attractions, restaurants, souveior shops etc. Most hotels and restaurants have racks filled with coupons in their lobbies or reception areas. So make sure to grab one.
Favorite thing: Fast Pass enables you to cut all the waiting time in a specific ride. Simply look for a "Fast Pass" machine (selected attractions) and then insert your fats pass ticket into the fastpass kiosk. You will receive a fastpass ticket with a return time so you can go and play in the park or do other activites instead of waiting in line. Just make suret o get your Disney ticket. Afterwhich, come back during your return time and hop on the attraction with little or no waiting time.
Disneyworld is so huge and its impossible to see all those 4 major themeparks in one day. It is either you purchase a longer number of days, or a park hopper ticket or a no expiration ticket.
Disney ticket is one of the most expensive themepark in Orlando. Next would be Universal Studios. So better yet plan ahead and make sure to make an itinerary to where and when to visit the parks and museums. This would save you time!
Also, one cannot resist the attracting souvenirs which you can find within the parks. mind you, most of them are pretty expensive. A shot glass would cost you $5.00 to $7.00 each. While T-shirts and other clothing ranges from $25- 40 per piece.
In cases that you really love to get some souvenir items (which i think we all love to do) Go and visit any Walmart branch, they have wide selection of Disney items at a lower price.
Favorite thing: There are an abundance of discount coupons available for many restaurants, shops and attractions. Make sure you pick them up wherever you see them! You can save a fair amount for a large family meal to shopping on I-Drive.
Marble Slab Creamery
Fondest memory: After choosing one of the shop's homemade ice cream flavors, you're given the option of adding some of the 37 different "mixins. Choices range from pineapples and raspberries to Ding Dongs and Whoppers.
4201 S. Orange Ave.,
Fondest memory: surprisingly diverse menu.
all-you-can-eat fish fries (on Tuesdays and Fridays) salads and wraps lobster nuggets and toasted ravioli, surf & turf ....you can bring your dog!
1108 S. Orange Blossom Trail, (407) 422-7115,
Fondest memory: boots and bikinis.....and ....rednecks.
joint package store/honkytonk is 15,000 square feet even hosting a weekly teen night for rednecks in training.
Crealdé School of Art
600 St. Andrews Blvd., Winter Park,
Fondest memory: in and around the quaint bungalows at Crealdé School of Art, on the shores of the lake hidden behind a Publix.
Not that it's a big deal or anything, but the school is well-regarded for its weekly "Life Drawing" classes (working with, ahem, live nude models).
Favorite thing: On a map of Greater Orlando (which we'all refer to as Central Florida)...the Ocala National Forest is the green area in the middle to the right of Ocala. St Augustine is north on I-4 to I-95 north of where you see Flagler, just barely out of the picture. DISNEYWORLD is 20 miles southwest in Kissimmee. Hey you guys are world travellers.............piece of cake, right?;-)
BEST LIVE THEATER
Carr Performing Arts Centre
401 W. Livingston St. (407) 849-2020,
National tours of all the Broadways...from Phantom, to Oklahoma, to Cats, to Les Mis.
Mad Cow Theatre
105 S. Magnolia Ave., (407) 297-8788, www.madcowtheatre.com
nine shows on two stages (often in overlapping runs)
Theatre Downtown>after 15 years is still undervalued as a resource for dramatic art.
Outta town>>>> ICEHOUSE Theater
Mt Dora 352-383-4616
Fondest memory: My best memory is the ICEHOUSE Theater where yours trully has done 28 plays;-)
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