Driving and other Transport, Orlando
the greatest danger to tourists visiting central florida is traffic accidents. the orlando area has on the average 50 traffic accidents a day. drivers in central florida frequently run stop lights, speed, talk on cell phones. and drive aggressively. in order not to get involved in a auto accident you must drive very defensively.
Since we didn't have a rental car, we relied on the hotel shuttle to get us to the Magic Kingdom on our first day in Orlando. The shuttle does not run frequently from the Seralago Hotel, we weren't up in time for the 7:30 am shuttle so we caught the 9:50 shuttle to EPCOT. We made several other hotel stops before arriving at EPCOT, then we had to transfer to a monorail and then another monorail so by the time we actually got to the Magic Kingdom it was around 11:15 or 11:30. I'm not sure how much a taxi would have been but I would have gladly paid it for the amount of time we spent in transit.
This might sound pretty basic for most of you... but I didn't realise that having lived most of my life in a country that travels on the left (Australia) could put me in so much danger when visiting a country that travels on the right!
I almost stepped out in front of vehicles more than once because I didn't expect them to be there! Sounds pretty funny now that I think of it... but I can tell you it was the BIGGEST adrelhilan rush of panic I've had prior to my roof being torn off in a torando!
Aparently, pedestrians must only cross at marked crosswalks or intersections, anything else is classed as "jay walking".
Also, as is frequently the case, drivers who intend to turn right at traffic lights are allowed to do so even when they are faced with a RED "stop" light! This is permitted because they will not be crossing the path of another moving vehicle... but its so weird when you come from a place that believes in 'Red means stop' not 'giveway' (or yeild as they say in the US).
Always look left, right left... NOT right, left, right... when you're travelling around America!
Be careful and travel safe!
I have lived in Orlando for 4 years. I have adopted the "4-second rule" at stop lights. Once my light turns green, I assume people will continue to blow thru the red light for 4 more seconds. On two occasions, this has saved me from being hit.
I have never seen so many people ignore red lights as in Orlando.
If you are approaching an intersection and your light turns yellow, you should slow to a stop, of course. But check your rear view mirror to see if there's an idiot behind you. He may be shocked that you are actually going to stop.
When you enter Disney World through the Western gate or if you are otherwise on Western Way watch out for speed traps! As a local this is where I enter into Disney and it is nice and quiet road but has the Orange County Sheriff Office handing out speeding tickets. The road could handle traffic easily at 65 MPH but the limit is 45 MPH and over the "bridge" it is 35 MPH, this is where they get you so be careful.
I should have booked hotel on the territory of Disney,I didn't and It took a lot of our time,we got lost and not everywhere people speak English,some speak only Spanish,so you have to figure out how to get to the place on your own sometimes. So if you want to see Disney only- you should book Disney resort!
It is a rerity that we take a car to the parks since we use Disney Transport when we stay on property. The one time we did use a car to get to the parks; I was obverwhelmed at how big the parking area was. Liz decided to snap a picture of te section marker in which we were parked. It clearly stated the location, the row and then we took a pic of the spot number. Liz has a good memeory and didn't need to look at the pic later to find our car but I think it's a good idea regardless.
Florida is a peculiar place to drive. You have the local workforce rushing off to and from their workplaces. Then there are the dazed and confused tourist family vehicles rubber-necking at every sign and billboard trying to gleen important tourist attraction info. And then there's the
s-l-o-w m-o-v-i-n-g senior citizen element. I'm not saying that all the retired folks in Fla. drive slow, BUT a certain percentage of them do take it slower than the posted speed limits, and with other cars rushing over the limit things can become DANGEROUS. Beware of slower moving vehicles. I encountered several Srs. Going 25-35 MPH under the limit.Better get 'Midasized' on your car brakes.
Florida road signs are slightly less than adequate considering all the traffic, but the theme parks for the most part did seem to have plenty of supplemental signs to 'reel you in'.Also be aware that night driving in Florida can be extremely dangerous, due to it being very dark once you get out of the commercial and urban areas. Many tourists have died in accidents from driving off the road where visability is diminshed quickly due to fog or rainy conditions. Several tourists drown in car mishaps when they drive into a new construction area where lighting and signs are inadequate to warn speeding travelers of the retention basin or small body of water just beyond the intersection they are sliding or skidding through.BE VERY CAREFUL AT NIGHT.
Orlando ia quite city but USA are not like Europe for some think.
Take care when you drive your car.
Speed limit are very rigid and police is very careful.
You can t drink any alcoholic out side the pub and smoking is allowed in designated areas only. This is in the Park
Street signs vary from area to area so get explicit instructions and be careful stopping to ask directions as some areas are not very safe. If you get lost go to a well lit convenience store which is usually a satellite sheriff's station.
3 simple but helpful tips:
If you are from any countries that drives on the left side:
DO NOT DRIVE ONTO THE RIGHT SIDE OF ROAD.
I see tourists contantly drive on the left side of the road (and cause accidents) in the tourist populated areas.
DRIVE WITH CONSISTANCY.
Do not make a sudden slow down/stop to check out the roadside.
I know those buildings/attractions were built that way to, uh, attract!
but the traffic behind you may not appreciate that.
BEWARE OF BAD DRIVERS LISTED ABOVE.
We didn't really encounter too many problems while travelling apart from the night we were coming back from Busch Gardens. Due to a faulty fuel gauge we ran out of petrol/gas on the highway. We all waited in the car hoping for a police car to stop because we were too worried about wildlife etc., in the end we had to run over a mile in the dark to the nearest garage to get some more petrol/gas. Luckily we were ok but things could have been different and we also got a free upgrade on the car because of this.
I am a resident, therefore I can tell you, do not rely on public transportation! Definitely, rent a car. Orlando roads are pretty easy to maneuver and you should have to problems finding anything. Taxis are way overpriced and unreliable and don't even get me started on the bus system. The one thing Orlando is lacking is adequate public transportation.
Don't stay on I-4; it's like driving down the Strip in Las Vegas; most of the other drivers are so busy looking at everything, or want to get across six lanes of traffic, that's it's chaos. Drive carefully. if you can, stay on Disney property; it's REALLY worth it.
We didn't use a car while in Orlando so we either bused or walked. Please be careful when crossing roads , especially International Drive.
There are regularly placed crossings but the roads are so wide that if someone in your party is a bit slow (small children or the elderly) the lights tend to change when your still only about 2/3 of the way across. A bit scary when all these big american cars start revving!!