Topic Wiki

Orlando Overview
Orlando is a magical place that's not too far from home and cheap to get to with miles. Obviously, Disney, Universal and SeaWorld are the main attractions, but there are other things to do as well. The theme parks are not just for families with kids; a couple can have an absolute blast as well!

Trip Reports:
@Yehuda's trip to Universal - Quick TR Summary, Detailed TR (it's in 4 posts, so keep scrolling)

Getting there and getting around:

How long should I go for?
The length of your trip will likely be based on the number of parks you want to go to. Don't rush your day - give yourself a full day per park, walk around slowly, get engrossed in the magical worlds that are Disney and Universal, and wait on long lines all day :P . Some will say that you can do parks in less than a day, which may be true for certain ones, so then do a park and a night activity; don't squeeze in 2 parks in 1 day because you finished 1 park at 3PM.

Air:
MCO is Orlando's airport. You can fly directly from all New York airports. Flying business from NY will have just marginally better seats/service for double the price. The only useful benefit is getting more free checked bags, so if may be worth sending 1 person in your family in J so they can bring an extra bag. As of 1/15, Uber was not allowed at MCO due to an airport fee dispute, so the 2 ways to get an Uber are 1) Take a random hotel shuttle to a hotel and then call an Uber from there (suggested by @Uber on Twitter, but join the ethical discussion of using a shuttle if you're not staying at that hotel) and 2) Move the pin on your Uber map to a road outside the airport so that you can officially request a ride. Once a driver responds, call him and tell him you're actually in MCO and see if he'll agree to pick you up anyway. Below are the direct flight options with one-way Saver prices in Y/J.

HPN:
B6 - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight

EWR:
UA - 12.5K/25K
B6 - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight
WN - New non-stop flights beginning March 2016 - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight but if you're flying with your +1 and you have the Companion Pass, this can be your cheapest way to MCO

LGA:
DL - 12.5K/25K
B6 - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight

JFK:
AA/US - 12.5K/25K with AA miles | 7.5K/15K with BA miles
DL - 12.5K/25K
B6 - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight

ISP:
WN - miles vary based on the dollar cost of the flight but if you're flying with your +1 and you have the Companion Pass, this can be your cheapest way to MCO

Car:
A car is not absolutely necessary in Orlando, but it will definitely make things easier for you so you can be on your own schedule. Keep in mind, you'll have to pay parking fees at the parks each day. Many hotels have complimentary shuttles to the airport or the parks and some might even have both. If your hotel only has a parks shuttle, you can probably get a cab for the airport trips for cheaper than renting a car. If Minyan and going to the Kosher restaurants are on your radar, then you will likely need a car, although there are hotels that are both near those sites and have shuttles to the parks. See where your hotel is and decide if you need a car.


Where to stay:

Basically, your options are to stay at a hotel in the 10-15 minute range from the parks, at an official Disney or Universal Resort, or renting a private home in the greater Orlando area.

Here are some places that are discussed in this thread:

NameAreaMore InfoComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Comfort Inn & Suites Universal Convention Center10-20 minutes from parksWebsiteNot the fanciest, but being a Choice property means there's a BRG possibility. Free shuttle to Universal and SeaWorld. 5 minute walk to Kosher Gourmet restaurant/grocery and 20 minute walk to Chabad.
HotelDisney ResortWebsiteSPG category X; X/night
HotelUniversal ResortWebsiteSPG category X; X/night
"Get your own place"Greater Orlando AreaAirBNB, VRBO, HomeAway, Florida Sandanavian/ Vacation Pool HomesRenting a private home can be great for a family. You'll get more for your money over a hotel - a couple of bedrooms, living/dining rooms, and a full kitchen. There will usually be a pool, and if you look hard enough, you can find one that's enclosed for privacy. The downside is that they're usually not too close to the parks, which means you'll definitely need a car and have to pay for parking at the parks.


What to do:

Theme Parks:

With some searching you might find a travel/tourist website (like Musement) that may have a sale that you can use towards the tickets. For Universal Studios, the cheapest place to buy would be from Chabad of South Orlando.  Tickets are only sold for the upcoming "season". So in December, you'll be able to buy tickets for January break, but not for Pesach, and in the summer, you likely won't yet be able to get for the upcoming January.

Disney ParksComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Magic KingdomLorem ipsum
EpcotLorem ispum
Hollywood StudiosFormerly MGM Studios. Lorem ipsum
Animal KingdomLorem ipsum

All Disney parks have airline style food at specific cafes. Not very good but at least it's a hot meal without leaving the park. You can see the list of cafes on Chabad's site here.

Universal ParksComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
StudiosThe first of the 2 parks built, so it has some of the more classic rides like E.T. and The Mummy, while also featuring plenty of newer rides like Shrek, Minions, and Transformers. There are 1 or 2 roller coasters, and the rest of the rides are more like shows/3D/4D rides. Home to Harry Potter: Diagon Alley. If you have a park-to-park ticket, you can ride the Hogwarts Express train to connect to the HP World in Islands of Adventure. Only Kosher snacks are available here, no real food. As of 1/15, the mix for ButterBeer had a hechsher, but the topping did not, and they won't serve you without it. For a TR on the park, see here.
Islands of AdventureFeaturing rides like Jurassic Park and The Hulk, this park also has 1-2 roller coasters, while the rest of the rides are more of the show/3D/4D variety. Home to Harry Potter: Hogsmeade. If you have a park-to-park ticket, you can ride the Hogwarts Express train to connect to the HP World in Studios. Only Kosher snacks are available here, no real food. As of 1/15, the mix for ButterBeer had a hechsher, but the topping did not, and they won't serve you without it. For a TR on the park, see here.

Other ParksComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
SeaWorldA very family friendly park, less packed than Disney and Universal. Cheap annual passes as well as combo discounts for SeaWorld and Busch Gardens (which is in Tampa, 1hr away). [I bought some sea world tickets from the daily getaways deal that I will not end up using, If anyone wants them at cost please PM me 12HRS have 6 $50 each]
LegoLandLocated in Winter Haven, the park is a bit of a distance from the Greater Orlando area - approx. 45- 55 min away from other Orlando parks. LegoLand has an amusement park as well as a water park. If you look online it looks like the 2 are often not open on the same day. Each park costs about as much as the Disney/Universal parks (~$80) and can be greatly enjoyed by children, but can be underwhelming for adults. All rides are "kiddie" rides, some don't even allow adults on. The park is missing the magic of Disney/Universal, but may be much emptier than those parks, so that's a plus. The life-size Lego statues around the park are cool, but their water damage shows that LegoLand just doesn't get the "magic" necessary for an Orlando park. Kids will love the mini coasters and rides, something they might not be able to experience too much in Universal and parts of Disney.
See here for cheaper tickets (~$100 total for 1 adult and 1 child ticket)


Other Attractions & Activities

NameMore InfoComments
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
WonderworksWebsiteLorem ipsum
Fun SpotWebsiteLorem ispum
Titanic The ExperienceWebsiteLorem ipsum
Ripley's Believe it or notWebsiteLorem ipsum
Disney QuestWebsiteLorem ipsum
Cirque De SoleilWebsiteLorem ipsum
Orlando Science CenterWebsiteLorem ipsum
Kennedy Space Center - Visitor's ComplexWebsiteTour NASA's KSC. Now features Space Shuttle Atlantis.



Shuls:

NameMore InfoComments
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Chabad of South OrlandoWebsiteDaily Minyanim - Shachris @ 8:00AM and 9:30AM on Shabbos. Mincha/Maariv is 10 minutes before Shkia, which can be difficult to make if you're spending the day in a park. During very peak seasons, they'll have an extra Maariv later at night.
Orlando Torah AcademyWebsiteLocal day school that has Shacharis @ 8:30AM Monday - Friday (Nusach Edot haMizrach) during the school year. Peak season more likely to have Minyan than offpeak.
Orlando Torah CenterWebsiteShachris @ 6:45AM weekdays, 8:00AM Sunday, 9:00AM Shabbos (Nusach Ashkenaz). Mincha/Maariv is before/after Shkiah, which can be difficult to make if you're spending the day in a park.

Food:

For Kosher food inside the theme parks, see the comments section of the specific park above.

NameMore InfoComments
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Kosher GourmetWebsiteA classic deli with slightly pricey/reasonable prices, unlimited fountain soda refills, and mostly-friendly service. You may be able to find discounted gift cards at GreatKosherDeals.com. Next to the restaurant is also a Kosher grocery. The restaurant will give you a bag to go shopping with and you'll bring your purchases back to the restaurant to pay. Mostly (only?) non-perishables sold here. You may want to check with your LOR regarding Kashrus. (Certified by the RCF)
Kosher GrillWebsiteLink to CRC website recommending the new hashgocha
Letter from the Star-K recommending the hashgacha on this restaurant
Letter from local rabbonim denouncing the new hashgocha 

Review from shiframeir - Got takeout from here (place was packed and crazy for Yeshiva week), and the food was actually very good though understandably not cheap. Shwarma on baguette was great - even though they threw in this cabbage salad that scared me, it actually went great with the shwarma. Burgers were thick with flavor and decent shoe string fries. Caesar salad with chicken was what it is everywhere but with a real flame grilled piece of chicken. Stir fry wasn't fantastic, but is a nice alternative option on the menu that we enjoyed. Chili wings didn't really have much sauce flavor, but maybe they're better when you don't take it to go. You may want to check with your LOR regarding Kashrus.
Review from yeki89 (when this store was a food truck called Kosher on Wheels) - Falafel & fries was very good with large portions and fair prices.
Lower East SideWebsiteFleishig restaurant. You may want to check with your LOR regarding Kashrus.
Milk & HoneyGoogleDairy restaurant. You may want to check with your LOR regarding Kashrus.
Simka's SweetsWebsiteIce cream store a bit outside of Orlando that is non-Cholov Yisroel.
Winn DixieStore LocatorLocated on Apopka Vineland (yes, that's a street name), this supermarket carries Cholov Yisroel milk and many other Kosher products.
PantryWebsite40 Minutes from WDW
Jerusalem GrillWebsite1 hr away in Daytona Beach


« Last edited by 12HRS on June 25, 2017, 01:18:35 PM »

Author Topic: Orlando Master Thread  (Read 94491 times)

Offline kayef

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #45 on: July 27, 2011, 10:51:04 PM »
I am going to be in orlando for a confrence which doesnt end till friday afternoon, any ideas what to do for shabbos?
check out kosherorlando.com
They have minyan and catered meals and there are a few hotels in walking distance.

Offline sprint

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #46 on: July 28, 2011, 12:46:30 AM »
http://www.orlandojewishinfo.com/
email them - theyll get back to you about advice for shabbos...

Offline Dan

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Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #48 on: August 10, 2011, 01:48:44 PM »
Anyone know about kosher food in the Theme Parks. My family and I are going to be going in 2 weeks. Also is there only 1 kosher restaurant in Orlando(Lower East Side)?

Offline Mocha

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #49 on: September 27, 2011, 10:32:07 AM »
Anyone gonna be here chol hamoed?

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #50 on: September 27, 2011, 12:51:05 PM »
Anyone know about kosher food in the Theme Parks. My family and I are going to be going in 2 weeks. Also is there only 1 kosher restaurant in Orlando(Lower East Side)?

Very little kosher food in theme parks. just snack Bags and drinks

I was just there....Basically BYOF - Bring your own food

Offline Mocha

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #51 on: September 27, 2011, 01:15:49 PM »
I got that..was there before. Was looking asking for minyanim/sukkah location wise. Thanks a lot though!

Offline Finckmyster

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #52 on: October 03, 2011, 02:07:58 PM »
Ormond Beach is an Hour a way and we have a Minyanim 3 times a day, a sukkah, and a very good restaurant

 

Offline WiddleAvi

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Disney World Tix with miles
« Reply #53 on: December 01, 2011, 12:09:39 AM »
Is it possible to tickets to Disney World with miles or Starwood points ? So far I got Airfare and hotel all covered with miles. Would be great if I can get tickets into the park with miles as well.

Offline ishkabible

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #54 on: December 06, 2011, 09:36:26 AM »
Anyone know about kosher food in the Theme Parks. My family and I are going to be going in 2 weeks. Also is there only 1 kosher restaurant in Orlando(Lower East Side)?

Every park has a packaged kosher meal from Webberman Foods available on demand (plus heating time) at one restaurant per park for $10.  They have also expanded that to most of the hotel cafeterias.  In the parks they are available at:

Magic Kingdom - Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe (Meat)
Hollywood Studios - ABC Commissary (Meat)
Epcot - The American Adventure (Meat)
Animal Kingdom - Pizzafari (Dairy)

Additionally, you can have a kosher meal ordered to any sit down restaurant on property 24 hours in advance.  I think they're pretty good, but a little steep ($20) last time I went.

As for other foods in the park, all the ice cream carts have the hechshers on the sign, almost all their ice cream is kosher.  Beyond that, a bunch of the Chip and Dale mixed nuts are Star-K and most of the chocolate gifts are marked too.  Finally, please consult your local orthodox Rabbi but I can tell you that it's possible that some of the popcorn is kosher.  What I mean by that is that the street vending carts were provided new as part of the contract established with Orville Redenbacher back in the late 90's.  Since then, Disney has only used Orville Redenbacher kernels which come in hechshered bags and they do not add any oils or butters to their kernels -- they are pretreated.  As I said, please speak to your Rabbi, but those are some facts.

Offline WiddleAvi

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #55 on: December 07, 2011, 05:33:05 PM »
Has anyone had the food that can give a review on how decent it is ? Is there a variety to choose from ? Thanks

Offline ishkabible

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #56 on: December 15, 2011, 11:54:22 AM »
Has anyone had the food that can give a review on how decent it is ? Is there a variety to choose from ? Thanks

The meals that are available with no prior notice are edible but certainly nothing to write home about.  I think you'd quickly get sick of them if you relied on them heavily but if you get caught in a FL rainstorm and just want something warm to eat it can certainly hit the spot.  The options vary by location (not every place carries all options) but they are: Hot dog (I'd call more of a bageldog) with mini potato croquettes (similar to a knish), Chicken fingers with croquettes, Hamburger with croquettes, Corned beef sandwich with croquettes or a personal pizza.

The sit down menu options are much tastier (at least what I've tried) and really do hit the spot even if they are pricey.  The options (as of a few months ago) are: Choice of soup - Matzah ball or vegetable, choice of entree - lasagna, brisket, chicken breast, or salmon.  All entrees come with small sides of mixed veggies and potatoes (either sliced or mashed).  Choice of desert - parve cheese cake or apple strudel very good).  Also all the meals come with a cute multi-bread (where 4 types are stuck together) roll.  Hope that helps.

Offline kivabb

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #57 on: December 15, 2011, 12:01:40 PM »
You can schedule kosher dinner in restaurant on top of Contemporary during fireworks show for a nice view

Offline ChikkyMonkey

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #58 on: December 17, 2011, 04:41:06 PM »
I'm driving from Carolina to Florida.. Plan on arriving in Orlando Monday night (Dec 26) and fly out of Miami on Friday morning..

Does it make sense to spend more time in Orlando or Miami? We are coming with 3 kids, ages 5, 3, and baby... Are outdoor pools warm enough this time of year for swimming?

Was thinking of going to Disney World Tuesday (figured the kids would like it?! are they too young?)

Then wanted to do some outlet shopping before heading out to Miami on Wednesday morning.

As of now booked at the Westin Diplomat for Wednesday and thursday. Any ideas what the kids might enjoy there?
(posting in Miami thread as well)

Offline Mocha

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Re: South Florida Master Thread
« Reply #59 on: December 18, 2011, 12:09:08 PM »
I'm driving from Carolina to Florida.. Plan on arriving in Orlando Monday night (Dec 26) and fly out of Miami on Friday morning..

Does it make sense to spend more time in Orlando or Miami? We are coming with 3 kids, ages 5, 3, and baby... Are outdoor pools warm enough this time of year for swimming?

Was thinking of going to Disney World Tuesday (figured the kids would like it?! are they too young?)

(posting in Orlando thread as well)
I would have stayed in Orlando, kids will definitely enjoy it more than Miami. IMHO I do not think they are too young, but YKMV (K=KIDS)   ;D. Weather can get cool at times, but the average weather this time of year is warm enough for water activities in both locations.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 12:35:04 PM by Mocha »