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 Yesterday at 01:18:35 PM »

Author Topic: Orlando Master Thread  (Read 82939 times)

Offline bades

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Gold Elite
  • ******
  • Join Date: Aug 2008
  • Posts: 933
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #90 on: January 25, 2012, 11:26:26 AM »
Cohen's Deli is awesome!! just go there once or twice a day and you'll be good.. amazing deli sandwiches!!

thank you

Offline Avrumi

  • Non-Elite Member
  • Join Date: Feb 2011
  • Posts: 8
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
  • Location: Lakewood
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #91 on: April 25, 2012, 12:34:46 AM »
Hi all,

I am planning on going on vacation with my wife the first week of June in Florida and i have a couple of questions that i could not find the answer by searching thru the other topics and I was hoping somebody could help me out.

I currently have 75K starwood points which I hope will cover the flight and hotel expenses.
To book a hotel with points seems pretty simple on the SPG site.
As for the flights, thats where i need a little help.


Do i book the flight thru the starwood site, star alliance or the airline directly?
Do i have to transfer points to an airline first, or can I book it with starpoints?
What is the best way to see how many starpoints a particular flight would cost?
Am i better off using the nights and flights option?

Any response is greatly appreciated and i apologize in advance if i posted this in the wrong thread.



Offline Name Changed

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Sep 2011
  • Posts: 4844
  • Total likes: 3
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 13
    • View Profile
  • Location: Lakewood
  • Programs: Avis Presidents Club, National Executive Elite, Hertz Presidents Circle, Sixt Platinum, SPG Gold, eBay Platinum
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #92 on: April 25, 2012, 08:33:07 AM »
Where are you flying from?

Assuming you are in the NY area -

I there direct are flights from EWR to MCO with AA. If you transfer points to British Airways its only 15k per ticket. With the bonus 5k when you transfer 20k it'll be 25k for 2 tickets...




Offline Ergel

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 10K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jun 2010
  • Posts: 10788
  • Total likes: 9
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
Re: Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #93 on: April 25, 2012, 08:41:58 AM »
Where are you flying from?

Assuming you are in the NY area -

I there direct are flights from EWR to MCO with AA. If you transfer points to British Airways its only 15k per ticket. With the bonus 5k when you transfer 20k it'll be 25k for 2 tickets...
Plus there its a 25% bonus now so it will only be 20k
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

Offline JEWDA

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Nov 2011
  • Posts: 3660
  • Total likes: 2
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 75
    • View Profile
  • Programs: Dansdeals PRESIDENTIAL Platinum Elite, SPG Gold, Hyatt Diamond, HHonors Gold, Avis Presidents Club, King Fisher Silver, Hertz #1 Club President Circle Gold, SIXT Platinum, PC Platinum Elite
Re: Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #94 on: April 25, 2012, 08:55:07 AM »
Plus there its a 25% bonus now so it will only be 20k
from starwood to BA?
Your Ad Can Be Here! PM For Lowest Rates.

Offline Ergel

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 10K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jun 2010
  • Posts: 10788
  • Total likes: 9
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
Re: Re: Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #95 on: April 25, 2012, 09:07:13 AM »
from starwood to BA?
For any hotel transfers to ba. I imagine the bonus posts on ba's side so 20K->25K->31.25K
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

Offline bades

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Gold Elite
  • ******
  • Join Date: Aug 2008
  • Posts: 933
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #96 on: April 25, 2012, 10:52:53 AM »
also check to see the cost of hotels per night with $$ vs. points i was in orlando recently at a CAT. 4 or  5 and i got rooms for $120 per night, and they had a promo i earned over 5k points for the stay..

Offline Avrumi

  • Non-Elite Member
  • Join Date: Feb 2011
  • Posts: 8
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
  • Location: Lakewood
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #97 on: April 25, 2012, 01:45:30 PM »
Should I initiate the transfer from starwood, or from the airline?

Offline Name Changed

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Sep 2011
  • Posts: 4844
  • Total likes: 3
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 13
    • View Profile
  • Location: Lakewood
  • Programs: Avis Presidents Club, National Executive Elite, Hertz Presidents Circle, Sixt Platinum, SPG Gold, eBay Platinum
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #98 on: April 25, 2012, 01:47:21 PM »
Should I initiate the transfer from starwood, or from the airline?
From starwood

Offline youG

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Silver Elite
  • *****
  • Join Date: Feb 2010
  • Posts: 652
  • Total likes: 1
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #99 on: June 28, 2012, 08:18:15 PM »
I just booked a last minute trip to Orlando and I've never been there can anyone recomend a nice place to stay.( everything seems pretty cheap- Waldorf for 180$) and kosher food as well things that are a must see

Any advice is appreciated and thanks in advance

Offline Dan

  • Administrator
  • Dansdeals Lifetime 40K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • **********
  • Join Date: May 2008
  • Posts: 46675
  • Total likes: 406
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 14379
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: CLE
  • Programs: UA Global Services, AA Lifetime Plat, DL Dirt, SPG Plat, Hyatt Diamond, Fairmont Lifetime Plat, Hilton Diamond, Priority Club Plat, Avis Chairman, National EE, Hertz PC
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #100 on: June 28, 2012, 08:21:46 PM »
Rent your own condo with private pool.
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.

Offline youG

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Silver Elite
  • *****
  • Join Date: Feb 2010
  • Posts: 652
  • Total likes: 1
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #101 on: June 28, 2012, 09:40:54 PM »
do you know one thats nice?
I got scared away cuz someone told me he booked one that was very raunchy when he got there.

can't imagine atmosphere as "vacationy" as a hotel

Offline Dan

  • Administrator
  • Dansdeals Lifetime 40K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • **********
  • Join Date: May 2008
  • Posts: 46675
  • Total likes: 406
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 14379
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: CLE
  • Programs: UA Global Services, AA Lifetime Plat, DL Dirt, SPG Plat, Hyatt Diamond, Fairmont Lifetime Plat, Hilton Diamond, Priority Club Plat, Avis Chairman, National EE, Hertz PC
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #102 on: June 28, 2012, 09:42:41 PM »
Raunchy?

There are literally thousands of vacation homes for rent in Orlando, I'm sure they run the gamut from 1 to 5 star, just do the research.
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.

Offline DrDanny

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Feb 2012
  • Posts: 1130
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
  • Location: Detroit/NewYork/PalmBeach
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #103 on: June 28, 2012, 09:51:00 PM »
Ya this time of year you can get a gorgeous house with a pool for Pennies

Offline JEWDA

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Nov 2011
  • Posts: 3660
  • Total likes: 2
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 75
    • View Profile
  • Programs: Dansdeals PRESIDENTIAL Platinum Elite, SPG Gold, Hyatt Diamond, HHonors Gold, Avis Presidents Club, King Fisher Silver, Hertz #1 Club President Circle Gold, SIXT Platinum, PC Platinum Elite
Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #104 on: June 28, 2012, 09:53:52 PM »
Rent your own condo with private pool.
Im surprised you didn't tell him to go to Hawaii ;)
Your Ad Can Be Here! PM For Lowest Rates.