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 = 4 parts Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

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 or Orlando Torah Academy . 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 Kingdom
Epcot
Hollywood StudiosFormerly MGM Studios.
Animal Kingdom

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).
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
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
WonderworksWebsite
Fun SpotWebsite
Titanic The ExperienceWebsiteGeared towards older kids / adults
Ripley's Believe it or notWebsite
Disney QuestWebsite
Cirque De SoleilWebsite
Orlando Science CenterWebsite
Kennedy Space Center - Visitor's ComplexWebsiteTour NASA's KSC. Now features Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Skeleton MuseumWebsite



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 additional for Yeshiva week) 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. (Certified by the RCF)
Kosher GrillWebsiteReview 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.
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.
(Certified by the RCF)
Catering by Motti / Motti's BistroWebsiteTakeout food available for Shabbos. Bistro restaurant only open during Yeshiva week
Winn DixieStore LocatorLocated on Apopka Vineland (yes, that's a street name), this supermarket carries Cholov Yisroel milk and many other Kosher products.
Jerusalem GrillWebsite1 hr away in Daytona Beach

« Last edited by mendelk on April 03, 2019, 10:16:40 PM »

Author Topic: Orlando Master Thread  (Read 233181 times)

Offline youG

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #120 on: July 08, 2012, 01:39:11 PM »
I almost forgot the worst part of all!!!
I reserved a car from Payless rental car!! It was the worst experience in my life!!
Firstly I had to wait 25 minutes for the shuttle, then when I got there I had a reservation that said  estimate 46$total for 3 days. they said it was just an estimate and had to add on another 36$ per day plus taxes and fees my total for 3 days was 165$!!
I said I had my own insurance and asked to speak to manager who tried to convince me to pay the 165 and she will give me convertible.( it was tempting) I said I won't pay more than 45$  . She claimed that my email was just estimate and lowest they can bring down price to 115$ I fought for a while but ended up suckering into it!
  Then they said because of inconvienience they will upgrade me from my yaris. Sounds good right. Wrong I got a 2008 Hyundai accent with no power anything and radio barely worked!!!!!
NEVER AGAIN!!

Offline DrDanny

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #121 on: July 08, 2012, 01:53:40 PM »
Are you gonna dispute the charge

Offline youG

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #122 on: July 08, 2012, 02:05:10 PM »
I'm not sure if I can since I agreed before the rental. Anyone have experience with something like this?

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #123 on: July 08, 2012, 05:09:44 PM »
I have once disputed part of a car rental... But it was for the underage fee - that they didnt tell me I would be getting charged at the time of rental

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #124 on: July 18, 2012, 12:26:14 AM »
+100, definitely the way to go in cities like Orlando or Palm Springs where there is a massive glut of houses with private pools/hot tubs for rent for as little as a hotel room.
How do i find a rental house with a pool?
Learner-Churner or Churner-Learner?

Offline robi

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #125 on: July 18, 2012, 12:28:18 AM »
How do i find a rental house with a pool?
try vrbo.com
"I'd rather be hated for who I am, then loved for who I'm not"

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #126 on: July 18, 2012, 03:12:29 AM »
Thanks!
Learner-Churner or Churner-Learner?

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #127 on: July 24, 2012, 05:53:18 PM »
Im looking for an Apt with pool also preferably a haymish owned with a pool for after 9bav... anyone?

Offline Ergel

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #128 on: July 24, 2012, 06:56:23 PM »
So you can pay more?
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

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hyatt in orlando
« Reply #129 on: July 25, 2012, 05:32:41 PM »
I have the 2 free suite nights from opening a hyatt card. The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is telling me that they only offer the "executive suite" for those rewards. Any idea how to get into a "Bylevel Suite" or the "Presidential Suite". I called and spoke to a manager who did not want to give anything more than the executive suite which is not worth taking...
Also, any ideas how to get diamond status for the month of August? Right now I am a platinum member with the Hyatt CC

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Re: hyatt in orlando
« Reply #130 on: July 25, 2012, 05:38:43 PM »
if you already have 2 suite nights i'm gonna assume you already status matched when you got the card in which case there's not anything I know of as you can only status match once per a account i once thought of opening a second account and status matching and then combining accounts although I never tried so I would assume it won't work

Offline regge

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #131 on: July 25, 2012, 11:29:08 PM »
+100, definitely the way to go in cities like Orlando or Palm Springs where there is a massive glut of houses with private pools/hot tubs for rent for as little as a hotel room.
any recommendations?

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looking for deals for disney world
« Reply #132 on: July 26, 2012, 11:56:23 AM »
Hey guys I'm Traveling with my wife to Orlando and I'm trying to get a discount for disneyworld. Thanks!

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Re: looking for deals for disney world
« Reply #133 on: July 26, 2012, 12:30:04 PM »
Hey guys I'm Traveling with my wife to Orlando and I'm trying to get a discount for disneyworld. Thanks!
Hard to get real discounts. I think posted earlier on this thread - that thru Chabad they have a little of a discount. But you are better off if you could figure out what parks you wanna go to and how many days, but the passes that suit you best

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Re: looking for deals for disney world
« Reply #134 on: July 26, 2012, 01:53:41 PM »
Hey guys I'm Traveling with my wife to Orlando and I'm trying to get a discount for disneyworld. Thanks!
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