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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 231980 times)

Offline jack12

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #165 on: January 19, 2013, 09:10:35 PM »
Anyone have an update on the kosher food scene in orlando?
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Offline noturbizniss

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Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #166 on: February 20, 2013, 10:39:10 AM »
So I am thinking WAAAY down the road and planning to make our first family trip to the happiest place on earth in winter/summer 2015, so I have tons of time for planning. It will be myself, wife, 4 y/o (at the time) child and 1.5-2 y/o (aiming to go before the 2 year cut off).  I will be good to go on biz/first flights by that time with churning, as well as hopefully good with SPG points to stay at disney dolphin/swan. My question is are there any cards or ways I could start planning to hopefully save some cash on the crazy high park prices (5 days for 3 people would be over $1,000).
Current Card lineup between me and wife: SPG personal (2), biz, PRG, Biz RG, IP, IB, BA, SP.  I will have added and hopefully churned additional Delta Gold, PRG, SPG, Chase UA, and Hyatt by then.  Any others for better hotel points/value in disney area?
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Offline Dan

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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #167 on: February 20, 2013, 12:22:30 PM »
In Orlando the best thing is to rent a condo with a private pool.  Should be under $100/day all-in.

Also the prices of Disney tickets goes up much faster than the cost of inflation, so if you can afford to tie up money and buy em now it can make sense.
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Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #168 on: February 20, 2013, 01:08:54 PM »
In Orlando the best thing is to rent a condo with a private pool.  Should be under $100/day all-in.

Also the prices of Disney tickets goes up much faster than the cost of inflation, so if you can afford to tie up money and buy em now it can make sense.

The 5 nights would be ~$500 what advantage is that over using Starwood points and paying nothing (other than having private pool and kitchen).

Biggest PITA now is that Disney did away with the no expiration option so I now we wantt o go, just not sure for how long so I want to save the money but don't want to buy too much. 
Any ideas on whether you can add days to a ticket at the discounted prices?
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Offline Yeki89

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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #169 on: February 20, 2013, 01:09:48 PM »
The 5 nights would be ~$500 what advantage is that over using Starwood points and paying nothing (other than having private pool and kitchen).

Biggest PITA now is that Disney did away with the no expiration option so I now we wantt o go, just not sure for how long so I want to save the money but don't want to buy too much. 
Any ideas on whether you can add days to a ticket at the discounted prices?
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Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #170 on: February 20, 2013, 01:16:22 PM »
Its your matziv, you can go as you please... trust the people that dsid it.
I definitely do. Just wanted to clarify that the folks that have done that are saying that the condo option is worth it over the stay at disney for free option.
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Offline yare

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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #171 on: February 20, 2013, 01:52:42 PM »
that gives you two years to move to florida, so you can get the florida resident discount.        you could also buy through chabad, i believe they sometimes have some deals, there should be a link floating around the forums somewhere. 

in terms of paying for the actual tickets, you can use a cap one points card to cover them.  you'll get 1cpp towards the tickets, thats what i used last year.   

Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #172 on: February 20, 2013, 03:49:35 PM »
that gives you two years to move to florida, so you can get the florida resident discount.        you could also buy through chabad, i believe they sometimes have some deals, there should be a link floating around the forums somewhere. 

in terms of paying for the actual tickets, you can use a cap one points card to cover them.  you'll get 1cpp towards the tickets, thats what i used last year.

mer

Cap one rewards?  That sounds wrong.  I'd be better off just using sellingmiles for SPG, MR, UR, or miles and probably get a better deal (from what i've read here about cap one stinkwards).
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Offline rots5

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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #173 on: February 20, 2013, 04:42:04 PM »
Its your matziv, you can go as you please... trust the people that dsid it.
he can always sell his spg and use the money to pay his private condo...its the same "free" stay
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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #174 on: February 20, 2013, 05:13:37 PM »
... hopefully good with SPG points to stay at disney dolphin/swan.
If you want there is a category 2 hotel close by, Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort.
Not to say that the condo is not the way to go, just personally I was so tired from spending the whole day in the parks that all I needed was a place to crash, didn't have time for anything else. The hotel was only ten minutes away.

Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #175 on: February 20, 2013, 05:17:26 PM »
he can always sell his spg and use the money to pay his private condo...its the same "free" stay


mer

Cap one rewards?  That sounds wrong.  I'd be better off just using sellingmiles for SPG, MR, UR, or miles and probably get a better deal (from what i've read here about cap one stinkwards).
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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #176 on: February 20, 2013, 05:18:12 PM »
As kids we loved crashing in our own private pool in a private house after a long day at the parks.   Or even in between finishing a park and going back for a nighttime show.

Plus we made our own food instead of overpaying for bad food at the local eateries.
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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #177 on: February 20, 2013, 05:19:55 PM »
As kids we loved crashing in our own private pool in a private house after a long day at the parks.   Or even in between finishing a park and going back for a nighttime show.

Plus we made our own food instead of overpaying for bad food at the local eateries.
but arent the famous rules about vacationing are (something along these lines)  - if your going to florida hit up the eateries, if your going to IL hit up the sites.
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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #178 on: February 20, 2013, 05:21:29 PM »
You're thinking of MIA not MCO.
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Re: Disney World Planning - Long Term
« Reply #179 on: February 20, 2013, 05:22:14 PM »
As kids we loved crashing in our own private pool in a private house after a long day at the parks.   Or even in between finishing a park and going back for a nighttime show.

Plus we made our own food instead of overpaying for bad food at the local eateries.
The more I think about it the better choice it seems.  How do you go about cooking with the generic non-kosher condo equipment (other than bringing a few pots and pans)?

Dan/Mods, seems like this has moved out of the CC realm and into the trip realm. perhaps this should be moved to the orlando master thread ( or create a disney world master thread)?
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