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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
Event & Family Photography - Chavi Photo Website


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 during the school year (but not week of the 27th - they're on Yeshiva break vacation. (2024) Orlando Torah Academy runs KosherOrlando.org, which organizes and opens shuls in the resorts during busy times; check out the website to signup and find out more about the various minyanim
Orlando Torah CenterWebsiteShachris @ 6:30AM weekdays, 8:00AM, Sunday 8:AM, 7:15AM (Hashkama) and 9:00AM Shabbos (Nusach Ashkenaz) as well as a separate Eidut Hamizrach at 9:AM. Mincha/Maariv is 1:30, and before/after Shkiah, which can be difficult to make if you're spending the day in a park. There's also a nightly 10PM Maariv

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)
Kosher EateryWebsite Dairy and Meat Kosher Restaurant (Certified by the RCF)
Erin McKenna's BakeryWebsitePareve and Gluten Free. Oat products are not Pas Yisroel. Ice Cream is NOT certified Kosher. (Certified by Florida K/Rabbi Sholom Dubov)
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.

« Last edited by sprint on January 12, 2024, 12:06:49 PM »

Author Topic: Orlando Master Thread  (Read 540940 times)

Offline Ergel

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #280 on: February 24, 2014, 04:44:07 PM »
Looks like they got rid of the non-expiring ticket rider that made buying a longer pass worthwhile.
Used to be that they were always non-expiring, then they made it an additional rider, now it's not even for sale (at least online).
How many do you have left?
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Offline myb821

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #281 on: February 24, 2014, 05:05:00 PM »
Was in Magic Kingdom this week. The kosher food was pretty good. We had the hamburger, hot dog, chicken nuggets, and Mac n cheese over 2 days (they also have pastrami and pizza which we didn't try). Meat meals were about $10 and the dairy ones were about $8. Obviously not gourmet but pretty tasty considering what they are.
My info is definitely dated I was there about a year and a half ago. However, I got the burger there and it was in an enclosed bun. I to this day have no idea how they made it as it looked like the only way to do it was to bake the bread around the burger. In addition it was nasty. My Wife did get the Chicken nuggets and IIRC they were ok.

Offline Dan

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #282 on: February 24, 2014, 05:07:07 PM »
How many do you have left?
Perhaps 10 years ago I convinced my father to buy several of the 10 day pass with park hopper option.
Tickets never expired back then and it came out to less than $20/day.

Hopefully it'll come in handy one day ;)
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Offline Ergel

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #283 on: February 24, 2014, 05:10:03 PM »
Perhaps 10 years ago I convinced my father to buy several of the 10 day pass with park hopper option.
Tickets never expired back then and it came out to less than $20/day.

Hopefully it'll come in handy one day ;)
Obviously
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Offline DP7

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #284 on: February 24, 2014, 10:44:37 PM »

http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/24/travel/disney-magic-kingdom-price-increase/index.html

Was there in December and they had to close the park because it was full to capacity. Guess they can charge what they like.

Offline Dan

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #285 on: February 24, 2014, 10:47:51 PM »
I'm sure they have very smart people telling them exactly the optimal price point to maximize total revenue.
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 #286 on: February 26, 2014, 08:25:32 PM »
Looks like they got rid of the non-expiring ticket rider that made buying a longer pass worthwhile.
Used to be that they were always non-expiring, then they made it an additional rider, now it's not even for sale (at least online).
According to mommy points you can still by them from undercover tourist (10 days for $679)
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Offline Dan

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #287 on: February 26, 2014, 08:35:30 PM »
According to mommy points you can still by them from undercover tourist (10 days for $679)
Interesting. Is that with the hopper option?
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Offline Ergel

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #288 on: February 26, 2014, 08:43:03 PM »
Interesting. Is that with the hopper option?
not clear
Quote from: mommy Points
Buy tickets that never expire and save days unused for a future trip:
Warning: This tip is only for the well organized family as it will be a waste of money if you can’t keep up with your tickets.  Most multi-day Disney ticket purchases expire within 14 days from the date the ticket was first used, but you can pay extra to get a version that never expires.  For example, from Undercover Tourist you can buy a 10 day “Magic Your Way” ticket that never expires for $ 678.95.  Disney tickets only get pricier each year, so in theory you could use the days you want for your trip this year, and then save the remaining days for a trip in a future year.  That way you benefit from having the discount that comes from multiple days, and you guard against price increases in the coming years.  Of course, you have to be willing to shell out a bunch of cash now, bank on going to Disney again in the future, and not losing your tickets.
- See more at: http://boardingarea.com/mommypoints/#sthash.uIJmkGMt.dpuf
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Offline ayman

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #289 on: February 27, 2014, 12:19:45 AM »
It's not even a good park :P
Better rides for kids and adults at Cedar Point for half the price.
All about the marketing.
How you gonna do that in Feb? :P
Buy discounted gift cards from me.
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Offline wonderlust

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #290 on: March 10, 2014, 09:20:51 AM »
Hi not sure where the right thread to discuss this is: my family bought a timeshare back in the 80s at vistana in Orlando ( believe it's a Sheraton resort). We no longer have a need for it & are interested in ideally selling it or renting it out. Any thread discusses timeshares or rci ( company that manages exchanges)?
Thanks

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #291 on: June 09, 2014, 05:51:00 PM »
If you try Redweek, you might be able to rent it out, especially if you can use it over public school holidays. I am sure you have heard that 1,000,000 times, though. If you did rent it out, when would you do it and how much would it go for?

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #292 on: June 09, 2014, 05:56:40 PM »
My family and I are probably planning a trip there for the end of the summer. Anyone have any suggestions of what to do if I happen to be there over Shabbos? Do I need to bring my own food into the hotel? Is there anything within walking distance to the hotels? I will either be staying at the park or in a hotel inside the gates of the park.

Offline nbnuti

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #293 on: July 15, 2014, 04:50:42 PM »
Hi not sure where the right thread to discuss this is: my family bought a timeshare back in the 80s at vistana in Orlando ( believe it's a Sheraton resort). We no longer have a need for it & are interested in ideally selling it or renting it out. Any thread discusses timeshares or rci ( company that manages exchanges)?
Thanks

Is it still available for rent Would need it from Sunday July 20th until sunday july 27th

Offline churnbabychurn

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #294 on: July 21, 2014, 04:11:32 PM »
Looking for a place to stay for Shabbos August 22-23, for one guy... Any leads would be appreciated!  :)

Alternatively, is there a SPG near a shul etc?   ETA found this: http://www.jewishorlando.com/templates/articlecco_cdo/aid/637790/jewish/Hotels.htm

Offline churnbabychurn

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #295 on: August 14, 2014, 06:54:47 AM »
Looking for a place to stay for Shabbos August 22-23, for one guy... Any leads would be appreciated!  :)

Bump...?

Offline shiframeir

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #296 on: September 01, 2014, 11:07:32 PM »
Anyone know of a rental home community in orlando that expects to have shabbos minyanim on winter break 2014 (Jan 23-24)? Alternatively, does anyone out there know whether there will be shabbos minyanim at the Sheraton Vistana? Also, any villa/rental community with an eruv, or is that too much to ask (going with a baby)?

Offline jack12

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #297 on: September 07, 2014, 04:02:12 PM »
A new kiruv kollel opened in Orlando. Their site is still under construction - http://www.joinorlando.org/

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #298 on: October 02, 2014, 12:33:16 AM »
does anyone have any recommendations for a 3-4br apt/condo to rent for chol hamoed?

Offline dealfinder85

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #299 on: October 25, 2014, 08:55:43 PM »
actuarial course on professionalism in december anyone?