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 216996 times)

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #615 on: May 18, 2015, 11:21:08 PM »
Open a chase Disney card, spend $500 in 3 months, get a $200 gift card good at Disney.
Oh, that's not the debit card, but the CC, right?

Offline E R K

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #616 on: May 18, 2015, 11:44:17 PM »
You can buy Disney GC's at Sam's.

http://www.samsclub.com/sams/50-disney-castle/prod4420254.ip

http://www.samsclub.com/sams/disney-3-x-50-disney-3-x-50/prod10510183.ip

And if you buy tickets by phone, you can use as many GC's as you want. Otherwise they limit you.

Offline Ergel

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #617 on: May 19, 2015, 01:18:53 PM »
You can buy Disney GC's at Sam's.

http://www.samsclub.com/sams/50-disney-castle/prod4420254.ip

http://www.samsclub.com/sams/disney-3-x-50-disney-3-x-50/prod10510183.ip

And if you buy tickets by phone, you can use as many GC's as you want. Otherwise they limit you.
Do those expire?
Life isn't about checking the boxes. Nobody cares.

Offline ar

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #618 on: May 19, 2015, 11:32:54 PM »
Can someone please explain me how the fastpass work in Disney? I've been to Universal LA and the fastpass was a saver!!!

It doesn't seem like you are able to buy Disney fastpass... why? And what is there fastpass program?

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #619 on: May 20, 2015, 06:45:46 AM »
Can someone please explain me how the fastpass work in Disney? I've been to Universal LA and the fastpass was a saver!!!

It doesn't seem like you are able to buy Disney fastpass... why? And what is there fastpass program?
Just learned about this. Every ticket comes with 3 FastPasses per day for free (can't buy more) that are valid on 1 ride each. However, you can't just show up at the ride and go on the FP lane, you have to reserve the ride and a specific time that you want to go on it. You can reserve the ride/time online starting 30 days before your trip, or you could wait till you get to the park and go to a kiosk, but you're not guaranteed to get the rides/times you want if you wait that long.

Really stinks IMO. It means you need to study the parks ahead of time and somehow plan when and where you expect to be throughout the day. Can't just show up and walk around the park as you please. You also are expected to know which rides usually have long lines that you'd want to use the FP on. It would stink to use it on a ride you're interested in only to find out that there's never a line on that ride.

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #620 on: May 20, 2015, 08:49:31 AM »
Is this new? IIRC, 2 years ago you could get unlimited fast passes for free and the way it worked was that they handed out fast passes at most rides with a time of, say, an hour later and when you'd come back you'd go through the FP lane.

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #621 on: May 20, 2015, 09:19:05 AM »
Is this new? IIRC, 2 years ago you could get unlimited fast passes for free and the way it worked was that they handed out fast passes at most rides with a time of, say, an hour later and when you'd come back you'd go through the FP lane.
Yep, it's new. There's a group of Disney bloggers (similar to the CC bloggers - who knew!?) and they linked me to this post that describes the new system.

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #622 on: May 20, 2015, 02:36:22 PM »
I am incorrect. You get 3 FPs that you can schedule in advance online. Once you use up those 3 in the park, you can go to kiosks and get a new FP one at a time, unlimited amount of times.

Offline waterpri

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #623 on: May 20, 2015, 03:03:04 PM »
I am incorrect. You get 3 FPs that you can schedule in advance online. Once you use up those 3 in the park, you can go to kiosks and get a new FP one at a time, unlimited amount of times.

In terms of FP, make sure you reserve them as early as possible since some rides will close out and there will be no FPs available if you wait too long.

I believe the earliest you can reserve is 30 days before (60 days if you are staying at a disney hotel)

Online ushdadude

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #624 on: May 20, 2015, 05:12:40 PM »
In terms of FP, make sure you reserve them as early as possible since some rides will close out and there will be no FPs available if you wait too long.

I believe the earliest you can reserve is 30 days before (60 days if you are staying at a disney hotel)

To see Anna and Elsa you need to reserve 2 months in advance or wait 180 minutes in line. :o
Trolls will always post stupid replies

Online ushdadude

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #625 on: May 20, 2015, 05:13:37 PM »
I am incorrect. You get 3 FPs that you can schedule in advance online. Once you use up those 3 in the park, you can go to kiosks and get a new FP one at a time, unlimited amount of times.

Definitely download the disney park app. you can play around with your fp options live. it also tells you how long the wait is for each ride.
Trolls will always post stupid replies

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #626 on: May 20, 2015, 05:16:59 PM »
Definitely download the disney park app. you can play around with your fp options live. it also tells you how long the wait is for each ride.
Thanks

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #627 on: May 20, 2015, 05:38:38 PM »
If you do more than one park per day, you lose a lot of time traveling, which is why I don't think the park hopper is worth while. But if you want to check out animal kingdom, you might want to split that day. Personally I could spend a day and half at Magic kingdom for sure!

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #628 on: May 20, 2015, 10:08:54 PM »


Personally I could spend a day and half at Magic kingdom for sure!
+1 if going with kids.

Offline Jonathan 47

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Universal studio tickets
« Reply #629 on: June 03, 2015, 02:53:15 PM »
Wheres the cheapest place to get tickets besides chabad orlando