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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 175610 times)

Offline verveist

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #855 on: February 09, 2016, 02:08:52 AM »
Thanks for giving me the official name "timeshare". Now I was able to search for it here on the fourms and found a very small thread about it.

To phrase it  "correctly" it's not really "timeshare" but  a sales pitch for "timeshare".

Anyway it sounds like if you have the strength not to be sucked in to these pitches the vacation deal could be a good catch.

Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #856 on: February 12, 2016, 05:54:30 PM »
Returning minivan on sunday to Alamo at MCO with wife and 2 kids with 2 car seats, 4 large suitcases, polar bear large cooler, 4 carry on size rolling suitcases. Best way to get this done? On pickup we ended up using skycap as they were the only ones with the big luggge racks.  Is there curbside check in? Do i drop off wife and kids and all stuff by departures then return car? Are there skycaps by rental car drop off?

thanks! 
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Offline Mutty

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #857 on: February 19, 2016, 11:11:35 AM »
Why not a villa/townhouse with a private enclosed pool, full kitchen etc, for about the same price or less than a hotel?
Seems you are going soon or was just there. Need advice. Thinking of going in July, two adults, just to take it easy. I'm getting the feeling Epcot is the best for us older folks. Anything else? I would love one of those homes with the totally private pool. Is there something like a Marriot that has that (I have Marriot points)? Where's the best one? I've been successful in the past with COSTCO for a car, what do you think? I'm confused about these hechsherim. Where's the best places with no shailas for milchig and fleishig. Is there a minyan near whatever you may recommend for a home with a private pool? Thinking of not staying for Shabbos because of all the hassles. Opinion? Advice? Help? Thanks in advance. (Crazy question - or should we go somewhere else totally?)
“You see things; you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?”

Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #858 on: February 22, 2016, 07:09:52 PM »
Seems you are going soon or was just there. Need advice. Thinking of going in July,
gonna be crazy packed (https://www.undercovertourist.com/orlando/crowd-calendar/july-2016/#calendar) and hot as hell
two adults, just to take it easy. I'm getting the feeling Epcot is the best for us older folks.
Depends.If your young at heart then you'll love magic kingdom
 
Anything else? I would love one of those homes with the totally private pool.
The houses with the bigger pools look to be enclosed in screens that people can see into from other backyards.  Some have more private ones, but they are smaller (at least from the management company i used)
Is there something like a Marriot that has that (I have Marriot points)?
The homes are all privately owned. AFAIK none of the hotel chains have stuff like that, but i could be wrong.
Where's the best one? I've been successful in the past with COSTCO for a car, what do you think?
try chase ultimate rewards portal as well
Quote from: Mutty link=topic=969.msg1414224#msg1414224 date=1455898295 I'm confused about these hechsherim. Where's the best places with no shailas for milchig and fleishig. [/quote
my understanding is that nothing has changed, and whatever used to be good i sstill good. standard politics. I've heard a place called "The pantry" is very good but its about 50 minutes from disney. Wynn Dixie has a very large kosher section. We broight all our food, but my wife said we could easily have bought most of what we needed there.
Quote from: Mutty link=topic=969.msg1414224#msg1414224 date=1455898295Is there a minyan near whatever you may recommend for a home with a private pool?[/quote
we didn't have one near us.  [quote author=Mutty link=topic=969.msg1414224#msg1414224 date=1455898295 Thinking of not staying for Shabbos because of all the hassles. Opinion? Advice? Help? Thanks in advance. (Crazy question - or should we go somewhere else totally?)
If the crowd calendar above is accurate, and it's anything like magic kingdom was last sunday (9/10) , its gonna be INSANELY packed.
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Offline Mutty

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #859 on: February 22, 2016, 08:11:53 PM »
noturbizniss . Thanks for the details. We might rethink this.
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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #860 on: February 22, 2016, 10:55:25 PM »
Flying to Orlando 2/28 for 5 days. Booked a nice villa. Went thru this whole thread really amazing.  Just wondering if anyone has any experience using the kitchen in such a villa?

Offline E R K

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #861 on: February 22, 2016, 11:18:15 PM »
Flying to Orlando 2/28 for 5 days. Booked a nice villa. Went thru this whole thread really amazing.  Just wondering if anyone has any experience using the kitchen in such a villa?
What do you want to know? The place is usually very clean. You can kashur oven but you should find out when previous people were there. Or double wrap your food.You can easily kashur microwave. And you need to find out what kind of stove top is there. I went for Pesach one year and the picture online was different than what was there. I had to contact my LOR and he advised me how to use stovetop.

Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #862 on: February 23, 2016, 11:32:07 AM »
Flying to Orlando 2/28 for 5 days. Booked a nice villa. Went thru this whole thread really amazing.  Just wondering if anyone has any experience using the kitchen in such a villa?
If oven has self clean then your good to go. Just make sure it's clean inside (it should be), and self clean for an hour. My rav said if no self clean then just do highest temp for an hour. Stainless steel sinks, just pour boiling water all over them. Microwave, boil cup of water for like 10 minutes.  Might be issues with the glass rotating tray. Consult your LOR on that. Electric stove top I think cN just be cleaned and heated, gas must be cleaned well then flip grates upside down and pit in high heat for an hour I think.
Ask your LOR to confirm all the above.
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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #863 on: February 23, 2016, 03:28:37 PM »
Thanks, as the kitchen has granite can I just put food down on it?

Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #864 on: February 23, 2016, 07:27:49 PM »
Thanks, as the kitchen has granite can I just put food down on it?
Ask you LOR or http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=11285.0
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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #865 on: February 24, 2016, 05:29:36 PM »
What's the best way to get around in Orlando without having to wait at the cash toll booth?

Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #866 on: February 24, 2016, 11:04:36 PM »
What's the best way to get around in Orlando without having to wait at the cash toll booth?
sunpass.
if your trip is not for a few months, buy online at https://www.sunpass.com/selectAcceptAgreementPurchaseTransponder.action. otherwise you can get both versions at any CVS. In addition to not waiting for cash booths, you also avoid many of the exact change only plazas, and often they charge less for sunpass than for cash.
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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #867 on: March 21, 2016, 06:26:52 PM »
Does anyone know of babysitting in Orlando over chol hamoed? (not going with one of the programs)

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #868 on: April 04, 2016, 02:33:45 AM »
This WIKI needs major updates and added information
You can modify your original post. The modify button is right next to the quote button.

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #869 on: April 04, 2016, 09:50:45 AM »
This WIKI needs major updates and added information
Be our guest and be the one to do it.

Then put your name over here: http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=43837.0
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