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 175223 times)

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #495 on: January 17, 2015, 10:02:51 PM »
We didn't go. Would have liked to try both places, but with Gourmet so close to our hotel, we weren't interested in looking for Grill. I also heard that it's just like a stand outside Disney (with no seating) but something about that doesn't sound right.

Almost done with the TR, although I didn't get to proofread it too much.

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #496 on: January 17, 2015, 10:11:42 PM »
Wednesday 1/7

I woke up with enough time to pick up the day’s shuttle boarding passes on the way to Chabad for 8AM Shacharis. I even found a shorter shortcut to Shul, so it was really just about a 5 minute walk. The Shul is in a storefront that's attached to Kosher Gourmet. It's a nice little place, and in the back is a small room that must be the classroom for any Frum kids that live in Orlando, which I would assume to be just the Chabad families' kids. It took 15 minutes for them to get to Pesukei D'Zimra, so Davening took almost an hour, but I got back to the hotel, picked up some more yogurt and hot chocolate and went to the room to pack up for the day. We caught the 9:45 shuttle, and we were on our ½ hour (that should have been 5 minute) trip to Universal!

This time, we knew exactly where to go because, y'know, we were basically Universal pros. We went through security, walked through City Walk, and this time, turned towards Universal Studios!



The back of yesterday's park map had Studios on it, so today I was fully prepared. ;) The park is also a circle, but it's very clear which way is the way to begin, so we started out going straight ahead to...

Production Central: The first ride that sticks out at you is Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, which we got to ride the night before with express passes. Today, the wait was over an hour. It would have been fun to ride again, but that was going to be very unlikely due to the wait. So, we turned around and right across from it is Shrek 4-D - our first ride of the day! There was about a 10 minute wait, and then we were in! I had been to Universal Studios in California before, and this ride is basically the same as the Shrek ride there. It's one of the ideal @Yehuda rides, where you sit in a theater that will shake, tilt, shpritz water at you, etc. The storyline picks up where Shrek 1 left off with Shrek and Fiona on their honeymoon. Cute, fun ride – had a great time! After Shrek, we continued down the street right past the Rip Rocket something or other gigantic roller coaster into the next section of the park. I’ll point out that we skipped over the Transformers ride. If I had to bet, it wasn’t a roller coaster, but my wife really has no interest in Transformers and actually did not want to even check out the ride. So, no opinion on that one.

New York: As soon as we walked into New York, the Blues Brothers drove right past us in their old-school car playing old-school music, was fun to watch for a minute. We first went online for the Twister ride because we were told it’s just a “ride” that you walk through and things blow on you and interact with you. The weather was noticeably colder today – we regretted not bringing sweatshirts – and waiting on line in the cold made us realize that the TWISTER ride was probably going to be even colder, so we stepped off the line and moved on. Up next was Revenge of the Mummy, a ride my wife was dying to go on. She really wanted me to come with, so we talked with the entrance agent, but he confirmed that yeah, it’s pretty much an indoor roller coaster (as the ride description on the map even indicated). I apologized dearly, and said I just can’t go on. We waited in the single riders lane (which we’re unsure was actually any faster) and then I, once again, took the walk of shame as she got on the ride. She loved it! She said that you ride through all the mummy scenes, etc. and that it was a blast! After she got off, we walked through the streets of New York, which were just awesome! All around you were sets from movies – a fake government building, Macy’s, subway station, and many stores from the olden days, including this store with Hebrew words on the sign!



There’s a Ben & Jerry’s store in this area, which I imagine (ask your LOR) is Kosher like all big-chain ice cream stores – ask them to wash the scooper, pick flavors you know are Kosher and only use cones/toppings if you know they’re Kosher.

San Francisco: I’m not sure why exactly, but technically the next area is San Fran vs NY. It’s really just more sets from movies and there are only 2 attractions here, so I’m not quite sure why they called it a new area. One attraction is just a Beetlejuice/Monsters show and the other is Disaster, which is a ride where you learn how disaster movies are made. We passed on it because it only looked semi-interesting and didn’t stand a chance against what we saw up ahead…

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley: As I said yesterday, Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure was built first and then Diagon Alley was built in Studios. The layout is quite genius. San Fran just turns into London. There are little old London shops on the street and if you pay attention, you’ll notice the set from Sirius Black’s house on Grimmauld Place – my wife caught it. You’ll also see the purple Knight Bus parked on the street, and you can take a pic with the driver and that creepy Jamaican head doll he has. Kinda cool, but not so cool if you’ve seen the actual Knight Bus from the movies at the studio tour in London. 8) Now, from this vantage point, the only real noticeable building is King’s Cross Station. As I mentioned yesterday, it really looks like you’re in London and the station looks very real. We went back in because we heard of a really cool thing that you could do from this side of the station. You follow along to get onto the train and then when you get to Platform 9 ¾ the have a cool fake-mirror setup where it looks like you are actually walking through the wall into 9 ¾! For best video results (we were warned about this the night before from friends who were in Orlando), have one person stand on line and video while the other person continues on through the wall. I’m not sure if my explaining it does it justice, but trust me, it was really cool! After trying that out, we had no interest in riding the train again, so we walked back through the station out into London. Right next to King’s Cross is what looks like a brick wall with an opening that perhaps leads to bathrooms. If you enter it… you cross over into Diagon Alley!!! Sooo cool!!

Diagon Alley is done incredibly well. It looks just like the set from the studio tours but even better because you can actually go into some of the stores! The first store is a wizarding wardrobe shop (basically just classic HP merchandise) and the next store is Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes!!

         
In Universal Studios' Diagon Alley                                                In London's HP Studio Tour (pretty good copy!)

The store is amazing! All the classic jokes and pranks and toys from the books – Extendable Ears, Puking Pastilles, etc.! They also sell some of the classic candies from Honeydukes, like Chocolate Frogs. The shop is really cute and fun, but no, we didn’t spend our money on that stuff. :) Next up is one of several entrances into… Knockturn Alley. Dun. Dun. Dun. Knockturn is a small section that’s extremely dark. It has the Leaky Cauldron (an actual bar!) as well as Borgin and Burkes – the creepy, dark store that Harry accidently flu-powedered into. The employees in Knockturn Alley play the roles of creepy people perfectly! Back in Diagon Alley, there are some more classic stores like Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions – in case buying a $40 wand wasn’t enough for your kid and you also had to buy them a robe that they’ll never wear again. There’s also an Ollivander’s here (like in Hogsmeade) and once again, you can watch a wand pick its owner. There are a few other shops, including a place to buy ButterBeer >:(. As you walk around, you’ll come to Gringott’s, which houses the main ride of Diagon Alley.



After riding the castle ride yesterday, we really wanted to go on this one too, but first had to check it out, of course. I went up to the entrance agent and found out that, unfortunately, there was a drop at the end of the ride :(. That was another moment when I really wished I wasn't scared so that I could go on a ride that I'm sure would be fun and so that I don't let my wife down. The wait was long, and she didn't want to wait and ride alone, so we continued on. A few more fun shops including the Gringott's Money Exchange, where there was a goblin just standing there and talking - kinda funny.



We finished making our way among the shops until we were back at the gateway to London and crossed back through the brick wall. Right past the wall is where you see Sirius's house, and that's the end of Harry Potter World. Until next time!

World Expo: The first attraction you see is a live showing of Fear Factor. My wife was dying to watch the show, but they were halfway through one, so we decided to venture onward and come back later. Next up was MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack. The line had like a 20 minute wait, but there was stuff going on while you're waiting, which made it not too bad. We first had to put our bag in that fancy locker again, although I don't think this ride really needed it. This is another one of my favorite types of rides: the go-around-slowly-and-shoot-things-(in this case, aliens)-with-a-laser ride! The ride was a lot of fun, a bit spinny, and my wife obliterated everyone else in our car with her score. Afterwards, we still had time to the next FEAR FACTOR LIVE show so we headed out of World Expo, but just to keep this attraction in its section of the park, I'll tell you about the show now. Basically, a few times during the day, they allow actual park visitors to show up and audition to be contestants - pretty cool! We got there about 5 minutes into it and seemingly missed 1 challenge. The first thing we saw was a girl sitting down and they brought a cage that they said had a tarantula in it and they were going to put it over her head for like 30 seconds. Just as they were going to lower it, it popped open and a fake spider went flying into the crowd. Scared many people but that was the end of the challenge. Kinda not so much a challenge... Anyway, next up was 3 people drinking a milkshake of some really gross stuff. Spoiled milk with chunks in it, bugs of some sort and some other gross meat thing I think. One guy just chugged it and won. He got a yellow Fear Factor cup. Wow. The finale was 2 guys that had to race each other through a few obstacles. Apparently, they were the 2 contestants in the first challenge that we missed because one was given a 3 second head start due to his winning the first challenge. They first had to climb a ladder up a studio set that looked like a building and pull off flags attached to the building. To make things more exciting, people in the crowd had access to buttons that shot water at them and dropped buckets of water on their ladder as they were climbing - they were slipping all over the place! The guy with the headstart was much better at it and it's crazy how much 3 seconds makes a difference. After they got to the top and grabbed a key, they had to lower themselves down and then race over to a car (they each had a car) and put the key in, which would turn on a crane that lifted the car up in the air titling forward to a degree a little less than this slash \ . Once it was lifted to its height, each guy had to climb over the windshield and grab a bunch of flags that were on the bumper without falling off. Of course, the audience was shooting a ton of water at them during this time. It was really quite thrilling. After getting the flags, he had to climb back in the car to a canon that shot something at a target on the building to blow it up. In the end, headstart man won by a mile but besides for the 3 seconds, he really was much better. He was done before the 2nd guy's car was even raised up to its fullest height. They didn't announce a prize so that was kinda dull, but all in all the show was really fun to watch live!

I didn’t even realize this at the time, but after MIB, it feels like you’re walking into another section of the park as you enter the incredibly well-done Simpsons/Krustyland area. Looking at the map now, it turns out it’s still officially World Expo, but it definitely feels like a new area. The whole section looks so awesome! There are games everywhere with Simpsons themes, making it feel like you’re really in Krustyland. The main attraction is The Simpsons Ride. The wait was pretty long – probably a ½ hour – but it was easy to stay entertained since TVs placed throughout the line were playing every clip from throughout the Simpsons series that takes place in Krustyland. It really, really made you feel like you were there. When it was finally our turn, we were told to go into a room with a total of like 6 people. In that room, you get some instructions for the ride and then you go into the actual ride room. The room is a tiny room that has a car that you get into. Once the ride starts, the car raises into a much larger arena that has other “cars” with people in it who must have come out of their own prep rooms (it’s dark, and the screen is huge so you really have to look hard to see that there are other people in the “theater” with you). The ride is what I would have called a great ride in terms of it just being one of those cars that shake, twist, tilt, etc. without actually moving, BUT the video of you being on a roller coaster in the actual Krustyland was so intense, my wife and I both got really nauseous from it. It’s very similar to Shrek and the Minion ride, but the car “moves” so much more here – much more twists and tilts – that we really were like “uhhh” afterwards. It was a cool video/ride but it may get to your stomach. After the ride, we had like 2 minutes till the next Fear Factor show, so we ran there – but no need to repeat, as I covered that above.

Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone: Next up was this partially-kiddy section. First thing you see is a theater that has shows with animals. We thought, “Okay, we like animals, maybe that will be cool – we’ll come back for the next show”. After the theater, we turned into the really kiddy place just to check it out. Barney and a bunch of the other attractions didn’t interest us, but we figured we would walk into the Curious George Goes to Town playground to burn some time. The playground is like a climbing house thing with plenty of places to get soaked with water and those giant buckets that tip over. But, at the center is an indoor ball-shooting room. Basically, there are soft balls everywhere that you can load into gun launchers and shoot them at people. Sure, it’s meant for kids, but hey it’s pretty fun to shoot kids (with soft balls) from across the room. :) On our way out, an adult up on a second story somewhere, shot us with a water gun and proudly raised his fists – acknowledging that he was as guilty as us for having fun in kidzone. From there, we went back to Animal Actors on Location! and quickly found out that these were no ordinary animals, but were actual animals that were ACTORS IN MOVIES!!! The ones that were in famous movies that I remember were the bird from Evan Almighty, the dog from Marley & Me, and the dog from Men In Black!!



The animals did great tricks, the host was super entertaining, and we loved the show. Highly recommended. After the show, we went over to E.T. Adventure. I couldn’t figure out why ET was in Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone :o but after going to the entrance agent to confirm it wasn’t a roller coaster, I found out why. He laughed at the idea of it being a scary ride and told us it was built 30 years ago. Obviously, it was built here first and Kidzone was built around it afterwards. The wait was about 10 minutes, but they keep you entertained a bit with an ooooold video of Steven Spielberg welcoming you to the ride. After the video, you tell your name to an agent who types it into a computer and hands you some sort of “passport” card. Then you enter the fun waiting section that’s built to look JUST like the movie. It was awesome – all foresty and real-looking. Right before you get on the ride, you hand your passport to the agent and don’t know what the point of it was till later. You’re riding from an overhead track (like Harry Potter ride) and sitting on a bicycle, of course! The ride takes you through the final scene of the movie with a rush to get ET back home! Really, really cute and fun. Very nostalgic also based on how old it was and how “bad” the quality of the effects were, but there’s something very fun about that kind of nostalgia. The truth is I hadn’t seen the movie beforehand (gulp), but we made sure to watch it a few nights after the trip! After we got off, we ran back on line for round 2! :) After ET, we stopped in the closest store , which was basically Universal’s compensation for not having a SpongeBob attraction. The store was just SpongeBob with different sets to take pictures in and a live SpongeBob and Patrick to take pics with. Since SpongeBob is my wife’s absolute favorite, we stayed here for a while :).

Hollywood: The final section of the park is Sunset Boulevard, and as I mentioned from our first day when we stopped off in Studios at night, the whole street is set up to look like old-school Hollywood, with retro diners, theaters and shops. Here, we enjoyed the magic show (see the TR from day 1) and today, decided to stop by TERMINATOR 2: 3-D. The show (not a ride at all) is an exact duplicate as the one in California (which, again, I had been to in the past) and is an average show. You sit in a theater and basically watch a movie with the Terminator trying to save the world. The cool part is that it’s half movie/half live action. There are actors that you see on the stage and running around the crowd that also run into the screen at some points perfectly in line with when that actor shows up in the movie. Not sure if that made sense. Anyway, it’s nice, but nothing to write home about. After the show, we were right at the exit of the park. We took another look at the Minion ride, but it was still an 80-minute wait, so we went into the Universal Store, and I finally bought my wife the Minion doll she had been eyeing for 2 days. It was now time to end our wonderful stay at Universal Orlando. We had an absolutely fantastic time!



Heading out towards CityWalk, we asked around till we found the water taxis (free) that go to the Universal Resorts, specifically the Loews Royal Pacific resort. Why there? Because it was time to pick up our rental car for the next day’s trip. Let me explain. Hertz has a location, International Drive HLE (Hertz Local Edition), that’s just a few minute walk from our hotel. However, they close at 6PM, and I knew we wouldn’t be back from the park by then. I thought I would pick up the car the following morning, but there was a chance we would need it tonight, so I called the location and asked if there was some way for them to drop off the car at our hotel or to pick up late. They had a great idea, especially since we were going to Universal. Their location is considered the same location as the Hertz that has a desk at the Royal Pacific, and they said they could leave the car with the hotel’s valet and we could just take the water taxi to get it – perfect! The water ride was actually relaxing, took about 5 minutes and then we got off at quite the luxurious hotel. We were really impressed, but that’s probably how most Universal/Disney official resorts are. We got a bit lost in the hotel, bumped into a live Minion and Gru that my wife got a picture with :) and then found the parking lot. The rep out there knew about our car and offered us water bottles while we waited for them to get it – thought that was a cool perk! We got our car, a 2015 Chevy Impala (after reserving a Nissan Maxima). There was bit of a debate on DDF afterwards about whether I got an upgrade or a downgrade or what I deserved, but we thought it was sweet! Leather seats, backup camera, and really smooth new-car ride/feel. I used a Hertz free day voucher for the rental, so that made it even sweeter :). We drove straight to Kosher Gourmet for dinner.

Kosher Gourmet – for our second dinner, we decided to try new things. My wife got the BBQ Beef sandwich which turned out to be pulled beef and was really good! I got the steak, pepper, and onion sandwich and thought the only good part was the warm baguette it came in. :-\ Once again, we enjoyed the free-refill fountain sodas. Out total again came out to about $50, and we paid again using a GreatKosherDeals.com gift certificate that gave us $40 for just $30 and paid the rest in cash. I forgot to mention this yesterday, but right next to the restaurant is a small Kosher grocery store. I overheard the Mashgiach/guy behind the counter telling a customer that they can just take a bag, go shopping there, and pay in the restaurant. Just good to know there are some Kosher products available. We drove back to the hotel around the corner (yet somehow I got a bit lost), parked for free in the lot, I Davened Maariv and then we probably watched some TV and called it a night.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2015, 11:43:21 AM by Chaikel »

Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #497 on: January 20, 2015, 01:45:48 PM »
Perhaps this should go in Up in the Air, but I am not familiar with that board and did not want to open a new thread.  If someone could point me to the right thread there I will delete this and move it there.

Flying to WDW for 5-10 days with 2 kids next year, age 5 and 2.5. Will be using car seat for at least the 2.5 year old and possibly the 5 year old (depending how big she gets). Is there any advantage to booking J class on such a short, direct flight? Should I perhaps aim to get the SW Cards for me and my wife with free companion pass (I've hear SW seats may be tight with some car seats - especially rear facing)?
We have plenty of time for this as we will be going in January 2016. Figured I'd get the early jump on thoughts.
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Offline Marco Polo

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #498 on: January 20, 2015, 01:56:09 PM »
Perhaps this should go in Up in the Air, but I am not familiar with that board and did not want to open a new thread.  If someone could point me to the right thread there I will delete this and move it there.

Flying to WDW for 5-10 days with 2 kids next year, age 5 and 2.5. Will be using car seat for at least the 2.5 year old and possibly the 5 year old (depending how big she gets). Is there any advantage to booking J class on such a short, direct flight? Should I perhaps aim to get the SW Cards for me and my wife with free companion pass (I've hear SW seats may be tight with some car seats - especially rear facing)?
We have plenty of time for this as we will be going in January 2016. Figured I'd get the early jump on thoughts.
In terms of seat size, probably not. For the extra bags, probably.
Quaerite et Invenietis.

Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #499 on: January 20, 2015, 02:24:39 PM »
In terms of seat size, probably not. For the extra bags, probably.
I have delta gold card, UMPE card and citi platinum mastercard so id get at least 2 checked bags freenad pay no more than $50 more for 2 more, so I don't think we'd need the bags.  With that said, it sounds like splurging for J would be a huge waste of miles.
The only question then becomes if it is even worth using the miles if I can get flights for $200 or even less when miles would cost at minimum 15k using avios.
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Offline Marco Polo

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #500 on: January 20, 2015, 02:25:59 PM »
I have delta gold card, UMPE card and citi platinum mastercard so id get at least 2 checked bags freenad pay no more than $50 more for 2 more, so I don't think we'd need the bags.  With that said, it sounds like splurging for J would be a huge waste of miles.
The only question then becomes if it is even worth using the miles if I can get flights for $200 or even less when miles would cost at minimum 15k using avios.
If you can get that cheap, pay and earn miles on the flights and CC.
Quaerite et Invenietis.

Offline E R K

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #501 on: January 20, 2015, 03:27:59 PM »


Flying to WDW for 5-10 days with 2 kids next year, age 5 and 2.5.
Just giving my opinion. I've been to Disney a few times and as you know, it's pretty pricey. Your 5 year old may have memories of it but your 2 1/2 year old really won't. I waited till my youngest was 6 or 7 because I wanted it to be memorable and I didn't want to be one of those parents whose kids were kvetching that they were tired and  I was nagging them along.

Offline noturbizniss

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #502 on: January 20, 2015, 03:31:30 PM »
Just giving my opinion. I've been to Disney a few times and as you know, it's pretty pricey. Your 5 year old may have memories of it but your 2 1/2 year old really won't. I waited till my youngest was 6 or 7 because I wanted it to be memorable and I didn't want to be one of those parents whose kids were kvetching that they were tired and  I was nagging them along.
That's why we buy no expiration tickets and come back in 5 years. Duh.
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Offline N2

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #503 on: January 20, 2015, 06:29:35 PM »
Anyone interested in completing a minyan for shachris tomorrow morning at 7 am in Paradise Palms (Kissimee)?

Offline greatdeals

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #504 on: January 23, 2015, 02:43:56 PM »
has anyone ever stayed at the Holiday Inn Orange Lake Resort?

Offline gavhaller

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #505 on: January 23, 2015, 03:08:00 PM »
Anybody in art of Animation or pop century for shabbos? Need a siddur and the front desk charges $1 per page for a total of $45

Offline shiframeir

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #506 on: January 23, 2015, 04:38:35 PM »
has anyone ever stayed at the Holiday Inn Orange Lake Resort?
nice enough place (room we had was decorated prob in 80s but clean), but the resort is HUGE, and if they put u in the back like some people, its like a 7 minute drive just to get to the front entrance.

Offline dovy2

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #507 on: January 23, 2015, 04:42:19 PM »
has anyone ever stayed at the Holiday Inn Orange Lake Resort?
Got the ihg offer?

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #508 on: January 24, 2015, 07:44:01 PM »
Quote
Got the ihg offer?

what offer?

Offline greatdeals

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Re: Orlando Master Thread
« Reply #509 on: January 24, 2015, 11:21:39 PM »
Quote
nice enough place (room we had was decorated prob in 80s but clean), but the resort is HUGE, and if they put u in the back like some people, its like a 7 minute drive just to get to the front entrance.

when was the last time you were there?
did they drive you crazy about timeshare?
were there any other charges to use there facilities?