If this is your first time to Florida and Orlando, then a little preparation will go along way and ensure that this is not just another vacation, but one of your top 3 ever.
You may need to accommodate days for everyone, from the little ones right up to the seniors in your party, so it is worth investing in a good guide book to help you.
If you try and do the main theme parks everyday, then you will probably be burnt out by day 5, so try to plan a theme park every other day and then a water park or day at the villa in between. Some of the theme parks are open till 10pm, so no need to be there at opening, you can turn up after lunch.
You will need to pace yourselves, if you try to do too much, you will lose the fun and miss loads, you are best to take your time and enjoy the moment, then come back for more, a lot of families will visit the Walt Disney World® Resort this trip and then come back and visit Universal Studios, Seaworld & Busch Gardens next time.
You will arrive to your villa tired as you will have been up and traveling a long time, you may have jet lag and wake up at 4.30am the next morning. Therefore it is important not to have a heavy first day at the parks. A lot of people recommend Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park or Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park for the first day so they can take it a bit easier, here is an example:
Sunday Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
Monday Disney’s Hollywood Studios®
Tuesday Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
Friday Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
Saturday Magic Kingdom® Park
Sunday Disney’s Hollywood Studios®
Monday Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
Tuesday Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park
Wednesday Islands Of Adventure
Friday Magic Kingdom® Park
Driving in Florida can seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it is not so bad. Check out our driving tips page for further information.
Take full advantage of the coupons available to you on your vacation, there are hundreds of businesses and attractions wanting your custom, you can find coupon booklets in stands at the front of supermarkets and restaurants. The Orlando Sentinel Newspaper is really big on a Sunday and full of advertising and offers.
(Tip: check our eating out guide for restaurant recommendations)
Banks / Currency
If you are bringing Travelers Cheques, ensure they are in $US and not UK sterling, otherwise you will need to go to a bank to cash them, the $US travelers cheques are accepted as cash in the majority of shops and restaurants (You may be asked for Passport I.D.)
European food shoppers will find an abundance of food usually found back home and named brands as well. Wal-Mart, Publix and Winn-Dixie all have UK food sections available. One of the most Frequently Asked Questions is from people trying to find a butter that they like, the nearest we have found to Lurpak Spreadable is the Land o Lakes – pictured here. Check to ensure the French stick is the one you want, the Sour Dough French Stick is indeed Sour and an acquired taste.
It is customary in the US to tip for most services. Tips are sometimes automatically added and other times are optional. When dining out, check the bottom of the bill/check. If it states ‘service tip or gratuity included’, there is no need to leave any more tip unless you thought your waiter / waitress was exceptional.
For parties of 6 or more the automatic tip could be 18%.
Waiter 15% – 20% of bill/check
Taxi Driver 10% of the fare
Valet Parking 10% of the cost
All petrol “Gas” stations are pre pay, a low tank in an economy car will normally take about $30, go to the cashier and hand your money over then go and fill up. If the petrol does not come out, you may see a lever (cradle that pump handle sits on) you may need to lift this up to get the “Gas”.
Phone Cards and phoning home
The “International” prepay phone cards are really good and last ages, you can get them from either Wal-Mart on the stands by the checkout, or Florida Star ones from petrol Stations.
All villas have phones that may let you ring locally, you can use the phone cards when in the villa, – Calls made to the UK start with
01144 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (leave first 0 from area code)
– Calls to the villa from the UK start with
001 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (Villa phone number can be found on the villa notice board)
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