Which city pops up in your mind when there is a conversation about multiple theme parks and Disney World? Orlando, Florida.
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Orlando is one of the world's most visited tourist cities; it draws millions of visitors across the globe every year. The hook? Other than year-round-near-perfect weather, this glittering Florida city just so happens to entertain some of the state's top tourist attractions: Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Resort. For those traveling to Orlando for the first time, the sheer scale of it can be overwhelming since it becomes difficult for ambitious thrill-seekers to tick all of them in one go. If you are getting ready to make a trip to Orlando for the first time, here are six tips you can use to amplify your experience and have the time of your life.
Researching is key
Most people need to understand the level of power research holds. Just for example (at least when it comes to the City Beautiful), you'll often find that a good, cheap Orlando hotel is usually a short car ride away from the theme parks, if you do your homework ahead of time. It's all about researching and comparing hotels until you find the one that suits you the most and offers complimentary breakfast– now, who doesn't like that? Hotel booking apps are an excellent tool to use, where you can find reviews and compare prices. Talking to friends who have been to the city is a more trustworthy option.
Get your ESTA
Ten years after its introduction, applying for an ESTA (electronic system for travel authorization) before traveling to Orlando seems like something that would come naturally to travelers. But, people show up to airports without it, which causes them unnecessary stress and almost kills their enthusiasm.
Well, save yourself some time, stress and hassle— apply for your ESTA before your travel, which is three days before you leave. Since ESTA stays valid for two years, it's an excellent step to take as it determines your eligibility as a visitor to the US. It is necessary if you travel by sea or air to the States, but you are exempted from this if you are a US citizen.
Free transportation exists
Rental cars are expensive and often charged higher during the tourist season. In that case, you can use many complimentary shuttles and local bus services from the parks to the resort and all around the international drive.
It's understandable to want to save on transportation, but it is one of the most crucial aspects of the trip. So, what can you do?
A good thing for you is that Orlando resorts often partner with theme parks to provide tourists with transportation services from common spots or their nearby hotels (even from resorts that are not from the site). Travel companies offer transportation services that are included in their packages. For shuttles, reserve them 24 hours in advance as they fill up quickly.
Put together a list of what you'd like to do and what places you would like to explore first. Allocate days for each theme park before you go so that you save yourself hassle and money. Doing so will save you from the headache of planning and time mismanagement in the long run. But don't forget to be spontaneous. It's a city filled with adventure and joy, don't be afraid to switch to your explorer mode and find new places.
If you have children under 14, consider breaking your visits to the parks into two halves. You can always come back to your resort and hotel for downtime and relaxation, fuel up, go shopping and then explore the parks again.
Amusement park vs. theme park: how are they different?
We all have sat on a ride that made us question our sanity. If you have been near such a thing, you went to an amusement park.
In these parks, you generally hop from one ride to another immediately. But, there is always a midway to play games, eat cotton candy, try some guilty-pleasure food and take pictures. The main idea is to have a good time and ride as many attractions as humanly possible.
On the other hand, theme parks have a central theme associated with them. Universal Studios and Disney Studios extracted various features for the amusement parks and created stories, characters, and themes around them. That attracts more audiences because of their famous movies and characters. The rides are spread out in these parks, and the ambassadors and characters are the main actors.
Be aware of any scams
Scams are everywhere. Even the most secure countries suffer from clever scammers crawling within the crowd. In Orlando, scammers can trick you into paying them extra money or accommodating them in one way or another.
The main scams in Orlando are taxis overcharging non-local customers and picture scams. Moreover, watch out for friendly ATM helpers. In this situation, a local will approach you in the ATM to help you avoid the ATM fees; however, their main goal would be to scan your card with a card skimmer. Do not let anyone hold your credit or debit card.
Orlando is a city for traveling and tourism. You can use the tips and tricks above to amplify your experience and have the time of your life. Always do your research before you make a travel plan. Compare hotels and get the best offer. Apply for your ESTA before travel, which is three days before you leave. Stay clear of any scams and search for free transportation options.