UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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BigAl
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Orlando Holiday

Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:11 pm

In a few months I'm going to Florida for the first time and I can't wait! But having never been before, there are a few things I want to know, so I figured I may as well ask here. :)

Firstly, what's the average amount that you pay for car hire over there? My dad received a quote of £267 for a Hyundai Sonata, £311 for a Jeep Liberty and £370 for a Ford Mustang, both for the full 15 days of our stay. Are those prices good? We just need a nice car that can fit four adults, four cases and our hand luggage in, so I'm willing to sacrifice on a Mustang, if need be. :P

Second of all, how far away is Tampa from Orlando in the car? Google Maps says it takes 1 hour and 19 minutes to get to Busch Gardens from the Floridays Resort which is where we're staying. However, I spoke to some friends at school who'd been before and they said it takes between 40 and 50 minutes.

I may have a few questions soon though.


Any help will be much appreciated! :)



Al
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:38 pm

According to google Maps, the distance between Universal Studios and BGT is just over 79 miles, maybe your friends drove really fast when they went? :P

but have a great time, Al. You're going on my dream holiday.

:)
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:40 pm

Yes, they are good prices for the car - I can't imagine you would get much better.

If I remember right, I think it took me around 1 hour to get to Busch Gardens from my hotel near Sea World.
 
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BigAl
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:47 pm

Well that's not far from where I'm staying, so I guess it will take us just under an hour to get there from where we're staying. :)

Thanks for your help, guys! :D
 
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ponder
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:28 pm

We took the Busch Gardens bus from outside Crab House on I Drive, took just over an hour.

I would actually question the need for a hire car, depending on what hotel you're staying at, but I guess it depends on what you have planned. We stayed at the other end of I-Drive at Four Points, and were comfortably able to visit everything we'd planned with no real inconvenience and at minimal cost. 14 day I-ride pass was $17, Universal was walking distance (although hotel did offer free shuttle service), and there was a free shuttle to EPCOT, from there we just used Disney's free transport links, which was a doddle. The bus to Busch Gardens is free if you have a combi ticket (Discovery Cove multi-park deal or Orlando Flex Ticket), you just need to book in advance. They tend to run 3-4 buses a day from the I-Drive area, and they pick up at both ends and in the middle, so it's pretty convenient.

Like I say, it depends on what your actual holiday plans are, and what your hotel offers, but you can definitely save a couple of hundred quid if a car isn't totally essential for your needs.
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:00 pm

I too would suggest you double look at the car hire figures. I have been twice once staying in a hotel near Universal and did not have a car. Once with a car staying in a villa.

The car is handy but the costs of parking are silly. I found using the lynx buses easy to get about and it was nice to mix with some locals.

http://www.uscarhire.com/

Thats the car hire firm I used when we went last march :( (I miss it)

I could write loads as I have done on other Orlando threads but I am a bit short on time at the moment.
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Wed Mar 07, 2012 9:14 pm

Yeah, that's the other thing, it'll cost $15 a pop to park at the theme parks.
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:43 am

Well we're only going to theme parks between 4 and 6 days out of 15. The rest will be spent at beaches, in the cities and mall's etc... The rest of my family don't like theme parks as much as me, or realise that most people go to Florida for them.
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:27 am

Your gona have a whale of a time trust me, ive been in 1998-2004-2006(2007 went to CA and Vegas instead)back in 2010 and my next trip is This September..I highley recommend the Kissimmee SkyCoaster at OldTown its about $30 a pop but its the worlds tallest at 300ft and my god is it AWESOME!!!.Visit busch on a weekday for deffinate the park can get rammed on the weekends. And Montu has always been quietest for me near the end of the day.(NightTime rides on Montu,Kumba and ShieKra are amazing.  Have  A great time.
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:29 pm

I'll go to Fun Spot next year because they're getting a new 120ft Ferris wheel, 65ft gci woodie, smaller 260ft Sky coaster, expansion of their go-karting area, a new water park, a 220ft tall Windseeker, a 20ft family suspended coaster, 7 smaller thrill rides and finally a new Kids area. :)
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:33 pm

Been 3 times, going again in July - ask me anything!

I always use www.usrentacar.com for my car hire. They've always been cheapest for me and you can just pay a deposit not the whole amount up front. They currently have 10% off rental with Dollar but that's only valid for bookings made in the next few days. Check it out. Note that cars are a class of car, not specific cars. What you get will depend on what's there. With Alamo and Dollar (at Orlando International, not at Sanford) you can choose your car from a row. With Budget (and Dollar at Sanford) it's allocated for you. Join the rental companies pre-registration scheme to skip the queues at the rental counter and go straight to the garage (can be different for different companies). Last year I paid £360 for 2 weeks with a Ford Expedition (BIG suv!). That was a cracking deal. This year I've paid £135 (I think) for a week with an Intermediate SUV (Jeep Liberty size). A Mustang would not be the best choice for 4 adults / 4 cases.

Tampa / Busch takes about an hour (maybe a little bit more) from Kissimmee. It's a straight run down I4, although Busch Gardens is very poorly signposted for some reason.
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Thu Mar 08, 2012 1:36 pm

I'll let my parents know about what you did for car hire then. :)

Also, we're taking our own sat nav with the USA maps on it so we should be okay for getting around. We're also getting a couple of maps, just in case. :P
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Thu Mar 08, 2012 5:20 pm

I rented a sat Nav and it was the best idea ever. No faffing with maps. Lots of POI that you could navigate to. It was really handy coming back from Kennedy space centre ( if you like space go! It's awesome!)
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:59 pm

Busch Gardens is f**cking amazing by the way. Just thought I'd throw that in. My favourite park out there.
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:15 pm

Another question: Is it worth getting fast track tickets at any of the parks? :)
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:18 pm

BigAl wrote:
Another question: Is it worth getting fast track tickets at any of the parks? :)


Nope. At Disney they're free regardless, and elsewhere there are few enough 'major' attractions that queues can be avoided for the most part solely through good planning. That's the best advice that can be given... plan as much of your trip as possible beforehand, with the intention of avoiding queues. It may seem like effort, but I promise it adds significantly to enjoyment of the trip.

:)
Last edited by Pennywise on Thu Mar 08, 2012 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Jem8472
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:45 pm

Hard to say really, First time I went was in June on honeymoon and the queues were fine for the first week. Pretty light.

The second week was busier so we used a lot of SRQs.

This is a good tip for Harry Potter, if it is busy and there is a massive queue coming back from the castle (its normally for bag drop) just go to the guy at the front of the queue and ask about SRQ. When we did this he just directed us down a different lane so we did not have to queue in the massive bag drop queue :P . We also asked if we could do the castle walk through which we did and then not go on the ride at the end. So you get to do the ride via SRQ and see the cool castle bit without wasting tons of time.

(we did this in March last year so hopefully it will still be ok)

But just see how the crowds are. It might be worth it on some days to get a fast pass. But obviously disney and Universal do different fast pass systems.

Also another fun thing to do in Orlando is go shooting!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5v0Hfgz ... ature=plcp

Me with a gun :D ^^ It was awesome fun!!!

Also if you want some restaurant recommendations I will have a look for the post I did for another user that was off to Florida.
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:42 pm

Hey BigAl, I'm going to Orlando for the first time this year as well. Very excited about it all!
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:57 am

Nice! Where are you staying and which parks are you visiting? :)
 
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Re: Orlando Holiday

Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:56 am

Fast tracks are probably only relevant if you go during a mega-busy time of year. In October, when I went, they really weren't necessary. With the exception of Harry Potter, just about everything was a walk-on at IoA, likewise at Universal with the exception of Brakerun: The Ride, which kept breaking down. Like the above poster mentions, Disney's fast pass system is free, but only allows you to hold one pass at any one time. Busch Gardens on a week day was also pretty quiet. Cheetah Hunt had queues of around 15-20 minutes as it's their newest ride, but everything else was 5 minutes max. Seaworld seemed to vary massively depending on operation, but on our first visit, both coasters and Atlantis were topping out at 10 minutes throughout the day. Plenty of re-rides! On a brief 2nd visit though, Manta's queue was an hour and the park was noticeably busier, though there didn't seem to be any particular reason for it!
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