There is no doubt, Florida is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Estimated to attract over 1.5 million UK tourists each year. Situated amongst the southern states of the USA, Florida hosts a huge variety of tourist attractions.
With more than a dozen theme parks, Orlando in central Florida has all you need to keep the whole family entertained and to enjoy quality time together.
From adrenaline-fuelled rollercoasters at Universal Studios Florida to film sets, aquariums and water parks, the ‘Sunshine State’ really does have something for everyone.
Many find that the easiest and most flexible way to travel to Orlando’s must-see attractions is via a hired car.
You’ll find that Orlando’s car hire companies are grouped together on the ground floors of Terminal A and Terminal B at Orlando International Airport – Enterprise, Avis, Hertz, Firefly, Budget and Thrifty are among the car hire firms in residence.
You’ll also find car hire firms across Florida, and in Orlando itself, that can meet your needs. Depending on what your Orlando hotel offers, you may need to pay for overnight parking for your hire car – check in advance to see whether this is the case.
Note that the main driver will need to be at least 25 years of age. A handful of Orlando car hire firms do rent to younger drivers, but such a hire will usually cost more.
Brits are sometimes shocked to learn that when they arrive in their dream destination, they are not fully equipped to hire a vehicle without an International Driving Permit (IDP). On 1st January 2013, new laws were ushered into place, stating that motorists with non-US licences were required to also carry an International Driving Permit. Even though this law was revoked by the Governor of Florida in early April of the same year, rental and hire companies of the state may still require you to have in your possession both your home licence and an International Driving Permit.
We at Questor Insurance recommend that although some rental companies do not require you to possess an International Driving Permit, it would be a good idea to apply for one – just as a precautionary measure.
As a UK citizen, you are not permitted to apply for an International Driving Permit until 3 months before your trip and you must be 18 years of age upon application. At the Post Office, you will need to fill out a form in person.
Please ensure that:
If you do decide to hire a car during your travels, remember to also consider purchasing car hire excess insurance. You will often find that comprehensive excess cover is much cheaper to buy through Questor Insurance in comparison to an excess waiver offered by the car hire company. To find out more about car hire excess insurance and how this protects you against additional car hire charges, just click here.
The SunRail commuter rail service runs from north to south in Orlando but does not stop near to any of the main theme parks. Amtrak serves Winter Park, Kissimmee and Winter Haven (the latter of which is home to Legoland) and provides an alternative route into Orlando if travelling from elsewhere within the United States.
The Lynx Bus also makes regular airport pick-ups and drop-offs, roughly every 30 minutes on weekdays and hourly at weekends – serving locations in downtown Orlando, Florida Mall, SeaWorld, and International Drive at a cost of $2 per passenger per ride. The bus network does not service Walt Disney World or Port Canaveral.
Orlando is served by Orlando International Airport (MCO), acting as a gateway to millions of inbound tourists on an annual basis.
Situated around six miles to the south-east of Orlando, the airport is a short drive from Interstate 4.
An Orlando airport shuttle service operates to hotels close to the airport and to some that are further away. These services also offer a shuttle from the hotel to Orlando International Airport, but you will need to book at least 24 hours in advance to organise the transfer.
If you’re planning a trip to the many theme parks or other attractions, it’s important to note what to expect from the weather.
Temperatures in Orlando peak in July and August, pushing 30°C, while January and December are the colder months, where temperatures average 15°C.
Extreme variations in humidity can mean Orlando’s weather is tough on holidaymakers, as high temperatures and thunderstorms are both common.
You can expect a minimum of 10 hours of sunshine between April and July, although rainfall peaks in July at 170mm when showers can be expected on two of every three days.
The best time to visit Florida is between September and November, as the weather in Orlando in September features notably lower humidity levels.
Walt Disney World is the home to 4 unbelievable theme parks including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
In Magic Kingdom, revisit the classic Disney films that we all know and love. With a range of water rides, roller coasters and off-the-scale castles, Magic Kingdom is the ideal place to celebrate Disney’s best known stories.
Animal Kingdom provides the opportunity to explore the jungles across the world and (new to Disney World) you can explore the world of the incredible film ‘Avatar’! With thrilling roller coasters and extraordinary animals, Animal Kingdom offers something for everyone.
Hollywood Studios is the best place for all the movie fanatics providing the opportunity to explore famous films throughout the eras from the early 20th Century through to the modern day. A must for any Star Wars fan!
Experience ‘the world’ at Epcot as well as outer space and under the sea! With a variety of futuristic rides, Epcot is the perfect place to let your inner-explorer flourish.
Florida is also home to a variety of water parks such as Sea World and Universal Studios’ Volcano Bay. Fancy swimming with a variety of marine wildlife, such as dolphins, manta rays and even sharks? Then a trip to Discovery Cove is a must. SeaWorld Orlando is also home to an abundance of sea life including whales and dolphins.
It’s not just about Walt Disney World, read on to discover more about Orlando Florida and the many attractions and sights you may want to explore:
After an exhausting few days exploring the parks, you might just want to relax on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches. In the south of the state, beaches in Miami and Clearwater are perfect for a bit of rest and relaxation. With warm, turquoise waters and talcum powder-like sand, these beaches will have you feeling like you have landed in paradise. You’ll also find an array of beaches in Orlando that offer golden sands and a chance to top up your tan.
Renowned as one of the USA’s major tourism regions, Orlando is packed with places to eat, drink and immerse yourself in culture. The best Orlando restaurants can be found in Downtown, where you can find award-winning eateries serving up everything from pizza and pasta to burgers, steak and sushi.
We hope you have found this travel guide useful. For more travel related advice, take a look at the blogs and news articles in our social hub.
Date Created: 09/01/2019