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guitarman001

Disney Florida

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That's it, you rich misers. You only live once and things are only going to get more expensive... so I've booked a fortnight in Florida for next year (and hopefully a trip to Vienna before that). Going to check out the Kennedy Space centre, Disneyworld, Universal Studios and the like (I love these things!). I can't wait!! Did Disney Paris last year and it was awesome.

Anybody else been - any tales, advice?

Crikey, just got confirmation and it's like trying to break into Fort Knox over there lol:

Passports in the USA

All British passport holders will only be permitted to enter the US if they hold a machine-readable passport. Passports issued after 26 October 2006 must also include an integrated circuit-chip capable of storing biographic information, a digitized photograph and other biometric information. If your passport was issued after this date and does not have this, you WILL require a visa.

ESTA - Electronic System for Travel Authorization

It is mandatory for anyone travelling to or transferring through the US under the Visa Waiver Program, to obtain approval to travel no later than 72 hours prior to travel by completing an online process ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) scheme. The cost of an ESTA is currently approx $14 per person and can be obtained by visiting https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov or the Visit USA Website at www.visitusa.org.uk where further information on the scheme and up to date fee can also be found. Once completed & approved, the ESTA application is valid for two years and allows multiple visits without the need to reapply. Travellers can apply for an ESTA even if they have no firm plans to travel to the US.

Failure to obtain an ESTA could result in the passenger being denied boarding by the airline.

The ESTA is very similar to the automated visa that you purchase to enter Australia and is completely paperless.

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That's it, you rich misers. You only live once and things are only going to get more expensive... so I've booked a fortnight in Florida for next year (and hopefully a trip to Vienna before that). Going to check out the Kennedy Space centre, Disneyworld, Universal Studios and the like (I love these things!). I can't wait!! Did Disney Paris last year and it was awesome.

Anybody else been - any tales, advice?

If you enjoyed Disneyland Paris you will love Disneyworld, they are not in the same league. You will find the answers to every question you could think of on the Tripadvisor Orlando Forum and also Thedibb forum. I think you said before that you have no kids? If so Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure/Hollywood Studios are great for adults. My advice would be, hire a car and go explore. Visit a couple of beaches in your two weeks, Clearwater beach and surrounding area is amazing (get there early for a parking space). Miami is a $hithole, dont bother unless your driving through to the Keys for a few days, but thats a big drive.

Shopping is great there, Florida Mall and the various Outlet places are a must visit. I have been lucky to see a shuttle launch and a rocket launch whilst on holiday there (not planned), amazing to watch. If you do hire a car, make sure you hire a car from the UK. Carhire3000 or similar, includes all the insurance you need so you do not get stung when you arrive for extras. Get to the theme parks early, at opening, trust me thats the best tip I can give.

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Book your tickets to enter all the places you wish to visit - Disneyworld, Universal, etc, etc - BEFORE YOU GO as it is much cheaper. I believe you can now book a priority for the long, long queues for the rides which allows you to jump the queue but you pay a lot more.

Food is expensive in those places and they don't like you trying to smuggle food in - I think I am right in that they will ask you to leave if you are caught eating your own food. So the thing to do is to eat a massive breakfast to limit the expense of eating in the parks. Obviously, have something to eat but for main meals try to drive 30 or 40 minutes away to find something much cheaper.

If you hire a car - which is a must - and you decide on an open top don't forget plenty of sunscreen for your neck and head/face, preferably a hat, as I have known so many people have their holidays wrecked by severe sun-burn driving around for an hour in an open top in Florida. In fact, put the suncreen on under stuff like t-shirts, etc, as you back, shoulders and neck can still burn through lightish material.

When you pick up your hire car ask for a map - in fact, ask for a few maps. The Americans are very friendly and helpful in this regard.

There's a huge discount mall near Orlando - forget the name - which is full of designer clothers. I have heard of lots of Brits who holiday there leaving the UK with just hand luggage. Once in Orlando they buy up a set of suitcases, much cheaper than here in the UK, and then fill them with clothes. If you do this make sure any clothes you bring back are a big wrinkled and worn-looking as opposed to shop-bought creases. Not that I am for a moment suggesting you try and smuggle loads of clothes into the UK.

When you get to US customs expect a long wait, be extra extra polite and do not try any British humour or sarcasm. Tell them how much you love the US, etc. Don't try to take any food in - peanuts, bananas, nothing as it is a huge crime punishable by flogging... I think.

http://www.orlandotouristinformationbureau.com/shopping/malls.htm

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Try and go to Busch Gardens if you can: http://buschgardens.com/bgt/

Epcot of course

Downtown Disney, which has some pretty good restaurants: http://disneyworld.d...owntown-disney/

(we saw cirque du soleil there): http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/downtown-disney/entertainment/cirque-du-soleil/?utm_source=Paid%2BSearch&utm_medium=Paid%2BSearch&utm_campaign=Paid%2BSearch&CMP=KNC-WDWUKFY10Q4PaidSearch0001&sissr=1

Of course Universal Studios and Disney World itself etc.!

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I've yearned to go back to the USA but their disgraceful immigration policy means they'll not get a cent of my money.

You're treated like scum, assumed to be Bin Laden's successor and you may well wait four hours for the privilege.

There are sooooo many other countries to visit that actually quite like visitors, and don't want to strike the fear of Allah into your wife and children.

Tips (as you've already booked)

The Space Shuttle sim at the Kennedy is garbage. The rest of the space centre is good, but not that bit.

Car hire queues can be immense. Use alternative transport to your first night's accommodation and pick up a car the next day

If you like coasters, Busch Gardens is an absolute must.

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So, with flights and accommodation sorted then there is little else.

Work out what you want to do park wise and buy tour tickets online now.

There are a few outlet places that sell clothes cheap but I wouldnt get too excited, they are mostly extra massive or luminous green.

You want to make some money or buy a good deal then find somewhere selling silver eagles, they are less premium and 20% vat there.

Unless you are a ginger then I wouldnt worry about plastering yourself in sunscreen and trying to get rickets. I am fair and didnt use cream once in two weeks - I never got sun cancer or shriveled up - just be sensible.

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Don't underestimate how long it takes to drive between locations. I went on a road trip from Atlanta ending up in Orlando seeing specific sites along the way. Fantastic trip, but my god the driving was a bore haha. The size of the vehicle is significant too, if you're planning major drives.

Universal Studios was incredible. It's only a shame we chose Busch Gardens over Disney, because I can imagine Disney is out of this world. Universal was the sort of visit you never ever forget. Really blew me away. We went in September and the queues were short. Considering the potential heat, that is important. Florida has a "different" kind of heat to the UK ;) Busch Gardens might have been much more fun had it not been for the scorching rays.

Check out the Simpsons ride at Universal. We went in before leaving on a whim, not expecting much. It turned out to be a fantastic 3D ride.

Price wise, ironically Orlando was the cheapest place we stayed in. And some of the backwaters we passed through cost a packet. The only place we stayed in that watered down the orange juice and had poor service was actually British owned. Surprise surprise.

There's no doubt you'll have a great time. So look forward to it. I liked Florida so much I decided to try emigrating there. Btw I hope you like alligators...

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Try and go to Busch Gardens if you can: http://buschgardens.com/bgt/

Bush gardens is awsome if you love coasters. A little top tip that my wife discovered was that if you pull the lap bar down really hard, and i mean really hard, it is unable to release when you come back to station. Because of the heat they will send the coaster round again with just yourselves on it until the mechanics come to release it on your next visit to the station. It makes a great photo and because it's the u.s they are paranoid of legal proceedings so expect to be showered with gifts.

Have a great time !

note: if you don't like roller coasters then do not push the bar down too hard.

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I've yearned to go back to the USA but their disgraceful immigration policy means they'll not get a cent of my money.

You're treated like scum, assumed to be Bin Laden's successor and you may well wait four hours for the privilege.

There are sooooo many other countries to visit that actually quite like visitors, and don't want to strike the fear of Allah into your wife and children.

Tips (as you've already booked)

The Space Shuttle sim at the Kennedy is garbage. The rest of the space centre is good, but not that bit.

Car hire queues can be immense. Use alternative transport to your first night's accommodation and pick up a car the next day

If you like coasters, Busch Gardens is an absolute must.

I dont think that they would have treated us like that in the past but look at things today and tell me that you cant blame them.

Every man and his dog has a british passport, we give them away freely ffs.

There is a huge percentage of people now holding british passports that dont even speak english ffs.

It does piss me off being treated like that by some yank tosser that I know cant spell or command the language like I do and to whom I am clearly English but I cant blame them for treating a british passport the same as an afghan one now.

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I dont think that they would have treated us like that in the past but look at things today and tell me that you cant blame them.

Every man and his dog has a british passport, we give them away freely ffs.

There is a huge percentage of people now holding british passports that dont even speak english ffs.

It does piss me off being treated like that by some yank tosser that I know cant spell or command the language like I do and to whom I am clearly English but I cant blame them for treating a british passport the same as an afghan one now.

Hmmmm, i never had a problem and have been several times over the past few years, including this year.

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I like Florida. Done all the parks. Found Epcot pretty boring, Universal Studios the best.

For eating go to a Ponderosa cafe. Loads of food, eat as much as you want. Pretty reasonable as well.

Definitely have a huge breakfast before visiting the parks. Arrive very early and remember where you have parked.

The car parks are huge and it can take up to 20 odd minutes to get to the entrance.

Save the popular rides to late in the afternoon. Far less queuing.

If it's hot, definitely wear a hat and drink lots of water. Pretty obvious I know.

For shopping go straight to the malls at the end of International Drive.

All motels have lots of advertising flyers. Use them! Large discounts at the malls and eating places.

Away from Orlando Clearwater has lovely white sand beaches and Busch Gardens which is both an amusement park and wildlife centre.

Also near Clearwater they have a huge Salvador Dali art gallery.

Daytona Beach is worth visiting. Loads of cheap motels and $5 to drive on the beach.

A tour of Daytona Speedway is a must

One hidden gem only about 90 minutes drive from Orlando is the town of San Augustin.

Turn left and head North from Daytona Beach.

It's an historic Spanish Town with a castle. The centre is car free and lovely to walk around.

You would not know you are in the US. Loads of bars and eating places. Great atmosphere.

Enjoy!

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I like Florida. Done all the parks. Found Epcot pretty boring, Universal Studios the best.

So you thought Universal was better than Disney?

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At Kennedy don't be tempted by the half-tour option - get the full tour and you will get very close to the launch sites and also a tour of the science buildings. You're an engineer I recall so you'll love that (there were sections of the international space station being assembled when we went). Most people go only for a short tour and some iMAX, but if you're a scientist/engineer you can easily spend a happy day there - as well as the tours there are science demos, a museum of rocket history, and a park full of old rockets. At the gift shop don't forget to buy a comedy "It ain't rocket science!" mug complete with all the equations for thrust etc...

If you're in the mood there's plenty of ridiculous stuff to do in Orlando. A Dolly Parton-themed dinner event with horse displays and ostrich racing? A bible theme park where Christ is crucified twice daily for your entertainment? All available.

Don't do SeaWorld though - hugely disappointing. The gift shops outnumber the actual fish by about 10 to 1.

One other thing to remember about Florida is that the water is chlorinated to buggery, so watch out if you're sensitive.

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We last went to Disney Florida for a week during Christmas 2002. Best time of year to do Florida in my opinion, not too hot.

Took 3+1 kids and rented a four bedroom house with pool and a small people carrier. I also rented a helicopter for an hour and flew round the theme parks

You can buy cheap multi-day entrance tickets in the local shops.

Police phoned on the second day to welcome us to the community and gave us their number should we need anything :o.

Main thing to watch for are the extras on the car hire rate, it can easily be double what you expected. Alamo are usually okay.

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Have a big breakfast and get to the parks as soon as they open. Head straight to the back of the park for the rides furthest from the entrance, and work back. The opposite to what 95% of people do, so usually much less queueing, at least during the the morning - after that, everywhere gets busy. Stay until the end, the Disney parks end with a fantastic firework display every night - or at least did when I went 10 years ago. I personally enjoyed Seaworld enormously. Cape Kennedy is an essential visit. Get an upgrade to a ragtop, but check the roof works before you drive it away!

Have fun!

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Have a big breakfast and get to the parks as soon as they open. Head straight to the back of the park for the rides furthest from the entrance, and work back. The opposite to what 95% of people do, so usually much less queueing, at least during the the morning - after that, everywhere gets busy. Stay until the end, the Disney parks end with a fantastic firework display every night - or at least did when I went 10 years ago. I personally enjoyed Seaworld enormously. Cape Kennedy is an essential visit. Get an upgrade to a ragtop, but check the roof works before you drive it away!

Have fun!

Big breakfasts seem to be a recurring theme.

Isn't Seaworld where that killer whale killed that lady trainer last year?

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And so the great Disney versus Universal Housepricecrash war of the Summer of 2011 begun...

:lol:

I didn't visit any of the Disney parks so can't comment. Am interested to know if Harry Potter World is any good. Our 7 day park tickets were through Keith Prowse (looks like the company went bust last year)

Ponderosa breakfast is a good shout as is getting there early. I drove up from Miami via Fort Lauderdale and struck lucky as the holiday accidentally coincided with spring break. ;)

Try and get into the 'Glades as well if you can.

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"So you thought Universal was better than Disney? " Darkman lol

I liked the Disney Studios. Lots to see and do and also audience participation.

Epcot, unless it has been updated, I found pretty boring.

The actual Disney World park I found good fun although very child orientated.

Which is fair enough because that's what Disney does best.

I really liked Universal Studios. Plenty of everything and well spaced out.

Although crowded not as much queuing.

Tried the new Universal Islands of Adventure....very poor. Not that many rides but souvenir tat and gift shops everywhere.

If you like driving and have the time drive down to Key West. A interesting road trip. Miami is a lot safer now but I would keep going.

Key West is very expensive. Seems to be the outpost for ageing hippies. Great sunsets, Ernest Hemingway's house, and nice beaches.

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I've yearned to go back to the USA but their disgraceful immigration policy means they'll not get a cent of my money.

You're treated like scum, assumed to be Bin Laden's successor and you may well wait four hours for the privilege.

There are sooooo many other countries to visit that actually quite like visitors, and don't want to strike the fear of Allah into your wife and children.

Yes indeed,

We all need to come to terms with the fact that in this world we are all guilty until we can prove ourselves temporarily not guilty.

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Try and go to Busch Gardens if you can: http://buschgardens.com/bgt/

Epcot of course

Downtown Disney, which has some pretty good restaurants: http://disneyworld.d...owntown-disney/

(we saw cirque du soleil there): http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/downtown-disney/entertainment/cirque-du-soleil/?utm_source=Paid%2BSearch&utm_medium=Paid%2BSearch&utm_campaign=Paid%2BSearch&CMP=KNC-WDWUKFY10Q4PaidSearch0001&sissr=1

Of course Universal Studios and Disney World itself etc.!

They were my favorites.....stayed in Fort Lauderdale, nice beach did a lot of driving visited Miami beach and Bay Side...the Florida keys were good, the best bit was the fishing and of course the dolphins. ;)

Edit to say: a must is an air boat ride on the everglades, you might even see a croc...... got $2 to the £1 then. :(

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Ponderosa, maybe if your on a budget, it ain't the best but it seems to be an Englishmans favourite. You might like it. I have never had problem taking food and drink into the parks and we always take a rucksack full.

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