Welcome to Orlando
The Vacation Capital Of the World
FLORIDA VILLA INFORMATION GUIDE
No matter if you are a seasoned visitor to the sunshine state of this is your first visit, we want it to be the best vacation you ever have, so much so that you will want to return time and time again.
For the seasoned visitor, no matter how many times you visit, you are guaranteed to see changes wherever you look. I hope you find the following information to be extremely useful and helps you to get the most out of your stay.
Let us start with your ESTA, you should have applied for this some time ago, so we assume you are in possession of a valid ESTA (these last for two years) or you have a VISA in your passport. If not, then please speak to your travel agent for more information.
There are two airports Orlando International (MCO) and Orlando Sanford (SFB), with the main tourist area being Kissimmee, MCO is about 40 minutes’ drive while SFB is about an hour’s drive.
Schedule flights come into MCO while tour operator charter flights come into SFB
US pre-clearance is on its way to the UK but for now, you will clear customs on arrival in the USA. Once you arrive, you will enter the immigration hall and these lines can get quite long at busy times. You will be directed to a counter as an individual, a couple or as a family, stay behind the line until the officer calls you. It is common knowledge that these officers do not tend to show any sense of humour so when it is your turn walk up to the desk, present your passports and simply answer the questions you are asked, better not to engage in any other conversation.
At MCO once you are through immigration collect your bags from the carousel and make your way to the exit, here you can place your bags on a carrier that takes them to the main terminal as right now you are at one of the satellite terminals. Follow the exit signs and board the tram to the main terminal, here you can collect your bags and find your car rental desk if you have booked a hire car.
At SFB once through immigration collect your bags and if you have car rental booked then just walk across the street to the Rental Office where you will find all the major rental companies.
On arriving at the car rental desk, present them with your voucher, always best to make sure you know what Insurance you are covered for on your voucher. Remember you have just had a long flight and you may be tired but obtaining your rental car is a serious matter so make sure you are fully covered; sales clerks are keen to sell you more as they get commission, so tired or not keep your wits about you. One optional extra is they try to sell you a Sun Pass – not worth it unless you are going to travel along the toll roads constantly.
When you return your vehicle at the end of the vacation, you will have had two options, one is to return the car empty and the other is return it full, stop at a petrol station before you return it or the hire company will charge you a lot more than face value.
If you are travelling to Orlando Florida from the United Kingdom with a disabled person, their UK Disabled Blue Badge WILL NOT be valid for use in Florida BUT the good news is that they can apply for a temporary US Handicap Badge by following the steps below…
How to apply in-person (after arriving in Orlando)
Visitors that will stay in the Osceola County area may make an appointment to request a disabled parking permit in person at The Osceola County Tax Collector Office, 2501 E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy. (192) in Kissimmee.
To better prepare you, the following will be required to process your application…
As you enter the building there is a reception office, you may have to get in line, tell them you want to get a Temporary Disabled badge, show them your UK Blue badge and your passport, they will register you and give you a number, find a seat in the large waiting room and watch the screens for your number and which door to go through, on the screen it also tells you which desk. Go to that door and look for the desk they will take care of you.
GETTING TO YOUR VILLA
On the following pages you will find detailed information about your villa, it will have the full address along with the terms and conditions of rental. We suggest that you refer to Google maps and enter the address of the villa and get directions from the airport to the villa depending on which airport you arrive at.
Seasoned visitors may know which roads to take avoiding toll roads but it is much easier to take the toll roads to your villa address.
As you leave the airport, you will pass through 4 toll gates. The first two are manned and they are about $2 each the next two are NOT MANNED so you need coins to throw in the box, these are about 75cents each. If you drive through without payment and you are in a rental car the fine will go to them and they will charge the credit card you left as security and they charge $50 each fine admin.
On arrival at your villa, as some resorts have security gates you will need to register with the gate house and be given a pass for your car windscreen.
Also in the information pack, it will contain a digital code to gain entry to your villa as unlike other vacation home renters, you can go directly to your villa without having to find an office to pick up a key. You will find a key box on the villa door, enter your passcode to open the box and get your key.
Inside the villa, you will find an information booklet to explain all about your villa home, while you are on vacation you retain the door key simple locking the door behind you and setting the alarm system. On the day you leave the villa you will leave the key inside and lock the door behind you unless it states otherwise. Precise instructions are in the villa handbook.
All homes have Air Conditioning, make sure that all doors and windows are closed when you have the Aircon is switched on, if not that makes the aircon unit work overtime and it freezes up with a charge of hundreds of dollars to repair.
Poolside, Doors that lead out to the pool area have alarms fitted, this is a high-pitched tone (not pleasant) but it is Florida Law and an offence to remove the batteries, this is for child protection. If your pool has a safety fence keep it in place, simple rules to prevent a child from falling in the pool when it is un-attended.
Driving around Kissimmee is quite easy even if you have not driven on the wrong side of the road before, most roads are quiet apart from the interstate roads and of course the 192 that runs through Kissimmee, you will find direction signs everywhere for the parks and other attractions.
There are supermarkets everywhere, Walmart, Publix, WalGreens, Win Dixie and more plus there are Seven Eleven stores at most petrol stations.
Talking about Petrol, you will soon discover the cost of petrol is much cheaper than the UK at around $1.25 for a Gallon.
DISCOUNT CARDS & COUPONS
You can purchase Dine 4 Less cards and Kids Eat Free cards that offer great savings in many restaurants plus in every supermarket you will find racks of coupon books that give you a wide range of savings on many items as well as restaurants.
At the end of your vacation and the time has come to say goodbye ensure that you pack all of your belongings before leaving the villa, departure time is 10am, check the villa guide about leaving the key and locking up the property. Most villas ask that you place all of your beddings and towels into the washing machine for the cleaner, again check the villa guide.
If your flight was with Virgin and you do not want to carry your luggage around all day, you can drop it off at Disney Springs just behind the Cirque Du Soliel building, there is a charge of $10 per bag and the next time you see it will be when you arrive in the UK.
Returning your rental car, on arriving at the airport follow the signs for car rental return. Park in line as there will be other cars being dropped off, collect your items and the attendant will check the car in for you.
Walk back to the terminal building to check in for your return flight home.
Have a wonderful time and a safe journey home.