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Orlando is an exciting destination, and with its diverse range of entertainment, this is a place which is ideal for every type of traveler; not only families but young singles, baby boomers, foodies, outdoor adventurous types, luxury shoppers and international visitors too.

The city is home to more than a dozen theme parks, that’s true; you’ll find the likes of Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando among the funnest things to do. But once you come down from the coasters there’s also an incredible mix of cultural events (performing arts and museums), fantastic gardens and nature preserves, high-end outlet shopping centers, and fabulous cuisine.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a trip to Orlando, so we’ve put together some quick tips on things you should consider, just in case the adrenaline-pumped fantasy has distracted you!

Orlando Tips and Tricks for First Time Visitors: Have You Considered This?

Have You Considered a Car Rental?

Our top Orlando tip is to remember to pack your drivers license – usually this is your best form of ID, though when traveling with your passport many people think they can leave their driver’s license at home.

But car rental is one of the most viable options for getting around Orlando, and those wanting to explore a number of different parks should seriously consider booking a car. Tour companies will come at you offering tours, though this is a destination where it pays to travel at your own pace.

Car rentals in the States are relatively cheap; the cost of a one day car rental may be comparable to the cost of your airport taxi meter! You can find pricing through rental car agencies such as Viajemos.com.

Car rental is one of the most viable options for getting around

Pro Tip: Find the cheapest flights to Orlando by downloading the free Skyscanner app. Click for:

Apple Store free download (iOS)  Google Store free download (Android)

Have You Considered Food?

Orlando has a wonderful mix of world class restaurants, and you can find almost every type of cuisine. Though if you’re traveling on a budget, select an Orlando Hotel with breakfast included, and you’ll only have to worry about lunch and dinner.

First time visitors should think about the timing of your meals, especially if you’re visiting the theme parks. You can avoid huge crowds and long waits if you avoid the meal time rush. Eating can be incredibly time consuming, the lines for food often doubling the lines for rides.

Consider eating an easy breakfast in your hotel room and combining a late lunch with an early dinner. Or eat breakfast around 10am or later, and lunch around 2.30pm. Always remember to carry a bag with water and snacks so you can stay hydrated and happy throughout the day.

Have You Considered Your Camera?

You want to remember the memories you create in Orlando, so a camera will likely be the first thing on your list. However it’s a great idea to also throw in an inexpensive underwater camera if you’re planning on hitting up the water parks.

Versatile cameras like GoPro come with underwater casings, so it could be worth investing in the optional extras and mounts which allow for use in water.

WE RECOMMEND THESE WATERPROOF CAMERAS FOR THEME PARKS ↓

GoPro Hero 4 Amazon

GoPro HERO4 BLACK

Camera Amazon

AKASO EK7000 4K

Camera Amazon

ICONNTECHS 4k Waterproof 

Universal Studios Japan

Have You Considered the Weather?

Orlando is great at any time of year, though weatherwise, winter and spring (especially March to May) are particularly pleasant times. Note that summer in Florida brings extraordinary humidity (in short, it’s unbearable).

It’s a very good idea to travel with an umbrella, especially during summer, which sees afternoon showers almost every day, and we highly recommend you prioritize your sunscreen, as the UV rays are intense.

OUR FAVORITE GUIDES TO FLORIDA: CLICK TO LOOK INSIDE ↓

Florida Amazon Guide

 Florida & the South’s Best Trips

Florida Amazon Guide

Lonely Planet Florida

Florida Amazon Guide

Fodor’s Florida (Full-color Travel Guide)

INSPIRED?! PIN THIS TO YOUR TRAVEL PINTEREST BOARDS ↓

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; a website dedicated to opening your eyes to the wild & natural world.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

If you enjoy getting social, you can follow their journey on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest and Instagram.

Photo credits: Universal studios by Travel Ling.

    26 Comments

  1. You definitely need a rental car if you’re not staying within one of the theme park resorts. Such a great tip about avoinding the meal-time rush! Those lines are killer and will leave you feeling so frustrated to have wasted so much time. Orlando is such a fun destination, though, so it’s great to have tips like these to help make for a successful trip.

    • Absolutely Jackie – we rented a car and I don’t know how we would have done the trip otherwise. ANd so true about the mealtime rush – I’ve been in those lines once or twice, and seriously, they’re longer than some of the lines! Totally happy to wait to eat until off peak times!! … and usually then too, the lines for the rides are shorter when everyone else is at lunch, so win / win!

      Glad you enjoyed the post – Orlando really is just so much fun!

  2. Some great ideas there. I know the US is very car centric and actually even I found it easy to drive. But I’d never thought about a waterproof camera

    • Thanks Fiona! Yes, highly recommend renting a car – it’s very easy to drive throughout the US, and honestly I don’t know what we would have done without our own transport when we visited Orlando – really need it if you’re not centering yourself at one Theme Park resort.

      Glad we could recommend the waterproof camera – I’ve damaged one or two cameras from taking them to theme parks and having forgotten that there’s water involved with a particular ride!!

  3. We used to visit Orlando more regularly, every few years, but not been for a fairly long time now… we always found a rental car really useful, just so easy to get around that way — Orlando is definitely not a city for pedestrians and public transport isn’t really sufficient! We also loved the food and drink options in the city and I know from an instagram friend that the quality dining scene has exploded in recent years!

    • Definitely not a city for pedestrians and public transport, you’re so right. I don’t know what we would have done without our own transport!

      And the food scene really has exploded, they pull out all the stops to compete!

  4. Great tips! I had no idea that renting a car was so cheap! I went to Orlando years ago to Disney World with my parents, so it was all on their terms! So would like to go back and see how it has changed and I will use your tips and tricks!

    • Thanks Lucy, glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, renting a car in the States is surprisingly affordable – you can find some rentals for around $25 a day.

      Orlando is amazing when you’re a kid, obviously, but in my opinion, it’s so much more exciting when you can explore as an adult, and explore on your own terms. Fun to to re-live your childhood trips! Hope you have the chance to visit again in the future 🙂

  5. We visited Orlando this time last year, and we definitely rented a car. We wanted to do things outside the major theme parks, and we couldnt have done it without a car. Like driving to Daytona Beach and touring the Ponce de Leon lighthouse, or going on an airboat ride or exploring Winter Park. There’s so much to do there!

    • Absolutely, there’s so much to do, and as you guys found, so many awesome day trips in the surrounding area too, so renting a care is absolutely something I recommend. I don’t know what we would have done if we didn’t have out own transport!

  6. Some great tips here, I will definitely bear them in mind for when I travel to Orlando and the USA in general. Orlando is high on my list of places on my USA trip 😀

    • Thanks Amit … Hope you have the chance to visit Orlando soon 🙂

  7. I haven’t been back to Orlando since I was a kid, but hoping to make a return visit to Epcot now that I’ve traveled a bit more.

    • It’s so fabulous visiting as an adult when you’ve been previously as a kid. Great way to embrace your inner child, while re-living amazing childhood trips 🙂

  8. These are really great tips! I will say with renting a car be sure to get the SunPass for their toll roads because many of the toll spots don’t have a booth, you get the SunPass or you get a lovely fine in the mail later, often with a late fee (I know from experience.) So, if they offer that, take it. I definitely agree that a versatile camera is best because there are just so many different activities to do in that area!

    • Great tip Paige on getting the SunPass, I’ll update the post to reflect this advice, thanks for sharing from your experience – sucks to get a late fee on tolls, so appreciate your trip!

  9. Orlando for me is ALL about Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We visited a few years back with our youngest and spent three glorious, butter-beer soaked days enjoying the rides, eating Every Flavor Beans, and swishing and flicking with our wands, (I bought Snape’s). You’re right about visiting in spring or late fall – the weather is just ideal, warm but not the furnace that is Florida in summertime. Thanks for bringing back some great memories of our time in Orlando!

    • Totally don’t blame you – I’m also quite obsessed! Absolutely re the summertime – I lived in Florida for a couple of years and the summer was unbearable! I basically stayed inside with my air con on high lol!!

  10. Orlando is definitely on my list of places to visit. I love seafood and it seems that like it is dirt cheap. Not to mention that I love Harry Potter movies.

    Good tip about the waterproof camera. I will keep that one in mind.

    • Hope you have the chance to visit soon Dace! Florida has an AMAZING seafood scene, so you’ll definitely be in your element in Orlando. And as a Harry Potter fan too!

      Glad we could recommend the waterproof camera – I’ve been caught on that a couple of times when I’ve taken a regular camera and forgotten or not realized there was water involved in a ride!

  11. I’m glad you mentioned the extreme heat and humidity during the summer months! And it’s funny, I always tell people to remember to bring sunscreen and umbrellas because most don’t understand how quickly the weather can change in Florida, especially during the summer. One second it’s blazing hot, then the next it’s pouring rain, then it’s blazing again!

    • So quickly re the weather changing! I remember when I spent a year there and the thunder storms in the afternoon (summer) would come on out of the blue. And man oh man that humidity!!

  12. Your tip about the the mealtime rush is really true! I’ve been to 2 Disney parks here in Asia and mealtime rush is really chaotic! One must really avoid it and instead go for a quick snack instead and have a late full meal when the rush hour is over.

    • You seriously end up spending more time in line for a meal than you do for the rides – it’s totally crazy! So I’ve adapted later eating habits when I visit theme parks & always highly recommend it for others too 🙂

  13. Greta tips! I’d consider getting a rental even if you stay inside some parks. Take the opportunity to visit other places on Orlando. It’s a great place!

    • Great recommendation Darryl – agree that Orlando has so much more to offer on top of the parks 🙂

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