The idea of this post is to provide our readers with random tips from various aspects of their vacation. These tips will be growing continuously so please check back from time to time.
- Some of the gas stations in Kissimmee and Orlando are notorious for their tactics to steal your money. Before you pump gas, please know the price per gallon. All gas stations will have a large sign with the price per gallon for various grades of gas. If there is no clear sign with the price, walk away. There are some gas stations that charge $6 per gallon when the going rate is $2. We are aware of one gas station near the airport and Esso gas station on Vineland Road next to Longhorn steakhouse near premium outlets that practice in price gouging.
- Cars in the US run on gasoline (in short known as gas) and not on petrol/diesel. While some vehicles like commercial vehicles run on petrol, most if not all rental cars need gasoline. When you go to the gas station, always check the pumps carefully. There will be about three grades on gasoline and one grade of petrol at most gas stations. Petrol/diesel pump is green in many cases and your car may not like that.
- When you order take-out/carry-out please do so based on a phone book number or from a national chain. You do not want your credit card numbers with the guy who slips pamphlets under the doors. Don’t order food from what appears to be a local “mom and pop place” over the phone.
- The villas listed on our website at Emerald Island Rentals provides free propane gas refills where a BBQ grill is available. If you are staying elsewhere and need to refill propane gas for the BBQ grill, check out the local Wal Mart or the Lowes Hardware store where the prices are lowest. In case you do not want to drive that far, you can exchange the propane tank in most gas stations though the price will be higher.
- Renting a car? Always decline the fuel Prepay option. You will never succeed in using all the fuel for which you paid. At the same time, ensure that you are returning the tank full. If you are returning from Emerald Island Resort via the I-4, there is a gas station off of the Tradeport Drive exit which is just a few miles from the airport. We recommend that you fill up the tank there. Also, before the agent starts to finalize the bill, tell him that you filled the gas just now and the tank is full. Also, keep the receipt from the gas station handy. In many cases, rental car agents at airport assume that you give the tank empty or assume that you will not question the charge. Once the bill gets finalized, you will have to spend another 30 minutes to get the charge off your bill.
- Rental car toll options: Know your options! There are many schemes at the car rental counter to skim your money and they will offer you the “convenience” of not having to stop at the tollbooths. If you are predominantly going to be within the Orlando area, you don’t need anything special purchased from the rental car agency. You just need some change with you. But some locations in Florida are fully automated, meaning you need a transponder or your rental car will be billed using “Plate Pass”.
- Bus transportation is not a possibility while on a vacation in the Disney World area. The communities are large and sometimes the walk to your villa from the nearest bus stop could be more than a mile or two. In addition, the buses are not frequent. We encourage you to rent a car and make the best of your vacation in the theme parks or in the pool of your villa and not waiting for a bus in the middle of the night.
- Disney World bus and monorail transportation are free for anyone to go from one theme park to another. You can use it wisely to your advantage if your party needs to split between two parks.
- Rental cars from off-site agencies: From a price point the rental car agencies who are located off-site from an airport might make sense, they are quite an inconvenience. First, you have to wait for the shuttle and load all your luggage into the shuttle (with some help from the driver). You share the shuttle with the other passengers. You may have to wait 15-25 minutes for a shuttle and off-site locations are about 10-15 minutes drive. From past experiences, these offsite locations are not well staffed and you may have to wait 1-2 hours to get a car allocated to you. All this is from my personal experiences more than once. These huge delays also mean that you have to put your family through this ordeal on the day of departure as well. Is it worth it? Only you can answer this question.
- Traveling with someone in your party that needs a scooter for mobility? Head to the parks as early as you can as the scooters are limited and they are not guaranteed to be available all day.
- Heading to the water parks? Pack your water shoes. The pavements get hot and you can’t walk bare feet.
- Disney’s theme parks are busier at the weekend. The Magic Kingdom is best enjoyed with less local crowds during weekdays with crowds getting larger starting from Friday. Always check the park schedules before you plan the day as some parks close early for special events or require a special ticket to stay longer. For example, to the Magic Kingdom will close at 07:00 pm for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party unless you have a ticket for that event.
- If you are staying in the Orlando area for Christmas and plan on eating-out or cater food, please know your options will be limited and you need to plan and inquire in advance, most stores and restaurants will be closed early if not closed all day.
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