Brit’s Guide To Orlando
The Brits Guide To Orlando by renowned UK authors Simon & Susan Veness has become the definitive guide for British visitors to Orlando.
They are kind enough to recommend our website as a reliable source of attraction tickets.
Like us they been around Orlando a long time and know the scoop on just about everything so do with the theme parks!
Susan also offers extremely useful Orlando itineraries, carefully planned to suit your family’s ages and tastes. Each is chock full of money saving tips, time saving shortcuts and great advice from a theme park veteran!
Whether you love it or hate it, shopping is actually the favorite pastime of British Tourists to Orlando – sorry Mickey!
Try and stay away from the stores selling seashells 60 miles away from the ocean, and head instead to one of the area’s wonderful air-conditioned malls.
Local favourites are The Mall At Millenia, Florida Mall, Premium Outlets, Pointe Orlando and The Loop. Typically open long hours, seven days a week, you’ll find great buys on jeans, casual-wear, sneakers, cameras, electronics and much more.
In terms of good old American superstores you should always include a Super Walmart or Target on your list of shops to browse, as well as that all America favourite Macy’s.
Don’t forget your credit cards are accepted almost everywhere as long as you have photo ID. Consider using your U.K. Driver’s License to prove you are you (it has to have a picture) instead of your passport. This way you can leave your passport somewhere safely back at the hotel or villa.
It Aint Half Hot Mum!
British Tourists & sun starved Europeans may be somewhat bemused to see large numbers of locals heading for the shade at the first sign of a few rays.
Life without air conditioning is for many here unthinkable and breaking sweat walking around town is strictly for the birds (or the Brits!).
Make no mistake, the locals love their sunshine, but perhaps more in January & February than July and August!
For those of you visiting in the summer it’s going to be REALLY hot and you are going to fry unless you’re wearing GOOD sunblock that needs applying generously everyday before heading out.
If you resemble a bottle of milk without your shirt on then SPF 30 or higher is a good starting point!
The Natives Are Very Friendly
For the most part the locals are exceptionally friendly and you’ll find them very willing to chat. Many are from families that hail from the ‘old country’ and they cling ferociously to their European heritage.
Good ‘ol boys with a sharp Southern drawl will announce with a straight face that they are in fact Scottish! If you do happen to meet a fellow ‘countryman’ expect a great reception.
American hospitality is indeed second to none, so be prepared for most employees to be very cordial. Visitors not used to smiling shop assistants, jovial waitresses, and beaming bartenders are in for a surprise!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request assistance. Americans demand good service so make the most of it!
Tipping Is Not A City In China
On the whole wait staff in Orlando are friendly and efficient and will typically add a very positive dimension to your holiday.
A 15% to 20% gratuity is normally given for food and beverage service (not self-service). This is definitely the rule rather than the exception, as waiters and waitresses rely on gratuities to make their living.
As the sign hanging on the wall says, ‘Tipping is not a city in China!’ Take the hint and whatever you do don’t leave a handful of change on a $100 tab – it’s perceived as a very negative message about the standard of service.
Because you’re expected to tip, you in turn can reasonably expect that every element of your dining experience is good.
Remember it’s okay to send your steak back, if it’s not exactly as you ordered it – don’t politely nod in a very British way, then wish later you had said something.
Here the customer is always right so take full advantage!
Eating Out Is Just Fabulous
Eating out is not only fabulous it’s quite the adventure for the uninitiated! For the most part it’s reasonably priced and definitely the thing to do.
A simple breakfast can quickly turn into an ‘all you can eat’ epic, with stacks of pancakes decked in maple syrup sitting alongside fried eggs and the dreaded grits! Try Denny’s , Sizzler or I Hop!
Also don’t be fooled into thinking that appetizers are light snacks, or that salads are for those with a lighter appetite!
Portions tend to be particularly generous most of the time, so before you order ask a few specific questions. Share a main course if need be, or simply ask for what’s left ‘to go’ if you have the means to store it.
Before deciding what to have, always listen carefully to your server who will reel off a list of the ‘specials’ on offer, and your choices of salad dressings, breads, potatoes, and vegetables.
If you’ve never heard of a particular dish simply ask for it ‘on the side’ so it comes on a separate plate.
Time for TV? Absolutely
Your hotel or villa will likely have an excellent selection of TV & movie entertainment. Choose from religion, movies, sports, and even a 24 hour weather channel (Brits love this!).
Many visitors though find the quality of many of the programmes disappointing, not to mention the endless barrage of commercials!
Everything on ‘the box’ seems to be sponsored by some large corporation, especially large sporting events and you will see the most unlikely pairings… (“Tonight’s second half highlights were brought to you by Preparation H – it’s time to stop the itching”).
If you have an hour to spare, many American reality shows are now so outrageous that they unfortunately make compelling viewing! The popular late-night antics of hosts Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel are also worth a look.
If you enjoy a good movie turn to stations such as HBO, Cinemax, or Showtime. Netflix and Amazon (if available) have some superb programming.
Alternately go to a real movie theater and make a night of it – some serve food and drink while you enjoy the feature presentation!
Keeping In Touch With Blighty
For British Tourists there are plenty of options for keeping in touch with home. That is if you want to!
One economical way to phone the UK is to use a pre-paid phone card, which you can purchase from your tour operator or from a convenience store. They are easy to use and an automated message tells you how many minutes you have left.
You should also double check with your carrier before you travel if your mobile works in the US – don’t automatically assume it does. And careful of those roaming charges!
Transatlantic texting seems to work just fine for many people and there are also various internet cafe’s around town where you can log on for a nominal fee and zip off a dozen ‘wish you were here’ one-liners.
Whatever happened to stamps & postcards?!