Common mistakes in Orlando travel often start at the door to your hotel room and involve pizza deliveries.
Falling for Pizza Flier Rip-Offs
In Orlando, scam artists enter hotel hallways uninvited and slide fliers under doors for fictitious pizza parlors. The names of these places are carefully worded to resemble legitimate businesses in the area.
You call the number on the flier and order your pizza, giving the restaurant your credit card number. Sometimes the pizza never arrives. Other times, you'll get a very low-quality product made in someone's garage. Your opinion about the product doesn't matter.
They're not after your repeat business. They are after your credit card number for purposes of stealing your identity.
Certainly, not every pizza parlor flier you see in Orlando is fraudulent. But if it is slipped under your hotel room door, maintain some caution. It's better to ask the front desk for a delivery recommendation or consult a directory.
Taking Expensive Trips between Airports
From Philadelphia to Phoenix, you've seen these airport shuttle services that run passengers between terminals and other strategic locations. In Orlando, these services can be costly.
Budget airlines such as Allegiant serve Orlando through the Sanford International Airport, about 30 miles north of Orlando International. The two airports are connected by a toll road.
Although plenty of people need transportation between the two airports, it is difficult to find a reasonably priced shuttle. For example, shuttles carry passengers between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Miami International Airport (MIA) and Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) for about $25. In Orlando, you can expect to pay several times that amount.
To avoid this dreadful pricing, you can book a one-way car rental, which involves picking up at one airport and dropping off at another. Rental companies there are acquainted with this practice. Interestingly, it costs more to go from Orlando International to Sanford than it does Sanford to Orlando International. Doing this twice is still less expensive than catching shuttles.
Buying Overpriced Gasoline near the Airport
If you're returning a car rental near the Orlando International Airport, beware of the conveniently located gas stations on Semoran Blvd., not far from the airport entrance.
When comparing prices of gasoline it's common to find that airport entrance road gas stations are roughly $2 per gallon higher than the going rate. Businesses are free to charge whatever they want for gasoline. But exercise your right to buy elsewhere if at all possible. The convenience is rarely worth that price.
Stopping at a Variety of "Visitor Centers"
Florida Welcome Centers are found along highways at the borders with Georgia and Alabama. They are legitimate, state-run centers where you'll get free citrus drinks and information for your trip.
But throughout Central Florida, you'll see billboards beckoning you to welcome centers or visitor centers with various names. Attached to the message will be promises of deep discounts and even free Walt Disney World tickets. Those discounts frequently come at a price.
Orlando has a large concentration of timeshare resorts. To generate prospects, salespeople sometimes give away deeply discounted or even free admissions to area attractions. A bargain-conscious person who is obviously a traveler is often a qualified lead for them.
In return for your discount, you'll be required to sit through a timeshare sales presentation, which could involve up to half a day—precious time when you could be checking into your hotel or seeing the sights.
Earning a Speeding Ticket
No matter where you travel, you'll find areas where speed is highly monitored and you will probably get a ticket if you are over the limit. As a tourist, it is unlikely you will be able to show up in court to contest a speeding ticket. And in the vast majority of these cases, the radar gun tells an accurate story of guilt anyway.
People who drive hundreds of miles to get to a theme park feel the adrenaline rush when they start seeing those signs directing them to their final destination. Sometimes, they use a lead foot to get there a bit quicker and are surprised when blue lights flash in the rear-view mirror.
Obey the posted speed limits. Enforcement operations abound in this area, the tickets are expensive, and warning citations are rare.
Paying Full Price for Theme Park Admissions
Most of us plan vacations carefully, sometimes making arrangements months in advance of travel.
If you'll be visiting theme parks, plan to visit their respective web sites and search for discounts. Many times, buying a multi-day ticket will save you money and fit into your itinerary. Park-hopping passes and other discounts at Walt Disney World can save significant money under the right circumstances. Don't simply walk up to the turnstiles and ask for a standard one-day admission. If you do, chances are you'll pay too much for your day at the park.
Paying for Expensive Theme Park Food
People complain about the prices for food at theme parks such as Walt Disney World, but the truth is that it costs a lot to maintain a quality food service in these settings. It is only natural that these costs are passed along to the consumer.
A modest lunch at a walk-up counter in a theme park really won't cost too much more than what you'd pay at your corner fast food restaurant back home. But there are restaurants where you'll pay a much higher premium for service that doesn't merit such costs.
Plan your day so that you'll be eating most meals (especially dinner) off the theme park property and look for casual serve-yourself venues within the parks for lunch.