First time driver in USA... Tips welcome
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  1. #1
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    Feb 2013
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    First time driver in USA... Tips welcome

    Hi everyone, I am travelling to WDW from the UK in August and for the first time we have a rental car as part of the package holiday. I have been to Disney many times but have never driven. Any tips or advice are gratefully received :-). We are staying at Port Orleans Riverside and once at resort we plan to use the disney buses. We then have to drive from POR to Port Canaveral for our Disney cruise. Many thanks...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Southeast Louisiana
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    Winkster will be able to give you the best responses to this. He is also from the UK, rents a car while on holiday and stays at POR during his WDW stays.

    Sent from my iPhone using TalkDisney
    -HannahLeigh

  3. #3

    Re: First time driver in USA... Tips welcome

    I agree with Hannah, this is right up Winkster's alley!!
    SEPT'89 Contemporary, MAR'01 A.S. Sports, AUG'07 A.S. Sports, OCT'08 A.S. Sports, SEPT'09 POP Century,
    NOV'10 P O Riverside, JAN'12 POP Century,
    JAN'13 P O French Quarter, OCT'13 Art of Animation
    APR'14 Caribbean Beach, SEPT'14 Coronado Springs
    DEC'14 FW Cabins, OCT'15 Caribbean Beach

  4. #4
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    Feb 2013
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    Re: First time driver in USA... Tips welcome

    Many thanks

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
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    10,183
    Did I hear my name mentioned???

    What kind of tips are you looking for?

    I find driving in Orlando easy - especially at WDW where it's hard to get lost. If there are no signs to POR, just aim for the DTD area as POR is only just down the road from there.

    Roads inside WDW are pretty good although outside of Disney (and especially on I4, they're not in great shape compared to out motorways - but the lanes are wider).

    Overtaking on the left and the right means you have to be a bit more wary but it's no worse than having a sales rep in a BMW screaming up the inside lane on the M1!

    Turning right on a red light (if its clear) is also one that seems a bit odd at first but generally no problem.

    Personally, I'd drive to DHS, Epcot and AK as its far quicker. I also like driving to MK at least once just to experience the parking lot trams and if course, the monorail from the parking lot to the entrance of MK (get the boat back to experience all transport options).

    IMHO, Disney busses can be slow, cramped and chaotic, especially at peak times so for us, the car is a better option - particularly as petrol (gas for our US friends) is laughingly cheap compared to ours.

    You'll also have the freedom to get out to the malls (there's a big retail outlet just outside WDW and another on I-Drive) plus the Florida Mall and Mall at Millenia all only a short drive away.

    Guest Services at POR will happily give you directions to anywhere you want to go. Getting around from POR is very easy. DHS and Epcot are just around the corner, as is DTD. From DTD, your only a stones throw from I4 which takes you pretty much to the parking lots of Sea World and Universal plus all the restaurants on I Drive (try Cafe Tu-Tu Tango!).

    We buy the refillable resort mugs (a bargain for a longer stay), take them out in the car with us then, when we get back to POR, the driver drops the non-driver off at the main entrance to get drinks and walk back to the room. The driver then takes the car back to the room.

    What else do you need to know?
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  6. #6
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    Feb 2013
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    United Kingdom
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    Re: First time driver in USA... Tips welcome

    Thanks Winkster... All useful advice. To be honest, I don't know if there is anything else that I need to know. I have found my routes already so I have a rough idea where I am going. Have you ever used a sat nav out there? I have a tomtom and someone said that if I download the map it will work out there. Do you know if that is correct and will it be able to charge in their cars? Having spoken to a lot of UK drivers who drive in USA it seems I don't have too much to worry about. Everyone says that it is easy and everything is well signposted etc. I suppose with so many tourists, it has to be. I think it is more the thinking about it than actually doing it. We are a party of 5 and the other 2 adults are adamant that they do not want to drive so it puts all the pressure on me. We are renting with Alamo. Have you had any dealings with them? Thanks once again

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Near Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK
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    Yep - have used Alamo and they're ok. No better, no worse than others.

    If you do have other drivers in the car, get them to navigate. It helps having someone who knows what your thinking to navigate, look out for junctions etc.

    Give the non-driving driver (if you see what I mean) instructions and a map. If they won't drive, it's a huge help to have someone to act as a second pair of eyes.

    As far as satnav is concerned, we have used one provided by Alamo (freebie as we always upgrade to a soft-top. Well worth it in the Floridian sun!) and it was ok. To be honest though, the touristy spots are very easy to find, especially with a navigator too.

    What places do you plan on going to? If its just Universal, Sea World, the malls and I-Drive then there's really no need for satnav. It's easy!
    There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
    Just a dream away!

    TALK DISNEY ADMINISTRATOR


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    The Netherlands
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmo82
    Hi everyone, I am travelling to WDW from the UK in August and for the first time we have a rental car as part of the package holiday. I have been to Disney many times but have never driven. Any tips or advice are gratefully received :-). We are staying at Port Orleans Riverside and once at resort we plan to use the disney buses. We then have to drive from POR to Port Canaveral for our Disney cruise. Many thanks...
    That's exciting
    Just a bit curious why you have rented a car while you can use Magical Express for the trips you mentioned (from the airport and to Port Canaveral)
    I'm from the Netherlands, so am used to ride on the same side of the road, so can't help here, but I agree all the signs are great
    Looking forward to our Disney vacations

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    United Kingdom
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    Quote Originally Posted by MINI Mouse

    That's exciting
    Just a bit curious why you have rented a car while you can use Magical Express for the trips you mentioned (from the airport and to Port Canaveral)
    I'm from the Netherlands, so am used to ride on the same side of the road, so can't help here, but I agree all the signs are great
    Hi, the car came as part of the package deal and we figured it would give us more options/freedom. Last year when we went, to go anywhere off property was a hassle so this year we thought we would try something different. Once I have driven for the first time I'm sure il be fine.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2004
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    Florida
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    Re: First time driver in USA... Tips welcome

    A few more tips from someone who lives in Florida...

    Right turns on red are allowed, but make sure there isn't a "No Right Turn on Red" sign. Sometimes they can be a little easy to miss. But they're not that common.

    Just because a car has the left blinker on, it doesn't mean they're going to turn left. Just because someone doesn't have a blinker on at all, it doesn't mean they're not going to turn or switch lanes. In other words, Floridians can be unpredictable (as I suppose it is in other states and countries).

    On streets where there's more than one lane going in the same direction, the left lane is supposed to be the passing lane. So stay in the center or on the right. (Yes, I said "supposed to be" because not everyone seems to understand this.)

    I've gotten lost inside WDW! They lettering on the signs tends to be on the small side and you can't read them till you're pretty close. One missed turn and you might wind up on a winding road to who-knows-where! LOL
    TALK DISNEY MODERATOR

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curious Alice
    A few more tips from someone who lives in Florida...

    Right turns on red are allowed, but make sure there isn't a "No Right Turn on Red" sign. Sometimes they can be a little easy to miss. But they're not that common.

    Just because a car has the left blinker on, it doesn't mean they're going to turn left. Just because someone doesn't have a blinker on at all, it doesn't mean they're not going to turn or switch lanes. In other words, Floridians can be unpredictable (as I suppose it is in other states and countries).

    On streets where there's more than one lane going in the same direction, the left lane is supposed to be the passing lane. So stay in the center or on the right. (Yes, I said "supposed to be" because not everyone seems to understand this.)

    I've gotten lost inside WDW! They lettering on the signs tends to be on the small side and you can't read them till you're pretty close. One missed turn and you might wind up on a winding road to who-knows-where! LOL
    Sounds just like driving in the uk! Indicators (blinkers) are optional extras over here, the posher the car the less likely it has them!
    My brother was working at Disney last time we went he tried to get me to drive fraid I chickened out

  12. #12
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    Mar 2004
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    Re: First time driver in USA... Tips welcome

    Using turn signals (aka blinkers aka indicators) is the law in Florida. It's not something that gets enforced very often, but you are supposed to use them.
    TALK DISNEY MODERATOR

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  13. #13
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    Re: First time driver in USA... Tips welcome

    It certainly does sound just like driving in the UK... I guess if I can drive through central London at rush hour then I guess I can drive anywhere!!! I have heard somewhere that tolls on the roads from MCO to WDW may not accept cash. Does anyone know if this is this the case?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmo82
    It certainly does sound just like driving in the UK... I guess if I can drive through central London at rush hour then I guess I can drive anywhere!!! I have heard somewhere that tolls on the roads from MCO to WDW may not accept cash. Does anyone know if this is this the case?
    All the tolls accept US quarters. They don't usually have someone in the toll booth, it's usually a booth with a funnel attached for you to toss the correct change into.

    Sent from my iPhone using TalkDisney
    -HannahLeigh

  15. #15
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    The road from WDW to Port Canaveral is also a toll road with quite a few tolls along the way. Make sure you have enough quarters to make it through.

    Sent from my iPhone using TalkDisney
    -HannahLeigh

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