Compare car hire in Orlando and find the best deal
- Orlando is a city in the US state of Florida. Florida is the south western tip of the USA.
- Although Orlando sits about an hour’s drive from the coast it is home to over 100 lakes. The most famous of these is Lake Eola, popular tourist destination, it is actually a giant sinkhole that is 80 feet at its deepest point.
- Once played home to Dr Philip Phillips who was a citrus farmer. He perfected the canned orange juice process and went on to sell the idea to the incredibly successful Minute Maid for $50 million in 1954.
- The Orange County Regional History Centre is in the centre of Orlando. This was the site for the first courthouses in the county, Florida was initially untamed land till this site was created.
- The population of Orlando in 2017 was just over 2.5 million. The central ‘city-proper’ district has a population of just over 280,000 and there are approximately 200,000 people that visit this city every day of the year, garnering it the title of one of the most visited cities in the world.
- Tourism is not the only reason for the masses of people arriving here. The city also is home to the Orange County Convention Centre which is the second largest of its kind in the USA. The convention centre hosts all types of events from the Global Pet Expo and the UBU Expo (Brand Showcase) to The Zumba fitness instructor Convention and of course LeakyCon the Harry Potter fan convention that’s become one of the biggest of its kind.
- The city hall was rebuilt over a period of years costing $36 million, the new building was opened in 1991. In a sign of true creativity and business acumen the mayor and team at the time had the great idea of blowing it up. This is immortalised in the film Lethal Weapon 3; the opening sequence is the destruction of the old city hall.
- Speed limits in Orlando are 70mph when driving on the highway, 30mph when driving through the city centre as well as other business and residential areas. Fines are doubled when in school zones, construction zones and also zones that have been put in place by Disney when in their areas.
- The Blood alcohol allowable limit is below 0.08%. Anyone over this amount will be arrested on the spot.
- There are numerous toll roads that are helpful ways to avoid the inner-city traffic. The payment is collected via E-PASS and is enforced by OOCEA (Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority).
- Jack Kerouac lived in Orlando, the writer of many famous books like the infamous road story ‘On the Road’ the retreat and rehab novel ‘Big Sur’ and the one that he penned in Orlando itself ‘The Dharma Burns’ story of Japhy Ryder the guru and Ray Smith who’s obsessed with finding enlightenment through Buddhism.
There are two main airports in the area of Orlando, Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Sanford International Airport (SFB).
MCO is the more popular destination for holiday makers due to its proximity to the theme parks and that there are dedicated shuttle services that operate from there to the majority of the hotels in the city. MCO is also one of the few airports in the world that offers the Disney’s Magical Express service.
The airport is around 10 miles southeast of the centre of Orlando, which is approximately a 20 minute drive, dependent on traffic. It handled over 47 million passengers in 2018 and the number continues to rise each year.
MCO is named after its original inhabitants, the military, more specifically the name of the former air force base Mc Coy Air Force Base. It’s a dual terminal airport with over 100 gates and 6 different VIP clubs on offer. The airport is dedicated to making its carbon footprint lighter in the coming years with the assistance of companies like Green Works Orlando.
The range of car hire at the airport is extensive with the following companies having physical desks, Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Rent-a-Car, Hertz, National, Payless and Thrifty. Many other companies offer a pickup service only at the airport.
SFO is a dual terminal airport and is situated over 25 miles from central Orlando, this is around a 30-minute drive dependent on traffic. The airport was originally built as a Naval Air Station that was used up until 1969 as a headquarters for carrier-based attack. In 1969 the city of Sanford took control of the space and turned it into a commercial airfield. This has been used not just for international and domestic flights but also for aviation services like flight training, this fact makes the airport one of the busiest in the world in terms of take-off and landing operations.
Car hire at SFB is readily available and the usual large companies are there, those being Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty with the company Accessible Mini-Van Rentals being off site and can be reached via shuttle.
History of Orlando
Orlando and more widely Florida was not really known the way it is today till the early to the mid-1800s. Before this time, it was a home and community for the Seminole people, they are a Native American people who came together through a process of Ethnogenesis. Three tribes, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, The Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma and the Miccosukee Tribe were the main people that made up the Seminole and there were some others that attached themselves to this tribe as well. The reason for this migration was due to wars between the British Colonists and Native American tribes. 1823 saw some peace for the Seminole with the beginning of the Treaty of Moultrie creek, in which the area of what is now Orlando became a sanctuary for Native Americans, however this was short lived being overturned by the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The Indian Removal act was an act that was enforced by the American government, it was sold as a want to create settlements for the British but was actually more the machinations of eradication. The Native Americans were forcibly removed from their land to make space for the settlements, they were marched off the land in what is now known as the Trail of Tears.
The city of Orlando did not begin to flourish until the late 1800s when the farmers found it was a perfect place to grow citrus fruits, this made it a centre for citrus but like other times in Orlando it was short lived as well, the great freeze arrived in 1894 and temperatures dropped to −8 °C and subsequently froze the majority of the citrus crop, the city losing most of its inhabitants to warmer climates in the north or even further south.
One of the most recent major turning points for the history of Orlando was when Disney world landed in town. There was plans to possibly build in other major cities, but they were closer to the coast so more susceptible to hurricanes. The inland position of Orlando meant it was more protected from extreme weather and there was more space to build the enormous structures. It opened in 1971 and now holds the title of being the most visited vacation resort in the world with an immense 52 million people wandering through its gates every year.
This is a selective abridged version of the history of Orlando. Many details have been omitted.
Guide to Orlando
There’s no way you can start heading to Orlando without immediately thinking of attending the theme parks. So much of the world heads there for that specific reason. Start with the one all the kids are screaming for Gator World. Gatorworld was founded by Don Buckner, an entrepreneur that listened to what the people wanted. At the park are over 400 alligators in a simulated natural habitat, fenced in of course for viewing pleasure. There are gators from 6 foot to over 10 foot and there’s also a chance at the end to hold a baby one. It doesn’t stop there, you can walk out onto a dedicated platform to feed the gators from a pole or if that’s all too dangerous there’s a petting zoo inside as well, they don’t serve those pets to the gators.
Kennedy Space Centre
Still staying away from the main reason everyone goes to Orlando, also adding a little extra travel to the agenda, with a day trip to the Kennedy Space Centre, the NASA facility that is in operation today. Here you can see where they keep those important Apollo shuttles that were used to make it to the moon, it’s also home to the 363 foot Saturn V Rocket known for being the only launch vehicle to carry humans beyond low Earth Orbit. The Centre is located at Cape Canaveral which to this day is still one of the only busy space ports on Earth, which means if you arrive at the right time you could wave off a satellite or maybe even an astronaut into space.
Now before you take everyone off to enjoy the rides and sites of Disney territory you should warm them up with a visit to Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf where the fun comes in all sizes as long as its mini. There are waterfalls to navigate, pirate ships to putt through and planks to make your ball walk down. If adventure golf isn’t your thing but going on boats is then take one of the countless boat tours that are on offer. There’s plenty of scenic boat tours that are run by locals and even more Airboat tours that are also run by locals, the airboat is the one with the huge fan propelling it, it’s one of those machines that are all over American films and TV, at least when they’re set in the everglades of Florida.
Magical Theme Parks
It’s arrived, now is the guide on how to get the best out of the countless Disney theme parks that are in this great state. First thing you need to do is work out what it is that you or your family want from a theme park, do you want to see the cast of all the famous cartoons, if you do then your best bet is to start at Magic Kingdom, here you can drink tea in the beasts castle, cuddle with the world famous mermaid Ariel under the sea, take a ride on some family friendly thrills, party with Elsa and meet Mickey face to face. The park offers an ultimate ticket option that allows you to attend 6 different parks that make the land of Disney. The pass will also give you entry into the infamous attraction Galaxy’s Edge located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where you can drink blue milk with Han and Chewy, board the Millenium Falcon or have a casual lightsabre battle with your arch nemesis Darth Sidious. Another on the list from this pass is Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, the home of the extra fast and mind bogglingly danger free, Summit Plummet, it’s a twelve story ride straight into a dark tunnel and you come out the other end wondering if you are still alive, perfect for adrenalin junkies. The Animal Kingdom Theme Park is included along with the others and it takes all your favourite films into real life and adds live animals to them, along with daily dance shows, Avatar augmented reality experiences, A ride on a 10 foot tall exo-suit, you cannot go wrong with this when it comes to impressing the whole family.
Placing the family to bed and wondering what to do next, there are plenty of adult parks (Bars) that only open at night. A local haunt and favoured destination for cocktail lovers is The Guesthouse, they have spared expense on the layout to keep the focus on the extensive range of wine and rare Mezcal’s that will blow your mind. Whiskey on the mind then your next and possibly last stop before bed will be The Woods a craft cocktail and whiskey bar with over 100 whiskey’s to choose from that come from all over the world, you will have to keep coming back till they find your favourite.
Orlando Car Hire FAQ’s
Cost of hiring a car in Orlando?
The cost of hiring a car in Orlando from Orlando Airport with a drop off to the same location, during March based on a 7 day hire, is 421.67/day for a Chevrolet Spark or similar. If you wanted to drive round in a more luxurious car then a Cadillac STX or similar will set you back $70.63/day.
What is the cheapest car hire in Orlando?
The cheapest car hire in Orlando based on a 7 day hire during March, for an over 26 driver, is $21.67/day for a Chevrolet spark or similar. The reason for these prices are that it is a peak period during March, Spring Break.
How much is it for an economy car hire per day in Orlando?
The economy car rental ranges from $21.67/day for a Chevrolet spark or similar to $36.59/day for a Hyundai Accent or similar.
Which car companies operate out of Orlando Airport?
The car companies that operate out of the Orlando airport are Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Rent-a-Car, Hertz, National, Payless and Thrifty. There are services that operate without a physical desk and they are Green Motion car and van rental, Routes car rental and Dollar car rental.
What’s the best way to get around Orlando?
Car hire is going to be the most convenient if you are travelling with a group however if the group is quite large there are numerous shuttles that are attached to the theme parks and hotels that can get you around. Getting out there in downtown Orlando is possible with the Lynx Bus service that operates all over central Florida, the I-Ride trolley that services all the popular destinations and the ever present theme park buses that mostly only run within the theme park areas, which are most of Orlando.
Do I need an international license for Orlando?
The IDP (International Drivers Permit) is not needed in Orlando or the rest of the state of Florida. The IDP is not a necessity in all states but is in some so you should check if heading outside of Florida.
What if I have an accident?
If an accident occurs within the municipality then it must be reported to the local police. If an accident occurs on the highway then report it to the county sheriff or the Florida Highway Patrol.
Which side of the road do the Orlandonians drive on?
How much is a hire car in Orlando?
Prices start ar around $20 per day for an economy Fiat 500 or similar
How much is a family rental car in Orlando?
Prices for Chevrolet Cruze or similar start from around $30 per day
What is the speed limit on the freeway in Orlando?
The speed limit is 55 MPH unless otherwise stated
How far is it from MCO airport to downtown?
It is 21 miles from Orlando airport to downtown Orlando, you should be able to drive it in 20 minutes or so.
Which airlines fly into Orlando airport?
Orlando airport is a huge international airport, you'll find that most of the major international airlines fly there including BA, Air France, KLM, Delta, Cathay, United, American, Southwest, Qantas and more.
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