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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > Florida > Orlando

Orlando Weather

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Local time Orlando

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Getting around Orlando

Public transport

The rather plodding Lynx bus system (tel: +1 407 841 5969; www.golynx.com) is Orlando's only real public transport option, but on the upside, it covers most of the city, including Orlando International Airport, the theme parks and most of the main tourist areas. The routes (Links) are easy to identify and are symbolised by pink paw-print signs.

One-, seven- and thirty-day passes are available, all of which represent significant savings if you take more than two regular-price journeys a day. Link 51 runs from the airport to Downtown Orlando; Link 42 goes from the airport to International Drive; Link 50 runs from Downtown Orlando to the Magic Kingdom; Link 56 runs from Kissimmee's Highway 192 to the Magic Kingdom; and Link 38 runs from International Drive to Downtown Orlando.

In addition, many hotels offer free shuttle service to the theme parks, and all Disney resort properties offer complimentary transportation (e.g. bus, ferry or monorail) to the Disney parks.

In Downtown Orlando, the free Lymmo bus service operates around the city centre. On International Drive (one of the main tourist thoroughfares), there is also the I-Ride Trolley (tel: +1 (407) 248 9590; www.internationaldriveorlando.com/iride-trolley), a cheap bus service linking all the main hotels and points of interest. There are one-, three-, five-, seven- and fourteen-day passes available, all of which represent great savings on individual journeys.

The commuter rail service SunRail (tel: +1 855 724 5411; sunrail.com) runs Monday to Friday from DeBary in Volusia County north of Orlando to Poinciana in Osceola County in the south of Orlando, with four stations in Orlando.

Taxis

As in most large American cities, taxis are common in all areas and can be easily flagged down or ordered by phone.

Three of the biggest taxi firms in Orlando are Star Taxi (tel: +1 407 857 9999), Diamond Cab Co. (tel: +1 407 523 3333; www.diamondcabco.com) and Yellow Taxi Cab Orlando Co. (tel: +1 407 900 0368; www.yellowtaxicaborlando.com). A tip of around 10%, while not mandatory, is always appreciated.

Driving

Most attractions are well signposted and easy to find on Orlando's road system, but traffic can be very heavy on key routes in the morning (0800-0930) and evening (1600-1800). Interstate 4 is the key east-west route but should be avoided at rush hour, while International Drive can also be seriously congested in the evening. Universal Boulevard is a good alternative. To the south, Highway 192 is the main route to Disney from the busy Kissimmee area, but Osceola Parkway is often a better bet, albeit it has a toll.

Car hire

Hire cars are almost omnipresent in Orlando and companies like Alamo (tel: +1 844 354 6962; www.alamo.com), Dollar (tel: +1 866 434 2226; www.dollar.com) and National (tel: +1 844 382 6875; www.nationalcar.com) have some of the biggest fleets in the world here.

Basic car hire is quite cheap in Orlando due to the amount of competition for customers alone–although various taxes and fees can add considerably to the price.

Bicycle hire

Orlando is not particularly bicycle-friendly as a city and has even been named the worst city for riding a bike in the US. However, there are some local trails and bike racks throughout the city. For maps, it is best to go through the Orlando City Transportation Planning website: www.cityoforlando.net/transportation-planning.

For bike hire, try Kyle’s Bike Shop (tel: +1 407 228 7088; www.kylesbikeshop.net) located at 203 North Primrose Drive.

Alternatively, Orlando has a small bike share scheme, HOPR (tel: +1 833 838 8300; gohopr.com/orlando), with 250 GPS-enabled dockless bikes. Monthly memberships are available, but if you are only in town for a few days, you can also hire bikes by the hour.

Featured Hotels

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Portofino Bay Hotel

This re-creation of an Italian fishing village is in the heart of Universal Orlando Resort, complete with fine restaurants and shops. The guest rooms are decorated with a Mediterranean theme and there’s a lively piazza with vintage Italian sports cars and scooters.

Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld

This beautiful resort-style hotel is right opposite SeaWorld, and has an impressive lobby atrium and a spectacular indoor courtyard. For the price, this hotel has great rooms and the restaurant choice is reassuringly diverse. All in all, this property offers superb value in this price range.

Sheraton Safari Hotel and Suites

With larger than average rooms, a great pool and an ideal location just outside Walt Disney World Resort, this make this a good family choice. As you can imagine, the décor is largely animal prints and exotic details. There’s been attention paid to the outdoor areas, including a 24m (80ft) water slide in the pool. The hotel is currently undergoing a US$25 million renovation, due for completion this spring.

Walt Disney World Swan and Walt Disney World Dolphin

The former operated by Westin and the latter by Sheraton, these are the archetypal fancy Disney hotels with all the attendant allures. Between the two hotels, there are 2,267 luxury rooms and 254,000 sq ft of meeting and exhibition space. They share 17 restaurants and lounges, four swimming pools, two health clubs, and a wide array of recreational activities.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort

An 18-storey atrium welcomes honeymooners and families, screeching parrots and all. It’s hard to imagine a more replete resort hotel, and there’s a whole world to explore, from one of the best pools in the country to the comprehensive sports on offer to the destination restaurants.

Galleria Palms Hotel & Suites

One of the best-located budget hotel options you’re only a mile and a half from Disney but you can stay at a fraction of the price of similarly placed hotels. The rooms aren’t the largest you’ll ever stay in but they are clean and modern and there’s even a free breakfast.