As is the norm in life you will find there are advantages and disadvantages to most things. Some of the disadvantages I believe of not having a car are as follows:
• Much harder to take a break from a theme-park on hot sultry days (unless paying for taxis isn't a problem) however hopping to a Disney water-park is an option.
• The need to stay local to your area and not take trips out and around Florida, other than organised trips.
• You will be restricted to the schedule of shuttle buses and taxi pick up times and be aware that shuttle buses can take the best part of an hour to reach it's destination.
On the flip side there are also some great advantages of not having a car and they are:
• You won't have any of the stress relating to driving in a foreign country, even though it is recognised that driving in Florida is considered to be far simpler than most non-drivers imagine.Where to stay
• If a good night out is what you're looking for then you won't have to worry about drinking and driving.
• Great savings can be made by not hiring a car as public transport is extremely cheap and cheerful and is far more reliable than British public transport.
As Orlando non-drivers I believe it wise to be central to the theme-parks in order to keep the cost of taxi's to a minimum as it can become extremely expensive in a hurry unless you budget correctly. With that in mind we have found that basing ourselves on or around International Drive the best choice although that's only a personal preference. If you are prepared to spend the amount of money that you would normally have had to pay for car hire insurance on taxi rides and public transport then you will find that you will be able to visit all of the parks happily without crippling the bank balance.
When choosing your accommodation, it would make sense to choose a hotel that offers complimentary transportation to the theme-parks.
If traveling to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, there is a coach laid on once known as the Busch Gardens Shuttle Express which has a cost of $10 per person round trip although it is complimentary to people using a 5 park Flexticket.
Transportation in Orlando, Florida
As non drivers you will certainly need some means of transport to get around. Along the international Drive area they have a bus service dedicated solely for the tourist and is known as the I-Ride Trolley.
If you're based on I-Drive buy an I-Ride trolley bus pass for navigating your way around the International Drive area. These air conditioned little buses stop at over 46 locations on I-Drive. The Main Line begins at the North end in the Major Boulevard area and travels the majority of International Drive stopping at Seaworld and Orlando Premium Outlets on the way. The Green Line begins and ends on I Drive but primarily travels along Universal Blvd.
I-RIDE Trolleys operate all year-round, seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. Trolleys seat 41 riders, 54 total capacity, including two wheelchair positions and an ADA-specified hydraulic lift system. Be prepared to stand up though, as these buses fill up really quickly especially at peak periods when everyone is making their way to and from the parks. At these times, the further South you are based on I-Drive the harder it will be to find a seat, but they run every 15 minutes so you never have to wait that long for another.
I•Trolley Information Web Site... Go Here
I•Trolley Route Maps... Go Here
How Much Does it Cost to Ride the I-RIDE Trolley
- Single fare is $2.00
- Senior citizen (65 and over) fare is .25 cents
- Child fare $1.00 per ride (ages 3 to 9 with paying adult)
- Exact change is required.
- Drivers do not carry cash.
- Passes not sold on trolley
Unlimited Ride Passes
• One Day Pass: $5.00 per person
• Three Day Pass: $7.00 per person
• Five Day Pass: $9.00 per person
• Seven Day Pass: $12.00 per person
• Fourteen Day Pass: $18.00 per person
Passes are not sold on Trolleys, but most shops and hotels on I Drive sell them.
Once on the bus you're in for a real treat, as many of the bus drivers entertain the passengers with a running commentary and you can't be shy because if you want the bus to stop you have to shout out loud!
These buses are very popular early in the morning, as they link up with the Lynx 50 Bus at stop 37, which takes you all the way to the Ticket and Transportation Center at Disney
Lynx buses (Lynx)
You're going to see lots of these brightly decorated buses traveling along the roads of Orlando most advertising shows and theme parks, however the Lynx bus stops are not quite as easy to spot and it's not always clear where you catch each bus.
A pink circle marks the lynx bus stops with a pink paw print in it
Underneath this sign there is normally another sign that tells you the number of the buses that pick up and drop of from this stop.
The problem with this is that all you get is the number of the bus and not where it will be going. The local tourist information centers will be able to provide you with bus timetables and you can always stop a bus and get some time timetables from the driver.
The Lynx buses travel all over Orlando and once you know which bus you need they are really simple to use. All standard trips on Lynx buses cost around $2 but beware, as the drivers don't give change, so it's really important to keep some change or dollars for your journey. Another thing to note is that if you need to catch more than one bus on a journey you can transfer for free (limited to 90 minutes), which allows you to transfer to another bus without having to pay again.
There are far too many routes to mention here but the main ones British tourists use are :-
Downtown Orlando to Magic Kingdom (via Seaworld and Downtown Disney) Click Here
The link 50 is what will take you from near stop 37 on the I-Ride right into the Ticket and Transportation Center at Disney. This is a very popular bus at peak times so be prepared to wait awhile to get on one. This bus runs every 30 minutes so it's not that long to wait if you miss one and it'sLink 7
S Orange Ave / Florida Mall Click Here
Carver Shores / Tangelo Park (stops at Universal) Click Here
Downtown Disney to Orlando International Airport. Click HERE
This journey is about 55 minutes.
Going to Walmart from the WDW Transport & Ticket Center takes you to the large Walmart at Vine St Kissimmee. Journey time is about 35 minutes and runs every 30 minutes.
Lynx Trip Planner... Go HERE
Lynx Fares & Passes
Standard FaresInternational Drive
Standard One-Way Fare - $2.00
Standard Single-Day Pass - $4.50
Standard 7-Day Pass - $16.00
Standard 30-Day Pass - $50.00
Express One-Way Fare - $3.50
Express 7-Day Pass - $23.00
Express 30-Day Pass - $70.00
Transfers are free, limited to 90 minutes and apply to all riders. Transfers are not valid on the same Link or for roundtrip purposes. Transfers are not necessary for pass users. Make sure to check for the time expiration stamped on the back of the transfer ticket.
Riders age 65 and older or with disabilities are eligible for AdvantAge fares and passes. Seniors must present proof of age with a valid photo I.D. when purchasing a pass or paying a fare; customers with disabilities must also present a valid LYNX I.D. or Medicare card when purchasing a pass or paying a fare.
AdvantAge One-Way Fare - $1.00
AdvantAge Day Pass - $2.25
AdvantAge 7-Day Pass - $8.00
AdvantAge 30-Day Pass - $25.00
Riders age 18 and younger are eligible for Youth Pass discounts. A fare is charged each time you board. Please be prepared to show an ID, if requested by the bus operator.
Youth One-Way Fare - $1.00
Youth Single-Day Pass - $2.25
Youth 7-Day Pass - $8.00
Youth 30-Day Pass - $25.00
- Children six and under ride free (limit 3) when accompanied by a full-fare paying adult (age18-over) passenger. If not accompanied by an adult, children must pay $1.00.
*Note: These prices were correct at time of writing (July 2012), but as prices can change they should be taken as a guide only. Latest prices can be found here
Hotels offer transportation to and from Universal Studios, Sea World and Wet 'N' Wild. Unfortunately not too many hotels offer complimentary transportation to the Disney theme-parks. Those that do you will find are reliable although they do tend to share these buses with other hotels so be ready to stop at numerous other hotels before you reach your destination.
When considering your dream holiday to Orlando one of the main considerations would have to be transportation, either to and from the airport or to and from the theme-parks one way or another you need to get there. For those of you who have not been to the land of the mouse before then beware, Orlando is huge.
If you are thinking about not driving then the likelihood is that you will be bombarded with advice from travel programs and brochures insisting that you must have a car (probably because they actually make money from you hiring a car). If a car is what you want then go for it, however don't be dissuaded from the thought of having that fantastic holiday of a lifetime because you think a car is a must. It can be done without a car and can also save you a lot of money. I have done it on numerous occasions and over the years have built up a decent enough knowledge of enjoying Orlando without a car that I am able to pass on some of that knowledge to you.