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View Full Version : Newbie Car hirererererer :) hints/tips/warnings?



keith
20-04-2011, 10:47 AM
ok well I've said this before and chickened out but I really do need to think about hiring a car this time around.

We'd be getting into sanford airport.

What kind of documents do we need? is an old style uk paper driving license ok with passport?
Any dos/donts? watch out for extras being added at the last minute or anything?
How hard is it to find my way out of sanford airport?

Any and all advice however trivial more than welcome

josh.p.
20-04-2011, 11:06 AM
Make sure you have clear instructions and/or a sat nav before leaving! This sounds silly but for some reason the villa owner had emailed us the wrong directions and we got lost in the middle of nowhere! :thud:

Slowhand
20-04-2011, 12:57 PM
I`ve just sent you an email Keith.
To answer a couple of your points though, I have never been asked to produce the paper part of my licence although I do take it with me "just in case".
Also the staff at the rental desk are usually very good at giving you precise directions to make your exit from the airport without a hitch, however as Josh mentioned, a sat nav may be a good idea too. The car hire company charge around $10/day [I think] for this service.

Isafari
20-04-2011, 02:26 PM
We take our satnav and it comes in very handy - especially when we do roads trips for a few days. However, it may be a good idea for a first time driver around the Orlando area just to get to the parks - do you REALLY pay attention to the roads when you have been on a bus/in a taxi.

Learn the rules of the road - such as turning right on a red light / under and over taking / passing a school bus etc.

You usually have to pay for your gas before filling the car.

ukwdwnut
20-04-2011, 02:33 PM
just to add to what others have said and in answer to one query.

yes you can use the old style pink & green paper license keith as long as you have some form of photo ID which you have with your passport

id also get the platinum option, you get a full tank when you pick up your car and drop it off with a full tank, its way harder to drop it off with an empty tank with the other option

MystikPiglit
20-04-2011, 02:47 PM
however trivial

So, I'm probably the only one that does this ( yes, I am totally paranoid about everything ) .....

Check all around the hire car, at the airport, to make sure there are no dents, scratches or broken lights that could be attributed to you upon return.

foreverducky
20-04-2011, 02:51 PM
To be honest, I don't think I could drive without navigation anymore. I turn it on everytime I get in my car. Yes, I know where I'm going on a day to day basis, but what happens if there is an accident up ahead and I have to take a different route?!

Getting around on Disney property is pretty easy. They have big signs. :D

Orlando can be very congested, and I feel that as Americans we're not the friendliest on the road. I'm the first to admit road rage. I remember being in the Fort Worth area in January, everyone I met was so nice and friendly, and went out of their way to say hello. As soon as I was on the road it was a very different picture.

Esmeralda
20-04-2011, 04:34 PM
If you ask at the desk they will set your sat nav to your destination for you. It is a godsend. Plus you can google a blow by blow picture account/vid of the route from sanford airport. We did this and printed them out but to be honest the sat nav did all the work.

catrancher
20-04-2011, 04:54 PM
Any and all advice however trivial more than welcome
:sully:

Tom (:macwave:... :taunt:)

daveann
20-04-2011, 07:10 PM
the best and easiest way from sanford to disney which avoids toll roads and lots of road changes is to head out of the airport take a right towards lake mary follow it straight on until you get to the i4 then i4 right down to disney its simple we have never followed the directions given at car pickup as they take you on various toll roads.
if you turn down lake emma road the junction before 14 about 100 yards there is the best long horn steak house very local and is full of locals but the food is brill we call after the flight and before going back to the airport it really is a good find.
oh and remember that off ramps usually give you about a mile to get in the right lane and near and on disney most drivers dont know where there going either so dont worry :)

ukwdwnut
21-04-2011, 07:56 AM
with regards to sat nav. if you are going to stay localish to all the parks etc. i wouldnt bother with satnav. ive driven everytime ive been and never felt the need to get one, never got lost either, even driving down to tampa for busch gardens. i find the sign posting to everywhere really good :)

keith
21-04-2011, 09:01 AM
Thanks everyone some absolutely brilliant information there :hug2:

Mick, I know what you mean about sat nav but I'm utterly hopeless and rely on a satnav to get me from my front door to the car in the first place I'm so bad :lol: so I think it's kinda essential.

Daveann, special thanks for that route! I'll plot it before I get out there so I can see where it goes :)

We were only planning a few malls and disney, but perhaps with a car we should try and see some other places!

daveann
21-04-2011, 01:41 PM
think grids keith if you miss a turn take the next and double back cause most road run parallel to each other. also look on google earth at sanford and follow the road to lake mary its straight to the i4. btw on the ramps take note of speed limit as some are more curved than others and you do need to slow for them.

coming up from disney take the sandlake road junction on the i4 follow it staight and you come to florida mall SIMPLES :) you go over john young pkw which has a big wall mart on the corner :)

keith
21-04-2011, 02:06 PM
Im sOOOOOOOOO gonna get lost

ukwdwnut
21-04-2011, 02:56 PM
Thanks everyone some absolutely brilliant information there :hug2:

Mick, I know what you mean about sat nav but I'm utterly hopeless and rely on a satnav to get me from my front door to the car in the first place I'm so bad :lol: so I think it's kinda essential.

We were only planning a few malls and disney, but perhaps with a car we should try and see some other places!

oh ******, i think its a necessity to have one then :lol:

you will get used to driving on the other side of the road in a few minutes, i did and felt at home driving there right away, so much so i prefer driving there than here :D

keith
21-04-2011, 03:50 PM
oh ******, i think its a necessity to have one then :lol:

you will get used to driving on the other side of the road in a few minutes, i did and felt at home driving there right away, so much so i prefer driving there than here :D

I do have an opening for Florida Chauffeur Mick if you're available? :lol:

Slowhand
21-04-2011, 04:21 PM
the best and easiest way from sanford to disney which avoids toll roads and lots of road changes is to head out of the airport take a right towards lake mary follow it straight on until you get to the i4 then i4 right down to disney its simple we have never followed the directions given at car pickup as they take you on various toll roads.


I totally agree that that is probably the best/easiest route to the area that Keith would be heading.
My only concern would be whether the traffic on I-4 is at its usual high density levels at the time of his arrival which may put a "newbie" driver off for life!

daveann
21-04-2011, 06:00 PM
i can honestly say we have never hit traffic even though you go past the city maybe we have just been lucky :)

keith
21-04-2011, 06:09 PM
yep, I should have specified, I want completely empty roads, no complicated tolls (because I may not have worked out how to slow down or stop), and preferably no turns until we get there :lol:

josh.p.
21-04-2011, 07:58 PM
yep, I should have specified, I want completely empty roads, no complicated tolls (because I may not have worked out how to slow down or stop), and preferably no turns until we get there :lol:
I think you need a bulldozer for that sort of route, Keith.

Slowhand
22-04-2011, 04:10 PM
Just another small snippet.
Most [if not all] roads in the US heading North/South have odd numbers and those that go East/West have even numbers.
This can be a tad confusing at times though because for example the I-4 APPEARS to travel North/South, it is actually a East/West highway! :unsure:

Having said that whenever we have asked anyone in the States for directions, we find that they use compass directions far more than we do over here..."Travel East on US 192 for 5 miles" etc.etc., so it pays to have your wits about you.

Dawn
22-04-2011, 04:22 PM
Don't get a fancy soft top because it won't have any space to put your purchases. Boots/trunks on US cars are small compared to ours.

keith
22-04-2011, 07:19 PM
Great advice thanks all... Terry has recommended a dodge charger which looks good to me :thumbsup:

The e/w n/s thing sounds confusing though... unless they clearly mark which way is east/west etc

robertcraig
22-04-2011, 09:58 PM
Great advice thanks all... Terry has recommended a dodge charger which looks good to me :thumbsup:

The e/w n/s thing sounds confusing though... unless they clearly mark which way is east/west etc
I had adodge charger last year good car

Esmeralda
23-04-2011, 08:30 AM
I think you need a bulldozer for that sort of route, Keith.
I would hire one of those Humvees!

Don't forget to get the platinum accident insurance, luckily we had it as it paid dividends in the end this last trip. Two birds hit our windshield simultanously and cracked it :( we would have had to have paid for it to be replaced and according to the small print they can darn well charge what they like. THEN we had a runaway trolley ram into the side of our car at the parking lot leaving a gauge in it. You just never know what will happen.

Esmeralda
23-04-2011, 08:33 AM
Having said that whenever we have asked anyone in the States for directions, .
Now that I don't believe, no man ever asks for directions :taunt:

keith
23-04-2011, 08:34 AM
I would hire one of those Humvees!

Don't forget to get the platinum accident insurance, luckily we had it as it paid dividends in the end this last trip. Two birds hit our windshield simultanously and cracked it :( we would have had to have paid for it to be replaced and according to the small print they can darn well charge what they like. THEN we had a runaway trolley ram into the side of our car at the parking lot leaving a gauge in it. You just never know what will happen.

ooo ok thanks good advice for sure! I'm looking at a platinum package which includes additional drivers and a full tank of fuel but no idea what level of insurance comes with that or if thats extra

Esmeralda
23-04-2011, 08:40 AM
I do have an opening for Florida Chauffeur Mick if you're available? :lol:

Elbows Mick out of the way, he can't do it but I'll take that job! When do I pack?

Isafari
23-04-2011, 08:46 AM
If you make any decisions on the places you will want to/maybe will go, write down the address and zip codes in a little book and take it with you while you're out and about.
I seem to remember us having a couple of spare hours one afternoon and texting Secret members to find out the address for The Loop as we started to head in the right direction :lol:

keith
23-04-2011, 08:57 AM
Tell me more about this loop place then? what's there?

Isafari
23-04-2011, 09:13 AM
Tell me more about this loop place then? what's there?

You just know I'm gonna link (http://www.wdisneysecrets.com/index.php/orlando-shopping/169-areas/426-the-loop.html) don't ya!!!!

For your lovely wife.......HERE (http://www.wdisneysecrets.com/index.php/orlando-shopping.html)

robertcraig
23-04-2011, 09:39 AM
There is areport out from insurance companies that sat nav contributes to thousands of accidents

keith
23-04-2011, 01:55 PM
There is areport out from insurance companies that sat nav contributes to thousands of accidents

I think some people treat a sat nav as a brain subtitute hence the driving into ditches, through roadworks and so on. As a brain supplement I think they're useful little devices

ukwdwnut
23-04-2011, 02:32 PM
I do have an opening for Florida Chauffeur Mick if you're available? :lol:

i tell you what id do that in the blink of an eye, i absolutely love driving over there, never experienced road rage. i like the idead of overtaing in any lane. turning right on a red light. remember too the first car to arrive at a cross road has right of way i found. first time i went i sat at a x road and the car that drew up opposite after i did wouldnt budge until i had made my move. good job i did or i would have still been there now lmao. no one is in a rush to get anywhere. you really do get used to the slower driving speeds.

one thing to remember is

I4 runs West/East across Florida but appears to run North/South thru Orlando. Traveling North is actually East and South is West

ukwdwnut
23-04-2011, 02:33 PM
yep, I should have specified, I want completely empty roads, no complicated tolls (because I may not have worked out how to slow down or stop), and preferably no turns until we get there :lol:

then from sanford you should take HWY 417 toll road its not complicated just pay and go, when i used it it was all but empty :D

Slowhand
23-04-2011, 03:12 PM
then from sanford you should take HWY 417 toll road its not complicated just pay and go, when i used it it was all but empty :D
I totally agree with that Mick. :thumbsup:
When the 417 joins the I-4 though Keith, remember to follow the signs to Tampa [NOT Orlando]....heading West....or you`ll be going in the wrong direction to where you are heading!

keith
23-04-2011, 03:23 PM
ok guys thanks, I'll try and plot that route and see where it goes :thumbsup:

keith
23-04-2011, 03:24 PM
Any idea how many tolls there are and how much they are?

I guess it'd be a good idea to try and get however many coins we need in advance

Slowhand
23-04-2011, 03:29 PM
Any idea how many tolls there are and how much they are?

If you travel on the 417 to I-4 [ignoring using the 528], according to my map then you would pass through 6 tolls in all Keith.
I can`t remember the costs [they vary at each toll] but don`t worry too much about having the exact change. So long as you have a few small denomination $ bills, they will give you change.

keith
23-04-2011, 03:31 PM
If you travel on the 417 to I-4 [ignoring using the 528], according to my map then you would pass through 6 tolls in all Keith.
I can`t remember the costs [they vary at each toll] but don`t worry too much about having the exact change. So long as you have a few small denomination $ bills, they will give you change.

6!!!!! :lol: jeez! I'll get good at tolls then I guess. Good to know they take bills, I thought there may just be baskets for coins

Slowhand
23-04-2011, 03:34 PM
6!!!!! :lol: jeez! I'll get good at tolls then I guess. Good to know they take bills, I thought there may just be baskets for coins

There are baskets if you have the exact change [in coins] and you remember to get in the correct lane! Don`t worry too much Keith, there are information signs well in advance of the tolls.

robertcraig
23-04-2011, 07:23 PM
I always pre pay the toll charge with the hire company and then you can go through the express toll lanes and youcan use it on any toll road in florida

keith
23-04-2011, 07:32 PM
I always pre pay the toll charge with the hire company and then you can go through the express toll lanes and youcan use it on any toll road in florida

interesting thanks Robert!

I've heard they always try and moan to get you to upgrade, pay for extra this and that as well? Should I just ignore all that nagging?

Also there's some kind of deposit they take??

robertcraig
23-04-2011, 07:46 PM
interesting thanks Robert!

I've heard they always try and moan to get you to upgrade, pay for extra this and that as well? Should I just ignore all that nagging?

Also there's some kind of deposit they take??
YOU dont need a deposit if they have your credit card details

Esmeralda
23-04-2011, 08:35 PM
and if you do go through a toll without paying, like we did by accident, you WILL get charged for it despite the toll attendant saying it's ok so long as you don't do it again :( plus the hire company charge a $25 dllar admin fee on top as they pay it from your card. You don't get away with it.

catrancher
23-04-2011, 09:49 PM
Keith,

I think what they're talking about is the Sunpass system (https://www.sunpass.com/rentalcar) for the rental fleets. From what I understand, if you opt-in at the time of rental, you can use the SunPass lanes on any toll road and just drive straight through. The rental car companies will charge you either a daily rate or a flat rate for the whole time of your rental contract. However, if you don't opt-in, then you'll be responsible for the tolls yourself individually and if you try to use the SunPass lanes, you will get caught.

The rental companies have registered their fleet license plate numbers with SunPass and there is a camera system that takes a picture of your cars license plate as it passes through the toll plaza. If you're on the "I opted in" list, you're good. If you're not, they're gonna getcha!.

Tom (:macwave:... hope this helps!)

keith
23-04-2011, 09:56 PM
I cant imagine we'd be going through enough toll roads to make it worthwhile to be honest :/ but perhaps I'll live to regret that thought :lol:

robertcraig
23-04-2011, 11:08 PM
I cant imagine we'd be going through enough toll roads to make it worthwhile to be honest :/ but perhaps I'll live to regret that thought :lol:
If you travel on the 417 to and from sandford it is worth it

uscwest
24-04-2011, 12:19 AM
Just another small snippet.
Most [if not all] roads in the US heading North/South have even numbers and those that go East/West have odd numbers.
This can be a tad confusing at times though because for example the I-4 APPEARS to travel North/South, it is actually a East/West highway! :unsure:

Having said that whenever we have asked anyone in the States for directions, we find that they use compass directions far more than we do over here..."Travel East on US 192 for 5 miles" etc.etc., so it pays to have your wits about you. The north/south east/west odd/even is only true for Interstates Terry and it is the other way around almost ALL odd numbered interstates run NS or in a circle almost all EVEN numbered ones run EW.

Keith on the 417 exits 6 and 3 go to Disney and they are exact change only.

Esmeralda
24-04-2011, 06:59 AM
Keith,

I think what they're talking about is the Sunpass system (https://www.sunpass.com/rentalcar) for the rental fleets. From what I understand, if you opt-in at the time of rental, you can use the SunPass lanes on any toll road and just drive straight through. The rental car companies will charge you either a daily rate or a flat rate for the whole time of your rental contract. However, if you don't opt-in, then you'll be responsible for the tolls yourself individually and if you try to use the SunPass lanes, you will get caught.

The rental companies have registered their fleet license plate numbers with SunPass and there is a camera system that takes a picture of your cars license plate as it passes through the toll plaza. If you're on the "I opted in" list, you're good. If you're not, they're gonna getcha!.

Tom (:macwave:... hope this helps!)
That's exactly what happened to us, we were busy chatting and weren't concentrating next thing we know we saw a camera flash :( We were in the wrong lane, the sunpass lane.

keith
24-04-2011, 09:05 AM
Keith on the 417 exits 6 and 3 go to Disney and they are exact change only.

Thanks John! :thumbsup:

Tink
24-04-2011, 10:44 AM
Well! You are going to take a car? That's wonderful!

OK, here we go.

ALWAYS check the car carefully for damage and smell. Seriously. People spill things in those trunks and back seats and trust me on this, the Florida heat doesn't take kindly to spilled milk.

Coming out of Sanford (there is a HUGE mall there by the way :D ) you can easily take the 417 (and do have coins... those booths aren't always manned even when they should be... you'll want exact change to be safe) and that will bring you right into the Disney area that you know.

If you follow Daveann's idea of the I 4, you'll want to be alert to the time of day. If it's before 8:00 am, you'll be fine. If it's after 6:00 pm you'll be fine but the hours of 8:00 and onward to about 6:00 pm (unless there is a Magic game or other arena event, then extend the warning to later in the evening) you'll be jammed bumper to bumper in some areas. (Miles! Usually just as you pass the Lake Mary rest stop (the Longwood exit is just passed there) through WDW. MILES.

However, if you do take I 4 stay to the right. The center lane is terrible for new drivers. You'll have people overtaking you on both sides and that can be pretty unnerving sometimes. On the far right you will have to contend with drivers merging onto the roadway, but since collectively NO ONE in Orlando can merge, that's really not much of a problem.

Sat nav is up to you. It's either a g-dsend or a curse depending upon how you think of things. We have one and my final conclusion is that they are nice, but you do need some familiarity with where you are going BEFORE using it or you'll be sent round about ways or through tolls that were not necessary or brought through areas that you REALLY DON'T WANT to be in (like west of I4 in downtown Orlando). :eek:

You'll be fine. Mosey on down the road to WDW. Plan your trips, get a good map (you can pick nice ones up in Publix or Walgreens) and look at it thoroughly before you head out and all will be well.

You can take lovely little drives to areas outside the touristy bits (Winter Garden Village, eh? ;) ) and really get a feel for Florida outside WDW. :yes:

Also, you have my number!!! If you get lost call me (remember, I can't text you back) and I'll talk you to wherever you need to go. :D (Or get you hopelessly lost for hours). :mental:

Remember to NEVER pass a school bus that is stopped with blinking red lights and the stop sign showing. Instant and expensive ticket.

Remember to be highly alert to any amount of drinking. Know your limit and don't drive if you think you will be having more than a discrete glass of wine with dinner.

Ambulances and fire trucks always have the right of way. You must put on your signal (to the right usually but it's a case by case basis) and move immediately out of their path, and usually come to a stop to the side of the road.

Seat belts always (but everyone knows this now) and head lights on if your wipers are on, always....

That's the general scoop!

keith
24-04-2011, 11:37 AM
Tink!!!!! :hug2: :)

Yep car booked and paid for so no going back this time!

Thanks for the great info... I must admit I was tempted by the i4 route because it looked so simple and no tolls to mess up :lol: but argh I dont fancy MILES of hold ups :/ I mean, bumper to bumper slow queues are what we're used to anyway over here on the m6 :lol: but miles of them doesn't sound great.

This visit is all about outside Disney. Sure we've got a few Disney things booked and have APs so we'll want to do a few days there but really I hope that we can venture out a bit and see a few things we wouldn't normally "risk" the large taxi fare on.

Definitely want to go back to winter garden village though and I'll probably have to bug you for the best route yet again :lol: :hug2:

Esmeralda
24-04-2011, 06:14 PM
Google Orlando airport routes.

Orlandomaps.co.uk (Mapmans website) Great map to have.

keith
24-04-2011, 06:35 PM
Google Orlando airport routes.

Orlandomaps.co.uk (Mapmans website) Great map to have.

ooo I do believe I have one of those maps although a few years old, hopefully it'll be up to date enough to use! good point!

Stupid question but what's the speed limit over there if not displayed? or is it always displayed?

Tink
24-04-2011, 07:08 PM
Don't go with an old map. The roads and exits change too often for that.

Speed limits are supposed to be posted, the trick is, they aren't always conveniently posted. Speed limits vary with where you are. 55 in some areas, 70 in others, 35 in others and usually 15 or 20 when it's a school zone (WATCH for those carefully).

The I 4 route won't be that bad, and it's a good one to try. It's the main artery east and west (although it truly does run north and south from WDW to about Sanford) and you'll want a feel for it.

So, what sorts of things are you hoping to try this time, see, do outside of Disney? Tampa is a nice area... you going to try your hand at a Ray's game? :D :D (Hey, the quintessential American experience).

You could take a drive to Vero Beach, and check out Disney's Vero Beach Resort. :yes: Kind of a long drive down and back for one day, but surely do-able. :yes:

You can do the Winter Park Farmer's Market! :mental: Well, those of us who like our veggies find it a thrill. :lol:

St. Augustine beckons... Sarasota (you'll LOVE it there) even venture into Arcadia if you dare. True Florida that. :yes:

Well, I'll natter your ear off if you let me, so I'll try to shut up, but if you want some recommendations just give me a feel for what you and Mrs. Keith want to do. :yes:

keith
24-04-2011, 07:20 PM
ooo see now I'm going to have to go and read up about all those things! :yes:

I'd love to see a Ray's game! Hadn't even THOUGHT of that! Is it mega far away?

To be honest, everything you've listed sounds wonderful and I'd love to try them ALL! :lol: We're far less Disney this time especially since we have a three week marathon over christmas/new year at the end of the year. So much more interested in what we can go see this time