Monday, November 16, 2009

The Orlando Brits Guide To Where, When, How and Who in Orlando

Scroll Down for Information on British TV, Radio, Food, Pubs, Clubs, Concerts and much more

What's it all about? This site is intended to address the British Travellers need for what to expect when visiting Orlando and the local surrounding areas. I know Brit's abroad come for the sunshine, the exciting theme parks, and a different way of life that America has to offer and I am glad you are coming to Florida but I know many of you have questions about the differences and what British citizens can expect in Florida.
About Me
I am a British Expat living and working in and around Orlando, Florida, for 10 years and have being travelled back and forth between these two countries for 20 years. There are so many little bits of England all over Florida and in particular Orlando and the surrounding areas. And it is easy to get those little things you miss from the good old country and here are a few tips I have found along the way that I think could be useful to other Brit's travelling or now living in and around Orlando. Some are my personal preferences and may not suit everyone but I am sure that most of you who read this will find one or two little ideas that you may not know. I have also added a few links to key websites that can make these ideas come to life. Also if you are visiting the USA for the first time of need to know about what to before you arrive for Immigration and Security I have included some helpful videos from U.S. Homeland Security, TSA and the British Embassy and Consulate Services. So here we go...


Driving in America
a First Time USA Drivers Guide
It is almost impossible to even 'get to the shops' without a car in the USA...
You can see by the size of the car park of even a small Take Away, that 'a car is essential'.Most holidays to the USA are of the 'Fly-Drive variety'. This means that somebody will have to drive a car…Are you prepared for this ?
Don't panic, the mechanics of it are actually easier than you may think!
If you have never driven in the USA before, read through this section and get to know the differences. You will be in a strange place, getting lost at home is bad enough, getting lost here can be easy to achieve and unpicking a mistake, difficult - to say the least.
Let's try to help...
Before we begin…

Don’t forget your Driving License and any vouchers or paper work about Car Hire that your Travel Company or Agent has given you.
Your first 'drive' will be from the Airport to your accommodation. Many tour operators leave it until you arrive to give you the directions.
Obtain directions before hand, if at all possible, and study maps for as long as you can before you depart. Get an idea of where you are going.Go over and over your directions trying to get a mental picture of where you are going.
You can use on-line mapping systems to help. Note that they don't often show the 'best' route just the quickest. Use Airport codes in their system as 'Place name in North America' - MCO (for Orlando International) & SFB (for Sanford).
  • Keep alert. Don’t drink on the plane if you have to drive.
  • U.S. Drink Driving law is very strictly enforced and you will be charged if caught and spend a night in the cells. Not a good way to start the holiday!

UK Visitor Specific

The most obvious difference with driving in the USA is that they drive on the Right hand side of the road and you do it from the Left side of the car.
You may be familiar with driving your own car on the Continent and, if you have done this, you will know that strange feeling of being on the wrong side of the road.
It felt unusual and maybe scary for a while but your car had a familiar set-up and you can get used to driving in the gutter although overtaking was ... well, interesting.
The biggest difference to this is that in the US you will be on wrong side of both the road and the car.
You will be used to judging the greater distance on your left side but now the width of the car will be on your right.
The arm you lean out of the window is the wrong one (it does balance the suntan), the gear change (shift) is on the right, the person to scream at / talk to, is also over there and it’s an automatic...
Have you ever driven an automatic?
Always have the Parking Brake 'On' when you put the vehicle into 'Drive'. Just in case the engine is revving or the tick-over is set too high. Otherwise the car may jump forwards...
The Parking Brake may be a foot operated pedal on the far Left of the wheel well.

Only use one foot (the right one!) for operating the Accelerator (Gas) and Foot Brake pedals. You should keep the left foot well over to the left or tuck it up against the seat.
There is a slight (but only slight) possibility that when you have to stop quickly you will instinctively stab at the non-existent Clutch pedal with your left foot. Possibly hitting the Brake pedal with way too much force.
Most automatics will 'creep' at tick-over without the Brake. You can move slowly forward or backwards by just releasing and applying the Brake pedal.
Use this technique in slow areas, Car Parks etc, and only use the accelerator to finally pull-away.
Gently though or you will get that tire screeching sound! (especially on polished Car Park floors)


Freeway Driving

Most people are wary of Freeways in the US until they are more used to driving on the wrong side of the road.
It is recommend that all British First Time USA Drivers pick Routes that avoid Freeways and The Beach Line Expressway if at all possible for your Arriving Drive.
Having said that, some {especially those arriving via. Orlando International Airport (MCO) and staying near I-Drive} have no real choice but to use The Beach Line Expressway (it's not as busy as the Interstate). The two most reported problems with Freeway Driving are - that stretches can be busy at all time of the day & night and 'undertaking'.

The other drivers on Freeways can bring about the other problem - undertaking!
It's not illegal in the USA to overtake on the 'inside'. That's the right hand side...
With all the other distractions, it can be bloomin scary.
As you get to the busier areas, you get lots of locals literally zooming by on all sides! Changing lanes in front and behind in a seemingly random ballet.
Making a decision to stick to the lane one from the right (a theoretical slow lane) doesn't work as the width of the freeway changes from 3 to 4 to 5 lanes at various points. At exits, sometimes two lanes exit, sometimes only one. Sticking to the left and keeping your foot down will only end up with you going too fast... Here you will also encounter the few American drivers who have no respect for the Speed Limit.
You have to be on-top of what you are doing.
It's all quite exciting when you are used to it - but after an 8 hour flight?
From Sanford Airport {SFB} (Charter and Holiday Airlines), your Travel Company or Car Rental Company will almost definitely instruct you via. SR-417 The Central Florida Greeneway.

From Orlando International Airport {MCO} (British Airways, Virgin, and internal USA transfers) their instructions may take you out to the Beach Line and Freeway or you may be instructed to go via SR-417 The Central Florida Greeneway.

Lane Position

Experience has shown that most UK drivers drive far over to the right hand side of a lane. Watch out for this phenomenon especially when you are in a lane with traffic or parked vehicles, to your right. You may not be as far away as you think.

Traffic Lights (Signals)

This aerial shot shows a typical approach to Traffic Signals. Note how the Left lane turns Left and the Right lane turns too. The two centre lanes go straight on.
Note the traffic lights in the sky, hung on a wire diagonally across the junction. At some (like this one) the light for the Right lane can be a good distance away, all the way across the junction. You don't need this light though - you can make a Right Turn.
The Left turn lights are in the middle of the road and much closer.

Looks like there are lot's of cars with slight oil leaks in Orlando...

Turning Left at a Traffic Signal.
Turning Left at a Traffic Light (Signal) can be a little un-nerving the first few times.

Most major road junctions will have a Left Turn Lane controlled by a Left Turn Light. It may be up in the air but should never be so high that you can't see it through the window from the front row of the grid (sorry).

If the road you are turning into is a dual carriageway (divided highway) just don't forget to be in the right lanes after the turn.
That's all the way across the first set of lanes on your left and the dividing bit. If pressured there is a tendency to go left round the kerb, like back at home - this will end up with you facing a line of cars pointing at you.

Go all the way across and then turn left into the empty road with cars going 'away' from you... Take your time - don't panic.
Here is an example -  

Approaching to turn Left in the Left lane. Note - this a Left Only turn lane. The one on the Right is for Straight Ahead and Right.

As we approach, the Left lane turn light is Green, the Straight Ahead and Right Turn lights are also Green, sometimes they will be Red while left alone is Green (as in the picture above) and vica versa.
Just wait for the left turn light to turn Green before moving.

The Van, two cars in front just went Left, as the light on the Left of the Yellow Line is lit and the arrow on it shows to turn Left. The opposite of this light is holding all other traffic from crossing the junction.

Though this picture doesn't depict oncoming traffic from the opposite side of the intersection. This is the most dangerous part. You must yield to oncoming traffic coming across the intersection.

Many turns have dashed lines that guide you into the correct lanes. But, if they don't the line of 'dripping oil' will guide you in all but wet weather.

Once you get used to it, take your time and start watching for Traffic Lights in the sky.
It's a doddle!

Turning Right at a Traffic Signal - 'The Free Right at a Red Light' Rule.

You may turn right 'against' the Traffic Light in Florida, but only if the coast is clear.
You must come to a complete stop first...
Cars in front of you may go through the Red Light and turn right. This is normal and you should do the same.
Don't be pressured by people behind you...
Take it easy and make sure nothing is anywhere near you coming from the left before you move.
Move away smoothly and purposefully. Once you start, don't stop - you shouldn't have gone if it wasn't clear to do so...
If the light is Green, just go. (obvious)
If you just sit there, people behind will sound their horn at you!
But don't be pressured, the light will change soon anyway. Be safe - not sorry!

Enjoy your driving experiences... and Don't panic.

Will I need an International Driving Permit?
An International Driving Permit (IDP), while not required, is inexpensive and useful to have for identification purposes, even if you’re not planning to drive. It must be issued in your own country before you depart. Apply through the local or national branch of your automobile association. The application usually requires one or two photos, a current driving licence, an additional form of identification and a fee. An IDP does not replace your regular driving licence; carry both if you are planning to drive. An IDP is valid for one year.
What should I do if my car breaks down?
Turn on the car’s hazard lights (this button usually is indicated by an orange triangle), which will flash to alert other drivers and state or local police that you need help. Dial *FHP on Florida interstates and highways in an emergency to reach the Florida Highway Patrol (state police). On motorways, there are emergency call boxes roughly every half-mile (1 kilometre). Florida has a Move Over Law. This means that if there is a car stopped on the side of the road with a police car behind it, drivers passing by must either slow down to 20 m.p.h. or get over a lane.

What should I do if I am stopped by the police?

If you are pulled over by the police for a traffic violation, such as speeding or driving through a red light, you will be issued a ticket indicating you must pay a fine. Do not offer to pay the fine directly to the police officer – this could be construed as attempted bribery. Pay fines by mail, or directly to the clerk of the court; if you plan to contest the ticket, you must appear in court on the date shown on the ticket. If accused of a more serious crime, consult a lawyer. If arrested, call your Embassy or Consulate.

What are the requirements for a car child seat?
All children 5 years old or younger must use a restraint device when riding in a motor vehicle. This Florida law requires every driver to secure children five years of age or younger in child restraint devices riding in a passenger car, van, or pick-up truck, regardless of whether the vehicle is registered in this state. Infant carriers or children's car seats must be used for children three years old and younger. Children's car seats or safety belts may be used for four- and five-year-olds. All infant carriers and car seats must be crash-tested and approved by the U.S. Government. Children being carried or riding bicycles should wear properly fitted bicycle helmets. Please also check with your car rental company for further information and any updates as rules and safety standards change.

Recommended Child Restraints:
Infant Carriers - Birth to 9 months or 20 pounds.
Children's Car Seats - Nine months to four years (20-50 pounds).
Lap Belt - Four years and older (over 40 pounds).
Lap Belt and Shoulder Belt - 55 inches tall.

Disabled parking permits While UK-issued Blue Badge permits are no longer recognized as valid disabled parking tags in Florida, UK visitors can purchase a temporary disabled parking permit. One valid temporary permit may be issued for up to six months. The fee is $15.
UK disabled visitors can process their temporary parking permit ahead of their visit through the mail. Visitors should send a copy of both sides of their UK Blue Badge, a copy of their UK passport and $15 in U.S. funds. Send to:

Patsy Heffner, Tax Collector
P.O. Box 422105
Kissimmee, FL 34742-2105

Please send a money order or cashier's check as the office cannot accept cash. The office will also accept credit cards. Please write the exact name of the credit card holder and the credit card number and expiration date. A $2 processing fee is applied to those who pay with their credit card. The office has asked that travelers give themselves a 3-week window for processing and delivery of the temporary permit.
Foreign citizens here on visitor status may also apply for a temporary permit in person at a local tax collector's office, where the visitor will need to present a copy of his or her Blue Badge (both sides) and a passport or comparable identification issued to him or herself, the owner of the permit. For a list of tax collector locations and more information


Most visitors to Florida that Self Drive may not know that major Highways have toll roads.

If you are self driving from Sanford and Orlando International Airports you will find as you exit onto the Highways you will be on a toll road.

Don't Panic most toll roads around the area have a cash payment toll booth and as long as you have cash you will be able to go through the toll booth.

You may also be asked when you pick up your car rental whether you want a Toll Transponder on your car. Normally these rental agencies will add the fee of your usage of EPASS Lanes after your drop off you car via the Credit Card information you leave with the rental company. This is a great way not to have to think about having cash for tolls and is available from car rental agencies at the major Orlando airports.

A helpful hint if you do not want to hire a car with EPASS is to have plenty of American Quarters to pay the toll fee. The Toll road from Sanford Airport to the local Disney area is the 417 and fee is around $6.75 and from Orlando International Airport to I-4 is around $3.25 and therefore is you can have enough cash it is advised.

What is an EPASS Lane: It is a lane where people who own an EPASS Transponder. A Transponder allows the user to go through tolls without the need for cash but need to have a credit limit via their EPASS account. There are violations imposed on anyone who travels through EPASS Lanes without payment.


Many people when viewing this site have asked me about becoming a United States Citizen. I must say it was one of the most important, wonderful, exciting, challenging, rewarding and fantastic things I have done in my life and I am proud to be an American and love this country so much. I will tell all of you that if you are just casually thinking about becoming an American, then you will need to become a lot more serious, as it is very long and hard process. Most people who try to become U.S. Citizens will face hard decisions because it will change your life and the amount of paperwork involved is very detailed and takes months and years to process, not to mention the cost in processing your application. America has a vast diverse culture with people arriving from all over the world daily. Since the years of terrorist threats experienced all over the world the USCIS takes a long hard look into your background, your reasons for coming to America, how you will support yourself, your health, and how serious you are about your application. You will need to study American History and present day Government, but for me this was very interesting and made me want to become an American even more. It took me 5 years to become and American and the day I took the Oath was a very proud day and I love the United States of America and what it means to be an American.

For more information on becoming a U.S. Citizen visit the following website and good luck...


British Consulate Orlando
200 S. Orange Ave, Suite 2110

Orlando, Florida 32801
Appointments are required for all services; please call (407) 254-3300

Appointments are available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between the hours of 9.00am to 12 noon and 2.00pm to 4.00pm. On Wednesdays they only handle emergency appointments on a request basis.



British Embassy
3100 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20008

(1)(202) 588 6500 Embassy
(1)(202) 588 7800 Consular
(1)(202) 588 7830 British Council

The British Embassy and Consulate services can help and assist British Nationals whilst they are abroad.

Out and about in Florida

Climate: Florida's temperatures generally average from the mid-50s to mid-80s Fahrenheit (about 12 30 Celsius). Temperatures in the northern part of the state occasionally drop to freezing in winter, while South Florida's subtropical areas rarely see frosts or freezes. Summers are very warm and humid, though frequent, brief rain showers provide a refreshing break. The "rainy season" lasts from May through October. Hurricanes occasionally make landfall in Florida during this period; communities within the state have effective emergency plans to assist residents and visitors alike. Though some rainfall does occur at other times of year, late fall, winter and spring are usually sunny, dry and temperate.

What to pack: Bring cool, comfortable clothing, shorts and casual shirts, sundresses and, of course, bathing suits, tops and sandals. Keep in mind that topless sunbathing and thong-backed bikinis are prohibited in most parts of Florida. Be sure to bring plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and visors to protect you from the sun. For evening outings, "resort casual" attire (trousers, collared shirts, cotton dresses) is acceptable most places, though gentlemen might consider packing a light sports coat if a more formal evening is planned. While Florida's climate is generally warm all year round, it's a good idea to bring a light jacket if you are travelling here in December through February. Pack insect repellent and an umbrella or a light mackintosh during the rainy season. Don't worry if you forget anything - Florida stores can outfit you with anything you need.

Time zone: Most of Florida is on Eastern Standard Time, which is five hours behind Greenwich Mean Time; the exception being part of Northwest Florida, from just east of Panama City Beach to Pensacola. This part of Florida is in the Central Standard Time zone (one hour earlier). Daylight savings time is in effect from the first Sunday in April through the last Sunday in October. During this period, clocks are set one hour later to maximise daylight hours.

Customs: Visitors over 21 years of age entering the U.S. may bring 1 litre (2 pints) of alcohol, gifts worth up to $100, and 200 cigarettes, 100 cigars or 3 pounds (1.4 kilograms) of tobacco, without paying duty. Cuban cigars and other products of Cuban origin may not be brought into the U.S. All food must be declared to inspectors. A number of food items are prohibited including cheese, fresh fruit and meat products.
There is no limit on the amount of money you may bring with you. However, if you are travelling with more than $10,000 in currency, travellers cheques or other monetary instruments, you must declare it to a Customs Inspector. Failure to do so can result in the confiscation of your money. If two or more people are filing a joint declaration, they should declare the total amount of currency they are carrying. It is not necessary to declare credit cards.


Currency The dollar is the basic unit of American currency. It is divided into 100 cents. The most common bills are $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Older bills are green and mostly look similar, distinguished primarily by their portrait of a different U.S. President. Newer bills integrate different colors, background designs, watermarks and other security features. Commonly used coins are the penny (1 cent), nickel (5 cents), dime (10 cents) and quarter (25 cents). Foreign currency is not accepted.

You can exchange currency at most major airports, banks, at private exchange offices such as American Express or Thomas Cook, and at some hotels. Foreign currency exchange offices at international airports are usually open until the last international flight comes in, Monday through Saturday. Most banks are open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and some are also open on Saturday mornings.

Travellers cheques are still the safest way to travel with large amounts of money and they are accepted at most locations. Credit cards are widely accepted by hotels, shops, restaurants and car hire companies. Be aware that sales tax (usually 6 to 7 percent) will be added to most prices at shops, restaurants and attractions.

Lost or stolen credit cards or travellers cheques
To report missing credit cards, travellers cheques or travellers cheque cards, call the corresponding freephone numbers:

Credit Cards
American Express: 800-528-4800
Diners Club: 800-234-6377
Discover: 800-347-2683
MasterCard: 800-826-2181
Visa: 800-336-8472

Travellers Cheques
American Express: 800- 221-7282
MasterCard: 800-223-9920
Thomas Cook: 800-223-7373
Visa: 800-227-6811

ATMs: You'll find Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in banks, grocery stores, in shopping malls and at many petrol stations.

Using the telephone: To place a call from your hotel, you often must first dial an access code. Check the instructions on the phone, or ask the concierge or front desk clerk for assistance. To reach the police, fire brigade or ambulance, dial 9-1-1. This number is only to be used in a true emergency. Most long-distance and international calls can be dialled directly from any phone.

For calls within the United States and to Canada, dial 1 followed by the area code and the seven-digit number. For international calls, dial 0-1-1 followed by the country code, city code, and the telephone number of the person you are calling. Calls to area codes 800, 888, 866, and 877 are freephone numbers, but a hotel access charge may still apply.

For reversed-charge or collect calls and for person-to-person calls, dial 0 (zero, not the letter "O") followed by the area code and number you want. Specify to the operator that you are calling collect or person-to-person, or both. If your operator-assisted call is international, ask for the overseas operator. For directory assistance within the U.S., dial 4-1-1.


Electricity: The U.S. uses 110-120 volts, 60 cycles is standard. If your small appliances use 220-240 volts, you'll need to bring a voltage converter and a plug adapter with two flat parallel pins.

Weights and measures
The U.S. uses a partial metric and English system of weights and measures. Metric equivalents are:
1 inch = 2.5 centimetres
1 foot (12 inches) = 0.3 meter
1 yard (3 feet) = 0.9 meter
1 mile (5280 feet) = 1.6 kilometres
60 miles per hour = 100 kilometre per hour
1 ounce = 28 grams
1 pound (16 ounces) = 0.45 kilogram
1 quart (liquid) = 0.9 litre.

Banks, government offices and post offices are closed on the national Holidays listed below. In addition, some attractions and many stores, restaurants and museums may be closed or have limited hours (call ahead to check).

January 1 (New Year's Day)
the third Monday in January (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
the third Monday in February (Presidents' Day)
the last Monday in May (Memorial Day)
July 4 (Independence Day)
the first Monday in September (Labour Day)
the second Monday in October (Columbus Day)
November 11 (Veterans' Day)
the fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving Day)
December 25 (Christmas)

Smoking policy
Smoking is illegal in buses and coaches, trains, taxis and in most public buildings in Florida, including establishments that serve food; however, many restaurants have outdoor smoking areas. Hotel rooms are designated as "smoking" and "non-smoking"; request the room type of your choice when making reservations. Bed & Breakfasts generally do not permit smoking inside.

Alcohol Laws
To purchase or consume alcohol in the State of Florida you must be 21 years of age. Proof of age is often requested, so carry photo identification that gives your date of birth. Some grocery stores sell beer and wine (and will also request a photo ID). It is illegal to carry open containers of alcohol in your car or any public area that isn't zoned for alcohol consumption, and it is illegal to drive while intoxicated. Choose a "designated driver" in your group (someone who will abstain from drinking alcohol) who will be responsible for driving you home.

Travellers with disabilities
Find helpful links and information on travelling with a variety of special needs at, the website of the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality, or call the Florida chapter at 561-361-0017.

What should I do if I lose my passport?
If you lose your passport, immediately notify the police and the nearest Embassy or Consulate of your home government. You will need to show ID and proof of citizenship as well as pay a fee and file a police report. Replacements can take up to two weeks, but some consulates offer a three-day rush service for an additional fee. In an emergency, some consulates provide temporary travelling papers that will allow you to re-enter your home country. It is a good idea to make two photocopies of your passport and any other travel documents before leaving home. Take one set of copies with you, packed separately from the originals, and leave the other set with someone at home. Having copies available will expedite passport replacement should it become necessary.

Dressing the part: Brits abroad, most of us want a good time and dress how we feel we want and rightly so, I will warn you though in Florida please be a little careful for your dress style draws unwanted attention. Certain thieves and criminals operating in the Orlando area look out for tourists as easy prey and though I do not want to alarm you it is the truth. So wearing your favorite teams football top or anything with a union jack is sign you are British. Please be aware of your surroundings and who is surrounding you.

Ladies please carry purses as close to you as possible. Most ladies carry a purse that either has a long strap around their bodies. Purse snatching and pick pockets, the same as most British cities, do exist in large crowded areas so please carry little cash, jewellery and know that most stores in the U.S. accept most Visa and MasterCard.

Please note that there is a heavy Police presence in the tourist areas in Orlando, as well as most Malls, Shopping Plaza's, Stores and Supermarkets normal have their own security for your safety. Remember 9-1-1 is our emergency services number and you will be directed to the nearest emergency responders for your area.
Large Suitcases Down International Drive: who does not like a bargain and I know the tempting to buy large amounts of cheap clothes from American stores is high on everyone ones list of must do's whilst in Florida. International Drive has a huge amount of discount stores and it is easy to get carried away and I see many families with large suite cases jammed with new designer gear ready for them to take back to Britain. Firstly, if you are walking down International Drive with a case jammed with clothes remember you are carrying that case on the plane with you too and ensure you have enough check-in luggage allowance to bring it back to the UK or you could end up donating it to a trash can inside the terminal building or paying high amounts of excess luggage fees. Secondly remember that you will need to declare goods over your allowance to customs when you return to the UK and clothing has one of the higher duty charges.
Thirdly if you are dragging that case behind you down International Drive you are a walking target for people to know you have purchase goods that they may want to take off your hands illegally but stealing it from your hotel rooms. Please please be careful.

Tips and Gratuities: Please note that when you dine out in America it is important to remember that servers are expected to receive a Tip or Gratuity from 15 - 20 percent according to how well they have served you and you have had a good dining experience.

Meals and Deals: Eating out is a part of American culture and we have some of the best resturants right here in Florida. Some good things to note, portions in a the U.S. are huge and where some may think I need to get a 3 Course meal to decent dining experience most settle for either sharing an appitizer, having a decent main course and sharing a good desert. If you can manage all 3 courses fairplay.
Most resturants, especially the chain resturants such as Sonnys, Outback, Chillis, Dennys and TGI Fridays have great deals, search the menu or check out notices when you enter the resturant for deals, like 2 meals for $20.00 is very common at the moment.
Soda's and Softdrinks are a fairly good value as you buy the drink once and you get free refills for the duration of your meal. NOTE: This does not include Food Malls.
Alcahol can be fairly expensive in Florida a normal price for a single bottle of beer ranges between $3 to $10 per bottle. A cheaper option is to get either a pitcher of house beer or ask for the local beer. (Please NOTE: Drinking and Driving is America is a huge NO NO and so have desegnaed driver if you are drinking).
If you are staying in Orlando there are many coupon books where you can find money off coupons for local resturants and please read the fine print for what bargins are on offer and if it pertains to you local resturant chain.
US School Holidays: There are no set school vacation periods in the U.S. as in many European countries. Furthermore, there is no school vacation for All Saints Day, nor for the winter. In the U.S., each school district has different periods for Christmas, spring (Easter) and summer school vacations. The state of Florida has 67 counties. For example, some summer school vacations begin in the middle of May and end in the middle of August and others begin in the middle of June and end at the beginning of September.


What should I do if I run out of money?
If you run out of money while travelling, the simplest and least expensive solution is to have someone back home make a deposit to your credit card or bank account for which you have an ATM card. If that is not an option, you can arrange to have money wired to a Florida bank. Visit Western Union at or call 800-325-6000. To wire money within the United States using Visa, MasterCard or Discover, call 800-225-5227. Money transfer services are also available through American Express and Thomas Cook offices. Check the local Yellow Pages phone directory for the nearest locations.


Where can I get a fishing licence?
Licences are required for both fresh and saltwater fishing in Florida and are available at many marinas, bait and tackle shops, and the local county tax collector’s office. For detailed information and regulations on hunting, freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing, as well as wildlife viewing, hiking trails and boating safety, visit

When is the hurricane season?
The Atlantic hurricane season is officially June 1 to November 30. The peak of the season is from mid-August to mid-October. Hurricanes develop over the tropical or subtropical waters around the world. In the Atlantic basin, the areas where hurricanes occur are the North Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Hurricanes can affect areas from Venezuela, Mexico to Texas, New Jersey, New York, etc. That is why it is called the Atlantic hurricane season. You can obtain real-time advisories for hurricanes/ tropical storms at the website of the National Hurricane Center, Do not forget how large Florida is. If a hurricane, for example, were to go near Pensacola, then it is safe to visit other areas of Florida such as Miami and Key West.

Health tips

  • Protect yourself from the rays of the sun by wearing sunglasses and by applying sunscreen at least 30 minutes before exposure. Use a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor of at least SPF 15; SPF 45 for children. Remember to reapply several times during the day, especially after swimming or exercise.
  • Dehydration, as well as sunburn, can occur with prolonged exposure to the heat and sun, even in Florida's winter months. Try to arrange most of your outdoor activities before 10 a.m. and after 2 p.m. If you plan to be out all day, carry bottled water. (All drinking water is potable, including tap water.)
  • Avoid direct contact with wild animals. When walking in wilderness areas, stay on paths. Be cautious near lakes and ponds since they are prime habitats for alligators. Never feed an alligator or other wild animal.Use insect repellent in woodsy areas and parks.

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British TV: For a selection of programs from Britain there is a few different places to find good viewing. Firstly in the United States we have BBC America - this channel includes British programming from not only the BBC but ITV and Channel 4 etc. Top shows include, Dr Who, The Graham Norton show, Whitechapel, Top Gear and many more.
Local PBS Channels play some classics comedies like Vicar of Dibley, The Good Life (in the US called Good Neighbors), Yes Minister, Are You Being Served, Men Behaving Badly, Miranda and Fawlty Towers. As well as dramas such as Masterpiece Mystery, Downton Abbey. The Ovation Channel replays BBC's Antiques Roadshow. See your local TV Provider for more details.

For those with either an IPod, ITouch, IPhone there are some great selections to be had via Apple's ITune Store. For the IPad, ITouch and IPhone there is some great App's. For TV choices for purchase for you can now select from the BBC America selection you can download Classic and new Dr. Who, Fawlty Towers, Red Dwarf, Torchwood, Skins, Survivors Coupling, Gavin and Stacey, The Young Ones, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Little Britain, Black Adder, Top Gear, Yes Priminster and a few others. If you want to see more British programs on ITunes you can request this on their website and if enough people are interested they may be able to obtain those programs. If you want to go an purchase DVD's from Britian you can buy a Phillips DVD player as most of these come with ability to change the formatting to play British DVD's. Barnes and Noble and BBC America both have great listings of British DVD's in U.S. Format to purchase and include some great classic television. There are some internet sites suggesting boxes attached to your TV or computer but they can cost up to $60 per month, the BBC IPlayer system does not work in the U.S. unless you can modify you pc region and there are websites to assist with this. BBC Worldwide are looking to add the US in the future but are concentrating on other countries currently. but if you would like to change your iPad, iPhone or PC's VPN addresses or Internet solutions but all have a monthly fee attached. For Coronation Street and Eastenders fans it is very hard to find these programs anywhere but please search the web.

British Radio: Missing you fav BBC or local radio channels, no need, use the BBC IPlayer App, downloadable from the UK or US to listen to BBC Radio Live or click the links below to start listening now. For Apple device users the iTunes store has a great podcast lisiting of most popular programs, such as Steve Wright,  More Mayo (clips from the best of Simon Mayo's Drivetime Show) are avaliable for download but unfortunately minus the music on most downloads due to restrictions. There are also a couple of APP's that let you listen to all the BBC Radio and Commerical Radio Stations from the UK, although due to rights restrictions some of the broadcasts are blocked. Also on ITunes is a great library of BBC Audiobooks of old classic comedy programs from radio and television, including The Goons, Porridge, Only Fools and Horses and many more. The Archers fans can also get their fill from the choice of either the podcasts or older programs via the BBC Audiobook selections. On Apple Devices there is a App called Tune In Radio where you can listen live and record radio stations all over the world, including BBC stations. Some other great Apps are Captial FM, Classic FM, Gold, Heart, LBC and Xfm. Via your pc you can listen to some programs live via the BBC IPlayer Website see my attached links, such as the new Simon Mayo Drivetime Show (remember the time difference if you want to listen to live programs)Click Here To Listen To BBC Radio 1, Click Here To Listen Live To Radio 2, Click Here To Listen To Radio Five Live, Click Here To Listen To Radio 4 Extra Live

British Concerts of Music and Comedy
See my full listing of events coming to Orlando and surrounding areas are just a scroll away see below

British Food: I know most Brits abroad like to taste the local food and believe me it is fantastic but if you are seeing flavors of home there places to shop whilst you are here. The two best local Orlando stores are heading into Downtown Orlando from the normal park areas but if you want to give these a try International Food Club on LB Mcleod, Orlando (see more links further down the page) and the best is The British Shoppe on at 809 N. Mills Ave, Orlando, both have a great selection of frozen and dried foods, candy and other British wonders. For the best pies try The Proper Pie Company, who have the best Steak and Kidney pies, Sausage Rolls and some great British foods in the store and on-line, they also have a great selection of confectionary, crisps, cakes, mixes, teas and they are well worth a visit and not too far from the theme park area (see there link for more details). Some Publix have a good selection of candy, soda and tinned foods. The World Market stores also have a selection of Cadbury candy and a selection of Beers.

British News and Newspapers: Sky News (which has live news 24 Hours a day), BBC News and ITN News Apps are avaliable on iTunes Apps. On Apple devices there are some great Newspaper Apps include, Daily Mirror, Telegraph, Independent, Daily Star, The Sun etc. BBC America has the BBC News in the morning and at night. For hard copy newpapers see your local Orlando Gas Stations, Publix Supermarket or Barnes and Nobles bookstore. Also the internet has great sites including BBC News. Some local Orlando Gas Stations also have the Sun or Daily Mail papers in short supply.
Football or is it Soccer: There is many ways to watch the top matches in Florida, Fox Soccer Network, Fox Sports 1, NBCSN and ESPN shows most top games from England and all over the world, quite a few British Pubs in Orlando also show top games and some specialize in which teams games they will show so ensure that you ask if you wanted a to view your teams match. In Florida there is plenty of pubs who have websites that will tell you in advance and Chelsea, Man Utd, Celtic and Liverpool are well served in the Orlando area. Chelsea FC have a great American website, see the link for more information.

Formula One: For the Brits who follow Formula One motor sport tune to  NBC Sports Network with coverage of the whole Formula One Weekend. Steve Matchett (ex Benetton Mechanic), David Hobbs (ex F1 and Motorsport driver), Leigh Diffey (announcer). Remember the time difference if you are visiting from out of the U.S. This coverage includes pit reports, practice, qualifying and the full race and interviews. I am a huge Formula One fan, having watched the sport since the 60's, spectated in the 80's and was a Formula One Photographer in the 90's and the NBC Sports Network coverage is one of the best I have seen. Also on iTunes check out BBC 5 Lives coverage of the weekends action. Some great Apps for your Apple devices are Formula 1 Timing 2013, which is a fantastic App with live feed from the track of Drivers on Track, Timing and Scoring, or the HiDefRadio App where you can listen live to BBC Radio 5 Live.

British Pub's: Here is a selection of the best British Pub's in and around Florida...
St Andrews Tavern: Located on 436 between Altamonte Springs and Apopka, this is as close as you can get to a true British pub. The food is wonderful with lots of home made dishes that leave you satisfied. Nice cozy atmosphere and plenty of activities going on, including football matches, darts and live music. Also provided is a take-away food both cooked and uncooked items. Check out their website for full details and sign up for their newsletter.
Location: 1119 West State 436, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714

Raglan Road: Situated at Pleasure Island, Downtown Disney, this is a purpose built pub to represent and a typical bar in Ireland, with Irish music, Irish dancing, British food and Disney prices. It is a charming atmosphere and can get very busy in the evening but still gives that Irish Crack' that you could be looking for. As this is a Disney location families are very welcome and it is worth a visit for the Irish dancing. Check out their great website.
Location: Pleasure Island, Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista

Cookes of Dublin: Its not a pub but is located right next door to Raglan Road in Downtown Disney. At Cookes of Dublin you find a great assortment of freshly prepared delights from  the traditional Fish and Chips, Beef and Lamb Pie, Atlantic Scallops, Mini Battered Sausages and for desert try, not a deeped fried Mars bar but a, Dough Bar, which is a deep fried Snickers bar (Yum). Food here is a lot cheaper than at Raglan Road and you can eat in their small seating area or take it to go. This is a great place to grab a bite if you are touring Downtown Disney.

Rose and Crown Pub and Dining Room: Situated at the United Kingdom Pavilion, Epcot, this is a stop off point for most Brits visiting Epcot. English beer on tap and some snacks available at the bar. The bar is not too large and can get a little crowded at times but families are welcome and it is a good presentation of a British pub. The Dining room attached offers various British meals but the best value for money is the Fish and Chip shop just around the corner. There is plenty of outdoor seating too and it is a fantastic place to view the Illuminations Fireworks in the evening.
Location: United Kingdom Pavilion, World Showcase, Epcot, Walt Disney World

(Above the UK Pavillion at Epcot: A great place to shop, eat, and have fun)
The Orlando George and Dragon: Home of the Orlando Rangers Supporters Club
Location: 6314 International Drive, Orlando

The Moon Under Water: A British Colonial Tavern situated in St. Petersburg, FL. This is a great welcoming Tavern situated just off of the beach in St. Pete's and has an outside terrace and wonderful air conditioned Tavern inside. The food selection is huge, from Appetizers including Curry and Chips & Cod Fingers, The Curries include, Chicken, Tikha Masala, Vindaloo, Indian Green with authentic naan bread and pappadoms. British dishes include Fish and Chips, Pasties, Bangers and Mash, Chicken Pot Pie, Sheppards Pie. There is also smaller offerings including Banger Sandwich, a selection of Salads, Burgers, Fish and Chicken offerings. The Deserts include Homemade Bread Pudding and Homemade Cobbler of the day.
Location: 332 Beach Drive Northeast, St. Petersburg, FL 33701



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Is my #1 Choice for great pies in Orlando
But they have so much more on offer online
and in their store, a short drive from Orlando.
Mon to Fri 9am to 6pm
Sat 10am to 5pm
Sun Closed


Click Here to check out their online store
Or visit them at 809 N.Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803


Find Out About The BBC Listener


ChelseaTV Online

Click Here To Find Out About Chelsea In America
4 and 20 Pasty Company
If you have need for authentic Scottish baked
 goods give these wonderful people a try they
 have some wonderful Scottish baked goods.


4300 LB McLeod Road

Orlando, FL 32811
Store Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 9:30am - 7pm
Sunday: 9:30am - 6pm
England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales! Here you'll find just about everything to eat from "Across the Pond"! We have the Largest Selection of British groceries in Central Florida. Heinz Beans, Branston Pickle, McVities Biscuits...Creamy Chocolates and tantalizing sweets from Cadbury, Nestle and Mars. Tea Time? Yes! PG Tips, Typhoo, Ahmad & Many More! Don't forget the Bangers! Sausages, Irish Bacon, Meat Bridies and Pork Pies...can alway be found in our frozen department. You're gonna need a Bigger Trolley!


There Great British Food at The Moon Under Water




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