Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!
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The Bahamas, USA (East Coast), Canada 2013
(20 Sep 2013 - 15 Oct 2013)

 

Day 7

Marathon-Miami-Orlando (26 Sep 2013)

 

 




Good Morning Marathon! Leaving for Miami International Airport (MIA) now for our flight to Orlando. Having learnt our lesson (Traffic Jam in Day 5), we decided to take the toll road this time round to avoid possible traffic jams that may delay our flight.


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We're on the Overseas Highway (US1), this time heading North. The drive is really scenic. Nothing but sun, sea and clear blue sky that you don't get in Singapore. Farewell Florida Keys!


Vance: It was really as very pleasant drive! I will really miss the Keys!


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We reached MIA in less than 2 hours thanks to the use of toll roads. Here's how the toll gantries (Singapore's ERP equivalent) look like. Each rental car company in Miami treats tolling differently. For Avis, tolling is automatic (While some others require one to opt-in at the time of rental). Regardless of rental companies, an administration charge is usually charged on top of the toll, which can make the usage of toll roads really costly.

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Printing our boarding passes for our flight to Orlando.

Vance: Everything is self-service here! Read: Less Staff Required!  But its might be hard to implement such self service kiosk in Singapore, as being served is an very Asian culture...

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Vance
: And you got to tag your own luggage as well! :)

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We got sick of burgers, ribs, pizza, bread etc, hence we took our chance at Manchu Wok (Chinese Fast Food) located inside MIA... Verdict : We still prefer Panda Express (that we previously tried in our 2012 trip)!

Vance: And its usual very saltish and too sweet! (As usual :)) Immediately it come to my mind someone I know, who should live here. Someone who adores very heavily "seasoned" food :S

Departed Miami for Orlando via American Airlines#1682 (Flight 5 of 9, Flight Time = 1 Hr). Farewell Miami!

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 Arrival at Orlando International Airport (MCO), the second-busiest airport in the state of Florida after MIA. We're welcomed by the various theme park retail stores, from Disney to Universal Studios to NASA!

Vance: This place is like a mini theme park ('s shop) by itself. We loved it!


Avoid the hassle and cost of driving or finding ground transportation by taking the complimentary Disney’s Magical Express service from MCO to DisneyWorld Hotels. Unfortunately, we are heading to Universal Orlando Resort Hotels first (Which strangely do not provide transportation to/from MCO, hence we booked shared van rides provided by Mears Transportation Group to the Universal Orlando on-site hotel.


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The lady (above) manning the Mears counter was really professional & friendly! She explained clearly that we can take a seat indoor and when it's our turn to embark, the round device (provided by Mears) will light up.

 





 
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Reached the hotel (Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Across From Universal Orlando) after almost 1½ hr as our hotel was the last dropoff point (Total of 5 groups including us). However, the Mears driver was really professional, whenever we passed by significant landmarks (Factory Outlets, I_RIDE trolleys and World's Largest McDonald's), he would point them out to us as we go along.

 

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We were allocated a room located on the 10th floor. The room is clean with comfortable beds. Massive room but the bathroom was tiny in comparison! Breakfast was not included, but the hotel’s restaurant (TGI Fridays) provides breakfast buffet for US$7.99++ each.


We took a cab (US$14 excluding tips for a relatively short distance) from Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Across From Universal Orlando to Orlando Premium Outlets located in International Drive. There are 2 factory outlets in Orlando (The other factory oulet is located in Vineland Avenue). We understand (from the Mears driver) that the outlet located in Vineland Avenue is much smaller.

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Shopping time! Since taxes (GST/VAT) are non-refundable for tourists, we have compiled a list of 2013 Sales Tax rates for the cities that we visited below :-
Orlando – 6.50%
Washington D.C. – 6%
Miami – 7%
New York – 8.875%

Definitely make more sense to buy more here in Orlando and Washington (Our next destination). But I held back some of purchases for fear that my Hairy Porter will complain (Since he’s the one moving the luggage from cities to cities) and I will end up carrying them myself!

Vance: Wow, I finally got some form of recognition (here)?!?! :|


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Another point to mention here is that the toilets in Orlando Premium Outlets (International Drive) were not so clean (in fact quite smelly) compared to other factory outlets that we've been to, perhaps it was getting late when we arrived.

Looking forward to tomorrow where we will visit Universal's Islands of Adventure featuring "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter"! :)


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Travel@HamHamFarm - The World, Here We Come!