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keewee

'keewee and family visit the USA!' Cointest

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Prepare well for the queue for the Harry Potter ride at Universal... Lots of the time you will be in direct sunlight, no shade avaliable (I think we spent 45 minutes before we got to the shady part). Put on sunscreen, fill bottles, wet towels. There is one water station (fountain thing) along the line, use it well.

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It looks like most of us have about run out of ideas. Just general suggestions about coming to florida. As already mentioned sun is always a concern. At that time of year we also have no idea what the weather will be. It can be 90 or frosty, you never know. Also, as you can gather from the previous posts, most who live here don't think orlando is a very good representation of Florida. By all means, enjoy the tourist parks but, if at all possible, get out and find a state park, a historic site or an ecotourism venue and see what Florida looked like before the mouse showed up. Florida finders feat would be a great way to do that but you can do it right in e Orlando area too. Wekiva river and rock springs run are two great places close by.

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We just got back from a volleyball tournement in Orlando this weekend. You can visit Fantasy of Flight - air museum east of Orlando - has numerous airplanes on display, can go for hot air balloon ride, and now has zip lines.

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Visit Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, southwest of Orlando. Very nice large garden. If you find four caches from the TrekTenTrails program in Polk county admission is free. TrekTenTrails is a great program in Polk county (next county west of Orlando) introducing people to geocaching and the parks in the county. Great tours of the parks and they have been doing it for 4 years.

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If you go to Lake Wales and Bok Tower you will also want to check out Spook Hill - it is an optical illusion where the car appears to roll uphill. Really cool

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Here's one I'd almost missed mentioning. If you venture north, near the town of Deland, ther is a state park named Deleon springs. It's named for a famous Spanish explorer who thought he had discovered the fountain of youth here. There is a clear spring for swimming, nature trails boat rides and canoe rentals and a restaurant where you can cook your pancackes right on the table.

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I am also very open to traveling/travelers tips for anything we need to know about coming into the US, etc.

 

For example, shelf prices are advertised without tax included, so we'll need to add tax to that for what we'll end up paying at the till. And if it is somewhere where we have to tip also then that (taxes and tipping) adds about 15% to the price. Is that correct?

 

Here in New Zealand, the price you see is the price you pay (it's the law). So ALL prices already include ALL taxes. And there is no tipping here either.

 

So, yeah - any travel tips like that would be appreciated also. :)

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That last post reminded me... You might not be used to having different transportation people (private initiatives?) approach you with "nice prices".

 

When we arrived in Orlando, we were overwhelmed by the guys trying to "snatch" us for their shared rides to certain hotels. Fortunately we had checked taxi prices, and were able to choose something that saved us a few bucks (and cost us some extra time).

 

If I were you, I'd contact the hotel in advance and see what sort of transportation they recommend from the airport, and how much they say it costs. Then, if you get a nicer price from someone that looks decent, you can always choose that instead. Remember to ask if there's an additional fee for luggage handling. ;)

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Good question on tipping. Be sure to check your bill when your bill when you eat. Some places add tip on the price and then leave a line for you to tip more. If you are not careful you'll tip double. At some places the automatic gratuity is as much as 20%. Thankfully those are usually for groups of 6 or more. Also, no price that is quoted you for a hotel or car is the final price. There are airport fees, room taxes, fuel surcharges and on and on. Always ask what the final price is before you agree. Also, most Orlando hotels that I've stayed in on business do not have free Internet. If that is important to you, make sure you ask up front. It can be as high as $15/day.

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Also, you probably know to check your cell phone rates before you use them over here. If you think you might need to make calls here in the states, you might consider buying a prepaid phone here. It probably won't be an issue though. Just be aware there are generally very few pay phones left around.

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Check discount sites such as groupon.com and you might be able to save a touch on lodging.

I also wanted to add one thing about restaurant tips.... Our servers are generally paid about one third of minimum wage so it is meant to make up the difference. It's not like they are getting double paid.

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Consider minature golf. Our kids love playing and there are a lot in the Orlando area - 2 on Disney property and 4-5 off of International drive.

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The "blue man group" is very popular musical/show group if you want to spend some bucks to see a big production.

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some tips... because some times you might wonder....

well.. since this is my area mostly... it is good to know some things...

 

when you will be there... you might see coins anf banknotes in circulation.. or in your hands that are older! I mean..

You might see banknotes from 1970's, or 60's, or 50's.... or even older... for exapmle of 1935 series!

 

in coins... you might see even older!

 

do not get surprised! since they are legal tender... they circulate! but... nowdays I do not think they are too common...

 

if you check the serial numbers of them... and see a star on them... these are replacement banknotes! :)

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Cirque du soleil is fun if it's still playing there. The Orlando airport travel bug hotel is also cool... I did that one in 2004 though so it might not still be there.

 

Cape Canaveral is a must see if you like space stuff.

Animal Kingdom sucks. Epcot is fine without smaller kids.

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Tip 2...

 

even if it is getting harder and harder... if you are lucky... you may find in your change... silver coins!

they are still legal and actually their melt value makes them better.... so keep in eye...;)

Many US collectors do that:

 

they go to the banks and they are buying rolls of used coins... then they go home and check all the rolls... they are taking the silver coins out.. and they return the rest... to buy new rolls.... :laughing:

 

I wish I could do that here but... it is impossible!

 

in case you do not know which coins were silver in the USA

 

nickels (5 cent): the dates 1942-1945 only... had 35% silver...

 

Dimes (10 cent): they were 90% silver until 1964

 

quarters (25 cent): 90% silver until 1964

 

half dollar : until 1946 they were 90% silver and from 1965 until 1970 they were 40% silver!

 

Dollar: until 1935 they were 90% silver!

 

of course there are some commemorative coins that were made of silver... only for collectors... but sometimes... (but rarelly), you may see them in circulation... of course... commemoratives that are made of nickel also exist... so... you have to be careful...

 

bonus tip... not all dollar coins are silver... ;)

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there is also a possibility that an older series banknote will be in your hands... well.. you know the USA dollars... they have a green seal... right? in some old notes.. this is red, blue, brown, yellow etc...

to be honest... IF... you see any... they will probably be (except the green seal ones) blue or red....

 

do not worry... all are legal tender!

 

the blue seal ones... are silver certificates.... but they are not exchangeable in silver anymore! they are normal notes!

 

the red seal 2$ bills have different design on the back... from the ones that were out from 1976 and after....

 

but if you find a red seal 2$.... keep it for me! :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: I am kiding! :)

 

I am sure you know that the 5, 10, 20, 50 dollars now have colour on them... instead of the typical black and green...

the 1 and 2 dollar bills didn't change... but I believe you will see many of the older series... without the colours...

 

I am not sure about it since I have never been to the US.. but.. by seeing the dollar bills that exist in other countries...

 

Coloured banknotes.... well... do not expect many colours etc but...it is a start....

of curse... they still need a long way... especially if you are using amazing and polymer banknotes in your country.... :laughing:

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well.. I am sure you know all these but...

 

2$ banknotes and half dollar coins are not so popular... so they are difficult to see in circulation.. (according to US friends- collectors!).

 

there are many different designs in the quarter dollar coins..... I am sure you have heard the state quarters... a series of quarters and each one had a them of a different state.... also... there are some different designs in the Nickels (5 cent), and in the penny (1 cent) coins! and of course... there are many different 1 dollar coins...

the last series is about the presidents of USA... so.. be prepared for many different coins!

 

Many US citizents do not like the 1$ coins.. and they prefere the 1$ banknotes... the goverment is really thinking to stop prnting the 1$ notes...

 

huh... I know... these are useless info... but you might wonder why there are so many different coins...

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While you are in Orlando you will likely be subject to more than one hard luck story. It is the prevailing opinion that 90% of these are folks looking for beer money. I never give more than $2 and usually nothing at all. Just be prepared if you see someone a little grubby approaching, you're likely in no danger, just decide ahead of time whether you are going to be a softy or not. You won't see these pan handlers around the main attractions but if you venture forth, you might.

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ok... something else...

 

in case you will have some dollars (banknotes...)left at the end of your vacations... and when you go back to NZ... you do not want to exchange them.. but to keep them for an other time... in an other country....

 

try to find the bast notes possible! do not keep well worn notes, or with folds, cuts, missing parts, graffiti or even ink stamps on them!!!

 

about the ink stamps.... it was popular back in the 80's or 90's.... to put small ink stamps with the name of a bub.. a club.. so it was a kind of advertisment.. even if it was not legal...Well... in USA they are ok to use... but in other countries... there is a big possibility that they will not exchange them!! many countries... want UNC or very good shaped dollars... and they will not take any dollars that was worn or folded a lot.. or with stamps, graffiti...

 

about coins that are left.... they are useless in other countries... so.. try to change them into banknotes...

you can always give 4 quarter dollars (or 10 dimes... for example)... and get a 1$ bill.... that actually can be exchanged anywere... instead of keeping them useless.. if you are not planing to keep them as souvenirs or collection... right? :)

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Depending on where you're staying - there's a tollway in Orlando... so have some change ready if you're driving yourself and not relying on attraction or hotel/airport shuttles.

 

Having said that though, a lot of the hotels offer these services for free - take advantage of it and tip the driver :)

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Depending on where you're staying - there's a tollway in Orlando... so have some change ready if you're driving yourself and not relying on attraction or hotel/airport shuttles.

 

Having said that though, a lot of the hotels offer these services for free - take advantage of it and tip the driver :)

If you rent a car, ask them to include a sunpass. It pays your tolls anywhere in the state.

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Also.... If you rent a car, there are cameras on the traffic lights. Be careful not to accidentally run one or they will mail you a sizable ticket. Ive heard some places are over $200.

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Check the weather daily. It is very common to get some afternoon showers. They usually don't lst very long but can be a serious downpour. Someone suggested the plastic ponchos - they can be purchased in the amusement parks for about $10 or at Dollar Tree or other discount stores for about $1.

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a tip not only for you... but... for all... not nessesary for your trip... but I believe it is good to know...

 

keep an eye on your banknotes! if they have red, lilah, or blue stains of ink on them (mostly red or lilah)... be very careful!

you might see these stains on the edge of the note... on the white areas... or even on the design!

 

do you actually know what that means?? that the notes came from a robbery! the bags or suitcases that have the banknotes when they are transfered... most of the times are traped with a special machine... with ink bullets...

 

when the robbers steal the bag.. and tries to open it... (only the banker knows howto deactivate it... I think...), the trap releases the ink and the notes are useless! but... there are possibilities some of the notes have only some small stains of that ink... so... they try to put them out in circulation!

 

by having something like that might get you in trouble! the note is not valid anymore and only under some circumstances they are exchangeable only in the bank who is responsible on the banknote printing! so... always be careful.... :)

 

I read all that in the net! I didn't know that either! WOW!

 

edit for some spelling but I am sure I made other mistakes too.... it is way too late so...

Edited by GATOULIS

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Check the weather daily. It is very common to get some afternoon showers. They usually don't lst very long but can be a serious downpour. Someone suggested the plastic ponchos - they can be purchased in the amusement parks for about $10 or at Dollar Tree or other discount stores for about $1.

An old sarcastic saying... "if you don't like the weather in Florida, wait ten minutes"

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Don't know if anyone has suggested this. Bring a backpack to the theme parks. Most allow backpacks but will be searched when you enter park. You can carry sunscreen, drinks (water bottles), snacks. This can save a lot of money compared to buying at the theme parks. They should have lockers so you can store your pack if you don't want to carry it but lockers can cost $10.

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If you go trick-or-treating on Halloween check the neighborhood ahead of time as a lot of communities are gated and only allow access to residents and guests.

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If you like souvenir coins, bring some 1 cents to Disney World. There are machines where you can make them, with individual designs at several of the main attractions.

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If you go trick-or-treating on Halloween check the neighborhood ahead of time as a lot of communities are gated and only allow access to residents and guests.

 

are these to make free Marie? because.. by this... maybe our friend Keewee will probably make some nice and very cheap trade items to put in caches! ;)

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If you go trick-or-treating on Halloween check the neighborhood ahead of time as a lot of communities are gated and only allow access to residents and guests.

 

are these to make free Marie? because.. by this... maybe our friend Keewee will probably make some nice and very cheap trade items to put in caches! ;)

Gatoulis - I think your question was to the next post - they are called smashed pennies or pressed pennies - usually you put in 2 or 3 quarters and a penny and the penny is flattened in a press with a print on the penny. My youngest son collects these. Google smashed pennies to get an idea.

 

Suggestion - weather patterns can change quickly in the fall in some areas so a change of clothes is not a bad idea - can leave in the car or in a backpack if you get wet or need a hacket or sweater in coldre air-conditioning. Also it is good to have a change of clothes if you go on any water rides.

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If you go trick-or-treating on Halloween check the neighborhood ahead of time as a lot of communities are gated and only allow access to residents and guests.

 

are these to make free Marie? because.. by this... maybe our friend Keewee will probably make some nice and very cheap trade items to put in caches! ;)

Gatoulis - I think your question was to the next post - they are called smashed pennies or pressed pennies - usually you put in 2 or 3 quarters and a penny and the penny is flattened in a press with a print on the penny. My youngest son collects these. Google smashed pennies to get an idea.

 

Suggestion - weather patterns can change quickly in the fall in some areas so a change of clothes is not a bad idea - can leave in the car or in a backpack if you get wet or need a hacket or sweater in coldre air-conditioning. Also it is good to have a change of clothes if you go on any water rides.

 

Oups!!! yes! Sorry!!how did I do that?? :laughing: :laughing:

I have one of these... but it is actually a 5 eurocent! these machines are so powerfull! :)

 

Suggestion... be sure of the weather... and bring proper clothes.. maybe... not to light but not to heavy either...

of you can bring some and some... just ot be sure.. I hope someone from Florida and Orlando will help you better in that... so you will not have surprises...

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We know the contest is over but just thought about Disney pin trading. You can purchase pins and trade them with cast members around the Disney parks.

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pins?? interesting!!!! :D these are nice for caches too I suppose..... right? ;)

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i am wondering here were out tips not so good and keewee got lost in USA? :lol:

any news about the cointest?

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