Posted Friday, April 10, 2015 8:26 AM | Contributed by Jeff
Orlando welcomed 62 million visitors in 2014, surpassing the previous record of 59 million visitors set in 2013, according to Visit Orlando, the region's tourism association. It's the most visited tourist destination in the US.
More than Vegas? Well slap me twice and call me darlin'! They even credited the Universal additions. The Harry Potter attractions could possibly be the success story of the decade.
I'm curious to know what the impact is for locals and our taxes. The state already doesn't have income tax, so right away I get to keep 5.333% of my income compared to, say, Ohio. Sales tax is relatively low, at 6.5% in Orange County. My property tax millage in Brunswick, Ohio, was 86, where in the OC it's 17 (plus another $400 in non-ad valorem assessments).
Hey, I was one of those people! Glad I could help!
For the #1 destination, I don't find Orlando to be particularly tourist friendly. Between the tolls, redicilous car rental fees and taxes, room taxes and a pretty crooked taxi community that will run up the meter to any unsuspecting tourist I can't help but feel getting gouged as a tourist.
And now Uber is banned from picking up from MCO.
Orlando certainly takes advantage of the mass tourists. Unless I take the Magical Express, it usually leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Uber was banned from picking up at MCO when I landed there, too, but that didn't stop our driver from picking us up. :)
So a driver who ignores inconvenient rules is a good thing?
And why shouldn't Uber (and Lyft) have to play by the same rules as any other transportation service at MCO?
I always thought car rentals were pretty cheap in Orlando.
I spend about $50 per month in tolls between the two of us. Meh, it is what it is.
You should look into getting an EZ Pass, if they do such a thing there.
They have the Sunpass program, and yeah, it's still about that much. I pay a roughly similar amount, or maybe a little more. It's worth it, though.
I've never had a problem finding car rentals at a reasonable rate in Orlando. Sometimes we rent right at the airport, sometimes we take a shuttle to one of the rental places on McCoy Road.
If we've rent at the airport, we just drive -- half a mile? -- past the toll road and get over onto McCoy, avoiding the toll road entirely.
You can buy a Sunpass sticker for $5 on sunpass.com. That said, I think most of the rentals out of MCO will now do a toll-by-plate, so you may not need it.
You can get around Orlando without using the toll roads, but it does take longer. What you really want to avoid if at all possible is I-4. It's always busy, always sucks, and now it's going to be under construction for the next several years.
The other part of that "we" lived in Orlando for seven years, a devoted employee of the Mouse. So, yes, it's handy to travel with a former local who knows the side roads. I'm cheap; the slightly longer travel times, for me, are a worthwhile trade-off for avoiding tolls.
Years of construction on I-4? Yikes.
I am so glad I go beyond Universal towards downtown on I-4 only when I really want to, because Ultimate I-4 is going to be a major pain through at least 2018. Although the 535 area of 4 is already a constant dose of pain with gridlock right there every day. I'll be a very unhappy driver if I ever end up in a job in the I-Drive area.
The toll roads are annoying, but I almost exclusively use 417 to get to the airport anymore, it's just so much quicker than I-4 to 528 or using McCoy. Of course, it helps that the Osceola Pkwy exit for 417 is right around the corner from my current place. The extra toll lane or two they're adding on 528 in both directions right before/after the airport should help that bottleneck significantly.
If they would at least convert that last toll plaza to the "fly under" style it would really help.
I worked on John Young at 528, coming from Horizon West. I took 525 (from the area west of Windermere) down to Palm Pkwy. and then to Central Fl. to Orangewood/Universal then Destination... it was pretty smooth. There are ways around the ugly traffic.
Destination Pkwy. being completed from Universal to John Young is great for local traffic, and will be even better when they finish the connection to I-Drive by the Hilton in the next year or two. Hopefully that helps Sand Lake congestion, especially if they sign it so more people realize it's finally connected.
For what it is worth, I have used Uber during my Orlando visits (IAAPA too) for the past year or two and I have had nothing but outstanding experiences. I haven't had one bad one yet with Uber.
Before using Uber, at least 50% of my taxi experiences (Mears included) were negative, mostly because the drivers didn't know where they were going, or tried running up the meter. Most of the taxi drivers in Orlando are complete crooks in my mind and if you don't keep your guard up, they will take advantage of you. Do they not realize that IAAPA is there every year and we eventually catch on???
I could care less about the "rules". Let the free market drive competition. I'll keep using Uber in the meantime, even if they have to "sneak" into MCO.
I'm just not willing to trust my money to someone who doesn't respect "rules". Certainly not when those "rules" are in place to try and have all competitors share a level playing field.
But what if rather than trying to create a level playing field, the rules are meant as protectionism to create barriers to entry with the goal of limiting competition?
Why is Uber not allowed at MCO, and how does doing so make a level playing field at all?
Same thing is true at PIT. Uber can drop you off, but not pick you up. I don't get it, other than they're trying to protect the cab companies.
You may have to look around a bit, but I've always found really cheap rental cars in Orlando.
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