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The tour bus sent us to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. We were finally on our own, free and easy with hotel stay and transfers which were included in the tour package, plus 2-day tickets to Disneyland theme parks and 1-day tickets to Universal Studios theme parks.

Leaving Buffalo…

Touching down Orlando…with rainbow sighting.

After another 2-hour of domestic flight, we arrived at Orlando International Airport. Our tour agency had assigned a driver to pick us from the airport to the hotel. His name is Warren, a Cantonese in his 50s who migrated from Hong Kong with his family since he was a young boy. He is a semi-retiree.

It was a 45-min car ride from the airport to Clarion Hotel (Maingate) that we would be staying for the next 4 nights. Warren was friendly and chatty. He showed us his GPS (Global Positioning System) which was a gift from his children. It cost USD700+ and is useful for navigation. He even cheekily showed us his wife’s photo and added how loving they were and how young his wife looked like despite that she is in her 50s too.

Warren gave us the option to top up a little more to get the Universal Studios passes that allowed us to enter the new theme park namely Islands of Adventure. He recommended this new theme park as it is yet another big investment with cutting edge rides and it’s definitely worth the ticket. We agreed and upgraded our tickets. Warren also suggested that on the first two days, we should visit Disneyland first; on the third day we should then visit Universal Studios. The reason was since we had travelled so far, we should take the “less taxing” Disneyland first. He said we need more stamina for Universal Studios.

Warren left after we checked in our hotel room. The room wasn’t that clean and I even saw a small cockroach near the door! We approached the Customer Service counter to get the maps of Disneyland and Universal Studios theme parks and the timetable for shuttle buses to and fro the theme parks.

There are free shuttle buses which will pick up tourists from different hotels around the area. Clarion hotel is only 1.5 miles away from Disney Theme Parks. We can go by ourselves in the future, free and easy and definitely a lot cheaper than the tour package!

To go Disneyland, the first shuttle bus would stop at Clarion hotel at 7:30am. To go Universal Studios, the first bus would pick us at 9:00am. We did not heed Warren’s advice; instead we decided to go Universal Studios on the first day as we wanted to wake up late for the 9:00am bus! We had been waking up very early like 5:00am for the first 4 days of guided tour, not forgetting that we were very jet-lagged with 12-hour time-shift!

We were tired, but starving too. We had a good dinner at Denny’s restaurant nearby our hotel. For many restaurants in the U.S, there is no service charge but tips. So, we realise that we get better customer service instead; unlike in Singapore, our bill will include a 10% service charge, regardless of whether we get any good services or not (or even poor services).

Universal StudiosIslands of Adventure!