Thoughts about hiring a car

I’m from the UK and my current plan is to hire a car at MCO.

However, . . . I’m having some second thoughts. I’ve never driven in the US – there’s the “other side of the road” thing to get used to, and the undertaking, and highways with many lanes, . . .

How bad is driving in Orlando, especially if you’re not used to it?

Would it be better to give up and just use Uber all the time? (I’m staying off-property in Davenport.) How easy is Uber?

I was talked into hiring an economy (Mitsubishi Mirage) but if (for various non-interesting reasons) I change my hire details, I can actually get a Standard SUV (Hyundai Santa Fe) for cheaper. Are bigger cars better? (I’m using Alamo.)

Not at all sure what the best thing to do is!

Driving there absolutely scared me to death. But I’m the type of person who always likes to know exactly where I’m going - driving to new places stresses me out, and when you add in the wrong side of the road thing… I drove as little as possible. But I was getting used to it by the end of the holiday (2 weeks) and if I’d driven every day I’d have probably been fine. But we stayed onsite so I didn’t need to.

We had a Chevrolet I think. It seemed pretty big to me. We needed a big car as we needed to fit DH’s ECV in it. Otherwise I can’t imagine it would make any difference at all if you were in a bigger or smaller car.

This is the car -

It’s bigger than my car at home but that wasn’t an issue.

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I drive a Vauxhall Corsa at home and would be fine with a small car, but I thought that if everyone else on the road has a huge car, I might not feel as comfortable, i.e. I might feel intimidated by other cars. Also, SUV sits you higher up off the road, so a better view? (I’m just remembering what it was like when I had a 1987 Mini during my mid-life crisis, lol!)

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I’m not sure they even have small cars over there!

Just don’t get a standard. The opposite arm stick maneuver is tough.

SUVs do grant you more height but are less economic on the gas.

DH recently went to south africa and rented a car. He did well. Got used to the othwr side of the road driving pretty easy.

I advise you look into these considerations:
The price of the rental and gas. I highly advise getting a gps that can give you the turn by turn directions. This will help you get rid if the problem if not knowing where to go.

How much will parking cost. It is at least $20 per day at the parks and you may even have parking costs at the hotel you are staying at.

Now figure out how much uber would cost. Maybe look into lyft i have heard some saying you get x number of rides for lime $50.

Sorry i have not ised either uber or lyft.

With renting a car for use during your trip you have flexability of doing what you want when you want. And going shopping for drinks and snacks whenever.

Anyway some food for thought

There are small cars here. They are the fiat and the smart car.

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I wasn’t being entirely serious :upside_down_face:

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I have had a driver’s license on both sides of the pond, and it really isn’t that difficult to adjust to staying on the correct side of the road. As a driver you tend to keep yourself towards the middle of the road, so with a left-hand drive car you naturally keep the car in the right lane. Now, when I took my UK right-hand drive car over to France, that was a little more difficult…

@rrees makes a good point about not getting a standard transmission car, as it it painful to slam your hand into the door when you reflexively go to shift. However, this is not much of an issue as you would have a very hard time trying to find a standard transmission car to rent.

Having lived in Germany in the past, I often found it more dangerous when returning home to the UK. I was always aware when abroad and it started to become natural, then on return to the UK I had to work to remind myself to drive on the left. Twice in 14 Years living in Germany, I came home and pulled onto the wrong side of the road, because my guard was down. Lesson learned for me :slight_smile:


I was nervous about driving in the US too, but I found that the roads are generally much quieter than in the UK (at least compared to where I live near the M6). The roads to get into Disney and the other parks are really well marked which also helps.
Alamo allows you to choose the car you want in your category so you will be able to browse the different cars to find one you’re comfortable in. And don’t worry about the fuel economy gas prices are so low compared to ours that you will hardly notice the cost of filling the tank up!

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My family always rents a car so I definitely recommend it! We have car seats and just like having the car. That being said, we are from the US so don’t quite have the “other side of the road” issue that you do! So I’ll let the other UKers weigh in on that. One thing that just sprung to my mind was that in Bermuda the scariest part of “the wrong side of the road” were the traffic circles/roundabouts. Those are much, much rarer over here so you won’t need to worry about that. Multi lane highways aren’t usually too daunting and most modern GPS units will give you the lane suggestions.

Last thing, many of the rental car agencies will just let you “choose any car” so you might be able to make a decision once you see them if that helps you feel better. I’d recommend booking in the larger category and downgrading if necessary. Most cars out on the road will be larger (trucks and SUVs) if that makes a difference.

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I’m not the driver in our family but DH says the following:

Driving on the major roads is fine, because your seat is on the correct side and everyone else is moving with you.

On multi lane highways, try and stay in a middle one. Sometimes the exits will be a whole lane or two exit, other times you have to turn off.

The main “issues” are turning left onto a road. On a main road, there are usually line markings on the road showing you where to go, and traffic lights.

Also the turning right on a red light thing. At some junctions you are allowed to do this. So look out for the signs if you are coming up to a right hand turn.

Always have the gps on and take the time to set it before you leave. Set “home” to your resort, and when programming in your destination make sure you get the correct address. We went to Universal and I must have clicked the first option, which was a trade entrance. Ended up driving 3/4 of the way around it to get to the right entrance!

I always act as the co-driver for him. Keeping an eye on the sat nav and road signs etc.


You are allowed to do this at all intersections unless prohibited by a sign or if there is a dedicated light for right turns. The only notable exception is New York City… Bonus tip - you can make a left on red if you are turning from a one-way street onto another one way street.


Having rented a car in Orlando just last month I can attest to the good quality of the roads, little to no aggressive driving, and great signage.
Gas was cheap! (compared to the northeast). We had a standard SUV and only used about a 1/4 of a tank over 4 days.

Also, we rented from Alamo. You do get to pick your car from the lot, but it needs to be within the class that you’ve reserved. No on the fly upgrade in the lot.

I’ve followed your threads…you are staying with friends or at least at a friend’s house, right? So, either way, you’ll need to pay for parking at the parks. Not sure what your arrangement for that is but I’m sure you’ve sorted it out.

I do recommend having a car. You’ll be there for long enough that you’ll likely want the freedom to go to a grocery store or elsewhere while you’re there.

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