What documents are required for entry into the U.S.?
Following a review of security procedures at all airports in the USA, the US Immigration Department has updated its policy on passengers entering the United States using the current Visa Waiver Programme, of which the UK is a participant. All British passport holders will only be permitted to enter the United States if they hold a machine readable passport. The majority of 'new style' red British passports are machine readable, although those issued outside the UK or those not in the new style may not be. Should your passport not be machine readable it will be necessary to either obtain a new passport or to obtain a US visa.
To obtain an electronic authorisation simply log onto the ESTA Web site at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and complete an on-line application form. Applications must be submitted prior to travel and the US Department of Homeland Security recommends that applications be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel. However, please note: Any travelers who are not authorised to travel to the USA using this system must obtain a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before traveling to the USA and this should be done as soon as possible as applying for a US visa is/can be a very lengthy process.
All passengers entering the USA on the Visa Waiver Programme will be required to hold a machine readable passport (the newer red passports). This also includes passengers who only intend to transit the USA en route to another country.
What is a machine readable passport?
An MRP has the holder's personal details, e.g. name, date of birth, nationality and their passport number contained in two lines of text at the base of the photo page. A machine can read this text.
The UK have been issuing MRP's since 1988, however British passports issued overseas may not be machine readable.
Are all the 'new style' passports machine readable?
No. Although most of the 'new style' British passports issued in the UK since 1988 will be machine readable, those issued outside the UK may not be.
How do I know if I have a machine readable passport?
There is a machine readable strip at the bottom of the data page. This means that the passport details can be read by a machine at Passport Control. If you are in doubt as to whether your passport is machine readable, you should contact the British Passport Office on 0870 521 0410 for further information.
My child is on my passport. I was advised that this was valid for travel until my child reaches 16, or the passport expires but with the new US regulations do I need a new passport for my child?
Yes. You should obtain a new passport for your child. As machine readable passports typically have bio data for only one traveller in the machine readable zone, children will therefore require their own individual passports in order to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.
If I do not have a machine-readable passport, will I need to obtain a US visa?
You must either obtain a new machine readable passport and use the Visa Waiver Program, or apply for a US visa using your current passport. If you decide to obtain a new passport, we strongly recommend that you review the information on visa free travel to ensure that you are indeed eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.
How much does a new passport cost?
An adults new passport currently costs from £33 and a childs new passport currently costs from £19. For further information please contact the British Passport Office on 0870 5210410 or www.passport.gov.uk.
Do I need any vaccinations on entering the United States?
Health and Hygiene standards vary around the world, as do the requirements for Vaccinations or other health precautions. If you are travelling to the USA, there are currently no compulsory health requirements for British Citizens.
Do I need insurance when travelling to the United States?
You must have proper travel insurance, purchased prior to your departure from the U.K. For your peace of mind, it is important to check that you are fully covered, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are participating in any sports or activities. The U.S. doesn't have a reciprocal health agreement with the U.K. so adequate health insurance is essential.
What are the Guidelines for Inflight Health?
Some passengers may have been concerned by recent reports suggesting that their health could be threatened by flying long haul. Fortunately, medical experts have reassured us that most of this coverage greatly exaggerates the real risks. Statistically, you have more chance of having a fatal accident on the roads or at home than developing a fatal condition while flying. You'll need to take medical advice before you fly if any of the following affect you:
- Heart or blood vessel problems, eg. heart attack or failure, angina, stroke, pacemaker, deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Breathing difficulties, e.g.: chronic bronchitis or emphysema, pneumothorax (collapsed lung), pulmonary embolism (blood clot), asthma
- Recent head injury
- Mobility problems
- Stomach or bowel problems
- Hormone therapy
- Current infectious disease
- Ear or sinus pain
- Limb injuries including fractures
- Diabetes, if insulin dependent
- Psychiatric problems
- Any recent surgery
- Requirement for special facilities, e.g.: additional oxygen, nebuliser
- Or if you have any concerns about the impact of flying on your health
You should not fly if:
- You've been SCUBA diving within the last 48 hours
- You've undergone general anaesthetic or received dental treatment within 48 hours
- You've donated blood in the past 24 hours
Change position often and avoid crossing your legs. Immobility poses the greatest risk in developing clotting disorders such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) whether you're on a plane, train or bus.
Get out of your seat and walk around the cabin regularly to improve circulation.
Stretch arms and legs as this also helps improve circulation.
Unless expressly recommended by your doctor who is aware of your intention to fly, do not take sleeping tablets on the flight - this will reduce your mobility and make you feel sluggish.
Mind your ears
Avoid flying with a heavy cold, sinusitis or ear problems as cabin pressure changes during the flight may cause discomfort. If you experience problems during the flight, suck a sweet, chew or hold your nostrils and gently blow through your nose, this should equalise the pressure in most healthy people. If you are still experiencing problems, speak to a member of cabin crew.
Ask a member of cabin crew if you're thirsty and look out for the regular water and fruit juice services. Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee or carbonated drinks, as they will dehydrate you.
Avoid heavy meals and foods - air expands at altitude and heavy meals will result in that bloated feeling.
Your skin, especially your lips and nostrils, may feel dry so moisturising creams may help. If you wear contact lenses, always carry your glasses with you, as your eyes may feel dryer than usual.
Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes and shoes.
Pretend you're already there!
To minimise the effects of jet lag, set your watch to your destination time as soon as you board the aircraft and try to adjust your eating/sleeping pattern accordingly.
Can you fly if you have been scuba diving?
You should not fly if you have been scuba diving within the last 48 hours.
I want to book a meal at Disney - who should we call?
You are encouraged to take advantage of this service to save yourself some waiting time at certain restaurants. When you call you will get a Priority Seating number. Upon your arrival at your dining location, please present your name and Priority Seating number at the podium. This is not a reservation and your party will be seated at the next available table that will accommodate your party size.
If calling from the US - 407 939 3463
If calling from the UK - 001 407 939 3463
Where can we meet Disney Characters?
There are several places around the Walt Disney World Resort where you can spend some time with the Disney Characters:
Magic Kingdom Park
Get the latest Daily Entertainment Schedule at the International Information Centre at City Hall in the Magic Kingdom Park and be sure to catch all the Characters!
Mickey's Toontown Fair
Mickey Mouse at the Judge's Tent; Minnie Mouse in the Toontown Hall of Fame; various Disney Characters in the Toontown Hall of Fame. Daily appearances. Characters also appear daily at the following locations:
Captain Hood and Mr. Smee at Pirates of the Caribbean. Characters from Aladdin near The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Mad Tea Party Fantasyland Character Festival Ariel's Grotto
Castle Forecourt Stage
Visit the "stars" of Cinderella's Surprise Celebration.
Discover Disney Characters on holiday everyday at the Fountain of Nations
Find out where the Characters are in action in the Daily Entertainment Schedule, available at the International Information Centre at Crossroads of the World in the Disney-MGM Studios.
Featuring Mickey Mouse, daily, and other Disney Characters appearing throughout the day.
Al's Toy Barn
Operation: TOY STORY. It's your chance to meet Buzz, Woody and all of your favourites in special Character appearances held daily.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Visit Camp Minnie-Mickey, an old-fashioned summer camp where the characters go when they're on holiday. Throughout the day, this is where you'll find Mickey and his pals waiting to greet you!
Discovery Island Character Landing
Your favourite friends from the 100 Acre Woods appear daily. What's more, Character Dining is available at a variety of locations within the Walt Disney World Resort. *Entertainment is subject to change without notice. Performances may be delayed or cancelled due to inclement weather.
Where are the parades and fireworks?
All over the place! Get the latest Daily Entertainment Schedule at the International Information Centre at Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park.
Is there language assistance available?
Disney cast members speak multiple languages. Check their name tags for flags representing the languages they speak. If you need assistance and you can't find anyone who speaks your language, a cast member can contact a language assistance line or you can return to the International Information Centre near the Park entrance for immediate assistance.
May I bring my own food and beverages into the Water Parks?
Picnic areas are located in each Water Park, and coolers are welcome! But please, no glass containers or alcoholic beverages.
Is the water heated at Disney's Water Parks?
The water at all of Disney's Water Parks is temperature controlled year-round, so it's tropically toasty, even on cool days!
Are life jackets available at the Water Parks?
Yes, all of Disney's Water Parks have life vests available at no additional cost, but guests must leave a deposit.
When is the best time of day to visit the Water Parks?
It's always a good idea to arrive early at the Water Parks, especially if you want to get a sunbed! It's best to get there before noon.
Is it possible to surf in the surf pool at Typhoon Lagoon?
Sure, for an additional cost. Typhoon Lagoon offers surfing lessons every Wednesday morning before the Park opens.
Is tipping expected at hotels?
Bellhops or porters should get US$1 per bag. You do not have to tip hotel maids, although US$1 a day per person is appreciated for good service.
How much should I tip at the restaurants?
Service charges or gratuity (tips) are not usually included in your bill in the United States, and tips are always expected. For most restaurant waiters and bartenders, the average tip is 15 to 20%
Can I use my credit card to shop and dine? What about currency exchange?
Both are possible at Walt Disney World, where any one of these credit cards is accepted everywhere (with the exception of cart vendors and some stores): VISA, VISA Electron, Japanese Credit Bureau (JCB), Diners Club, Discover Card, MasterCard, American Express, The Disney Credit Card. Visitors who wish to convert currency into U.S. dollars can do so at any Disney resort hotel or theme park guest relation counter. Please note that there is a limit to the amount of currency that can be exchanged in a single session. Inquire upon arrival for more details.
What do I do with all of my purchases?
Walt Disney World provides a service to Disney resort hotel guests whereby you can have your purchases delivered directly to your hotel. Because delivery may require one and a half days, this service is not recommended for guests who are departing on the following day. This service is not available for some purchases. Inquire at time of purchase. Guests may not have personal items delivered, only purchased items.
What banking facilities are available at the Walt Disney World Resort and where are they located?
Currency exchange and Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) are available at all four Disney Theme Parks and at all Disney's Hotels.
Do the ATMs accept international banking cards/credit cards?
Yes. Cirrus, Star, Honor and Plus banking systems are recognized by the bank machines, or ATMs, in Disney Parks; Visa MasterCard and American Express are also accepted for cash advances, provided you have arranged in advance for cash advance eligibility with your bank.
Is smoking allowed in the Theme Parks?
There are designated areas within each Theme Park where smoking is permitted. All the Walt Disney World restaurants however, are non-smoking.
How do I book a Disney Character Breakfast?
Bookings for all Disney dining options, character breakfasts or table reservations in any restaurants etc can be booked using the Disney Priority Seating Number: When calling from the US - 407 939 3463 When calling from the UK - 001 407 939 3463
I've heard you can turn right when the traffic lights are red - is this true?
You can turn right at the red light as long the road is clear, there isn't a sign that says you can't, and you have come to a complete stop before turning. Try not to be in the right lane at traffic lights if you intend to go straight ahead, as you'll probably get hooted.
Is the left hand lane the slow lane or the fast lane?
No lanes are designated as either "slow" or "fast". However, some motorway signs ask slower drivers to use right lanes.
Drivers keep overtaking on the inside, is this allowed?
Overtaking from either lane is permissable as long as you check and the lanes are clear (not in Canada).
Those street name signs that hang over the road confuse me. What do they mean?
They indicate the name of the road that you are crossing, not the one you are travelling on.
What happens at a '4 way stop'?
A "4 way stop" is a junction where no particular direction has priority. All drivers should come to a stop and the driver who got there first has the right of way.
What do those flashing yellow lights that hang over the road mean?
They are usually at a road junction and they mean proceed with caution. If they flash red it means stop and treat it like a "4 way stop".
What's that lane in the middle of the road with the arrows going left and right?
Many roads without a central reservation have a lane in the middle that allows a driver to enter if they intend to turn left across the other carriageway. Check that the lane is clear and enter the lane using your indicator. Do not use this lane to overtake other vehicles.
What is the difference between Universal Studios and the Disney MGM Studios?
Both studios are authentic production centres with many exciting tours and shows. However, they feature different films and themes. For instance, Universal is home to Jaws, Spiderman, ET, Back to the Future and Earthquake. MGM features the Disney Animation Studio, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Great Movie Ride.
Is there a charge for parking at the Theme Parks?
Most theme parks charge approximately $7-8 to park.
Can I leave a theme park and return the same day?
Yes, just remember to keep your ticket and have your hand stamped as you leave the park.
What days are the theme parks open?
With the exception of the waterparks which may close due to inclement weather, all theme parks are open 365 days a year. Park hours vary from season to season.
Where is the best place to shop?
Orlando has many great shopping malls, including the Mall of Millennia. The Florida Mall is the largest and is centrally located. The Belz Factory Outlet Malls and the Premium Factory Outlets are the best for bargain shopping. The Pointe on I-Drive features exclusive shops and boutiques as does the Mercado Centre on I-Drive.
What times do the shopping malls open and are they open on Sunday?
Shops in Orlando generally open between 9am and 10am and close between 8pm and 9pm. Most shops open on Sunday, but usually from 11am until 6pm.
Where is the closest beach to Orlando?
Cocoa Beach on the east coast of Florida is just over an hours drive from Orlando. To the west, St.Petersburg is about 2 hours drive.
If you have any queries or questions relating to any aspect of your forthcoming holiday that is not mentioned in the above FAQ'S, please call our helpful and friendly staff on 0800 389 0582.