Archive: Tue May 2016

A Parent’s Guide to Visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando

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With the summer holidays fast approaching many people begin their long awaited trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando. Disney World is a fantasy land and something that will leave all first time visitors very impressed, especially the little ones. While Disney makes everything possible to guarantee an enjoyable visit, it is important to get a few tips to enjoy your trip even more. Hurry and apply online for your ESTA authorization to enjoy this family destination!

  1. Try to Stay in a Disney Hotel or Resort. Disney hotels are more expensive than hotels outside of the theme park but offer many benefits including the FastPass (explained in the next point) and also your children will enjoy having Disney characters such as Mickey, Minnie or Donald Duck join them for lunch or dinner.
  2. Get as many Fast Passes as possible. The lines or queues and waiting times for rides in Disney can be very long. With a FastPass you are able to go the front of the line without any delays whatsoever. Staying in a Disney hotel or resort entitles you and each family member to 3 FastPasses per day. Being friendly with your Disney hotel concierge can help you secure more FastPasses.
  3. Visit one Disney park per day.If you travel with small children it is highly recommended that you stick to one park per day such as Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom or Epcot and stick to the rides in that park. Going from park to park in one day will be very time consuming, will require very long walks and will tire your children greatly.
  4. Consider renting a stroller even for older children. Even if your children are seven or eight years old you should consider renting a stroller when you enter the theme parks. The walks, crowds and weather can really tire them and it will get to a point where they won’t want to walk anymore and will not enjoy as many attractions as they could otherwise.
    5. Take plenty of sunscreen and rain gear. If visiting Orlando during the summer there will be a mix of extreme sun and heat and rain and thunderstorms. Do make sure that you and your children are well protected with sunscreen and remember to have umbrellas or rain ponchos to cover you so that you can continue enjoying the rides even with adverse weather.
  5. Plan all your meals ahead of time. Making reservations in all restaurants ahead of time is very important as they get full very quickly and getting a table by walking in can be impossible in many restaurants. Especially if you want your children to greet the Disney characters then it will be crucial to reserve your dining options in advance.
  6. Enjoy your hotel pool in the morning. Disney hotels pools can be an attraction all on their own but can get extremely busy in the afternoons after people have returned from the theme parks. If you want to enjoy the pool without the crowds then you should consider going in the morning before heading to the theme parks.
  7. Watch the fireworks outside of Cinderella Castle. Watching the fireworks display is a magical experience and will highlight the wonders of visiting Disney.

Visiting Disney World is a magical experience for the whole family. Planning ahead of time is crucial in ensuring that you make the most of your stay. Disney World can be overwhelming with the crowds and weather so it is very important to have a very organized plan in order to enjoy every day to the fullest.

What to Do If You Need Medical Care While Visiting the United States

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Unexpected medical situations can arise anytime – even during a relaxing holiday.  For this reason it is important to understand what to do if something happens while abroad.  The United States in particular has a medical care system that is very different from what visitors from other countries are accustomed to.  What is critical to understand is that after you apply for your USA ESTA you should also apply for health care insurance to cover you while in the United States.  Not having insurance can end up costing you thousands of dollars.

 

  1. The medical care system in the United States is mostly PRIVATE. This means that with a few exceptions all people – including Americans – must have private health insurance to cover their medical treatment.  When you purchase international health insurance you are purchasing a private health insurance program that will cover you in the United States.
  2. Your national health insurance card in your country is not valid in the United States. Please remember that the system in the United States is completely different and your country’s health insurance card is not valid in America.
  3. Medical care is very expensive in the United States. Simple procedures such as an x-ray or an electrocardiogram that in your home country can cost a few hundred dollars can cost in thousands in the United States.  Make sure your medical coverage is high enough to cover the cost of a medical emergency.
  4. You could have to pay upfront. Depending on the hospital or medical center you visit they could potentially require you to pay for your treatment upfront and then seek reimbursement from your health insurance company.  Make sure your credit card has a high limit in case you have to pay high upfront charges.
  5. In case of an emergency dial 911. But also remember that the cost of the ambulance will be charged to you or to your insurance company and this can be very expensive.
  6. There will be many forms to fill out. Visiting a health care facility in the United States requires a lot of patience as you will have to fill out what seems like an endless number of forms.  This is due to the complex American legal system where doctors and medical establishments want to ensure they are not sued in the courts.
  7. Doctors are usually quick and to the point. Prior to your doctor seeing you, you will be seen by nurses or doctor assistants who will do the procedures your doctor back home usually does such as taking your blood pressure, heart rate, etc.  The doctor will finally see you and will usually make a quick diagnosis and be on his/her away quickly.
  8. Waiting times in the Emergency Room (ER) can be very long. Depending on the medical facility and the location, waiting times in the ER can take several hours.  Many of these facilities are very busy with patients and if you do not have a life or death situation they will make you wait.
  9. If you do not have medical insurance the bill will be sent to your home country address. In the worst case scenario where you do not have travel insurance and do not have the financial means to pay for the medical care you received, your contact information will be taken and a bill will be sent to your home address.  Please note that paying this bill is extremely important as not paying it can cause problems for you in visiting the United States in the future.  Even if you cannot pay the whole bill upfront you will be able to establish a payment plan with the medical establishment.

 

It is important to note that medical care in the United States is generally superb and if you do find yourself requiring emergency or other medical care you can be most certain that you will be treated professionally and with good care.  The government in the United States has been making reforms to the health care sector to try to reduce some of the very high prices charged for routine procedures but this will not apply to you as a visitor since you will be charged the ordinary rates.  Do remember that after applying online for your ESTA you should immediately apply for a travel health insurance policy that will properly cover you while in the United States.