GMT -5 hours
Theme parks, shopping, dining, history, art and the great outdoors
Home to the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando® Resort, SeaWorld® and Wet n’ Wild®, Orlando is the place for families and thrill seekers alike. In Downtown Orlando shop, take in a show or two and enjoy some of the best food in around. You can also visit the Everglades for an airboat ride, spot manatees or enjoy a round of two of golf in one of the area’s beautiful golf courses.
If you have young children, Walt Disney World Resort is the perfect place for you. Encompassing parks such as Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach and the instantly recognisable Magic Kingdom, it’s a plethora of fun-filled theme parks catering for a range of ages. Kids will love meeting and greeting various Disney cast members and the rides range from gentle to relatively thrilling, dependent on the age of the child.
If you have slightly older children, or enjoy a thrill ride or two, Universal’s Islands of Adventure® is ideal. With a plethora of rides, you’ll be sure to find something for everyone. Marvel Super Hero Island® you’ll experience the 3-D thrills of The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®, feel the rage of The Incredible Hulk Coaster®, and reach new heights of terror on Doctor Doom’s Fearfall®.
If you want to experience, theme parks, fine dining and plenty of shopping, International Drive, also known as I-Drive is perfect. With access to SeaWorld®, Wet n’ Wild® and Universal Studios Florida® amongst others as well as a plethora of boutique and outlet stores, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
If you’re feeling the heat, there are four major waterparks in the area, Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, SeaWorld’s Aquatica and Wet n’ Wild®. You can swim with sharks in Typhoon Lagoon, plunge through a tank of dolphins in Aquatica and for those with kids, Blastaway Beach at Wet n’ Wild® is the biggest family play area in Florida.
For a different pace of life, you could visit Downtown Orlando and visit some of the many museums and galleries, or take in one of the many shows at the theatre before enjoying the chilled out nightlife and array of restaurants in the area.
Get back to nature with a visit to the lush everglades and explore this wetland area by airboat, watching out for docile manatees bobbing in the shallow waters. Or head to Gatorland, for a fun and thrilling look into the world of alligators, crocodiles and other reptiles.
Orlando has a fairly comprehensive bus system known as Lynx and International Drive has its own transport system called the I-Ride, for which you can get day passes. However, if you’re staying in a villa complex away from the main parks, you may find it easier to hire a car as often buses do not cover these areas, though do be aware that there are toll roads and should you venture away from the theme parks you may find finding parking difficult.
Create your holiday
At Universal Islands of Adventure avoid the busiest periods and go out of season. If you can’t go outside school holidays try the last two weeks of August when the American kids go back to school – the queues will be considerably shorter and you may get a better deal on your flights and accommodation.