Orlando holiday highlights

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, Universal Orlando Resort is ideal. With a plethora of rides, you’ll be sure to find something for everyone.

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 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, Universal's Volcano Bay water theme park and Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

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.

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.

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Orlando key facts

Time difference

GMT -5 hours

Currency

US Dollar ($)

Flying time to destination

10 hours

Language

English is the official language, although many other languages are widely spoken in certain cities and communities. America has its own written US English spellings.

Passport & visas

•  Brits must have a full 10-year British Passport that's valid for six months after you return to the UK.
•  You will also need a USA visa or waiver form/ESTA. Apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before travelling (http://esta.cbp.dhs.gov).

Voltage & electricity

The domestic electrical supply is 110V, 60 cycles AC. Sockets are for plugs with two flat pins.

Orlando good to know

Tipping

Tipping is an established and accepted custom in America. For good service, waiters and taxi drivers expect 15-20%, and counter and bar staff 10-15%. Porters can expect from $3-$5 per case, while tour guides can be given the equivalent of £2-£3 per day.

What to wear

Florida is warm all year round but light jumpers or jackets are useful during the winter months, especially in the evening. If you are going to be visiting the theme parks then a hat and comfortable shoes are a must. In the Everglades you will want long sleeves and trousers to avoid being bitten. Strong closed toe shoes are also a must.

Public holidays

• 1 January: New Year's Day

• Third Monday in January: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

• Third Monday in February: Presidents Day

• Last Monday in May: Memorial Day

• 4 July: Independence Day

• First Monday in September: Labor Day

• Second Monday in October: Columbus Day

• 11 November: Veterans Day

• Fourth Thursday in November: Thanksgiving Day

• 25 December: Christmas Day