It’s no surprise that Orlando is one of the world’s leading vacation destinations – whether it’s a white-knuckled thrill ride, a skydive encounter, a soothing massage, a round of golf, a mega shopping junket or a moving theater performance. Rarely does a destination offer such a myriad of spectacular and diverse choices for every age and interest.
Looking for spine-tingling, white-knuckled extreme adventure? Orlando’s got just the adrenaline rush with a slew of over-the-edge activities for the daring at heart.
Orlando is one of the world’s premier travel destinations. There are millions of people visiting the area every year, enjoying the numerous attractions, events, and beaches that make Central Florida a great place to visit and live. The home of Mickey, Pluto, and Donald Duck, Orlando is truly a city of fantasy, you don’t necessarily have to enter the parks to feel you are in another world, with just a stroll through its vast avenues you will see toys, museums with strange forms, themed restaurants, minigolf with spectacular environments, endless of things that will make you feel that you entered to an unknown dimension.
In Orlando, there is too much to enjoy. There are twelve theme parks: Downtown Disney, the Universal CityWalk, five water parks scattered throughout the city, and hundreds of urban attractions. Before so much bombardment of things, what you have to do is to plan your day and see what attractions are worthwhile and which not, because the goal is to enjoy, not get crazy.
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How to get there
If your first stop is Miami, what remains is to get the rented car and head to Orlando. The trip will take four hours, but worth it. In the route, there are places where you can eat or use to go to the bathroom. Remember to carry enough coins because during the journey you will face a series of tolls and it is recommendable to take the exact change for not wasting time. But if, by contrast, traveling from Caracas to Orlando, three airlines offer nonstop flights.
With almost 500 hotels and 113,000 guestrooms, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any destination in the world. Accommodations range from luxury resorts and themed hotels to charming bed and breakfasts, economy hotels/motels and campgrounds.
In Orlando, accommodation options are in abundance. There are hotels for all tastes and needs. If your budget allows you, you can book a room in the hotel complexes of Walt Disney World. You can enjoy a number of privileges such as tickets to the parks and free transfers. The cheapest of these hotels are Disney’s Pop Century Resort, the All-Star Sports, All-Star Movies and All-Star Music (all with rooms from $ 77 – depending on the season) and the most expensive the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel at Walt Disney World ($ 325 night). By the side of Universal, there are three hotels, the Hard Rock Hotel (from $199 p/night), Portofino Bay Hotel, (from $249) and the Royal Pacific Resort ($159). Universal has good deals on hotels if the booking is done online. You can also stay in Kissimmee, to the south of Orlando, where the hotels are much more economic (from $43 the night) as they are a bit away from the parks.
Where to eat
All the days are spent in the parks, so this is the place where you will be eating (unless you walk for shopping center of Orlando). If you enter one of the restaurants that are within these attractions let me tell you that you are going to spend a small fortune. The good thing is that they also have fast food places, so my advice is to get a good breakfast – there are many places in Orlando where you can eat – where you can eat what you want for a single.
Many hotels offer transfers to the parks, but it’s better to have your own car, as this will free your entry and exit of the attractions when you want. If you did not come for running to Orlando but want to rent a car you can easily do so through any of the specialized agencies. There are five of them located in the airport (Avis, Dollar, Budget, National, and L & M Rental Cars). For cars from other companies, you should take the bus allocated for that purpose. The best thing is that these companies always have cheaper tariffs. To give you an idea of how much it can cost to rent a car for about 6 days: an order of a compact (Neon, Cavalier) is $ 270-280.
What to buy
From Gucci bags and Tiffany diamonds to Ocean Pacific flip flops and secondhand treasures – plus everything in between – Orlando has boldly emerged as an international shopping leader. And, with more than 52 million square feet (4.6 million square meters) of retail space, including nine regional shopping malls, all tastes and budgets are satisfied.
Although you really going to Orlando to see Mickey more than to buy, it is always nice to know that if you want to escape to the stores you will find many shopping malls. You can choose between the Florida Mall, Orlando Fashion Square Mall, Osceola Square Mall, Altamonte Mall, Eagle Ridge Mall, Seminole Towne Center, and West Oaks Mall. There are also Outlets (places where to find products with a 60% discount) as the American Tourister Factory Outlet, the Acme Boot Outlet, Belz Factory Outlet Mall, the Edwin Watts Golf Shops, the Dansk Factory Outlet, The Great Western Boot Outlet, the Fitz And Floyd, the Group USA, the Manufacturers Outlet Kissimmee, the Belz Designer Outlet Centers, Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, Mikasa Factory Outlet, the Lenox Factory Store, the Orlando Premium Outlets Mall, Off 5th – Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet and Quality Centers.
These shops are open from 10 am to 9 pm from Monday to Saturday and until 6 on Sundays.
For thrill-seekers, O-town is the place to be with the likes of Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando and the Incredible Hulk and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando. The Richard Petty Driving Experience puts gutsy drivers behind the wheel of a NASCAR stock car on a real track. Free-fall fanatics rave about Wet ‘n Wild – Orlando’s Bomb Bay, Disney’s Blizzard Beach’s Summit Plummet and SkyVenture Orlando on I-Drive where a vertical wind tunnel uses 120 mph (193 kph) winds to simulate an unforgettable skydiving experience. Those seeking the perfect wake will find it at the Orlando Watersports Complex, the area’s premier park for wake boarding, wakeskating and waterskiing.
With more than 2,000 lakes, springs and rivers for swimming, boating, waterskiing and fishing; 168 golf courses; 800 tennis courts and 21 fitness trails for biking, walking and blading, few destinations in the world come close to rivaling Orlando’s incredible year-round outdoor activities and pastimes.
Golf aficionados are in their element in Orlando thanks to the area’s great lineup of world-class golf. With 168 spectacular golf courses located within a 45-minute drive of downtown, golfers can try their hand at an array of challenging and diverse courses designed by such legends as Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Tom Watson and Rees Jones.
Orlando also has an impressive lineup of world-class performing arts. The Orlando Opera, Orlando Ballet, Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival, Bach Festival Society, The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, SunTrust Broadway in Orlando series and several professional and community theater companies are just a few of the area’s entertainment options. In addition, House of Blues and Hard Rock Live offer concerts.
Art & Culture
Orlando’s numerous year-round art exhibits and cultural diversity add an extra dimension to Orlando. The world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany are on display year-round at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, while 19th- and 20th-century American art are showcased at the Orlando Museum of Art. Children of all ages can also embark on a variety of learning adventures at area standouts like the Orlando Science Center and the Orange County Regional History Center.
Everyone deserves to be pampered – especially on vacation – and Orlando’s got just the answer. Whether it’s a couple of hours or a full day’s treatment, guests can relax at any of the area’s more than 11 spectacular destination spas.
Clermont, an affluent western suburb of Orlando, is famous for The Florida Citrus Tower. Built in 1956, the tower is 226 feet tall, and is the most famous landmark of the Orlando area. Its top is the highest point in Florida.