Orlando in Florida is an excellent destination and there are many great activities to do there. No matter what age you are or how many people are travelling in your party, there is likely to be something of interest for everyone. The pleasant temperature and climate on offer all year round is a big draw for people to come to Orlando but there is no denying that the number of theme parks on offer will help to convince people that their holiday time should be spent in the state of Florida.
Orlando in Florida plays host to some of the most popular and well-loved theme parks in the world and these are the theme parks you should be looking to spend time at during your Orlando stay.
Walt Disney World was officially opened in October of 1971 and although it is listed as being in Orlando, it actually lies just outside of the Orlando borders. The park, which is houses over 42,000 acres has 24 different resorts, four main theme parks, two separate water parks and a number of extra entertainment and recreational venues. The park is the attraction that receives the most visitors every year with over 52million visiting the park on an annual basis. This translates into more than one million people coming to Walt Disney World every single work.
The original theme park in Walt Disney World was Magic Kingdom and this has been joined by Epcot, The Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom. While Walt Disney World was not the first Disney theme park, that is Disneyland in California, which opened up in 1955, this park is the one that most people think of when they think of theme parks and Disney.
The two water parks at Walt Disney World are the Typhoon Lagoon and the Blizzard Beach. Some of the other popular tourist attractions on offer at Walt Disney World include the Downtown Disney area, the Boardwalk area, the Wedding Pavilion, the ESPN Wide World of Sports, the Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Walt Disney World of Speedway.
There are also five 5 golf courses available at Walt Disney World resort while there are also a number of opportunities to go fishing. As Walt Disney World is regarded as private property, there is no need to obtain a Florida fishing licence to fish in the resort.
Anyone looking to stay at Walt Disney World will find that there is no shortage of options. This is down to the fact that there 34 resorts and hotels on offer. 24 of these are owned by Walt Disney World and they are broken down into four different categories. These are deluxe categories, moderate, value and then there is the Disney Vacation Club Villas. The most famous of all the resorts in Walt Disney World is the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Other hotels available in Walt Disney World, but not owned by Disney, include the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel, Doubletree Guest Suite Resort, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, Hilton Walt Disney World, Holiday Inn in the Walt Disney World Resort, Royal Plaza, Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa and Shades of Green.
While many people stay at Walt Disney World as part of a split vacation, there are plenty of people and families that stay at Walt Disney World for the entire duration of their holiday.
Universal Orlando is the largest resort in Orlando and it is the second largest resort in the Greater Orlando area, coming in just behind Walt Disney World. The park consists of two main theme parks, the Universal Studios Florida and the Island of Adventure theme park but there is also the Wet n Wild Water Park. There is also a separate theme park for evening entertainment which is called the Universal CityWalk Orlando. There are also three main hotels in this park, the Hard Rock hotel, the Portofino Bay hotel and the Loews Royal Pacific Resort.
Universal Orlando was opened in 1990 and it was initially viewed as a park where people would visit for a single day. There was a desire to change the style of the park to one where guests could enjoy what was on offer over a number of days, which led to the creation of the Islands of Adventure element of the park, with the preview centre opening in 1997 and the actual Islands of Adventure park opening in May of 1999. The park contained six different islands, all with their own theme, upon opening. These themes were Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent and Seuss Landing. Since then, there has been a Harry Potter attraction added to the islands, taking the number of islands available in this section up to 7. The park was not a success at the beginning but over time it has developed an audience and is now seen as an important destination for holidaymakers.
While the park is opened all year round, Universal Orlando offers a range of special events and festive shows. Some of the most popular nights of the year include the Halloween Horror Nights, which are a separate ticket event, which takes place every October. There is the Rock The Universe, which is a Christian Rock Festival, which commonly takes place over two days in September. The Summer Concert Series showcases a number of major bands playing live at the Universal Studios Florida on Saturday evenings. There is also the Grad Bash and Gradventure, which takes place during April and May, and this provides a party setting for high school and middle school classes celebrating their graduation. In December, there is the Macys Holiday Parade which brings the Thanksgiving Day Parade to Orlando and then there is Mardi Gras, which is celebrated between February and April.
Funspot America Orlando is located close to the Universal Orlando Park and it is located in International Drive. The park offers a great range of entertainment and attractions for people of all ages and it is possible to obtain free admission, free parking and free Wi-Fi in the park. The park is regularly hailed as one of the best budget parks in Orlando and anyone looking for something a little bit different without the same high cost will find that Funspot is an excellent place to while away a few hours or a day.
The park boasts of the only wooden roller coaster left in Orlando, the White Lightning. There are four different go-kart tracks and there are seven family thrill rides to look out. Funspot can also boat of the second tallest skycoaster in the world, which stands at 250 feet. There are plenty of options for kids to enjoy as well with go karts and kid spot rides on offer. Another major feature of Funspot, which is likely to be an attraction for adults as much as it is for kids, is the fact that there are over 100 arcade games on offer, featuring a blend of new games and classic arcade options.
Funspot can also be found in Kissimmee, just minutes away from Walt Disney World. This park features the worlds tallest skycoaster, standing at 300 feet, four go kart tracks, 10 family thrill rides, 8 spot rides for youngsters and more than 60 classic and new arcade games. Anyone looking for a great trip and a brilliant way to have fun will approve of what Funspot has to offer across its two parks in Florida.
Compared to the well-known parks in the area such as Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando, it is easy to see why Funspot can be overlooked. However, it can provide a fun way to spend a day and it is an alternative for people and families who are looking for something a bit different during their time in Florida. Anyone who is keen to try something a bit more traditional with respect to their theme parks will have a lot of time for what is on offer from Funspot America Orlando.
SeaWorld Orlando is a marine-life zoological park and theme park, that combines with Aquatica and Discovery Cove to create the SeaWorld Parks and Resorts Orlando theme park. The park is one of the biggest and most visited parks in the United States and it is believed that the park welcomes more than 6 million guests every single year.
While SeaWorld is different from other theme parks in the area in that they do not designate certain themes to particular areas and then separate them, there are still a number of key themes and areas on offer in SeaWorld.
The area around the entrance of the park draws on a Florida influence which offers a fresh, lush and even tropical entrance to the park. The entrance of the park flows neatly into the Key West area, which aims to replicate the theme and style of the Key West city in Florida. This means the landscaping and the architecture of this part of the park is similar to what is found in the city. There are opportunities to feed dolphins and stingrays in their special habitats but there is a wide range of animals to look out for in the area including green sea turtles, hawksbill sea turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, flamingos, manatees, pelicans and alligators.
The main childrens part of the park is found at Shamus Happy Harbour, which is hosted by the killer whale mascot of the park, Shamu. This area features a number of family friendly options and activities such as the water play area, the net climbing structure and the Shamu Express.
The Waterfront of the area is just over ten years old and it is the most recent addition to the park. This includes the Sky Tower ride and a wide range of restaurants and shops. This area of the park aims to create a Mediterranean theme and it is a good area to relax in.
The Wild Arctic area is a popular draw that becomes extremely busy during the festive season. This is down to the fact that the area is transformed into an area that is reminiscent of the Polar Express, a popular film from Warner Bros. the rest of the year the indoor pavilion provides a range of attractions with the over-riding theme drawing on the style of an Arctic base exploration camp.
The Kennedy Space Centre, sometimes referred to as KSC, has become a major tourist attraction in Florida, located an hours drive from the main Orlando region. There are tours of the centre on offer and it is also possible to take a tour around the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. One of the biggest elements of the centre, and which is attributable to the fact that much of the area is restricted, is the fact that the centre is recognised as being a wildlife sanctuary of great importance. There are a number of key wildlife areas in the centre including the Canaveral National Seashore, the Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge, Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon. Common creatures to see in the centre include bald eagles, American alligators, wild boars, rattlesnakes, panthers and manatees.
Tourists have been welcomed to the Kennedy Space Centre since the 1960s but it was not until the 1980s that the centre started to take their visitors section seriously. In the 1970s, the centre was becoming increasingly under-fire for the low quality offerings it provided in comparison to the nearby Walt Disney World.
However, the mid 1990s, after Delaware North Companies was selected to take over the running of the park, Kennedy Space Centre has become an important part of the Orlando tourist sector. There are displays, exhibits, two IMAX theatres, memorabilia from historic space crafts and tours, live shows, bus tours of the space port but for many people, the most important element is the Shuttle Launch Experience, which provides people with a simulated space ride. The centre employs more than 700 people with respect to the theme park element and the park welcomes well over 1 million people every single year.
Gatorland on South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando was opened in 1949 and it is spread over 110 acres. The park was opened by Owen Godwin and the park is still owned by his family. The park has been dubbed the Alligator Capital of the World and there are thousands of crocodiles and alligators on show in the theme park. Other elements of interest into a breeding marsh which comes complete with its own boardwalk and an observation tower, while there are educational programs, swamp walks, petting zoos, aviaries and reptile shows.
One of the things that many people like about the park is that it is known for purchasing alligators that are deemed as nuisances from trappers. These alligators would otherwise be facing being killed to be used for skin and meat, so the fact that the park helps to give many alligators a second chance in life means that there is a lot of goodwill for the park. The park also famously featured in the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom film as the breeding marsh section of the park was used in the firm. Gatorland is well known for the wide range of operations it has in the state, including a live alligator display at the Gaylord Palms resort in Kissimmee, which is located close to the Walt Disney World resort. Gatorland also takes a number of road shows across the state and country, while the park is also well known for having a range of leucistic alligators.
There is a huge range of water parks to choose from in Orlando but when it comes to the park with the highest level of prestige and recognition, it is hard to argue with what is on offer at the Wet n Wild Orlando water park. This park is found at the Universal Orlando resort and the park was established back in 1977. The park was the idea of George Millay, who was the creator of SeaWorld and the water park is considered to be the first of its kind in the United States of America.
Given the heat and warmth in Florida, a water park was a natural addition to the range of theme parks and activities that were on offer but it took until the mid-1970s to start bringing the park to life. With George Millay having a great track record thanks to the success of the SeaWorld park, there was a queue of investors looking to get involved. The opening day of the park saw rain fall on Florida and the opening year was a struggle financially, losing over $600,000. However, in the second year of the park, its fortunes took an upturn, leading to a number of Wet n Wild parks being rolled out across America and a number of other parks of a similar stature. In 1998, Millay sold his interest in the parks and the Orlando Park was snapped by Universal who added it to their range of exciting parks. Initially, Universal leased the land but in 2013, Universal purchased the land the park is set on, giving it a greater level of control and security over the area.
There are a number of attractions on offer at the Wet n Wild Park in Orlando, including the Black Hole, Blastaway Beach, the Blast, the Bomb Bay, Brain Wash, Bubba Tub, Der Stuka, Disco H20, The Flyer, Lazy River, Mach 5, The Storm, The Surge, The Wake Zone and Wave Pool Surf Lagoon.
Even though many other water park attractions are available in Orlando, the continuing success of Wet n Wild ensures that it remains a very popular choice for families that come to the state for their holidays.
When it comes to seeing everything that Orlando has to offer, you will definitely need to spend some time on International Drive, or I-Drive, as it is often referred to. This strip is just over 11 miles long and it is the most popular strip for tourists. It is found in the southern part of the city and it is considered to be the equivalent of the Las Vegas strip.
The initial section of International Drive was drawn up in the 1960s by Finley Hamilton, an attorney, and he did so to ensure that there was a road to service his new Hilton Inn South. This hotel was set to open in May of 1970, which was to ensure it was up in running and fully operational in plenty of time for the opening of the Walt Disney World Resort in 1971. Hamilton took a lot of abuse and criticism for his plans and the initial opening of the hotel, and the road, but very soon, International Drive was a huge hit and it became well known in Florida and beyond. The name was chosen to make it sound important and it was not too long before the drive was extended.
There have been a number of innovations and improvements on the I-Drive with the I-Ride bus trolley system being one of the most important. There has been a need to ensure that tourists could travel in this area with the greatest comfort and confidence and this is something that has been presented with this addition.
If you are looking to enjoy a lot of shopping during your time in Florida, you will find that Orlando is one of the best places to visit. Many people will be drawn to Miami for the shopping experiences, and there are plenty of stores to enjoy there, but for the widest selection of shopping activities in Florida, Orlando is the place to be.
You will find everything here from outlet centres offering great discounts, department stores, art galleries and a wide range of niche and speciality stores that offer you everything you need. Whether you are looking for the standard tourist fare when you shop in Orlando or you are looking for unique gifts that you will not find anywhere else, this is the place to be.
It is inevitable that the shopping mall will be at the heart of your Orlando shopping experience. Given the heat in Florida you do not want to be spending too much time out in the sun, and having so many stores located in one handy place will ensure that you can stay cool while seeing a fantastic range of shops and stores. Some of the best malls you will find in Orlando Florida include The Mall at Millenia, Orlando Premium Outlets, Downtown Disney, Prime One Outlets on International Drive, Festival Bay Mall at International Drive, The Florida Mall (which is the largest mall in the central Florida region), Pointe Orlando, West Oaks Mall, Old Town, Lake Buena Vista Factory Outlet Stores, Downtown Disney Market Place, Crossroads at Lake Buena Vista, Park Avenue Shopping District, Osceola Flea and Farmers Market, Kissimmee Manufacturers Outlet and Skyview Plaza.
Old Town is a massive shopping mall and amusement park located in the Kissimmee region of Florida and it has been operating since the 1980s. The heady combination of shopping and entertainment sees a great number of people flock to this attraction on a weekly basis and while it is not going to be one of the top attractions that Florida has to offer, you will find that it is an area that offers a great deal to a lot of people.
There are a number of rides to choose from at Old Town including the Wacky Worm Kiddie Coaster, Frog Hopper, Tea Cups, Merry-Go-Round, Super Short, Happy Days Family Go-Kart Track, Century Ferris Wheel, Wave Swinger and the Windstorm Roller Coaster. There are a number of stores supplying a wide range of consumer goods and there is an abundance of restaurants, cafes and places to eat and drink at all hours of the day and night.
While there is a video arcade which offers a great deal of excitement and action, there is a lot to be said for the racing car entertainment that is on offer at Old Town.
The area offers a NASCAR simulation arcade but the big highlight for car fans is the Saturday night cruise. This sees classic cars being driven up and down the strip and it is possible to drive one of the cars. Anyone that has a valid driving licence, insurance and registration will be able to drive one of the cars while music is played by a classic rock and roll band. If you are keen to take part in a big Florida event, this is likely to be something that will be of considerable interest to you. All of the vehicles used in the cruise are at least 25 years old and any cars which have undergone modifications to improve their racing capabilities will be excluded from all cruises that take place in the future.
While there is always a cause for celebration in Florida, Celebration is a town that is located close to the Walt Disney World resort. The area was developed by the Walt Disney company and at the time of the last census, the area held a population of 7,427. World Drive is found very close to the Magic Kingdom and this provides a direct connection between the area and the resort. Disney has aimed to divest the majority of control over to the city but it still remains in charge of a number of elements of interest and prominence when it comes to the town. While reaction to the town from outsiders has been mixed, there is no doubt that a great number of people enjoy and appreciate the fact that Celebration is an area full of safe places and where everything a person needs is within walking distance.
The main road in Celebration is Celebration Avenue, starting close to the Disney Parks and winding its way through the town. The avenue cuts through the golf course and makes its way to a number of key shopping areas. As you would expect from a part of the world that is called Celebration, there are a number of events and activities to enjoy here. There are regular yard sales, art shows, a car festival, music festivals, food festivals, pet celebrations and numerous events that are put on for the holiday seasons. There is also a major fireworks show that takes place every Independence Day.
There is no doubt that Celebration is something that could only be found in places like Florida and it provides a unique and interesting place to visit when you head to Florida for your holiday.
If you want some exhilarating fun in Florida, you could do a lot worse than enjoy the fun of Mucky Ducks. This is set in the countryside of Florida but it is not a far drive from the main theme parks so you will not have too far to travel to see what all of the fuss is about.
Mucky Ducks provides you with the chance to enjoy the adventures that come along with 6 and 8 wheeled amphibious vehicles which you drive yourself. These vehicles are able to seat 4 people and they provide the opportunity to roam around 240 acres of woodlands, trails, swamps and lakes. If you and your family have been bitten by the off road experience and want to experience it to extreme levels, you will find that this is the perfect opportunity. Drivers must be over 18 and passengers have to be at least 4 years old. This is a great excursion for all of the family but youngsters must be able to sit without any aid. One of the main draws of the activity is the fact that there will be an expert guide close at hand to make sure you get to see so many of the great sights and to provide you with added comfort and assurance that everything is going well. The total experience will last over an hour, which includes a safety briefing which will keep you and your family safe from harm while you enjoy the off road activities on offer.
Everyone that takes part in the activity will be provided with a full range of safety equipment which will include life vests and helmets. This is a genuine chance to get off road and enjoy a messy and mucky adventure during your stay in Florida.
While there are more than enough popular attractions available in Orlando and Florida, there will be people who are looking for something that is not overly populated or which has not been done to death. It may seem as though there are not too many things in Florida of this nature but this is where talking to locals and doing a bit more research can help you uncover plenty of things which are of considerable interest and benefit to holidaymakers that are looking to find a new slant on this wonderful holiday destination.
Taking a ferry to the Dry Tortugas National Park is a great trip and if you are looking to spend more time here, you can camp. However, even the day trip offers the chance to snorkel, see coral formations and fish of a bright colour while you will also find a fort in this area.
Royal Palm State Park represents a chance to get some quiet time while enjoying some stunning examples of plant life and nature at its finest. The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is also a place where you can see nature at its finest and it will not be overcrowded like most Florida destinations.
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