On a trip to Orlando you can enjoy swimming with dolphins, theme parks, Disney characters, hot weather and white sandy beaches.
No trip would be complete without a visit to the world-famous Walt Disney World Resort, consisting of four different theme parks. Magic Kingdom Park is where you can experience firework displays, pirate encounters, meet your favourite Disney characters or tour Cinderella's palace. There's also the new Fantasyland section of Magic Kingdom Park which will nearly double its size. Fantasyland includes a storybook circus, inspired by Disney's Dumbo, where visitors can see astonishing stunts, majestic animals and spectacular entertainment in the big top tents. There's also the Enchanted Forest, which will open on December 6th, 2012.
Epcot is another part of the resort. Its nightly sound and light show depicts the history of the Earth and its people and there are countless amazing theme-park rides. Then there's Disney's Hollywood studios, where visitors can enjoy high-speed rides, meet celebrities, get autographs and enjoy live performances. Disney's Animal Kingdom is the final and largest of the four theme parks, where embarking on an African trek and encountering crocodiles, hippos and other exotic animals is just one of the activities on offer. There are also two water parks in the resort - Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
There are numerous resort hotels, ranging from budget to deluxe. You can also hire a themed resort villa, such as an Animal Kingdom villa, or something contemporary at the Bay Lake Tower. For the more adventurous, you even go camping at the resort's original Fort Wilderness, which has internet access and cable television for those who can't live without their home comforts.
There are plenty of hotels in Orlando, of all types. You will find many major hotel chains are represented in the city. Be sure to check the map before booking to ensure you're in the right location for your needs.
Orlando isn't known as the world's theme-park capital for nothing. As well as the Walt Disney World Resort, there is also the Universal Studios resort. This includes two different theme parks and a water park, including the Universal Islands of Adventure, which features the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Here visitors can enjoy high-speed roller coasters with characters from the books, sample some authentic Harry Potter delicacies such as butter beer and purchase their very own broomsticks.
Then there's the Universal Studios theme park. It's a real working film and TV production facility where you can enjoy an array of rides, shows, movie sets and attractions. To cool down after all the excitement of the theme parks, there's the Wet and Wild water park, where some of the most famous rides are the Disco H20™, Brain Wash™ and the Bubba Tub.
There are three on-site hotels to stay in. The Hard Rock Hotel is described as lively yet laid back, the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel re-creates the charm and romance of the famed seaside village of Portofino in Italy and the Loews Royal Pacific Resort is based on a South Pacific theme.
To get the most out of your trip, the best time to visit the Universal Studios resort is when one of the many events is taking place. In the summer there are several open-air concerts featuring some of the biggest names in music, as well as Florida's biggest Christian music festival. In the spring there is the Mardi Gras, with concerts, a parade and authentic Cajun food. Autumn sees visitors enjoying Halloween horror nights, while Christmas includes the Macy's holiday parade and a wintry wonderland complete with the Grinch.
Remember that if you're planning to visit the Universal Studios resort at any of these times, hotels will be quite full so to avoid disappointment bookings should be made in advance.
For those with slightly younger families, LEGOLAND is a great day out. With eleven different sections, including Pirate's Cove and Lego City, you're sure to have an action-packed day. Cool off later on in the LEGOLAND water park, where there is a variety of rides, a surf shop and the beach-n-brick grill.
You could stay in Kissimmee, which is in close proximity to LEGOLAND and other resorts and offers plenty of hotels, cheap motels and camp sites.
SeaWorld is also one of Orlando's famous theme parks, with underwater rides, shows and exhibits. There are also seasonal events at Halloween, Christmas and New Year.
International Drive is a great base for those wanting to visit SeaWorld, as it's very close by. It's also ideal for those who want to visit Florida's many shopping malls and outlets, Kennedy Space Centre or other areas of Florida such as Miami and the Keys. International Drive has hundreds of Orlando hotels as well as cinema complexes and over 150 restaurants.
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