Orlando, Disney World and Theme Parks – Florida may be one state, but it also has very different experiences within it – from the capital Tallahassee and the Panhandle in the north; to Orlando and its theme parks including Disney World; Miami with its Art Deco buildings, lifestyle and great beaches; the Everglades and its alligators; historic St Augustine and Jacksonville to Key Largo and Key West. All are special places in their own right.
Orlando, Disney World and other theme parks –
The City of Orlando is the theme park capital of the world. The greater city has a population of around 2 million people, and Orlando International Airport handles millions of people each year coming to stay at theme parks, resorts and hotels on holiday, attending conventions, playing golf and here on business. As you would expect a lot of people are employed in the theme parks, in hotels, but equally there is a lot of technology and imaginative innovation work too behind the various existing and new attractions being developed. Expect big crowds of people at most of the big name attractions and bring your hat, sunscreen, walking shoes and if heading to a water park, bring the right clothing.
International Drive – has a Trolley Bus ‘Hop On-Hop Off’ service that passes by most of the theme parks, as well as Premium Outlet stores, restaurants, spas, hotels, bars, theaters and nightspots. There are lots of night shows and star attractions happening throughout the year too. International Drive is a good place to stay with lots of choices in accommodation too. See internationaldriveorlando.com
Disney World – When Walt Disney opened Disney World in 1971, it was the first Disneyland experience outside the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California that Walt Disney had created and opened in 1955. Built about 12 miles outside Orlando in Florida, Disney World covers 40 square miles of land and was built here to attract people from the big populations on the East Coast who could easily fly south from New York and elsewhere to visit. Today it is equally famous to Disneyland, offering many of the same character creations and attractions – Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World and there is the fascinating Epcot Center. It is easy to spend one day or multiple days here, with over 20 Disney hotels from 5 Star to budget, hundreds of restaurant choices and lots of choices as to what you want to do from theme rides, to water slides, shows, animal safaris, dolphin shows, restaurants and more. Located near each other but at different addresses – Animal Kingdom – 551 Rainforest Rd;; Hollywood Studio – 351 South Studio Drive; Magic Kingdom 1180 Seven Seas Drive, Epcot – 200 Epcot Center Drive.
Universal Orlando Resort – is based around Universal Movies – with Movie theme based rides, to water parks, roller coasters, action movie based adventures and hotels to stay at. Here you can be part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and lots of other movie based experiences. Located at 600 Universal Boulevard. See universalorlando.com
Legoland – is another theme park based on Lego and Duplo building blocks. There are lots of rides, roller coasters and other things to do and it is particularly aimed at younger children aged 2 to 12. Located at 1 Legoland Drive in Winter Haven. See florida.legoland.com
SeaWorld – see dolphins, rays, seals and other sea animals up close and also experience unique adventure rides into the Antarctic, next to seals, or past dolphins. Located at 7007 Sea World Drive. See seaworldorlando.com
Aquatica is next door to SeaWorld and is a great water park with spectacular rides for thrill seekers. Located at 5800 Water Play Way. See aqauticabyseaworld.com
Gatorland – opened first in 1949, pre-dating Disney World by more than 20 years. Here you will see alligators being fed and learn more about these animals. Also catch a zipline over the top of the alligators, wrestle an Alligator, or see birds in the free flight aviary. Located at 14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail. See gatorland.com
Wet’nWild – a great water park for action adventures Lots of great water park rides to enjoy. Located at 6200 International Drive. See www.wetnwildorlando.com