Orlando

Orlando Travel Guide

Orlando abounds with theme parks. You'll need weeks to see everything or you will have to pick and choose from: Walt Disney World Resort, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach Water Park, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Typhoon Lagoon; the two theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort—Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida; three parks from SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment—SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica—SeaWorld's Waterpark and Discovery Cove; and LEGOLAND Florida.

Just in case you might be sick of theme parks, there are some great museums sports and entertainment venues. Catch a show by Cirque de Soleil or the Blue Man Group or stroll the streets at exciting entertainment complexes like Universal City Walk, Downtown Disney, Pointe Orlando Orlando's Church Street. Dine, listen to music, catch the shows and shop. It's all there.
Orlando has a rich history that predates Disney’s arrival. This is Orlando’s five hundredth anniversary. It's an ideal time to visit Wells' Built Museum of African American History.

Orlando hosts more golf tournaments than any other location. Don't miss a chance to see Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, or Rory McIlroy.

Behind-the-scenes Disney secrets are divulged on this daylong walking tour (lunch included), which takes in some dauntingly complex operations at work in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and

This delightfully tacky roadside stall topped by a 60-foot orange dome has been a landmark of Americana since the early 70’s. It remains the prototypical Florida souvenir shop, selling lime jelly, shellacked gator heads, monogrammed mugs, and oranges and grapefruits by the bushel.

 

Wild animals of every stripe can be seen here, in regionally themed habitats that are scattered across the park. There’s the Pangani Forest habitat, for instance, home to gorillas, hippos, and African birds; and a Maharajah Jungle habitat with tigers, bats, and Komodo dragons.

With its striped cabanas, potted palms, and a view of downtown Orlando, SKYSIXTY the vibe is reminiscent of Miami’s South Beach. Grab a booth, or sip a mojito or mimosa on the gray-cushioned couches and chairs.

Mike Hewell, more commonly known as Tour Guide Mike, uses his years of experience as a tour planner for the rich and famous to help families enjoy a stress-free Disney World vacation. Hewell’s philosophy is based on monitoring crowd behavior and zigging when the crowd zags.

Set inside a museum that has one of the country’s finest, most complete collections of Louis Comfort Tiffany glass, this gift shop is stocked with a tasteful selection of vases, art glass, jewelry, and valentine-ready paper goods.

 

Mellower than other Orlando theme parks—though it has several rides, including Kraken, a thrilling, floorless coaster—SeaWorld is noted for its roster of elaborate stadium shows starring whales, dolphins, and the odd rescued puppy.

Set inside a museum that has one of the country’s finest, most complete collections of Louis Comfort Tiffany glass, this gift shop is stocked with a tasteful selection of vases, art glass, jewelry, and valentine-ready paper goods.

 

An Indiana Jones stunt show and a retelling of The Little Mermaid top the long list of kid-oriented shows at this park, called Disney-MGM Studios until 2008.

Some of humankind’s greatest adventures began here at NASA’s launch headquarters, an easy hour east of Orlando on the Atlantic coast. Time your visit right, and you may see a space shuttle streak into the sky on liftoff (visible all around the state but much better from up close).

Orlando's parks can make for a whirlwind vacation, but Discovery Cove offers a pleasing blend of adventure and relaxation.

Disney is the best cruise line for families. What may surprise you is that the 1,760-passenger Disney Magic and Disney Wonder are gorgeous ships, even without Disney touches like character appearances and first-run movies.

The city’s most thrill-filled coaster-and-flume park is also one of the most spectacularly designed; rides are all located in lavish, themed “islands,” most based on movies or TV shows.

A 30-acre collection of bars, restaurants, and dance-till-two nightspots wedged between the Universal theme parks, CityWalk outweighs Pleasure Island, Disney’s much squarer rival.

Slightly more adult-oriented than the other Disney theme parks, Epcot doesn’t have as many hair-raising thrill rides as its neighbors do. But its exhilarating hang-gliding simulator, Soarin’, and its gardens and wide-open spaces make for a great day out.