Orlando is known worldwide by Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. However, this lively Florida destination has so much more to offer. Do you dare to go down the highest water slide in the United States? At Universal’s Volcano Bay theme water park you’ll have a great time around a 200-foot volcano, as well as in its pools and its various attractions for all ages.
The spectacular nature of Florida’s leisure parks make it one of the most important family destinations in the world. Walt Disney World offers endless fun, since its visitors can spend weeks discovering new corners and attractions.
In any case, it’s worth exploring downtown Orlando, which houses world-class jewelry and pottery exhibits at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, gourmet restaurants like Ceviche Tapas and Amura, and such spectacular sports centers as the Amway Center, home of the city’s famous NBA basketball team, the Orlando Magic.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Orlando
- What to do in Orlando
- How to get to Orlando
- Where to stay in Orlando
- Getting around Orlando
- Cost of living in Orlando
- Where to Eat in Orlando
Top 5 reasons to visit Orlando
Pandora – The World of Avatar
Animal Kingdom’s new theme park, Pandora – The World of Avatar, is inspired by the world James Cameron created for his blockbuster movie Avatar. It allows you to travel through alien lands, visit the floating mountains of the Mo’ara Valley and have a great time in its formidable attractions.
Kennedy Space Center
Find out what it’s like to live on a rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. In addition to being the launch center for manned missions, this space has become an educational enclave that ensures maximum fun. Try out a launch simulator, see the costumes and rockets used in the missions or enjoy 3D images of life in space.
Because of its location and good climate, Orlando is one of the best golf destinations in the world. Reserve tee times at Mystic Dunes, Lake Nona and Celebration, among other spectacular courses.
Contact with nature
In Orlando, you can approach the natural world in many ways, such as enjoying SeaWorld Orlando’s marine shows featuring killer whales and dolphins, watching alligators in Gatorland or admiring Florida’s endangered panthers in Forever Florida.
In Orlando and its main amusement parks you can taste cuisine from all over the world. For example, at Walt Disney World you will find French, Moroccan, British, Italian, Cajun, Indian, Japanese and Hawaiian restaurants, among others – this city is perfect for a culinary world tour!
What to do in Orlando
Have fun as a family at Walt Disney World
Since its foundation in 1971, Walt Disney World is the number one amusement park in the United States, suffice it to say that it receives some 20 million visitors a year. It is divided into four separate areas and combines fascinating attractions, incredible shows and world-class cuisine. In addition, Disney characters interact with those present almost every step of the way.
Movie night at Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando, just a little smaller than Walt Disney World, is a must-see for film lovers. From Harry Potter and The Simpsons to Transformers, it includes attractions for all tastes and impressive recreations of Hollywood and New York.
Enjoy at SeaWorld Orlando
Travel to the mysterious bottom of the ocean at SeaWorld Orlando, a marine zoo with themed rides, exciting shows and diverse wildlife. Family attractions include dining with sharks and dancing with penguins. At nearby Discovery Cove you can swim with dolphins and at the Aquatica water park you can have fun in an endless maze of water slides.
Build a great day in Legoland Florida
Children all over the world love LEGO building blocks, an inspiring toy that not only entertains the little ones, but is also the essence of the Legoland Florida family theme park. Built around beautiful botanical gardens, it’s filled with rides, rides, elaborate LEGO sculptures and interactive building areas, as well as plenty of fun characters.
Explore science at the Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center is a hands-on, active museum that allows you to explore our world. It invites visitors of all ages to learn about some of the wonders of engineering, the layers of Mother Earth, space beyond our atmosphere, the prehistoric existence of dinosaurs, the kinetic world and much more.
How to get to Orlando
Orlando International Airport is located about 20 miles southeast of downtown Orlando and is well connected to downtown by the LYNX Route 111 bus, which departs every half hour and costs $2, and by the abundant transfer services, limousines, taxi companies or car rental companies present. A taxi ride to downtown costs about $30.
Orlando’s Amtrak station is a regular stop on the Silver Meteor and Silver Star routes, which connect Orlando to Miami to the south and to destinations as far north as New York, which costs $126 for a 21-and-a-half hour ticket.
If you are driving from the north or west, the two main routes are I-75, from Chicago, Detroit and the west, and I-95, from New York, Washington and other East Coast cities.
Greyhound, Orlando’s premier intercity bus operator, has a centrally located and well-connected terminal. Megabus also provides bus connections between Orlando and cities such as Miami, Jacksonville and New Orleans, while companies such as ATC Buses offer regional connections to other cities in the state of Florida. Travel from Miami to Orlando costs as little as $14.
Airports near Orlando
SFB Orlando Sanford Intl
Where to stay in Orlando
One possibility is to settle down as close as possible to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida; the other is to choose the city center.
For lodging near amusement parks, the Comfort Suites Universal Studios Area and the Howard Johnson by Wyndham Tropical Palms Kissimmee are impeccable.
As a reference to the price level, consider that a night in a double room can cost between $299 at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and $64 at the Floridian Express International Drive.
Interesting neighborhoods in Orlando
Downtown Orlando, the city’s business district, is a half hour from Walt Disney World and includes thriving residential areas such as Thornton Park and Eola. It represents the real Orlando, as reflected in the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art’s Tiffany jewelry collection, music concerts at the Amway Center and swan boats that cruise the lake and Eola Park.
Lake Buena Vista, in southwest Orlando, is famous for hosting Walt Disney World. It has many restaurants and bars, including Miller’s Ale House and Chevys Fresh Mex, while the Lake Buena Vista Resort has a championship golf course.
Universal / CityWalk is located around Universal Studios, the other big attraction in town. CityWalk area hotels allow you to be close to the park’s musical attractions, such as Bob Marley – A Walk to Freedom. Be sure to order some cocktails at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.
Getting around Orlando
Orlando is well served by the LYNX bus network, which operates 60 different routes in the metropolitan area. Buses 37 and 40 take you to Universal Studios, while bus 50 stops at Walt Disney World. The flat rate is $2 per trip.
If you’re staying in downtown Orlando and don’t want to rent a car, taxis are a good mobility option. A ride from downtown Orlando to Walt Disney World costs about $28, while a ride to Universal Studios costs about $32. Prestigious local companies include Mears, Tiffany Towncars and Ace Metro Cab.
Orlando is a great city to rent a car, with a comfortable road network and plenty of parking at major hotels and attractions. However, traffic jams can be a problem, especially on Fridays and Saturdays around major attractions. You can call 511 for up-to-date traffic information, which should make things easier for you. Available car rental companies include Fox Rent A Car, Dollar Rent A Car, Avis, Enterprise and Alamo, where you can find good options starting at $24 a day.
Cost of living in Orlando
Orlando is a fantastic shopping destination with an abundance of mega malls. Artegon Market is home to a variety of local shops, including jewelry stores like Marianna Crafts and home improvement stores like Bleu Beach. Florida’s shopping center is even larger than Artegon. Here you will find stores of all major brands such as Apple, Hollister and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Groceries and others
The big food chains such as Walmart, Safeway, Publix and Aldi are present in Orlando, whose prices are moderate, taking into account their great tourist importance. As a reference, a dozen eggs costs about $2.50; a good bottle of wine, between $10 and $12; and a beer in a bar, about $4.
Where to Eat in Orlando
Both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are good places to eat. Thus, the French cuisine at La Luce, in the former, and the Cajun-style cuisine at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, in Universal Orlando, are highly recommended. In the center, where eating is more economical, 4 Rivers Smokehouse Downtown and the Japanese restaurant Amura are very good. You usually pay $20 for a good meal at the amusement parks and about $15 for a mid-range meal downtown.