Orlando – what does it mean to you? For me – fun, laughs and lots of high-speed thrills, yet it can mean so many other things depending on your personal memories of this fun-filled part of Florida.
For many, the first thing to spring to mind would be Disney. Family smiles and memories are created here, and I certainly have some magical memories from days in the Disney parks. Thankfully, nowadays, holidays to Orlando are more accessible in terms of cost, so more of us can experience the wonderment.
Long-haul flying of course plays a part in this, and if you have children, you’ll understand the effect excitement and tiredness can play on your little ones. It’s for this reason I first booked one of the airport hotels available at my terminal. Getting at least some sleep the night before the flight, and the opportunity to be a little more leisurely about getting ready that morning, was a real godsend, and it’s for this reason I’d recommend it to anyone. If you’re flying from the north west, as I often do and you’ll find a large range to suit every budget.
Once you land in the heart of the magic, prepare for a holiday that is in no way relaxing, in many ways exhausting, yet wonderful all at the same time! Confused? You probably will be, but it will all become clear after you’ve thrown yourself around on a few rollercoasters and been reduced to happy tears at jaw-dropping fireworks at Magic Kingdom.
Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, the four main Disney parks and its two waterparks, Aquatica, nearby Busch Gardens, Seaworld, Discovery Cove … the list goes on! Discovery Cove is my personal favourite, but be sure to pre-book your place at this pretend tropical island getaway, as places are limited and bookable only. An all inclusive day, with the chance to swim and interact with dolphins is not to be missed, and if you’re not a strong swimmer, or a complete non-swimmer like me, don’t worry, you can still fulfil your dream thanks to the fantastic staff and the magic of these marine creatures – it still remains the most wonderful moment of my life to date.
Shows, attractions, meet and greets, high speed rollercoasters, splashing around … there’s nothing Orlando doesn’t offer, and when it comes to food, well, you’re certainly well catered for! I stayed on International Drive the first time I visited, and I had no problem finding food, in fact I was so spoilt for choice I spent far too long deciding! I chose not to eat my evening meal in the parks, to cut costs a little, and instead had a later meal at one of the eateries on I Drive. There’s far too much to do in the parks anyway in my opinion, a snack on the go is definitely the way forward to get the most out of your day.
As you can see, we’ve only just touched the tip of the iceberg of what there is to do in Orlando, and an itinerary might sound a little boring, but if you want to see as much as possible, then you need to at least have a rough plan before you go.
Orlando is exhausting, there’s no way around that, but a pre-holiday sleep boost, prior to that long flight, certainly goes some way to helping.