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Holidays to Orlando
The King of Theme Parks
Orlando is almost purpose built for pleasure of the family theme park kind. Way back when, old Walt Disney sent his son-in-law on a mission; to find the best place to open a new Disneyland on the east coast. The area just south of Orlando was chosen and the transition of Orlando, sleepy little town, to Orlando home of every major theme park brand in the US was begun.
Today Orlando holidays are centred around the theme parks; Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, Sea World Orlando, Epcot, and the water parks. Most are based on a long stretch of road called International Drive Orlando and so are most of the hotels. Holidays to Orlando are easy because all the resorts have regular shuttle services to the major attractions.
Flights to Orlando Florida land at Orlando International; one of the world's busiest airports and the 13th busiest airport in the US.
The theme parks are what draw in most people but there's plenty else to do; venture down to the Everglades, treat yourself to a couple of days in Miami, play golf on one of the many fabulous courses, or just chill on the beach and take in all the water sports known to mankind.
Orlando holidays are a great way to bring families separated by geography together. They're easy to arrange through Holiday Supermarket and the accommodation is cheap and plentiful, the food choices huge and the fun to be had; fantastic!
Eating out in Orlando
Cheap, expensive and everything in between.
It's likely that your hotel has everything on tap, but do venture out to the surrounding areas. Just a short cab ride away you'll find dozens of restaurant choices for every budget and it's something a little different than your average hotel fare, including those American institutions; barbecue and ribs.
The budget options - your biggest money-saver will likely be eating up large at the complimentary hotel breakfast buffet and then partaking of a light lunch to see you through 'til dinner. Good lunch time options include Padrino's Cuban Bistro at 13586 Village Park - good, plain food with enough zest for a European palate. The Earl of Sandwich at 1750 East Buena Vista Drive (Disney) is just what it says - a sandwich deli and an excellent choice for a family group.
Mid price options - the Cheesecake Factory at 1486 E Buena Vista Dr is more than just cheesecake (although the cheesecake, it has to be said, is murderously good), you'll get burritos and other similar light foods here. Agave Azul is excellent Mexican food with enough spice. It's off the beaten track in a strip mall at 4750 South Kirkman Road but the food is genuine Mexican, excellent, fresh and the Margaritas are ... well, you be the judge.
Splurge - as luck would have it, one of the best restaurants in Orlando is at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. Excellent service in an upmarket venue with a French and Italian feel to the food. The sauces are not heavy, the wine list expansive and the 'special' night will stay in your memory.
Orlando doesn't skimp on the weather front; it's warm or hot all year round. Winters are a balmy 20 or so C, and summer gets up to the high 30s (perfect for beaching or sunning by the pool).
Summer sees the occasional thunder and lightening storm but these are an afternoon phenomenon gone in an hour. Of course, should a hurricane strike, it may be more than an hour or two.
Winter is a good time to visit if you're intent upon the theme parks as the walk-about temps are very comfortable. If you're here in summer best bet is a morning at the parks followed by an afternoon at the pool, Margarita in hand.
Orlando is theme park paradise
All the biggies are here. No matter where you're staying the free shuttles will make getting to the park of your choice relatively easy. Our suggestion is to bring your own food on a theme park day out. Visit a local deli, stock up on sandwiches and fruit and off you go. Theme park food is hell expensive and ... not that good for the most part.
The Big Six - all the theme parks are here; SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Wet 'n' Wild, Epcot, Disney, Universal and Gatorland. They all used to be an exercise in queuing but most have the Express Ticket scheme now and the facilities are much better than they used to be. Pick your poison and saddle up.
SeaWorld - is great for the kids. From the Killer Whales to the dolphin shows, the feeding exhibits and the aquariums, interactive shows and film presentations, SeaWorld does it all with polish and panache.
Around the World at Epcot - this is a marvellous day out, roaming the world exhibits and seeing how all sorts of different cultures live all around the world. Not some 'back to school' exhibit, it's hands on, informative and fun.
Gatorland - Florida is the home of the alligator. And the snake. Some of the most dangerous critters on the planet and you can get all up close and personal, if not on first name terms. Bring the camera and a sense of queasy horror because you'll see a very different, very real experience here.
Island's of Adventure - here's where your favourite movie characters hang out. You'll need all your spidy senses to track them down, but it's a fun day full of exciting rides and shows. The new Harry Potter exhibition is very cool.
Wet 'n' Wild - you're in Florida and the sun is shining so what better way to spend the day than racing from exciting ride to awesome ride. Scare yourself silly, get wet, cool down, have a blast - it's what Orlando is all about!
The must see - Discovery Cove is just how a theme park should be. Well set out, tons of room, plenty of facilities for large crowds, good food and, oh yeah, absolutely wonderful dolphin and snorkelling experiences. Hand feed the birds, relax on pristine beaches - just chill!