50 years ago, Orlando, Florida, was a sizeable and prosperous town, but certainly not a destination for tourists. Today, it is one of the world’s most popular vacation spots. Thanks to an influx of attractions and theme parks over the years, the city of Orlando has become synonymous with tourism.
Even though the city’s theme parks, such as Disney World, are its main draw, they aren’t the only reasons to visit Orlando. In fact, this Florida city can be a popular destination for any type of tourist.
What to do
If Orlando is known for one thing above all else, it would have to be the city’s incredible theme parks. With the Walt Disney World Resort and the Universal Orlando Resort all in one place, the city of Orlando attracts millions of tourists every year.
The Walt Disney World Resort is home to four separate theme parks and two water parks. At the Magic Kingdom, guests can enjoy classic attractions like the Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain. Across the way at Epcot, guests can explore the world with all of their senses at the park’s 11 World Showcase pavilions. Disney’s newest theme park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is set to become even more exciting as the world of James Cameron’s film “Avatar” is brought to life there later this year.
Of course, Disney World isn’t the only theme park in town. The Universal Orlando Resort has two separate theme parks for guests to enjoy. At Islands of Adventure, little ones can explore the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss, while thrill-seekers take on the fury of the Incredible Hulk Coaster. Spanning both parks is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where fans can immerse themselves into their favorite scenes from the beloved franchise.
If theme parks aren’t quite your thing, Orlando still has plenty of great spots to explore. The Harry P. Leu Gardens offer a relaxing environment for visitors to enjoy, while the Orlando Science Center has exhibits for scientists both young and old. No matter what you enjoy to do, Orlando has something for you.
Where to stay
When visiting Orlando, it’s not a bad idea to try and find a hotel near the city’s attractions. The Walt Disney World Resort makes that easy by offering on-site hotels and lodging.
Much like its theme parks, Disney has infused a theme into each one of its hotels, creating an unforgettable experience. At Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, guests can spend their evenings taking part in an authentic Hawaiian luau. Resort guests can even get an up-close and personal look at some of Africa’s wildest animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
If Orlando tourists want to stay a little closer to the Universal Orlando Resort instead, then their best option is the Hard Rock Hotel. The resort hotel not only offers ease of access to Universal’s parks, but also to Orlando’s legendary Hard Rock Café restaurant.
Where to eat
With so many different cultures that have been brought to the Orlando area over the years, it only makes sense that the city would be home to so many different flavors. No matter what kind of cuisine you are in the mood for, Orlando has a restaurant that can satisfy your tastes.
Walt Disney World is home to an eclectic assortment of restaurants and eateries. From fine dining to buffet meals with characters, there is a wide range of dining experiences to choose from. Via Napoli at Epcot has become world-renowned for its delicious, yet inexpensive pizza. Meanwhile, Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge offers authentic African flavors.
Further away from all the hustle and bustle of the theme parks is Miller’s Orlando Ale House. Here, food enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of bar staples, like burgers and wings, while tapping into the domestic beers at the Ale House’s bar.
USA Today recommends that Orlando visitors take a trip to the Ravenous Pig. With a menu of comforting Southern flavors, the Ravenous Pig not only provides guests with home-cooked meals, but also provides them with an atmosphere that they won’t find anywhere else.
If you are looking to add a bit of magic to family’s your next vacation, then you are sure to find it in Orlando, Florida.