Orlando is one of the world’s premier travel destinations. There are millions of people visiting the area every year, enjoying the numerous attractions, events, and beaches that make Central Florida a great place to visit and live. The home of Mickey, Pluto, and Donald Duck, Orlando is truly a city of fantasy, you don’t necessarily have to enter the parks to feel you are in another world, with just a stroll through its vast avenues you will see toys, museums with strange forms, themed restaurants, minigolf with spectacular environments, endless of things that will make you feel that you entered to an unknown dimension.
In Orlando, there is too much to enjoy. There are twelve theme parks: Downtown Disney, the Universal CityWalk, five water parks scattered throughout the city, and hundreds of urban attractions. Before so much bombardment of things, what you have to do is to plan your day and see what attractions are worthwhile and which not, because the goal is to enjoy, not get crazy.
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How to get there
If your first stop is Miami, what remains is to get the rented car and head to Orlando. The trip will take four hours, but worth it. In the route, there are places where you can eat or use to go to the bathroom. Remember to carry enough coins because during the journey you will face a series of tolls and it is recommendable to take the exact change for not wasting time. But if, by contrast, traveling from Caracas to Orlando, three airlines offer nonstop flights.
In Orlando, accommodation options are in abundance. There are hotels for all tastes and needs. If your budget allows you, you can book a room in the hotel complexes of Walt Disney World. You can enjoy a number of privileges such as tickets to the parks and free transfers. The cheapest of these hotels are Disney’s Pop Century Resort, the All-Star Sports, All-Star Movies and All-Star Music (all with rooms from $ 77 – depending on the season) and the most expensive the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel at Walt Disney World ($ 325 night). By the side of Universal, there are three hotels, the Hard Rock Hotel (from $199 p/night), Portofino Bay Hotel, (from $249) and the Royal Pacific Resort ($159). Universal has good deals on hotels if the booking is done online. You can also stay in Kissimmee, to the south of Orlando, where the hotels are much more economic (from $43 the night) as they are a bit away from the parks.
Where to eat
All the days are spent in the parks, so this is the place where you will be eating (unless you walk for shopping center of Orlando). If you enter one of the restaurants that are within these attractions let me tell you that you are going to spend a small fortune. The good thing is that they also have fast food places, so my advice is to get a good breakfast – there are many places in Orlando where you can eat – where you can eat what you want for a single.
Many hotels offer transfers to the parks, but it’s better to have your own car, as this will free your entry and exit of the attractions when you want. If you did not come for running to Orlando but want to rent a car you can easily do so through any of the specialized agencies. There are five of them located in the airport (Avis, Dollar, Budget, National, and L & M Rental Cars). For cars from other companies, you should take the bus allocated for that purpose. The best thing is that these companies always have cheaper tariffs. To give you an idea of how much it can cost to rent a car for about 6 days: an order of a compact (Neon, Cavalier) is $ 270-280.
What to buy
Although you really going to Orlando to see Mickey more than to buy, it is always nice to know that if you want to escape to the stores you will find many shopping malls. You can choose between the Florida Mall, Orlando Fashion Square Mall, Osceola Square Mall, Altamonte Mall, Eagle Ridge Mall, Seminole Towne Center, and West Oaks Mall. There are also Outlets (places where to find products with a 60% discount) as the American Tourister Factory Outlet, the Acme Boot Outlet, Belz Factory Outlet Mall, the Edwin Watts Golf Shops, the Dansk Factory Outlet, The Great Western Boot Outlet, the Fitz And Floyd, the Group USA, the Manufacturers Outlet Kissimmee, the Belz Designer Outlet Centers, Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, Mikasa Factory Outlet, the Lenox Factory Store, the Orlando Premium Outlets Mall, Off 5th – Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet and Quality Centers.
These shops are open from 10 am to 9 pm from Monday to Saturday and until 6 on Sundays.
The hours of operation of theme parks in Orlando vary by season. If you want to go into these school holidays (July-August) most of the attractions will be open between 9 am and 10 pm. You can purchase tickets through your travel agent (or buy them via the Internet), thus avoiding the long queues in the parks. I am not going to deny that the tickets are expensive, but having come this far not to be pleased good, not worth it, also think that you will be there all day and you are not going to pay anything extra to enjoy the attractions. I suggest buying tickets for several days, as it will allow you to enter other related parks. For example: At Universal Studios you can buy the two days – two parks, enabling you to the entrance to Islands of Adventures in Orlando.
Both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios have launched a service called FASTPASS (in the case of WDW) and Universal Express Pass (for the U.S.), which allows the tourist to save time in a row and gives you more chance to enjoy the parks. When you insert the ticket in one of these machines, you will receive a designated hour for your visit, be able to do with peace of mind for the rest of the Park, and re-enter if the attraction and queue up. It is more practical than what could have invented!
Then the parks that are those that should occupy the top of your list:
Magic Kingdom® Park: Load up on Disney goodies at the Magic Kingdom® Park. First stop: The Chapeau, to the right of the Main Street U.S.A area, for an iconic mouse-ears hat embroidered with your name. Choose from 19 styles, including pink fur and glow-in-the-dark green. Stock up on mementos from the Hundred Acre Wood at Pooh’s Thotful Shop, and on princess gear, from tiaras to slippers, at Tinker Bell’s Fairy Treasures. And cuddle up to plush versions of many Disney characters at Mickey’s Toontown Fair Souvenirs.
Epcot Center: Epcot is divided into two sections; one of them is Future World, where you can learn new technologies applied to the home, automobiles, computers and ecology. The other is the tour of 11 countries with a sample of their architecture, food and entertainment. From the first I recommend that you do not miss the Test Track Ride from General Motors, if you like speed, this attraction will become your favorite. The World Showcase moves by China, Italy, Morocco, UK, Norway, Mexico, Japan, France, United States, Germany and Canada. Don’t stop testing the beer of each country. The entrance to the park is $ 48.
MGM: The best thing about this park: the Tower of Terror, the 3D Muppet Vision and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. If you get the courage to be assembled in the first, tighten the belts!. Admission: $ 48
Universal Studios: The best rides are: Back to the Future, Jaws, Terminator 2 3D, ET, King Kong Kongfrontation and Indiana Jones. Parking is $ 8 and the entrance to the park (per day) worth $ 49.95 for adults and $ 40.95 for children.
Islands of Adventure: At this site the first thing you see is an imposing roller coaster called Incredible Hulk, which was included among the ten best and fastest in the world. Islands of Adventure is a set of five islands of attractions. Seuss Landing: featuring the Grinch. Made especially for children. A place where it is always Christmas. The Lost Continent: not suitable for heart disease, features Dueling Dragons (inverted, dueling roller coasters) and spin at full speed. The most frightening: Fire & Ice. Jurassic Park: the adventure begins when mounting on a boat that will carry through a river in the lost world of Steven Spielberg, where you will the fearsome tyrannosaurus Rex closely. Toon Lagoon: here you are going to come out drenched. All attractions are made in water. Marvel Super Hero Island: here you will find Spiderman. One attraction in 3D dimension that is so real that you can not distinguish between what is fiction and whatnot.
These are phenomenal attractions and are only open during times of the year in which the temperatures climb, and have a thousand slides, steep waterfalls, pools with waves and stop for you to count. The children are going to enjoy of the pretty thing in them. If they are encouraged they can choose among Adventure Island, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Water Mania, and Wet ‘n Wild. They are open from 9 am to 7:30 pm.
And that’s not all. You can also visit Animal Kingdom, Bush Gardens, Discovery Cove, Kennedy Space Center, Sea World, and Cypress Gardens.
What you must not miss if you are visiting the land of fantasy:
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament: While you relish a great banquet served by “slaves” and “girls”, you will enjoy the show were the “knights” fight to the style of middle age. Access to this medieval castle is $ 44 per adult and $ 28 per child and includes meals, two rounds of drinks and entertainment. But do not expect to see covers on your table because at that time they were not yet known.
Down Town Disney: It’s a gallery of shops, restaurants, and attractions, among which is worthwhile the very famous Cirque du Soleil, with shows throughout the year (Entrance: $ 67); Pleasure Islands, an island made especially for adults filled of clubs with different styles (country, 70’s, Rock ‘n Roll, etc.) where every day to the midnight the new year is celebrated. (Entrance: $ 19.81), Disney Quest, the ideal place for those who love virtual games (Entrance: $ 29) and Planet Hollywood, the restaurant of the stars.
City Walk: In this boulevard owned by Universal you will find restaurants, cafes, cinemas and nightclubs. Access is free; however, there are some clubs that charge entry. For it the tourist can buy the “CityWalk Party Pass – All Club Access” for $ 8.95. In City Walk, you can eat at the Hard Rock Cafe or take a good taste in the restaurant Lagasse Emeril, the famous chef from the TV. City Walk is open Monday to Sunday from 11 am to 2 am.
Ripley’s Believe it or not: The Museum of Ripley’s (Remember Even if you do not believe it?) is in Orlando and in it you will appreciate the singular and the most strange things collected from all over the world, like a cat with two heads, a cow with two legs, a head and a man petrified. Ripley’s is open 365 days a year from 9 am to 1 am. The cost of entry is $ 10 per adult and $ 5 per child.