Nicknamed 'The City Beautiful', Orlando needs little introduction. A palm-lined paradise of action-packed thrills and magical family days out, the sun-baked region is regarded as the world’s theme park capital. But there's a quieter side to Orlando too, with unexpected gardens, wide tree-lined boulevards to stroll down, lush parks to spend lazy days in, and countless museums to explore.
Things to see
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is sure to ignite the imaginations of kids and grown-ups alike. With the iconic Cinderella Castle as its centerpiece, the whimsical fairytale land pays homage to all the beloved Disney classics. Within the resort you’ll also find the Downtown Disney complex, a colorful hub of shops, dining, and entertainment - all liberally dusted with that distinctive Disney magic. For movie buffs, theme parks don’t get much better than Universal Studios Orlando. With adrenaline-inducing rides and showbiz-styled attractions, visitors will find themselves stepping into some of their favorite blockbuster movies. Right next door, Universal’s Islands of Adventure is sure to thrill any budding explorer. With themed islands, including Jurassic Park and the ever popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter, adventure comes as standard. With its captivating marine-zoos, rides, and attractions, SeaWorld Orlando merges thrills and fun, with a little bit of deep-sea learning.
Hotels in Orlando
There’s certainly no shortage of hotels in Orlando. Whatever your taste and budget, the sheer choice on offer allows you to be picky. Five-star American luxury comes in the form of marble-clad hotels set within tropical gardens, complete with glittering pools, swanky restaurants, and lush green golf courses. The mid-range choices aim to indulge too, with plenty of deluxe amenities as well as Disney-themed hotels to stay in. For those who prefer a little American independence, rental villas are a great way to go. Cheap accommodation in Orlando is also in good supply, with comfortable motels and budget hotels all over.
Where to stay
If you want to immerse yourself in all the Disney magic, a stay within Walt Disney World will put you just a stone's throw from all the family-friendly attractions. Here you can rub shoulders with Mickey and co in the Magic Kingdom, encounter exotic animals in the Animal Kingdom, and take a ride in the ball-like Spaceship Earth at Epcot. If you're after lively nightlife, Downtown Disney's home to buzzing bars, live music shows, and restaurants dishing up everything from tasty Deep South dishes to freshly-netted fish while Lake Buena Vista's home to designer outlets where you can pick up big name brands at bargain prices. International Drive is packed with more action and where you'll find Universal Studios, SeaWorld Orlando, and the Wet'n Wild water park.
How to get to
With flights to and from most American and European destinations, Orlando International Airport will be the gateway into Florida for most visitors. Getting to your hotel from the airport shouldn’t be a problem, with plenty of bus and shuttle services traveling to and from the main hotels and resorts. Some hotels, such as those at Walt Disney World, provide a complimentary transfer service.