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A fabulous time was had by all, as always. It is 'home from home' to us. Hope we will be back sometime.
Thanks Steve & Julie.

The Stenton Family, Leicestershire




 

Visitor Information

 

Orlando Florida is the world's most popular tourist destination and many people return again and again.
It is not possible to see all the attractions in just two weeks, let alone visit the wonderful beaches, golf courses, shopping malls etc.

If this is your first time to Florida, or even if it is a return visit, you may wish to take a few minutes to read through some of the information and opinions that we have collated over the years.

Topics we cover are attractions including:
Walt Disney World
Universal Orlando
Sea World
Busch Gardens
Kennedy Space Centre

And theres more....
Shopping
Eating
Golf
Weather
and finally.

Planning Your Stay
After a long flight you most probably want to get straight to your destination.
As you are renting a house on a self-catering basis it is a good idea to pick up some essentials before you go to bed, local supermarkets are rarely more than about a mile away. The next morning you may like to make a list of what you would like to do. The beauty of Florida is that there is so much to experience. However, this does mean that you will have to plan your holiday carefully. The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Centre and the Animal Kingdom can take 2 days each to see. Sea World, The Disney's Hollywood Studios and the two parks at Universal Florida will all require a day each, and you also have to leave some time to visit the shopping malls, as well as lounging by the pool and generally relaxing.
Hopefully, the following information will give you an insight as to what the Orlando area has to offer. But please take some time when you are there to explore the many other varied and wonderful attractions and sights that this "holiday capital of the World" has to offer - Dinner Shows, Night Time attractions (Downtown Disney, Pleasure Island, Universal City Walk - to name a few!), the Gulf Coast, Daytona Speedway - the list really is endless.


Weather
Although the Florida weather is good all year round, there are two main seasons
May to September - hot, humid, with the occasional downpour. When it does rain it is likely to be torrential, but it will rarely last longer than an hour and is incredibly localised. As soon as the rain stops, the temperature and humidity will rise again, with summer temperatures often topping 90° F (32° C). Shorts and T-shirts are suitable during the day, but you may need a light sweatshirt and long trousers in the evening, if only to cope with the air conditioning at some restaurants,
October to April - warm and mostly dry, when temperatures are usually in the 70s and 80s. Sustained cold spells are uncommon, so shorts and T-shirts will be suitable during the day. Long trousers and shirtsleeves may be needed if there is a breeze and for when the sun goes down.
To check current weather conditions, click here WEATHER

Attractions
WALT DISNEY WORLD
The Walt Disney World Resort covers over 43 square miles and contains the following attractions:

The Magic Kingdom
There are forty-five major attractions in the Magic Kingdom, and the number keeps growing. The Magic Kingdom is divided into seven lands' - Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Main Street USA, Tomorrowland and Mickey's Toontown Fair.
Some of the most popular attractions include Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain.

EPCOT Centre

The Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, consists of Future World and World Showcase.
Future World is a theme area that focuses on discovery and scientific achievement, with many fantastic attractions.
World Showcase features a number of exhibitions from different nations
of the world. EPCOT also concludes the evening with a fabulous laser
and fireworks show.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney's Hollywood Studios are a working TV and film studio as well as a theme park. There are a number of excellent attractions, including backlot tours, stunt shows, and the stomach-churning Tower of Terror.

The Animal Kingdom
The latest Disney Theme Park is also the largest theme park in Florida. Animal Kingdom is based on two continents, India and Africa and all flora and fauna has been imported to guarantee authenticity. Apart from many species of wild animals from the two continents there are special attractions, themed rides and also educational features, taking you from an explosive prehistoric encounter to the middle of an astonishing safari.

Water Parks
There are also two water parks In Walt Disney World: Blizzard Beach encompasses a unique ski resort "melting" in the sun. But don’t be fooled, here you will find some of the world’s most thrilling water rides, Typhoon Lagoon resembles a Caribbean lagoon with opportunities for drifting on inflatable tubes along Castaway Creek or hurtling down one of the many slides, plus this is also the home of the world’s largest man-made surfing pond! 

Downtown Disney
Day or Night, there’s dining, shopping and entertainment for all ages and tastes at Downtown Disney West Side, Downtown Disney Marketplace and Downtown Disney Pleasure Island.

Fantasia Mini Golf
The craziest of crazy golf courses. Great fun, based around Disney’s classic "Fantasia"

Apart from all of the above, there is lots more to do at Walt Disney World. If you can find the time, check out some of the fabulous themed hotels (a good place to meet for lunch or dinner).  Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex is the place where you can catch the action and excitement of your favourite sports.
Walt Disney World has over 250 different dining locations. At selected restaurants you can also "Dine with Disney Characters", where you can enjoy Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner whilst your favourite Disney characters come right to your table for autographs and photos. There are also a number of Disney Dinner Shows. It is highly recommend that you make advance reservations for any Characters Dining or Dinner Shows that you would like to go to, before you arrive in Florida. We will be happy to assist you with this, if required.
There are a number of supervised Disney kids clubs (4 - 12 year olds) available in the evenings. So if the grownups would like to go out and play for a few hours, you know that the kids are being well looked after. Although not particularly cheap ($5 - $10 per hour), it is a great place for the kids to have fun. Again, reservations are a must and we will be pleased to help you with this.
For more information click here Walt Disney World.

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UNIVERSAL ORLANDO
Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure and City Walk combine to make Universal Orlando, the third most popular theme park in the USA (after Walt Disney World and Disneyland in California. Some of the popular attractions include (Universal Studios), A Day in the Park with Barney - where you actually meet this famous children’s character, Disaster - where you experience a subway earthquake, Jaws - takes you on a thrilling boat ride in shark infested waters and Simpsons - The Ride - this has got to be one of the best simulators rides ever, and the new Men In Black where you must save the World from the scum of the Universe! Whilst over in the new Islands of Adventure you can set off to experience legendary and mythical classics, as well as the most incredible contemporary stories and characters in five excitingly different islands. Don’t miss the Incredible Hulk Coaster where you are launched from 0 to 64 kph in two seconds, then test your nerve in the Duelling Dragons high speed, near miss roller-coaster across the skies. Plus, do not miss The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!!
.
Lastly, why not stop off at City Walk on your way home. City Walk is an expansive 12-hectare complex featuring a fantastic mix of live entertainment, fun and fine dining establishments, electrifying speciality shops and state-of-the-art cinemas.
For more information click here Universal Orlando.

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SEA WORLD
This is the most popular marine life park in the world. Here you can come face to face with killer whales, sharks, stingrays, dolphins, penguins and seals, to name but a few. There are also a number a shows featuring all manner of marine wildlife in action, plus a couple of adventure rides, children’s aquatic play area and a stunning water ski show.
Plus you can now swim with the dolphins at the new Discovery Cove park. For more information click here Sea World.

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BUSCH GARDENS

Situated near Tampa, on the Gulf Coast, Busch Gardens combines rides, shows, America’s forth largest zoo and some of the best "thrill" rides that you will ever experience. Based on turn-of-the-century Africa, the park contains nine themed areas - Morocco; Myombe Reserve; Crown Colony; Nairobi; the Serengeti Plain; Timbuktu; the Congo; Egypt and Stanleyville. Plus "Edge of Africa" and the Bird Gardens.
If you are in search of excitement, look no further than the Kumba and Python roller coasters in the Congo. Also, for the strong hearted, are the Scorpion roller coaster in Timbuktu and the Tanganyika Tidal Wave in Stanleyville. Plus, for the totally suicidal, launch yourself on the new Montu ride in Egypt. Montu is the world’s largest inverted roller coaster, travelling in excess of 60 miles an hour, dropping nearly 13 stories and generating G forces 3.85 times those of mere mortals!
Those who prefer to keep hold of their stomachs can proceed towards the animal reserves in the different themed areas and the fabulous children’s play area.
For more information click here Busch Gardens.

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTRE
The John F Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral, is located on the Atlantic East Coast of Florida. This is a very popular attraction that provides a real insight into the work of NASA and the history of space exploration. The IMAX theatres are a sight and sound spectacular, presented on screens five and a half stories tall and 70ft wide. Astronauts have described the films as the closest you can get to space flight and the 3D display is simply breathtaking. To get the most of your visit, take the guided bus tour around the site. This will take you to the Vehicle Assembly Building (a staggering 520ft high building that covers 8 acres), the Saturn 5 model and the launch pads 39A and 39B. You can also experience a simulated launch countdown.
Spaceport USA is not just for space enthusiasts. It is a fascinating and entertaining attraction that is also good value. Parking is free and the entrance ticket includes the fabulous "behind the scenes" bus tour and the IMAX presentations.

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And there's more
Apart from our quick insight into the main attractions Central Florida has to offer, if you have the time (and any energy left) you may like to check out some of these, less well known and not quite as hectic, attractions and parks.

Mauna Air Tours - Click here for TV Spot
Bok Tower Gardens - 157 acre garden and nature observatory
Daytona International Speedway - Guided tours of this famous speedway circuit
Gatorland - come face to face with these fascinating creatures
Mystery Fun House - 15 chambers of fun and surprises
Trainland - Americas largest and most dramatic model train layouts
Orange Blossom Balloons - Take to the skies, high above the attractions, in a hot air balloon
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards - Free guided tour and wine tasting
Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum - unbelievable exhibits including holograms, illusions etc.
Orlando Science Centre - hands-on science for visitors of all ages
Congo River Miniature Golf - great evening fun
Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf - more miniature golf
Fun `n` Wheels - go-carts
Wet `n` Wild - another water park - very popular

This is just a few of the many other attractions that the Orlando area can offer. The list would be endless if you included the rest of Florida.

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SHOPPING
The Florida Mall is a huge shopping centre containing a wide range of shops selling almost everything for far less than you would pay in the UK. It is situated just off the Orange Blossom Trail.
The Factory Outlet Mall located on West Oakridge Road at the far north end of International Drive, stocks a number of designer names at factory direct prices.
There are many other shopping areas, International Drive, the Premium Outlet Mall, and the famous 192 highway, to name but a few. Have fun!
Food shopping is best done at the large local supermarkets, Publix is one of the best. Wal-Mart, K Mart, and Walgreen's are also good for other "essentials".

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EATING
Restaurants

Florida has restaurants to suit every taste and budget. America is the land of fast food, but this does not detract from the quality and quantity on offer. Service is usually excellent and this is not wholly due to the fact that most waiters and waitresses rely on tips to enhance their basic wages. You can take your pick from a huge range of restaurants, from buffet to barbecue, steak to seafood, Indian to Italian and everything in-between!
There are also numerous McDonalds, Burger Kings, KFC`s, Pizza Huts etc. etc., throughout the area to satisfy the less adventurous.

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Dinner Shows
These are a great way to spend an evening, especially if there is a group of you. Apart from the famous Disney shows that we mentioned earlier, here is a list of some of the most popular ones.
Capone's Dinner & Show - Gangster themed evening
Mark Two Dinner Theatre - A fully staged Broadway show follows a buffet dinner
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament - one of Orlando`s most popular shows
Sleuths Mystery Show & Dinner - Experience an exciting evening of mystery and intrigue
Arabian Nights - See the world’s famous horses and the greatest "thrill" riders
Pirate's Dinner Show - A fantastic "swashbuckling" evening of fun and action.

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Golf
There are more than 55 million rounds of golf played in Florida every year. There are 1,100 courses in Florida, with more than 100, 18-hole courses around Orlando alone. For the keen golfer there are discount deals available when purchasing a "season ticket" for five, ten or even twenty games.

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And finally
Two things often overlooked by the first time visitor to the USA - Sales Tax (currently 6 or 7% in Florida), this is added on all items and is not printed in the price tags. Telephones, the number for all emergency services is 911 and the code to ring back to the UK is 011 44 (then drop the first 0)
We hope that this brief guide will give you a better insight into the Worlds Holiday Capital.

 

Luxury Florida Villa

We have been helping people get the most from their Florida holidays for over 20 years and feel that we offer the utmost in service, value and reliability. If you can't find what you are looking for why not ask us if we can help, alternatively please call us on 01342 893883