Orlando remains a perennially-favourite tourist destination. Here are some hints and tips to help you make the most of your visit.
1. Book your park tickets in advance
Orlando is perhaps most famous for its Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Orlando Resorts. With a little research, you can make big discounts on theme park entry and get priority queue tickets to help make your experience even better – standing in line is never fun, so try and get to the parks early and make the most of the smaller morning crowds!
2. Shop til you drop
While the theme parks and beaches rightly capture the attention of most visitors, Orlando is also a mecca for the discerning shopper; the city boasts a range of huge outlet malls, along with premier department stores such as Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue – don’t miss out!
3. Getting around
The fly-drive holiday has become extremely popular. With a wide range of options to choose from, visitors to Orlando may decide on car hire to get around. Don’t just stick to the popular sights, explore the region fully at your own pace.
4. The Magicard
The Orlando Magicard offers great discounts on a wide range of attractions, shops and restaurants – with substantial hotel discounts and 2 for 1 offers, this is a must for all travellers. Best of all it’s free!
5. Out of this World
Just 45 minutes from Orlando is the world famous Kennedy Space Centre, from which all US space missions are launched. The visitor complex provides a vast, interactive tour including IMAX films, the astronaut Hall of Fame and various rides and simulators. Again, grab your tickets in advance and pick up big savings.
6. Hoop dreams
Traveling between October and April? Why not take in one of 40 home NBA games featuring the Orlando Magic franchise? The Amway Centre is centrally located and tickets can be bought in advance, offering good savings, or at the gate.
7. Arts and culture
Many visitors combine the fast-paced theme parks with a more cultured experience: Orlando is home to many galleries, museums and theatres. Children and adults alike will love the World of Chocolate Museum, and culture lovers can experience the Orlando Ballet and Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. The Magicard offers great discounts for many of these attractions.
8. After dark
Orlando also boasts a vibrant nightlife: from cosy cafes and comedy clubs to live music and nightclubs, there’s something for everyone. Remember to stay safe though – book your return taxi in advance and make sure you stay in well-lit and populated areas. As with all big cities, Orlando has its share of crime, so speak to your hotel reception or tourist information for areas to avoid, and make sure you have an enjoyable and safe visit.
9. Save on food and drink
If you’re heading to the theme parks, leave a packed lunch and bottled water in the car – you’ll save a fortune on in-park cuisine and it’ll be healthier too! After the hustle and bustle of the attractions, a restful lunch will leave you more energised and ready to go again!
10. Don’t burn
In the summer months especially, Florida basks in high temperatures and plentiful sunshine, so don’t forget to apply plenty of sunscreen, drink lots of water and get some shade in the heat of the day – also be prepared for the occasional heavy summer storm!