Destination of the Week: Orlando, Florida
Theme Parks rule in Orlando, with Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, Busch Gardens and LEGOLAND all screaming for your attention. However, showstopper attractions are not the only draw cards for visitors, so when you’ve had enough rollercoaster action, you can enjoy a rich performing arts culture, beautiful nature preserves, museums, shopping, sporting activities and a sparkling night scene.
What to do
If you only have time to choose one or two theme parks, Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are at the top of most theme park bucket lists. Universal’s Island of Adventure boasts The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and The Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom is the quintessential escape to make-believe for children.
Sea World Orlando, home to killer whale, Shamu, is the one to choose for marine lovers, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay boasts Florida’s tallest rollercoaster, wildlife and white-water adventure rides and LEGOLAND offers interactive attractions and one of the world’s largest LEGO retail stores.
Away from the theme parks, head to the romantic Bok Tower Gardens for a stroll through charming woodland, check out the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, explore the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral and end the night with live music at Tin Roof.
Where to stay
Every hotel and motel chain you can pretty much imagine is located in Orlando, from the theme park’s own resorts, to budget inns, self-catering apartments and luxury, 5 star complexes. Many of the hotels offer shuttle services to the major theme parks.
Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort (£££)
Located in Lake Buena Vista, close to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and ESPN Wide World of Sports, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort has everything the whole family could wish for, including a resort pool, restaurants, an arcade room, shops, tour desk services and fully equipped rooms.
EO Inn & Spa (££)
If you want to enjoy easy access to downtown Orlando’s bar and restaurant scene, the EO Inn & Spa is a boutique hotel and day spa with a rooftop terrace, on-site dining, free Wi Fi and concierge service. The hotel is only a short drive away from Sea World and Wet ‘n Wild theme parks.
Travelodge Orlando (£)
Travelodge Orlando, is a clean, family-friendly budget hotel located on International Drive, with a free transfer service to nearby attractions, which include Sea World and Universal Studios. The hotel offers family rooms with free Wi Fi, cable TV, fridges and coffee making facilities.
Where to eat
There is food to satisfy every craving in Orlando, from fine dining restaurants to theme park dinner shows, take away options and family-friendly diners.
Big Fin Seafood Kitchen (£££)
The award-winning Big Fin Seafood Kitchen on Sand Lake Road has two full service bars and an outdoor patio to soak up the sun while you dine on fresh seafood. Serving Global Fresh Seafood, Steaks and Pastas, Sushi and Oysters, you’ll have plenty to choose from for a hearty meal. Try Big Fin Swordfish Filet Mignon or Maryland Style Crab Cakes.
Yellow Dog Eats (££)
Yellow Dog Eats is home of the barbeque, located in an old country store with a tin roof and vibrant courtyard, close to Universal Orlando Resort. Try a signature sandwich like the Buffalo Soldier, with smoked chicken and blue cheese crumbles, or a Florida Cracker, which is pulled pork topped with tangy coleslaw, smoked bacon and pickles.
East End Markets (£)
For a quick snack or a gourmet feast no matter your budget, visit East End Markets for juice bars, Italian cuisine, cheese stores, coffee shops, local fresh produce and bakeries, in among arts, crafts and books.