Hi! My name is Dan and I have been writing travel blogs for around 5 years now. I have been lucky enough to travel to Orlando, Florida more than 10 times in my life. It is probably one of the only places in the world where I don’t think anyone can get tired of visiting!
Over the years, I have picked some very handy travel tips including the best way to reach Orlando, finding accommodation as well as some lesser-known but amazing things to do outside of the usual theme parks.
Getting to Orlando
Travelling to Orlando can be a little bit tricky and there is quite a bit to think about regarding convenience and prices. There are some airports in the UK that offer direct flights to Orlando which are the most convenient but also usually much more expensive. If you add an extra leg (or two) to your journey, you can start to significantly bring the cost of travel down. However, this is also the least convenient way to arrive.
Some of the popular stop-off airports include Gatwick, Heathrow, Paris, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, Philadelphia, New York and Miami. If you can include one stop in one of these before reaching Orlando, you can take a couple of thousand pounds of your cost of flights, especially if you are travelling as a family.
Whether you choose to go direct or make a few stops, I always highly recommend booking through a travel agent. An agent will be able to get you the most accurate price comparisons as well as the cheapest route to reaching Orlando rather than trying to investigate everything yourself.
Finding Accommodation in Orlando
The great thing about Orlando is that it has a very wide range of accommodation options to suit all kinds of budgets.
The villa option is always very popular as it allows you to have your own space, often your own pool and all of the amenities that you would expect in a home. It is one of the most comfortable ways to stay in Orlando.
The hotel or condominium option is one of the best routes to take when looking for accommodation. Because there is so much competition in Orlando, you can usually find some great rates. With most places being located within a half hour drive of the theme parks, location is very rarely an issue either. Hotels are slightly more affordable but it often means you only have a bedroom to live in. Condominiums would be my recommended choice as you get all of the facilities of a hotel – things like a games room, swimming pool, gym – but also your own living space including a kitchen, dining room and balcony in many places.
If you are staying in a hotel or a condominium, you can’t go wrong anywhere along International Drive. This is where most of the accommodation is located in Orlando with easy access to pubs, bars, mini golf, day-time activities, shops and the theme parks.
Villas are dotted all over Orlando so you will have to look a bit more specifically for those. Many people also opt to stay on-site at a Disney Hotel or Universal Studios Hotel which not only provides easy access to the parks, it usually also gives other privileges such as early access before the parks officially open.
Things to Do and See in Orlando
The theme parks are the obvious attractions to Orlando so I won’t dwell upon them for too long. However, if you’re truly a first-timer, you may only be aware of the Disney parks and more specifically, Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. However, there is also the spectacular Epcot theme park as well as two waterparks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
This only covers Disney too. The Universal theme parks include Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay Water Park. Then there is also SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens and Aquatica Water Park to name a few more.
It can be almost impossible to try to cram all of these theme parks into your holiday so it is usually best to buy only a Disney, Universal Studios or SeaWorld pack which includes all of the parks. The 14-day flexi ticket is highly recommended as you can come and go from any of the parks as you please within this period. The flexibility is life-saving and is usually a lot cheaper too than buying single tickets for the days.
Outside of the theme parks, there is still so much to do and see in Orlando. If you head down to the recently created “Orlando Eye” area of International Drive, you will find the viewing ferris wheel similar to the London Eye which provides spectacular views across Orlando. There is also a SeaLife Aquarium here, Madame Tussauds and a number of lively bars and restaurants.
If you head to downtown Orlando you will find a number attractions, particularly bars, restaurants and nightclubs that are hard to come by in other parts of Orlando. There is also the famous Camping World Stadium which hosts a number of sporting events as well as the Amway Center – home of the Orlando Magic basketball team. Make sure you go downtown on any game day for the best atmosphere!
There is also the Florida Mall which you can easily spend an entire day shopping in and it includes almost every shop that you can imagine. For some bargains, there are also a number of Outlet malls where you will find some hard-to-resist discounts on big brands.
In this blog, we have covered just Orlando but if you were to venture a bit further afield, your Orlando trip can (and probably should if possible) be accompanied by trips to Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral, Tampa, Florida Keys to name just a few!
So there you have it. A quick travel guide based on my trips to Orlando!! Can we tempt you to visit this magical destination in the near future? Let us know in the coments!