If you are looking for a one-stop location for fun, excitement and pleasure, Orlando is it! More than 48 million visitors come to Orlando each year. Of those, 46 million are domestic guests and 2.8 million are international.
The population of Orlando and surrounding area is more than 1.9 million now and continues to grow.
There are some 450 hotels with accommodations ranging from luxury resorts and themed hotels to charming bed and breakfasts, economy hotels and campgrounds. You can even rent vacation homes.
Orlando’s theme parks are among the best in the world, plus there is so much more to do in the area of excitement and sightseeing in the surrounding area.
Here you will find Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort. There is SeaWorld, plus 90 other attractions. Where else in the world is so much magic?
Orlando has numerous museums, great restaurants, fantastic shopping along with active participation adventures and tours. And, there is not only fun here, but also culture. You’ll find Orlando Opera, ballet, a Shakespeare theater, a philharmonic orchestra, plus Broadway productions and little theater.
Nightlife can be found in ultra-hip bars, high-energy dance clubs and laid-back pubs. The Red Coconut Club is always fun or you can chill out at ICEBAR, a new concept in nightlife on International Drive, where everything is made of ice — and capes and gloves are provided. You might find recording artists at the House of Blues at Downtown Disney’s West Side or Hard Rock Live at Universal Orlando Resort. If you are looking for laughs, try SAK Comedy Lab, featuring some of the nation’s up and-coming comedians.
How about some delicious new tastes in dining? In Orlando you can sample food from Africa, Morocco, Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, England, Ireland, Italy, Greece, France, China, Japan, Vietnam and India to name a few. Begin at Epcot’s World Showcase and some of the restaurants at the Walt Disney Resort hotels, including Jinko — The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You can even discover how great low-calorie entrees and desserts can taste at Seasons 52 on Sand Lake Road. You can also try Emeril Lagasse’s Tchoup Chop, Todd English’s bluezoo; Norman Van Aken’s; Melissa Kelly of Primo; and Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s.
In Orlando there are the luxury brand hotels such as The Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Intercontinental Hotels, with Hilton and Four Seasons coming soon. The Disney World Resort properties are most popular if you have children or grandchildren, along with Lowes Hotels at Universal Orlando Resort, and the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando.
The Walt Disney theme parks are the most famous attractions, along with Universal Studios and SeaWorld; however, there are numerous other adventures available for the choosing. How about a hot air balloon ride ending in a champagne toast, celebration picnic and commemorative photo with the pilot? Helicopter rides are available as well as skydiving, hang gliding, horseback riding, camping, skateboarding, and motorcycling. NASCAR fans can live their dreams by driving or riding in an authentic stock car at Richard Petty’s Driving Experience at Walt Disney World Resort or at the Daytona 500 Experience. Something new for me would be a Ziplining Safari where guests on a treetop nature tour reach heights of 55 feet and speeds up to 20 mph. Explain that to your neighbors!
Fishing is fantastic with more than 2,000 named lakes, rivers and springs in the greater Orlando area. You can try for large-mouth bass, monster red fish and spotted sea trout. You can check into fish camps with guides or try eco-tours on Shingle Creek. If you like salt water fishing, cast your line from piers, from the shore or fishing boats located less than an hour’s drive from Orlando.
Surfing along the Atlantic Coast can be exciting. Your hotel can advise you of the best locations. Close in try the Flow Rider at the Florida Mall or Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon where you can get some surfing lessons.
If you are in the mood for a cruise, Port Canaveral is just 45 minutes east of Orlando and is the second-busiest multi-day cruise port in the world. Choose from three-, four-, and seven-day itineraries aboard Royal Caribbean’s Monarch of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas along with the great ship of Disney the Disney Wonder and NCL’s Norwegian Spirit and Carnival’s Glory and Sensation. Half-day cruises are available on the SunCruz Casino ship and new Las Vegas Casino Lines.
Golfing is very popular with 176 Orlando-area golf courses that were designed by famed architects such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Robert Trent Jones and more. A new Orlando “Golf Trail” links nine premier golf facilities and six lodging properties along the Interstate 4 corridor, offering golfers a one-stop booking option for a golf vacation like no other.
If you just want to relax on the sunny, sandy beaches nearby, drive over to the Atlantic Ocean and claim your spot for rest.
Magical Midway is home to International Drive’s most elevated Go-Kart tracks, intense thrill rides, midway rides and huge video arcade. The Gator Adventure Park lets you take a walk on the wild side with trained alligator shows, gator wrestling, amid hundreds of live gators. The SkyVenture Orlando offers indoor skydiving in which visitors float on a column of air. No parachute, no jumping and no experience are necessary.
The Holy Land Experience re-creates the city of Jerusalem and its religions importance between the years 1450 B.C. and A.D. 66 through costumed characters, dramatic enactments and high-tech presentations. The living biblical museum is home to the Scriptorium, a collection of biblical antiquities dating back to 2200 B.C.
Van’s Skatepark is Orlando’s top skateboard park with varied riding areas and obstacles designed for the beginner to advanced skaters. Includes multiple ramps, bowls, and an arcade.
Wet ’n Wild offers a variety of multi-passenger thrill rides with loads of special effects. The Storm washes riders down a towering chute, swirls them around at high speeds and tumbles them into a splash landing.
WonderWorks is the only upside-down attraction and features more than 100 interactive exhibits. Experience virtual reality and rock climbing as well as designing and riding your own roller coaster.
Almost everything you might want in excitement and fun is in Orlando or close by. Getting there is easy with direct flights and many car rental companies to assist you with your needs.
As you plan your vacation, check out VisitOrlando.com or call 1-800-551-0181. Your local travel professional can also give you ideas and book your flights, hotels and car, as well as other attractions.
Have a ball!