Orlando is a city in the central region of Florida. It is home to some of the most famous theme parks in the world, including Walt Disney World and Universal. From thrilling roller coasters and impressive water parks to world-class golf courses and beautiful beaches, Orlando has it all. With an abundance of places to go and things to see, Orlando is a must-visit destination year-round, but it’s especially popular in the wintertime when tourists look to escape the snow in favor of sunshine.
Located in Orange County, Orlando is home to a population of over 280,000 people, making it the fifth most populous city in Florida. Like most of Florida, Orlando is known for its warm and humid climate, with temperatures ranging from the low 70s in the winter to the high 90s in the summer. While much of the country is covered in snow, Orlando residents are enjoying warm sunny weather. This travel guide will help you plan your Orlando trip and make the most of your time in this incredible city.
Disney World, The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and the Theme Parks
One of the most popular attractions in Orlando is the famous Walt Disney World Resort. This massive theme park complex is home to four theme parks, two water parks, and dozens of hotels, restaurants, and other entertainment options. The four theme parks at Walt Disney World include the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios (previously named MGM), and Animal Kingdom. Each park has its own unique theme and attractions, making it easy to find something for everyone.
The Magic Kingdom is the flagship theme park at Walt Disney World and plays host to classic Disney attractions such as Cinderella’s Castle, Space Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean. The iconic Cinderella’s Castle is one of the many locations that make the Magic Kingdom so special. This castle serves as the park’s centerpiece and can be seen from almost anywhere in the park. Inside the castle lies the popular Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant, where guests have the opportunity to dine with Disney princesses.
Magic Kingdom is divided into six “lands,” each with its own unique theme and attractions. One of the most popular lands at the Magic Kingdom is Fantasyland. There, you can find classic Disney characters walking around such as Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck. You can also enjoy rides such as Dumbo the Flying Elephant, It’s a Small World, and the Mad Tea Party. Adventureland is also very popular, with attractions such as the Jungle Cruise, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and the Swiss Family Treehouse. Frontierland is home to the popular Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad rides, as well as the Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade.
The Magic Kingdom is also home to Tomorrowland, where you can find futuristic attractions such as Space Mountain and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Another popular spot at Magic Kingdom is Liberty Square, home to the Haunted Mansion and the Liberty Belle Riverboat. The park is known for its impeccably clean streets and well-maintained rides, as well as its friendly and helpful cast members. The staff is always willing to go above and beyond to make sure guests have a magical experience.
The next park at Walt Disney World is EPCOT. This is a park that celebrates human achievement and innovation, with attractions like Soarin’ Around the World, Test Track, and the popular World Showcase. The park is divided into two main areas, Future World and the World Showcase.
In the Future World area of the park, guests can learn about a variety of scientific and technological concepts through interactive exhibits and rides such as Spaceship Earth, Mission: SPACE, and The Land. These attractions not only provide entertainment, but also offer opportunities for guests to learn about important scientific and technological advances. Who said learning can’t be fun?
The World Showcase at Epcot is a section of the theme park that features representations of 11 different countries: Canada, United Kingdom, France, Morocco, Japan, United States, Italy, Germany, China, Norway, and Mexico. Each country is designed to showcase the culture, architecture, food, and entertainment of the country it represents.
Guests can explore the countries by walking through the showcase and experiencing the sights, sounds, and flavors of each country. The countries are arranged around the World Showcase Lagoon, which features a number of shows and performances throughout the day. The World Showcase also has a number of rides and attractions, such as the popular Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros in the Mexico pavilion and the Frozen Ever After ride in the Norway pavilion.
One of the highlights of the World Showcase is the opportunity to try the food and drink of each country. Each country has a number of restaurants and food stands that offer traditional dishes and beverages, allowing guests to experience the flavors of each country. The World Showcase is a must-see for anyone visiting the theme park.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a park that celebrates the glamour and excitement of show business, with attractions such as the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. Hollywood Studios offers guests the chance to step into the world of their favorite films and TV shows. What makes Hollywood Studios so special is its immersive movie-themed attractions. The park has a number of rides and shows that allow guests to experience the magic of their favorite films. These include the popular Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which transports guests to the planet of Batuu and offers a variety of Star Wars-themed experiences, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and The Great Movie Ride.
In addition to its movie-themed attractions, Hollywood Studios also has a number of live shows and performances, including the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, a retelling of the Frozen story with live actors. Another highly rated and popular show is the Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage. This show is a musical adaptation of the classic Disney film.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a park that celebrates the beauty of nature. The park is known for its beautifully themed areas and immersive experiences, such as Pandora – The World of Avatar. Pandora allows guests to enter inside the world of the Avatar film, and experience it like never before.
Animal Kingdom is known for its focus on animals and conservation, and it is home to a variety of animals from around the world. The park has a number of conservation initiatives in place, including the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, which supports conservation projects around the world. The park also has a number of animal habitats and exhibits, such as the Kilimanjaro Safaris, which allows guests to take a tour of an African savannah and see a variety of animals in their natural habitats.
In addition to its focus on animals and conservation, Animal Kingdom also has a number of exciting and thrilling rides and attractions, such as the popular Expedition Everest roller coaster and the Kali River Rapids water ride. The park also has a number of live shows and performances, such as the Festival of the Lion King and the Finding Nemo: The Musical.
If you’re visiting Walt Disney World in the summer, you’ll definitely want to check out the two water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Typhoon Lagoon is a tropical paradise themed water park with slides, a lazy river, and a wave pool. Blizzard Beach is a winter wonderland themed water park with slides and attractions inspired by ski resorts.
Orlando is also home to Universal Orlando Resort, another massive theme park complex with two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios Florida is a park that celebrates the magic of movies and television, with attractions such as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Jurassic Park River Adventure. Islands of Adventure is a park that celebrates the excitement of adventure, with attractions such as the Hulk Coaster and the Spider-Man ride.
Orlando also has a number of other attractions that are perfect for families. These include LEGOLAND Florida Resort, a theme park that is entirely made of LEGO bricks, and SeaWorld Orlando, a marine-life theme park with animal exhibits, shows, and rides.
Beyond Orlando – World Class Beaches and Golf Courses
For those who are looking for a more laid-back vacation, Orlando is nearby to a number of beautiful beaches as well. Cocoa Beach is located on the Atlantic coast and is known for its surf culture and beautiful beaches. Daytona Beach is located on the central east coast of Florida and is known for its hard-packed sands that are perfect for driving on. Both beaches are popular for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
Orlando’s beautiful weather make it the perfect place for golf year-round. Orlando is a paradise for golfers and has over 150 courses! Some of the top courses include the Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge, the Reunion Resort, and the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge. The Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge is a private club that is home to the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational. The course is known for its challenging layout and beautiful surroundings, and it has been consistently ranked as one of the top golf courses in the country.
Another popular golf course in Orlando is the Grand Cypress Golf Club, which features 45 holes divided into four different courses. The Grand Cypress Golf Club has been recognized as one of the premier golf resorts in the United States because of its well-kept facilities and unbelievable scenery.
For those looking for a more affordable option, Orlando has many public golf courses that are open to the public. These include the Shingle Creek Golf Club and the Orange County National Golf Center and Lodge. Apart from your traditional golf courses, Orlando is home to some awesome mini golf courses as well. These courses offer a fun and challenging experience for visitors of all ages. Mini golf is a great way to spend a day with friends or family, and another way to enjoy the beautiful weather.
One of the most popular mini golf courses in Orlando is Congo River Golf, which has locations throughout the city. The courses at Congo River Golf feature lush, tropical landscaping and challenging water hazards, providing a fun and immersive experience for players. Another popular mini golf destination in Orlando is the Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, which features two 18-hole courses with a pirate theme. The courses at Pirate’s Cove are adorned with pirate-themed obstacles and decorations, making for a fun and memorable experience.
Another popular attraction is the Kennedy Space Center, located just an hour from Orlando on Merritt Island. It is a must-see for space enthusiasts. The Space Center is named after President John F. Kennedy, who was committed to landing the first man on the Moon and returning him back safely to Earth. There is so much to see and experience at Kennedy Space Center, including displays about space exploration, tours of some important NASA facilities, and simulated shuttle launches.
One attraction you don’t want to miss is a giant Ferris wheel located in the heart of Orlando, The Orlando Eye. Standing at 400 feet tall, it is one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the world and offers stunning views of the city and surrounding area. Visitors can purchase tickets to ride the Orlando Eye, or they can choose to have a VIP experience which includes access to a private glass-enclosed capsule with a personal host. Rides on the Orlando Eye take about 20 minutes and offer breathtaking views. On a clear day, it is possible to see for miles in every direction, with views of downtown Orlando, the Disney theme parks, and even the Atlantic Ocean. The Orlando Eye is located at ICON Park entertainment complex.
After riding the Ferris wheel, there are a ton of other attractions at ICON Park, including the Madame Tussauds wax museum, the Sea Life Aquarium, and the Skeletons: Animals Unveiled exhibit. There are also a variety of restaurants and shops in the area. With so much to do, visitors often spend an entire day here.
More Florida Adventures Within Striking Distance of Orlando
Wekiwa Springs State Park is a 7,000-acre park located just 16 miles outside of downtown Orlando. It is a natural spring that provides crystal-clear water. Visitors are allowed to swim in the refreshing springs, which have a constant temperature of 72 degrees. The park also has numerous hiking and biking trails allowing visitors to explore the natural surroundings and observe the local wildlife. Additionally, the park offers a picnic area, a playground, and a campground.
Lake Eola Park is a stunning and scenic spot in the heart of downtown Orlando. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including swans, ducks, and other waterfowl that can often be seen swimming the lake. One of the most iconic features of Lake Eola is the Walt Disney Amphitheater, where you can enjoy concerts and plays. It’s located on the eastern shore of the lake. Lake Eola Fountain is a popular spot for photos, which becomes illuminated at night time. In the daytime, visitors can enjoy the playground, dog park, and walking/jogging paths that circle around the lake.
Lake Tohopekaliga, (AKA Lake Toho) located just outside of the city, is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Fishers can find largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, and more. Lake Toho is also an important ecosystem and is home to many unique plant and animal species. The lake is surrounded by wetlands and cypress forests, which provide a habitat for a variety of wildlife. Lake Toho is also a popular spot for birdwatching.
The Tree Trek Adventure Park is located just a short drive from Orlando. The park offers ziplining, rock climbing, Tarzan swings, and more. It’s an incredible experience in a naturally beautiful setting. One of the main attractions at the Tree Trek is the canopy challenge course. This course consists of over 50 different obstacles that test visitors’ balance, strength, and agility. The course includes many different elements such as rope bridges, ladders, and zip lines that allow visitors to navigate through the trees.
The Orlando Tree Trek also offers a kid’s rock-climbing wall and bungee trampoline. This makes it a suitable park for visitors of all ages and fitness levels. The Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park is more than just a fun and exciting attraction, it’s also an educational one. The park’s staff members are well trained and knowledgeable about the local ecosystem are more than happy to share their knowledge with you.