Orlando

Orlando - Magic Kingdom

Orlando is located in central Florida in the United States of America and best known for its many amusement parks like Walt Disney World.  It is not only a great place for families, but a great spot to visit as a couple and get wrapped up in the memories of youth.  A trip to Orlando can be enhanced with trips to Kennedy Space Centre, Tampa Bay, and many beaches, which are all within a 1-2 hour drive.

Things you MUST see/do:                                   

Walt Disney World – Walt Disney World consists of four separate theme parks and two water parks.  Each park has been designed around a different theme to capture your imagination.  The theme parks have something for everyone, including rides both daring and tame, shows and displays, and great food.  Some of the restaurants are themed as well and provide entertainment along with your meal.

Magic Kingdom – Magic Kingdom was designed to be similar to the original Disneyland Park in California, with its focal point being Cinderella’s castle.  There are five different lands designed to take you on a different adventure in time.  Rides not to be missed include, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, and Buzz Lightyear.
  Epcot –  Epcot has two distinct sections.  One was designed to be a representation of science and technology and the other as a world showcase.  In the science and technology section there are many attractions including the rides Soarin’, the GM Test Track, and Mission Space.  Other interactive displays not to be missed are Talking with Crush, Innoventions, and the Seas Aquarium.  Across the lagoon is the World Showcase Pavilions where each pavilion’s buildings are modeled after the actual country.  It truly feels like you are traveling around the world as you circle the lagoon.
  Animal Kingdom – The focal point of Animal Kingdom is the “Tree of Life” which is surprisingly life-like as it towers above the park.  Look closely for carvings of small creatures and animals on the trunk of the tree.  Half of the park is designed to look like the continents of Africa and Asia and it is incredibly realistic as Disney imported some of the structures directly from these continents.  In these sections make sure to experience the Kilimanjaro Safari Expedition, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest and the Maharajah Jungle Trek.  The other half of the park is divided into DinoLand USA, Discovery Island, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, and Camp Mini-Mickey.  Attractions here include the ride Dinosaur and the musical shows: Finding Nemo and The Lion King.
  Hollywood Studios – A theme park that celebrates movie making history and the work behind the motion picture industry.  Many parts of Hollywood Studios are representations of movie sets such as the cities of San Francisco and New York.  Don’t miss the Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster featuring Aerosmith rides and the stunt shows.

 

Universal StudiosUniversal Studios Orlando is divided into two separate theme parks with a “city walk” that joins the two parks.  Each of the parks is focused around a different theme.  The Universal City Walk contains many shops, and restaurants, and we recommend Bubba Gump Shrimp or Hard Rock Café for a fun eating experience.               

Islands of Adventure – Islands of Adventure is divided in to six different “islands” focused around a different theme.  These themes include Marvel Comics, Comic Strips, Jurassic Park, Dr. Seuss, The Lost Continent, and, the newest and most spectacular, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Make sure to check out the rides the Amazing Spiderman, the Hulk, Dr. Doom’s Fearfall, Dragon Challenge, Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls, Jurassic Park River Adventure, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  Other attractions to check out include; Ollivander’s Wand Shop, The Three Broomsticks Restaurant, Poseidon’s Fury, and the Eighth Voyage of Sinbad.  Don’t forget to try the Butterbeer while there.
  Universal Studios Florida – Unfortunately, we have not had the opportunity to experience Universal Studios Florida.  We have heard the park is wonderful and worth a visit.  The major theme of the park is the celebration and education of movie making.  Major attractions include; Disaster, E.T. adventure, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Men in Black Alien Attack, Revenge of the Mummy, Shrek 4-D, The Simpsons Ride, Fear Factor Live and Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-up Show.  

 

SeaWorld – Built on the basis of marine education, SeaWorld is a marine park with many great aquatic shows, rides and exhibitions of different marine life.  We highly recommend the rides Manta and Kraken and the shows; Clyde and Seamore Take Pirate Island, Blue Horizons, and One Ocean. 

Kennedy Space Centre – The Kennedy Space Centre is located 1 hour outside of Orlando, but is well worth the journey.  Along the road out, watch for wild life, especially alligators in the ditches lining the road.  The Space Center has a great educational set up to show the history of the Space Program in Orlando.  Don’t miss the Shuttle Launch Experience Simulator, the IMAX shows or the Apollo/Saturn V Centre.  There is a lot to learn and experience in this day trip out to KSC.

Travels4Couples highly recommended EXPERIENCES:

Try Epcot’s Food – One of the best things to experience about Epcot is the food.  In each of the countries’ pavilions, they provide a sampling of the food from their country in their restaurants.  We highly recommend Morocco and Mexico for meals and make sure to get a Pastry from the French Patisserie!  We look forward to trying more countries in the future.  Epcot also has a section called The Lands.  Here they are working at growing their own produce.  These are available in the cafeteria of the building, where the food is excellent.  Even when visiting another Disney park for the day, consider going to Epcot for dinner!

Downtown Disney – Located near the Disney Parks, Downtown Disney is a stroll where there is plenty of shopping and restaurants to check out.  Make sure to visit the largest Disney Store in Orlando located here.  Other attractions include the Lego Store, Disney’s Christmas store, Planet Hollywood and House of Blues.  The best attraction for computer game junkies is Disney Quest which is an electronic amusement park.  They allow visitors to try all kinds of interactive games and even design their own rollercoaster and then ride on it!  It is definitely worth a visit and can be used with many park hopper passes.

Shows (Blue Man Group & Cirque du Soleil) – There are a number of performances in Orlando, but we would highly recommend seeing Blue Man Group.  The performance takes place in Universal’s City Walk.  It is a hilarious show that is well worth the cost.  Second, we really suggest seeing Cirque du Soleil La Nouba.  This takes place in a building located at Downtown Disney that is designed to look like a circus tent.  The show is amazing and funny.  It will take your breath away!

Travels4Couples #1 ROMANTIC thing to do in Orlando:

Princess dinner in Cinderella’s castle – Although there will be lots of families with children this is not something just for little children.  The dinner takes place on the upper floor of Cinderella’s Castle right in the centre of Magic Kingdom.  It gives a beautiful view of the park and surrounding land.  The food they serve is delicious and they treat the clients like royalty.  As a bonus, princesses come around and visit each table while people eat.