Orlando is one of the major cities in Florida and in recent years has become a leading centre for bio-medical research and the now ubiquitous digital media. Its great selling points for tourists though are that it is sunny and warm throughout the year and has a wealth of state-of-the-art entertainments for all the family to enjoy. Cheap flights to Orlando are the ideal way to see this fabulous city and explore the surrounding area.
Orlando started its rise to prominence in 1856 when it became a county seat and in 1885 was incorporated as a city. It has never looked back, growing exponentially down the decades by absorbing surrounding towns and villages until now it dominates Orange County and is a magnet for visitors from the States and abroad.
For those who like good old-fashioned family fun Orlando can hardly be beaten, and its four Disney World Theme Parks rake in the tourists in their thousands. The Magic Kingdom is ideal for the smaller kids, whilst Disney’s Hollywood Studios have many interesting displays relating to cinematic history that everyone will enjoy. The Epcot (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) centre which opened in 1982 consists of the Future World and World Showcase parks and is packed with technology-based attractions such as Spaceship Earth, providing fun and learning at the same time. And be sure not to miss the Harry Potter Theme Park with its spectacular Forbidden Journey ride in an imposing replica of Hogwarts Castle.
Although Orlando is itself landlocked it makes up for this with an impressive copy of an exotic Caribbean island, no less. This is Discovery Cove, closely allied with the famous SeaWorld Orlando theme park. You can actually go snorkelling here and swim amongst the fabulous fish and (harmless) stingrays. You can also float through an aviary and swim underneath a waterfall. The cove has its own white sandy beach, and as only 1000 visitors are allowed into the Cove each day there’s plenty of space to relax and enjoy yourselves.
Once you’ve had as much as you can take of Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter and magic rides you can head for Downtown Disney, which is a vast entertainment and shopping complex in Disney World. This is all themed as well, as you’d expect, but the food is great in venues like the Rainforest Cafe, and if you’re into Lego there’ll be no getting you out because the Lego Imagination store is truly awesome. The nearby DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park is also a hit with kids and adults alike. Or head for the famous La Nouba Cirque de Soleil show for an evening of state-of-the-art acrobatics and incredible juggling by trapeze artists in weird and wonderful costumes.
The CityWalk theme restaurants adjoining the two main parks here are a great hit with the kids, keeping them eating and entertained at the same time in the company of famous Disney characters who dance, sing and pose for photos to the great delight of their fans.
Head for Orlando for a holiday packed with the nearest thing to magic you’re ever likely to find.
David Elliott is a freelance writer who loves to travel, especially in Europe and Turkey. He’s spent most of his adult life in a state of restless excitement but recently decided to settle in North London. He gets away whenever he can to immerse himself in foreign cultures and lap up the history of great cities.