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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

First Visit to Orlando

We had talked about visiting Orlando for a number of years before we took the plunge when our daughter was 9 years old. A few of our friends had already been and on their return, told us about the brilliant holiday they had experienced. We listened to their advice about how hectic the holiday could be and that it was best not to try and visit all the parks and attractions during one stay, so we really should be considering visiting Orlando more than once. They also recommended that we should have some idea which parks and attractions we would like to visit before we arrived so that we could use all our time effectively. This certainly turned out to be sound advice.

We decided for our first visit, as our daughter was 9 that our visit would focus on Disney World with a visit also to Sea World as she loved dolphins and wanted to see the shows. Our first day was spent buying tickets for Disney as we had been told to buy these in Orlando from one of the booths on International Drive. In fact we bought these from a garage which turned out to be a mistake as it took the nearly a day to arrange. Needless to say when we visited for a second time we bought our tickets before leaving the UK. Of course today there are many more options available for buying Disney tickets with many websites giving information about prices and the different packages that are on offer.

Our holiday really started at Magic Kingdom, where I was spell bound, let alone my daughter!! The parades, attractions, rides and finally the electric light show and fireworks at night. I thought everything was amazing and something I had not experienced anywhere else and all on 1 day. During our stay we also visited Epcot, Typhoon Lagoon and Hollywood Studios. Animal Kingdom had not been built then. Each day was exciting as the next but we knew that no way, had we experienced all the attractions in each park because there was too much to see in 1 day. Our visit to Sea World also lived up to our high expectations even though I spent most of the day trying to get dry after sitting in the splash zone at the Shamu show. I didn’t realise that we would get so wet!! We were more sensible during the highly recommended night show, when we sat as far back from the splash zone as possible. It was Easter and quite cool at night, so there was no way we were going to get wet a second time.

As you have probably guessed this was not our only visit to Orlando. In fact since then, we have visited Orlando every year at Easter and for the last 3 years we have spent New Year there as well. My daughter is now 15 years old so that makes it 6 years to date. New Year is an amazing experience in the parks. We spent the first New Year’s Eve at Magic Kingdom and the last two have been spent at Epcot – so much better than our previous knees up in the local pub in the UK. We have obviously visited all the parks during the last 6 years, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Discovery Cove and Busch Gardens and thoroughly enjoyed all of them, with each one providing a different experience. Florida is certainly a playground for children and grown ups alike, especially, if like me, you are a child at heart!!

We are intending to continue visiting Orlando at least once a year, if not twice, as it is definitely the best holiday location we have been too, not only for the parks and attractions, but for the shopping, the eating establishments, the people who are so friendly and of course the brilliant weather. There are still a number of other attractions we have not visited, maybe we will get round to these in the future.

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Page added on: 31 August 2004
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