Florida Guide > Miscellaneous
Getting the most out of a holiday in Orlando
There is so much to do in Orlando, from visiting Theme Parks to shopping to even visiting the coast for a day. To get the best possible experience from your holiday I would recommend that some form of planning takes place before you arrive.
Ask people who have been about their experiences. Find out what all the Theme Parks have to offer so you can be selective not only as to which ones you visit but also as to which attractions you want to see whilst you are there. Visiting them all during a two week holiday is definitely not recommended. You will come home from your holiday feeling like you need a holiday to recover.
It is useful to look at Theme Park guides prior to your visit so you can plan your day and not come out of the parks feeling like you have missed out on something that you really wanted to see. When one of our friends visited for the first time I gave them the guides we had collected over the years and was able to recommend a number of attractions that I thought would be suitable for their 8 year old son. On returning from their holiday they commented how valuable this prior information had been because there was so much to see in one day.
If you have children, choose the Parks you visit in accordance with their age. The Disney Parks are brilliant for all ages including the very young whereas Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, in our opinion are more suited to teenagers because of the big rides. It may be worth giving these 2 parks a miss until your children are older. In terms of Water Parks I would recommend Typhoon Lagoon for younger children and Blizzard Beach when they get older. I remember taking my daughter to Blizzard Beach when she was 9 years old and she refused to go on many of the slides because of their sheer size.
One of our best experiences was Easter 2004 when we visited Discovery Cove. Although rather expensive this really is a Park not to be missed. You have to book well in advance, as they limit the number of people allowed in the park. My daughter had always wanted to take part in the Trainer for a Day programme, which she saw advertised at Sea World. She fulfilled this dream during our Easter holiday and thoroughly enjoyed the whole day, especially when she worked with the dolphins. The trainers were so friendly and helpful and were willing to chat about their experiences over lunch. The added bonus from booking this day was that we also had a two day entry to Sea World, one of our favourite parks, absolutely free, making what we thought was initially quite an expensive day very good value for money.
If a beach day is want you want, St Pete’s on the West Coast is an ideal location. It takes about an hour and a half from Orlando and the endless coastline means it does not get overcrowded. There is also a pier with interesting shops to look round as well as some museums.
A visit to Orlando would not be complete without visiting the Outlets for some great bargains. The shops are open until quite late, although they do close a little earlier on a Sunday. Lake Buena Vista just off the I4 is the Outlet we would recommend.
A visit to Downtown Disney should also be included as a place to visit especially during the evening. There are plenty of places to eat, various play areas for children as well as some interesting shops.
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