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There's more to Orlando than Disney/Universal
I know for the majority of visitors to Orlando each year the number one attractions are the theme parks. This could either be Disney or Universal that are the first point of call for children and adults alike. However there is more to this diverse and beautiful Area of the Sunshine state.
After coming to Orlando for the last 7 years we have done the theme parks nearly to death, despite the constant updating of new rides etc and now the addition of new parks such as Animal Kingdom, which are worth visiting more than once. We decided 2 years ago to spread our wings and see what else Orlando has to offer, if anything apart from the parks. How pleasing to report that there is much to offer those that want a brief respite from the parks and the exhausted state they can leave you.
Here are a few examples and recommendations that we can share with you from personal experience.
Harry P Lieu Gardens
Located some 10 miles South of Orlando this jewel of a tranquil floral heaven is superbly presented with walks through various themed garden areas. We loved the bamboo area and also the walk round the lakeside where we saw an alligator feeding at real close quarters. A tip here is to go on a Monday where entrance is free.
Just a short distance from Harry P lieu gardens is this upmarket village with a small town U. S. A. feel. There are many arty shops and pavement café’s to enjoy on a peaceful Afternoon. There are also quite a few designer shops to tempt you to part with your dollars.
If you want to venture a little further afield, my recommendation would be to take off for a couple of days to enjoy the beaches. My favourites would have to be Clearwater Beach, which is just over 90 minutes from Orlando. We were lucky enough to find a gem of a hotel on the ocean from (The Gulf View Hotel) and had a fabulous room overlooking the beach. If you want to go further still, recommend Longboat Key, which is close to Sarasota. It has fabulous beaches and wonderful restaurants in nearby St Almonds Circle.
The above are just a few of the wonderful distractions aware from Disney we discovered to recharge the batteries ready for another assault of Mickey and his many friends.
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