Orlando in Brief
The city of Orlando is centrally located in the U.S. state of Florida, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Orlando is the states third largest metropolis. With 233 sunny days a year and thrilling theme parks, makes Orlando the theme park capital of the world. For thrill seekers, millions of visitors come to Orlando for just one thing – Action. It is the place where imagination run wild. Millions of visitors escape to this sunny state, just to experience and visit these fun-pack incredible theme parks and attractions. Whether it is a white-knuckled thrill ride, exhilarating skydive encounter, soothing massage, exciting round of gold, mega shopping junket or a moving theatre performance, Orlando and the surrounding Central Florida region is a perennial favourite destination among holiday-makers around the world. Orlando is the place where they want visitors to stay all day and come back the next day. This is why visitors come to explore unique things to do in Orlando. There are many more reasons why and there are plenty of it?
When you may think, you know all you need to about Orlando is theme parks, but there is much more to do. For sure, there are so many things for me to enjoy while I am in Orlando but there is more to this Central Florida city than Disney’s Epcot and Universal’s Wizard World of Harry Potter. I wanted to treat myself to an eclectic food scene to venturing over gator-infested waters via zip line and many other plenty of activities in Orlando that are not on my radar. I wanted to step-away from the rollercoasters and flashy amusements and slip into the great outdoors which this city have plenty of natural beauty.
Exploring the area
As soon as I set foot in Orlando, I knew what I want to see and do. Having visited this beautiful city twice before and love the place every time, I have found that Orlando is one of those places, once you visit the place, you will want to come back and stay. I came back this time to explore some of the most popular attractions which I thought I will enjoy and explore more of the area. Like any other theme parks, it is not my kind of adventure travel, I find theme park seems to be totally family oriented and maybe action for all but I find it too crowded, can be expensive and dislike seeing natural creatures or mammals in enclosed areas and away from their natural habitats. However spending 10-days in the area this time and with endless list of attractions and activities, it wasn’t hard for me to fill up my time each day. I decided to visit couple of theme parks since I was in the area or never in my life time. There were so many things to please me and it was hard to imagine how I was going to fit everything in all in one visit but I tried to be selective this time. Though, it is entirely possible to get around and visit attractions in the area with the help of public transport, I walked to most places since most attractions were walking distance from the resort I was staying.
For sure, there are botanical gardens, world-class museums and art galleries and inner city attractions but over the course of 10-days, I began my theme park experience in visiting some of the major attractions – Animal Kingdom, SeaWorld and Kennedy Space Centre before taking a drive down to Daytona beach where I finished my holiday for 4-day relaxation before heading to my next destination.
Like visiting a popular place for the first time, my enjoyment in Orlando was filled with excitement and adventure whilst my visit to Daytona beach was pure relaxation. With so much to see and do in the area, it can be a bit overwhelming when visiting for the first time in Orlando. My recommendation is to blend in and make the most of your stay on the first day you arrive and won’t have any regrets when you look back after your holiday.
Animal Kingdom Park
My 10-day long visit began with a visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, which is one of the 4 largest theme parks that are perfectly located at Walt Disney Resort. This park is filled with attractions, adventures and entertainment that reflect Walt Disney’s dedication to nature and conservation. The park is home to more than 1,700 animals from over 200 species and sprawling across acres of lush landscape. This is the park’s biggest animal-themed park in the world and here you see some of the region’s most interesting animals along with others brought in from different continents and learn more about them. Here you’re able to encounter rare and majestic animals and even get close enough to pet some of them. This park in Orlando was an action-packed day out for me and sure I went the next day to see and spent more time in the park. What a thrill it was and it was just magical. I felt like, I was seeing the spectacular scenery from the African savannah to exotic animals of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Whether you’re an animal lover or not, this is the right place to create that imagination of “All creatures, great and small” are gathered in one location for children, family and free independent travellers come to enjoy.
There is no one place on earth more than seeing the underworld creatures, bigger than human beings that is so magical that will linger-on for the rest of my life. I spent a full day at this park exploring the awe-inspiring world of marine life where every encounter were a new adventure. I just loved coming face-to-face with playful dolphins. I just immersed myself in wonder at this park and could see this aquatic world coming alive in front of me as I wandered around. Apart from seeing the world through the eyes of a penguin in the thrilling, chilling adventure of Antarctica and laughing to the all-new Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High show, I then climbed aboard and ride the might manta where I experience the power and grace of killer whales in the awe-inspiring Shamu show. It is pure delight and incredible to experience all this in one location.
The park itself is mainly to entertain visitors of marine creatures but there are few other wildlife section where you can enjoy them including dangerous sea-creatures like the sharks and other marine life – fish etc which can be viewed through the glass like in the aquarium.
Kennedy Space Centre
One of the places I was looking forward to visit which was on my priority list was a taking a trip out to Kennedy Space Centre. Growing up as a child, one of my ambition was to see how rockets were built and launched. It was a childhood fairytale, actually turning out to be a reality was beyond. I spend the ultimate day exploring the fascinating Kenned Space Centre at Cape Canaveral. It is about 45 minutes drive from Orlando. Here you learn about the history of the US space program and watch stunning IMAX films and I had the chance to walk under a Saturn V rocket and got a close-up view of the Space Shuttle launch pad. It was just mind-boggling. Unfortunately, I couldn’t join lunch with an astronaut and take you behind the scenes tour of the centre’s launch facility due to limited number at the time of my visit. Nevertheless, I did get to experience what I didn’t want to miss out on.
After spending six wonderful days in the city of Orlando, it was time to get back on track for my rest and relaxation. I ventured slightly off route to see some of the small places along the way to Daytona beach. When I arrived in Daytona, while it was a lovely break from the “action-packed” lifestyle of Orlando, my plan was to do nothing but spent more time at the beach strolling along in the mornings to see the sunrise and in the evenings to see the sunset. In the middle of the day, I spend more time at the resort’s pool-side reading my favourite scientific thriller stories by Lee Child to let the day go by. I continue on my own tour of the beach for few days before it was time to leave. It was complete pleasure to be visiting this place.
Where to stay?
Both places – Orlando and Daytona have abundance of accommodations. There are various types of accommodations in the area to suit all budget ranging from resorts, holiday houses, apartments and motels. Also, the they offer a range of properties throughout the area to fit most holiday styles and budgets. My recommendation is to stay in a resort where you have everything you wanted and most places are within waking distance.