Orlando is one of the biggest and well known tourist destinations because of the nearby theme parks and resorts. Most tourists visit Orlando between June and August, while another peak time for tourism is March and April. Ironically, the less busy times for tourism correspond to the best weather in the Orlando area; the summer months can be exceptionally busy with families who are making a trip while kids are on summer vacation. Visiting when the weather isn’t so hot means less people in the area and that provides some advantages, but you will be able to enjoy cooler weather.
Of course, the biggest and most well known attraction in Orlando is Walt Disney World, but there are many other four star attractions in addition to Uncle Walt’s Magical Kingdom. Indeed, you can not only take in similar style theme parks with rides and attractions and kid friendly mascots, but you can also go to see professional sports and experience world class golfing as well.
Close to International Drive is Universal Orlando Resort, which includes two theme parks with various “Islands of Adventure”, three hotels and a large shopping district. Without a doubt, Universal Orlando is the second ranked top challenger to Disney World. Universal Orlando is divided up into different themed parks with many attractions and rides split between the various areas. A major new attraction sure to delight children (and adults too) is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, opened in June of 2010. In addition to this newest park attraction, there is also Marvel Super Hero Island, Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing and Toon Lagoon.
If iconic furry mascots aren’t your style, you can head on over to SeaWorld. Sea World Orlando is a beautifully landscaped 200 acre marine theme park featuring Kraken, the biggest rollercoaster in the Orlando area, as well as Believe, the new Shamu adventure. There are numerous shows, rides and exhibits and a fascinating range of exotic marine life on display.
Discovery Cove is an unofficial companion to SeaWorld. Semi-exclusive, admissions to the park are limited to the first 1000 guests per day. Admission is a bit costlier than SeaWorld but food, drink, a 30 minute interaction in the water with dolphins (and all of the necessary equipment to do so) are all included in your ticket price. Go early if you really want to get in!
Other park-style attractions include Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium (a museum of oddities and amusements), Titanic: The Experience (the world’s largest Titanic exhibit), Gatorland (a small alligator and reptile themed park), Wonderworks (an upside down(!) shopping, dining and amusement center with over 100 exhibits), and Aquatica (a water park located right by SeaWorld).
For those seeking sports or recreation, Orlando has much to offer as there is world class golfing and major league sports available. The Orlando Magic Basketball team make their home at the Amway Arena and the NBA season is generally between the tail end of October (or early November) and late April. If the team qualifies for the playoffs, the season will extend until such time as they are eliminated from competition. Playoff tickets will be more difficult to secure.
If you’d rather play sports than spectate, Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate is a golfers paradise. Located on 1200 acres of wetlands and offering 720 rooms for accommodation, Omni boasts both international and national golf courses and is also home to the David Ledbetter Golf Academy (should you feel the need to brush up on your skills on the green). Besides Omni, there are nearly two dozen golf courses located in the Orlando area almost all of which are public and do not require membership.
Regarded as the ‘vacation capital of the world’, Orlando is an exceptional place to have wonderful family holidays. Incredible tourist destinations, amazing weather conditions, interesting day time activities and attractions all merge together to make Orlando one of the biggest tourist destinations in the United States.