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When you want to let your imagination run wild in a city with gorgeous weather and an easygoing resort culture, it’s time to book Orlando holidays. You’ll soon see how Orlando, Florida, has earned its nicknames “The City Beautiful” and “Theme Park Capital of the World” as you hop from magical attractions to botanical gardens. Where else can you step back in time at The Holy Land Experience® and park-hop to rub elbows with witches and wizards on the weekend? Only in Orlando.
Orlando weather can be described as permasummer—all warm, all the time—so it makes sense that this balmy metropolis has dedicated itself to helping travellers relax and have fun with hotels in Orlando’s busiest tourist areas, including accommodation near Downtown Disney®, so you can shop and socialise with Minnie and Mickey all the way up to bedtime.
When you aren’t practicing your quidditch skills at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter® or kicking it with new four-legged friends at Disney’s Animal Kingdom®, make your way to downtown Orlando and take in a show at the Beacham, or walk through the gorgeous Harry P. Leu Gardens. Did you leave your sunnies at home? Go on a shopping spree in unique boutiques and graze at local restaurants on International Drive east of Big Sand Lake.
If the day gets a little hot, as days are wont to do in Florida, head indoors to the Orlando Museum of Art downtown, where you can see exhibitions from local and international artists alike. From there, you’re just a short walk from Orlando Science Center and three lakes. It might be refreshing to take a dip in Lake Estelle, but clean up for your theatre date in Orlando accommodation instead.
Touch down at Orlando International Airport (MCO), just 20km southeast of downtown Orlando. Many Orlando hotels offer shuttle service from the airport—another perk of staying in a resort town—but this is definitely a driver’s city, so snag yourself one of Wotif’s car hire deals and zoom away.
You’d better clear your schedule for the end of July, because that’s when Anime Festival Orlando goes down. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a good anime party? Get decked out in your favourite character costume and take part in the Yu-Gi-Oh! Cosplay Tournament. Or jump into one of the dance parties hosted by a number of big-name DJs. And if you really think you know your stuff, take part in Anime Jeopardy. Finally, all that cartoon knowledge will come in handy.
When September rolls around, it’s time for Earthdance Florida, the largest global synchronised dance event in history. If you consider yourself a hippie, you’ll feel right at home at this event. Everyone’s energy is free-flowing and love is in the air, and you’re all one with each other and Mother Earth and all that. Check out the great places to stay in Orlando during that month, or camp right there at the festival grounds. Up to you.
Florida is a golf mecca, so you’d be nuts not to take some hacks on the links. This city has more than enough suitable golf venues to play a round at; tee up at the one you like the best and let it rip down the fairway. Just be careful of the alligators that inhabit the lakes down here. You remember what happened to Chubbs in Happy Gilmore, right? And don’t forget that if you sink a hole in one, you owe drinks to everyone back at the clubhouse.
This place isn’t called the “Theme Park Capital of the World” for nothing. They’re everywhere. Get yourself some Universal Orlando ® theme park tickets and check out the second-largest resort in the Orlando metropolitan area. Test your magic skills in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and then try your best to hold onto your lunch while riding the Incredible Hulk coaster at Marvel Super Hero Island. Top it all off with some food and drinks at Citywalk, where some of the best food in Orlando is located.
If you’re one of those people who just wants to spend one day in Orlando, you’ve got to check out Gatorland, the “Alligator Capital of the World”. Take a stroll on the boardwalk that runs through the breeding marsh area. Then go for a ride along the newly opened zip-line. What’s more exciting than flying above a pool filled with hundreds of hungry alligators? Not much. And last but not least, you have got to see the nutjobs who wrestle these creatures. It’s unbelievable!
After you’ve watched modern-day dinosaurs scarf down thousands of pieces of chicken, go for a soothing trek through the Harry P. Leu Gardens. There’s all sorts of great areas to check out, like the Azalea collection, the Bamboo Collection and the Citrus Grove. There’s even a cemetery if for whatever reason you feel like looking at really old headstones.
Finally, if there’s still enough time, become an art snob at the Mennello Museum of American Art. Pieces from an assortment of traditional and contemporary American artists are on display. Book accommodation in Orlando nearby and do your best to interpret what they mean.
Either way, there’s only a very short window where Orlando isn’t fabulous. When you’re ready to visit other worlds or simply hang out lakeside, book hotels and flights to Orlando with Wotif. We’ve found the travel deals so you can find adventure!
Hotels in Orlando start at NZ$109 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.