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Things To Do

Orlando is the theme park capital of the world.  Walt Disney World & Universal Studios act as the anchors to a world of entertainment.

 

Here is some basic information on the main attractions, but it is recommended that you check out the web sites locally for current opening hours and special events.

 

By nature all theme parks are busy and everyone has their own top tips on how to beat the lines.  Our own top tips can be found in the guidebook at the villa.

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Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is a vacation in itself - 4 main theme parks, 2 water parks and a huge shopping and entertainment complex complete for your attention.  There really is something for everyone within Disney's grounds.

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Magic Kingdom

Sprawling over 107 acres, The Magic Kingdom is the oldest of Disney's theme parks and features classic attractions, live entertainment & the world famous parade of Disney Characters.  Some would say this park is short on thrills in comparison to its newer competitors, but for classic Disney hospitality this is not to be missed.  Younger children will particularly enjoy meeting their favorite characters.

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EPCOT

The second of Disney's theme parks is over 300 acres in size and split into two sections - Future World and World Showcase.

 

Historically known as the “boring” park as far as children are concerned, this has been redressed somewhat with the introduction of thrill experiences in recent years including Mission Space and Test Track.

 

A vision of the future (Disney's version anyway) is played out on many of the other attractions (suitable for all ages) with education & fun in equal measure.

 

The world showcase features scaled down versions of countries including the UK, USA, China, Germany & France with interesting insights into each culture along the way.

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Disney's Hollywood Studio

Big budget live shows, thrill rides and backstage tours all combine to make Disney's Hollywood Studios well worth a visit.

 

The Tower of Terror & The Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster are not to be missed for thrill seekers and live stage shows including American Idol are great family fun.

 

For smaller guests, there are daily performances featuring some of Playhouse Disney's favorite characters including Handy Manny, Winnie the Pooh and of course Mickey Mouse himself!

 

The Live Shows are amazing spectacles - Beauty and the Beast is fantastic for all ages and Fantasmic is an evening show choreographed with fireworks and music featuring Disney Characters and is not to be missed (Fantasmic does not operate daily so check schedules locally for performance dates).

 

You can also enjoy back stage tours giving an insight into how Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s operated.

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Disney's Animal Kingdom

Home to more than 1,700 animals from 250 species and sprawling across 500 acres of lush landscape, Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park is the largest animal-themed park in the world!

 

A mix of entertainment, rides and an underlying emphasis on conservation make this park a welcome addition to Disney's portfolio.  You can get up and close with a huge variety of animals (and you can even stroke a number of them) and learn all about the nature of these creatures.

 

The Kilimanjaro Safari is a must as you travel through 'the savanna' in an open sided safari vehicle. For thrill seekers there is the Kali River rapids (you will get wet!), Dinosaur and The Primeval Whirl while smaller guests will love the interactive experiences including the 3D 'It's Tough to be a Bug' and The Kids Discovery clubs that offer hands on experiences including constructing dinosaur bones, going on a scavenger hunt and becoming a wildlife detective.


The newest and largest addition to The Animal Kingdom is Pandora.  Inspired by the movie Avatar, Pandora transports guests to the moon of Pandora, where they can explore floating mountains and bioluminescent rainforests. The 3D/flying simulator ride, Avatar Flight of Passage, is simply amazing.

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Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Typhoon Lagoon features attractions for the whole family.  There are a number of fast water slides and rafting experiences for thrill seekers and a dedicated children's area with shallow waters and miniature versions of some of the most popular full scale attractions.

 

The 'Surf Pool' is fantastic with a giant 6 foot wave being produced every 90 seconds throughout the day.  You can also swim with sharks & colorful fish in the shark reef.

 

The lazier guests can float around Castaway Creek in a giant rubber tube and soak up the sunshine while the gentle current moves you around the 2000ft long winding river.

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Blizzard Beach Water Park

Blizzard Beach features one of the world's tallest and fastest free-falling waterslides, as well as slides and rides for the whole family.

 

Based on the theme of a ski resort (with water in place of snow) you can enjoy thrills including the Downhill Double Dipper, The Runoff Rapids & The Slush Gusher!  Smaller guests are well looked after again with a dedicated kids area with miniature sized versions of some of the most popular high speed water slides.

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Universal Orlando Resort

The Universal Orlando Resort features three theme parks - Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure & Volcano Bay Water Park as well as a bustling shopping and nightlife scene at City Walk.

 

Later on the scene in Orlando than Disney, Universal Resort has established itself as a destination in its own right. Some might even say their parks are superior to Disney's but we will leave that call to you!

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Universal Studios 

At this real working film and TV production facility, you'll find an amazing array of rides, shows, movie sets and attractions that put you right in the picture! Thrill seekers will love the Hollywood Rip Ride, Revenge of the Mummy and Race Through New York with Jimmy Fallon.  Harry Potter fans will not want to miss the Gringotts Ride.  A word of warning, Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley can be a bit tricky to find!

 

Experience an alien attack with the Men In Black, hang out with your favorite minion in Despicable Me 4D and visit Springfield (the home of The Simpsons). Smaller guests will love Shrek 4D, ET, and Jimmy Neutrons' Nicktoon Blast!  A fantastic mix of action rides & live shows make this one of our favorite parks in Kissimmee.

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Universal's Island of Adventures 

The second of Universal's theme parks is located next to Universal Studios.  It is possible to visit both parks in one day but be prepared to cover quite a few miles! This park offers perhaps the largest number of thrill rides in one place out of all the parks - The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Skull Island King Kong, Dr Doom Fearfall, The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man & The Jurassic Park River adventure are all high adrenaline.  

 

There are a number of attractions in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that cater for fans of all ages.  For example, the 4D simulator Forbidden Journey for the older ones and The Flight of the Hippogriff for the youngsters.

 

Smaller guests are well looked after with a number of gentle rides (and not so gentle!) as well as a large themed area based on Dr Seuss's Cat in the Hat. Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge Rat Barges is also great fun but you will get wet!


The live show 'The Eighth Voyage of Sinbad' is a spectacular stunt show where you cannot help but cheer the heroes and boo the villains as you watch the action and special effects unfold.

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Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay is the newest of Universal’s theme parks.  It is unlike other water parks in that the typical frustrations of standing in long lines and wrestling with tubes don’t exist at Volcano Bay.  

 

Krakatau is the first area you’ll notice when entering the park, thanks to its 200-foot volcano.  Here you’ll experience its three “pulse pounding” water slides and unique aqua coaster.  Before you get there, you’ll encounter Wave Village, which is located at the volcano’s base and is home to Volcano Bay’s main beach, premium seating, and huge pool. 

 

Off to the right of Krakatau is River Village, the something-for-everyone area (including a lazy river and kiddie areas), and stretching all around the back of the park is Rainforest Village, the home of even more thrill rides and a relaxation pool.

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SeaWorld Orlando

The original marine park featuring an amazing mix of live shows, thrill rides and educational activities.

'One Ocean' featuring killer whales is not to be missed - Check show times on arrival and get to the show early as the stadium often fills up completely and no further guests are allowed to enter once capacity is  reached.

 

Kids love the Clyde & Seamore sea lion and otter show and 'Blue Horizons ' featuring Dolphins.  Of special mention for toddlers and young children is Shamu's Happy harbor featuring a number of small rides, a huge play area with sand and water fountains in the ground (bring their swimsuits).  Thrill rides Mako, Kraken, Manta & Journey to Atlantis keep thrill seekers happy.

 

The quieter side to SeaWorld is in learning more about all the amazing creatures they care for from our oceans and you can get up close to many of these amazing animals.  See a polar bear, walrus and beluga whale up close at Wild Artic.

 

Guided tours and 'VIP' tours are available to pre book on line at a cost for SeaWorld but they do provide you with your own guide and priority access to all the rides as well as reserved seating at all the shows.

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Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove is billed as a tropical vacation designed to fit into one unforgettable day.  The highlight of the day is swimming with a dolphin within the lagoons getting up close and personal with these amazing creatures.

 

Discovery cove also features coral reefs with tropical fish for you to explore, pristine tropical sands to relax upon and a wide range of tropical birds to experience firsthand as they come to you for food from your hands.

 

This experience is not cheap at around $350.00 per person for the day including the dolphin swim but is an amazing experience for dolphin lovers.  Children younger than 6 are not permitted to swim with dolphins and those aged 6-12 must have an adult with them to swim with dolphins.  Breakfast, lunch and unlimited drinks and snacks are included in the price.

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Aquatica Waterpark

This water park offers something for everyone.  High speed water slides, gentle flowing waters and a dedicated zone for smaller children ensure a fun filled day.  Aquatica is also home to a family of black-and white Commerson's Dolphins - these playful creatures enjoy performing impromptu shows for their guests.

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Bush Gardens

Located about an hour drive from Kissimmee, Busch Gardens is perhaps the most diverse of all the theme parks on offer.

 

Experience up close encounters with amazing wild animals including giraffes, elephants & tigers.  Take an unforgettable safari across the Serengeti Plains.  Test your courage on huge roller coasters & enjoy live stage shows.  It is well worth the hour drive time.

 

For a truly amazing experience pre book an Elite Adventure Tour - At $199.99 per person, it's not cheap but it gives you front of the line access to all the major thrill rides and a personal tour guide on the Safari tour to get even closer to the amazing animals.

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Legoland

Except for when you accidently step on them at night, who doesn’t love LEGO!  LEGOLAND Florida Resort is built for kids. The 150-acre interactive theme park offers more than 50 rides, shows and attractions, restaurants, shopping, a breathtaking botanical garden and the LEGOLAND Water Park all geared to families with children ages 2 to 12.  Located in Winter Haven - about 35 mins from the villa.

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Kennedy Space Center

An amazing assortment of rockets, shuttles and all things space are on display as the history of space travel is charted from the first landing on the moon to the current shuttle launches.


For those brave enough you can experience the thrill of a shuttle launch first hand in the launch simulator and also experience space first hand in the IMAX film theatre.

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Other Places To Visit

Kissimmee has a huge range of smaller attractions to suit every taste dotted throughout the area, often less crowded than some of their larger theme park counterparts and with an emphasis on family fun these are not to be missed.  A few are listed below.

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Old Town

This place has something for everyone - Shopping, thrill rides (the slingshot launches you 150ft in the air on a giant reverse bungee rope), restaurants, go karting and for the smaller visitors, an old fashioned amusement park with carousels, a mini roller coaster, teacups and much more.


Saturday nights at Old Town are 'cruise nights' where over 300 classic cars are paraded around the streets - Well worth a visit!

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Pirate’s Cove

The mini golf centers are located throughout Kissimmee/Orlando and are great fun for old and young alike.

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Gatorland

A fun filled half day out with an opportunity to get up close and personal with Florida's natural predators.  Also has a limited petting zoo.

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Green Meadows Petting Farm

Green Meadows Petting Farm offers an ideal country setting for a relaxing day out.  The philosophy at Green Meadows Petting Farm is that learning can be fun.  They provide hands-on guided tours to educate children and adults about farm animals.  You'll have the chance to touch and learn about over 300 animals including pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, donkeys and more.

 

They also offer the chance for the little ones to milk a cow; pony rides and rides on hay filled tractors!

 

We recommend that you take a picnic along with you as food choices are limited on site.

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Orlando Science Center

A trip to The Science Center is not on most people's wish list while on vacation BUT it is well worth a visit!  For over fifty years, the Orlando Science Center has been a place that inspires curiosity and exploration.  Truly one of the great activities for Orlando families, the Science Center encourages learning in a fun way. The perfect educational activity, fun and knowledge all under one roof.

 

Children will love the interactive activities on offer in 'kids town' and 'toyland'.  They can work in the car garage changing tires and repairing cars, try out the checkout at the model supermarket, explore the human body as they take on the role of surgeon and much more.  We cannot recommend this highly enough for anyone with children.

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Monkey Joe's

Located on International Drive, this fun-filled indoor inflatable play center is sure to be a hit with the kids. Their wall-to-wall inflatable slides, jumps, and obstacle courses will keep your kids amused for hours whilst you enjoy a well-earned rest in the adults lounge area.  Suitable from around 2-12 years with separate play areas for the smaller children. Open daily from 10am to 6pm (check out the website for their current opening hours).

Fun Spot

This 'theme park' has something for everyone with a good selection of smaller rides for toddlers and younger children, several go kart tracks and for thrill seekers a number of adrenaline pumping rides including the worlds larger Sky Coaster which at over 300ft high provides a free fall of 120ft before converting to the motion of a hang glider and reaching speeds of over 85mph - Not for the faint hearted!

 

Free admission but each ride costs around $4 so we recommend investing in the wristbands that provide unlimited access to the rides which cost between $25 - $50.

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Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures

The closest place in Orlando to experience the fun of an airboat tour.  You will experience the attractions of Central Florida's everglades including turtles, alligators, birds and more as you travel at 45mph along the surface of the water in your airboat.  If you want to spot an alligator you will need to book on one of the early tours of the day that depart every half hour.

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Richard Petty Driving Experience

Located just outside Walt Disney World, this gives all wannabe racers an unforgettable experience behind the wheel of a NASCAR style race. ·

 

You can select a number of experiences from a 'ride along' experience where you will be a passenger to a professional instructor as he takes you for a spin in the 600HP car round the challenging track. Those brave enough can select the 'Rookie Experience' where you will get behind the wheel yourself for 8 laps of your own.  You will need to call ahead for availability on your chosen date but this is an experience that all race car fans should not miss.

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Painted Horizons

Take a trip of a lifetime in your private chartered hot air balloon and see the sights of Orlando from 3000ft up in the air.  We recommend that you make contact as soon as possible to ensure you get to fly during your vacation as weather conditions play havoc with planned flights on a regular basis and also be prepared for an early start!  

 

Not suitable for children under the age of 7.

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Titanic The Experience

This place is well worth a visit for anyone interested in learning more about Titanic and its ill-fated journey with full scale recreations of key rooms, guided tours by trained actors in full period costume and original artefacts on display as well as a 20,000sq ft. interactive museum.

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Ripley's Believe It or Not!

For over forty years the adventurous Robert Ripley explored the uncanny and amazing mysteries of the earth and the results of his search are on display here from shrunken heads to a Rolls Royce replica built entirely from matchsticks!

 

We recommend you plan for a visit time of around 2 hours to see everything on offer.

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Florida Eco Safaris

Billed as what Florida used to be like before the theme parks took over, this 4700 acre eco­ranch and wildlife conservation area boasts beautifully untamed wilderness, natural streams, wetlands and dense cypress forests.

 

They offer a range of tours by coach, horseback and even zip wire safaris both during the day and in the cooler evenings with the opportunity to spot alligators, black bears, white-tail deer, nearly two hundred species of birds and the endangered Florida Panther in their natural habitats.

 

You need to pre book your safari adventure and all but the coach tour is unsuitable for the under 10s.

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WonderWorks

Central Florida's only upside down attraction!  Featuring over 100 interactive exhibits for the entire family to experience you can get involved in a wide range of activities including 'Land a Space Shuttle', 'The Earthquake Simulator', 'The Bubble Lab' & 'Design and ride your own rollercoaster'!


Wonderwork's also offers a 10,000 sq. ft. Laser Tag games arena in the basement.  Finally, dinner shows with a mix of magic and standup comedy for the whole family are laid on most nights of the week with unlimited Pizzas, soft drinks and beers for $29.99 (reservations recommended).

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Warbird Adventures

Offering the opportunity to fly in some of the most recognized military aircraft from times past Warbird Adventures offers a unique flying experience whether you want a thrilling aerobatic adventure or a smooth sightseeing flight.

 

Once airborne you will be in full control of the aircraft with an experienced pilot in the back seat to help ensure your safety at all times and no previous experience is required!

 

Booking is essential for this amazing experience.

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Golf

Orlando has a number of excellent golf courses and is considered one of the best destinations for golfers in America.  Contact us for a list of some of the local courses 

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The Coast

The villa is located within around an hour's drive of the coastline and a trip to the sea can provide some much needed rest and relaxation after a hard few days at the parks!

 

Each 'beach resort' has its own attractions. A few recommendations are listed below:

 

Cocoa Beach

This is the closest beach to Kissimmee (located along the Space coast so ideal to tie in with a trip to The Kennedy Space Center).

 

A laid back atmosphere, an excellent range of restaurants and shops and the historic Cocoa Beach Pier make for an enjoyable day trip.

 

Visit www.cocoabeach.com for more information.


 

Clearwater Beach

Pristine white sand beaches and crystal clear water is the order of the day at Clearwater!

 

You can enjoy a range of water sports and cruise experiences including a dolphin encounter or simply soak up the warm sunshine! 


Visit http www.clearwaterbeach.com for more information

St Petersburg Beach

There are a wide range of museums, art galleries and shops all within close range of St Pete's Beach as well as the sun, sea and sand on offer as standard!

 

If you get chance visit Spinners Restaurant - It's located on the top (12th) floor of the Grand Plaza Hotel and revolves a full 360 degrees over the course of nearly 2 hours - An amazing view not to be missed.

 

Many of the beaches in the area have nightlife to rival the daytime activities and it is well worth staying on 'after dark' to experience all these resorts have to offer.

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Shopping

Orlando offers a vast range of shopping outlets to suit all tastes and budgets. Some of the largest Malls are listed below:

 

The Florida Mall

This place is huge with anchor stores including Macy's, JC Penney & SAKs Fifth Avenue and a massive food court.   Also nearby there is a Best Buy for electrical goods.

 

Orlando International Premium Outlets

Another massive mall focusing almost entirely on fashion brands at up to 70% savings! Outlet stores include Juicy Couture, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus Last and Victoria's Secret. Food Court on site and day spa to recharge following a hard days shopping!

 

Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets

This is a great mall with a huge variety of stores offering items for your souvenir or daily uses, such as, Disney/Universal souvenirs, Florida T-shirts, jewelry, watches, electronics, shoes, gifts, toys, crafts, house wares, clothes, cosmetics, perfumes, health products, luggage, handbags, sunglasses and much, much more.

 

The Mall At Millenia

This mall is quite possibly the most luxurious of the lot - Designer brands featured include Hugo Boss, Tiffany, Gucci, Dior, Louis Vuitton & Jimmy Choo.  Sitting alongside the high fashion brands are specialty stores including an Apple flagship store and anchor superstores Bloomingdales and Macy's.  Concierge services, valet parking and upscale restaurants all make The Mall at Millenia a day out to remember.

 

Disney Springs

No trip to Kissimmee would be complete without a visit to Disney's huge Disney Springs complex which boasts numerous restaurants, cinema an indoor interactive theme park and some world class shopping.


Anchored by the largest Disney store in the world selling everything from the latest Disney costumes to home wares and souvenirs you will find many specialist stores in Disney Springs.

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