I had to think for a minute, because Orlando is so synonymous with Disneyworld, SeaWorld, Universal, that you often don’t think beyond the realms of roller coasters and Harry Potter’s magic wand. That would be a mistake however, as it turns out Orlando really does offer so much more than adrenaline rushes and cartoon mice.
The price might be lower, but the length of the flight (especially from London, England) unfortunately remains the same, and whether you fly into Sanford, or Orlando International, you’re looking at just over eight hours in the sky. That’s a long time in a glorified tin box, and when you add-on jet-lag when you land, you’ll be more than ready to chill-out.
I have a suggestion that won’t completely get rid of the trauma of long-haul flying, but it will help to a degree, and that’s to book a night an airport hotel before you fly. I do this regularly, and chilling-out before traveling really does relax you in a way that rushing around to get to the airport certainly doesn’t. Starting your sunshine holiday earlier is also a great advantage, so I’d recommend looking into the range of hotels available at your terminal, such as the many Gatwick Airport hotels on offer, with a hotel to suit every budget. If you’re flying more regionally, such as from Manchester, with a wide range of flights on offer, search on AirportHotels.com, and you’ll see that nobody is forgotten with this relaxation add-on.
Rest and recuperation are actually possible in Orlando, which is the complete opposite to what you’d expect, and what we’ve come to know by reputation. Winter Park is a great example of this, just a short distance outside the city centre, with its peaceful gardens, perfect for a spot of people watching, lots of shops, restaurants and green landscape. It’s a world away from the picture you have of Orlando in your mind.
Golf courses, spa facilities, fantastic restaurants, crazy golf, Ripley’s Believe it or Not – these are just a few of the attractions which don’t involve theme-parks and Shamu the whale.
I’d be taking time out to hit the shops, and with several outlets dotted around, you’re spoilt for choice. My favorite is Premium Outlets on International Drive, and they’re so easy to get to. Spend, spend, spend and come away with bargains galore – my kind of day out!
When you’re all shopped out, choose from one of the many delicious restaurants on offer, and there literally is every kind of food available. My favorite restaurant is IHOP, with its delicious pancakes. One thing’s for sure, nobody goes hungry in Orlando!
Whether you choose to go theme-park-free, or whether you mix and match, Orlando is an entertainment world like no other. Remember that pre-flight relaxation, as you’re sure to need it, by booking a great value airport hotel, such as one of the Heathrow Airport hotels, and however you choose to spend your time, you’re guaranteed a holiday to remember.
(Photo by slack12 via Flickr)