Featured Location: Orlando
It’s impossible not to mention the “D” word when talking about Orlando, but there’s a lot more to this balmy location than Disney. From alternative theme parks to fascinating museums and lush natural attractions, Orlando lies at the centre of a holiday paradise. With all the attractions of Florida just a drive away, car rental in Orlando gives you the keys to a kingdom that is truly magic.
6 Places to Go in and around Orlando
Walt Disney World
Launched in 1971, Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom has spawned an entire empire, encompassing 23 hotels, four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), almost 100 restaurants, two water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach), a sports complex (Disney’s Wide World of Sports), and two shopping and nightlife districts (Downtown Disney and Disney’s Boardwalk).
The best advice for visiting Disney World is to forget trying to see everything in a day or two: You’re here to have fun, so slow down and recognise when to head back to the hotel pool and chill out.
Universal Orlando is a very different theme park to Walt Disney World. Pedestrian-friendly and intimate, the complex contains two superb theme parks (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure), three excellent resorts, and a festive restaurant and nightlife district (CityWalk) linked by either a lushly planted path or a tranquil wooden-boat shuttle.
Located halfway between Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, SeaWorld is an aquatic wonderland. Far less crowded than the other amusement parks, it offers excellent animal shows and several rides and animal-interaction programs. You can eat underwater at the Sharks Underwater Grill, see everything from dolphins to manatees, and watch a fireworks display at the end of each day’s activities.
The Milk District
In an effort to demonstrate that it is far more than the home of Disney, downtown Orlando is engaged in a revival that is attracting a wide range of locals and some discerning tourists. The Milk District is an emerging hot spot, crammed with boho-chic stores and charismatic bars and restaurants.
Car hire means you’re just an hour away from Cocoa Beach on the Space Coast. This is the perfect place to escape from all those theme parks.
If you’ve had enough of sunbathing, you can go parasailing or deep sea fishing, take an eco-tour, or visit the Kennedy Space Center. The Space Center takes up only about 10,000 acres, and the rest of the area is preserved as a federally protected wildlife refuge, so expect to see everything from sunning alligators to soaring bald eagles as you drive.
(Photo by Kelly Managhan Photography)
Wekiwa Springs State Park
With car hire, you’re just a few minutes drive from Wekiwa Springs State Park, a wilderness that illustrates what central Florida would have looked like when the Timucan Indians lived here.
Situated at the headwaters of the Wekiva River, this park is the perfect place to kick back in a natural setting, enjoy a picnic, or paddle along the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run. With 13 miles of trails, there are ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Camping facilities are also available.
6 Orlando Restaurants
The following are 6 Orlando restaurants that are highly recommended: