Orlando Vacation Information
Orlando, “America’s family fun capital,” is best-known as the home of huge theme parks that offer a variety of activities: among these, Walt Disney World, Epcot Center and Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Sea World Orlando; Sea World’s water park, Aquatica; Busch Gardens Africa; Discovery Cove and Universal Studios. New rides are added yearly, drawing new guests as well as welcoming return visitors. This inland Florida city is a water lover’s paradise. Daytona Beach, an hour’s drive to the coast, along with the theme parks, offer many opportunities to splash and cool off.
Nature lovers can stroll through the Harry P. Leu Gardens, fifty acres in the inner city filled with beautiful flowers, palms, and a butterfly garden. The Arboretum and botanical garden of the University of Central Florida, located in East Orlando, offer three miles of walking/biking trails. An 18-hole disc golf course meanders through the longleaf pines. With only a small percent of developed, the Kennedy Space Center, approximately fifty miles east on the coast, is an important wildlife sanctuary: the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is the gateway to the Great Florida Birding Trail and Canaveral National Seashore is home to a twenty-four mile long beach, the longest undeveloped strand on Florida’s eastern shore.
Winter Park, a suburb of Orlando, is a unique, historic old Florida town built as a resort for the wealthy in the 1800’s. One can stroll along the small, winding brick streets of the Olde Winter Park area and explore the many shops, boutiques and galleries. The moss-draped branches of live oaks and camphor trees shade the streets and the town’s many parks.
The arts are well-represented. Fine museums abound, including Orlando’s Museum of Art which features fine contemporary exhibitions. The Orlando Science Center features hands-on interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages. Winter Park’s Morse Museum of American Art of houses the world's "most comprehensive" collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany: art glass, jewelry, pottery, and the chapel interior designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In addition to the visual arts, the performing arts abound: the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando Repertory Theatre (a professional theater for young audiences), Winter Park Playhouse, among others associated with the theme parks.
At nearby Port Canaveral, Carnival, Disney and Royal Caribbean International cruise ships dock at the terminals. For those who like to gamble, Sun Cruz Casinos also operates out of the port, offering both day and evening offshore cruises.
Orlando is a year-round destination with temperatures that insure off-season outdoor fun. Special events include Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival and a variety of Fourth of July and Halloween celebrations. Winter Park is famous for its Bach Festival, the nationally ranked Sidewalk Art Festival, and the Winter Park Concours d'Elegance, a judged invitational event featuring classic, high-end automobiles.