Visit Orlando - theme parks and other attractions of Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida, known for the largest concentration of theme parks worldwide is, for many, the synonym of fun and entertainment for the whole family. Orlando is the place to be if you are looking to meet all Walt Disney characters, swim with dolphins or take a ride on an adrenaline pumping rollercoaster.
Cheap car hire Florida – the all American Dodge Charger is often cheap to rent in Orlando.
While visiting the numerous amusement parks of Orlando can easily take weeks, it is worth to dedicate some time, should you holiday schedule allow it, to visit the city itself.
See a video on Orlando's diverse tourist and cultural attractions:
Orlando in Orange County
Orlando is the capital of Orange County in the state of Florida. With over 2,300 000 inhabitants wihin is metropolitan area, Orlando ranks as Florida’s fifth largest city.
See map of Florida.
One of the main gateways to Orlando, on domestic and international routes, are the two international airports:
- Orlando International Airport - MCO, located approx. 12 miles south of the city centre. Read more about Orlando Airport.
- Orlando Sanford Airport - SFB, located around 26 miles north east of the city centre.
Both Orlando airports operate direct (regular and charter) flights from the UK.
Dodge Caravan - a large and comfortable family car for hire in Florida.
The City Beautiful
Nicknamed ‘The City Beautiful’ Orlando is a truly charming city, with several distinct areas: the historic old quarters, downtown Orlando, the modern Business District and the International Drive. To really get to know Orlando, take a stroll down the city’s streets and appreciate its cultural and architectonic diversity.
Orlando thrives on tourism and most of the local businesses developed to attract and accommodate visitors. That shows in Orlando’s unusual, sometimes bordering kitschy, architecture of the tourist section of the city.
Visitors from Europe used to classic urban layout and elegant architecture of Old Continent’s city centres, often find amusing the colourful facades of stores, restaurants and hotels, evoking Orlando’s main attraction. Orange-shaped buildings and shops fronts adorned with giant figures of cartoon characters or dolphins definitely get the tourist attention.
Lake Eola Park
Spreading on a vast area in Downtown Orland, the Lake Eola Park is equally popular with locals and tourists.
The park is a true oasis of peace, calm and green just a step away from the busy city centre, providing shaded areas and picturesque views of the lake.
The 9-miles long path circling the lake is perfect for walker and joggers and plenty of other activities are available in the park, amongst them: swan-shaped boat cruises in the lake and bird feeding. Concerts and plays are frequently held in the Walt Disney Amphitheatre by Lake Eola.
In the nejghbourhoods around Lake Eola, amongst them Thornton Park and Lake Eola Heights you will find some of the oldest historic architecture of Orlando.
Orlando International Drive
International Drive, or simply I-Drive is an over 11 miles long highway crossing Orlando. Its southwestern stretch, although located outside of the strict city centre is Orlando’s tourist hot spot as it hosts some of the best city’s hotels, shopping malls, and a large par of Orlando theme parks.
If you don’t have an own means of transportation, for example a hire car in Orlando, a inexpensive and fun way of visiting International Drive is onboard of a dedicate tourist bus covering the whole length of International Drive and stopping at the most interesting places along the way. The hop on/hop off tours are available from the I-Ride Trolley operator.
Orlando car hire can be a fun way of visiting the city. Take a ride in the iconic Ford Mustang Convertible, often available at competitive rates for hire from Orlando International Airport. Above, the 2015 Ford Mustang version (introduced in 2014).
Orlando theme parks
Most of the over 50 million tourists visiting Orlando every year are headed to the amusement parks: the most famous Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Adventure Park, as well as a large number of smaller parks are available in Orlando and Orlando area.
Walt Disney World
The world’s most visited amusement park occupies a vast area at Buena Vista Drive, approx. 20 miles south-west from Downtown Orlando. Disney World comprises 24 resort hotels, 2 water parks and a golf course and 4 theme parks:
See map of Walt Disney World (attractions and hotels) in Orlando.
Universal Orlando Resort
This film industry based adventure resort is located along International Drive, approx. 8 miles south-west from Downtown Orlando. It consists of two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventures. The resort’s accommodation is available at four luxury hotels belonging to Loews group.
Sea World Orlando
A part of the Sea World Entertainment chain of aquariums and animal themed entertainment parks, the Sea World Orlando is a delight of the youngest visitors. Having a killer whale as a mascot, SeaWorld offers a possibility to get acquainted with different forms of marine life and have fun on many of the park’s rides and roller coasters.
Find major attractions of Orlando SeaWorld on the map.
Discovery Cove Orlando
In the sister park to the SeaWorld, Oralndo’s Discovery Cove, the visitors can interact with many different species of marine animals, amongst them dolphins, sting rays, sea otters, as well as with exotic birds. Swimming with bottlenose dolphins is the park’s most popular attraction. Since Discovery Cove restricts guest access to 1,300 per day, there are no crowds or long queues here, typical to other Orlando’s parks.
A part of the SeaWorld group, Aquatica Orlando is a combination of an aquarium and a marine zoo with a water park. A tube slide made of transparent fiber descending into the habitat black and white dolphins - the Dolphin Plunge is Aquatica’s most popular attraction.
Orlando is also home to the largest Lego themed park in the world. Legoland Florida is located in a considerable distance – approx. 50 miles south-west – from Downtown Orlando, by the Lake Eloise.
Multiple attractions, shows, rides and a water park await families with children between 2 and 12 years of age in Legoland Florida. Beautiful botanical gardens of Legoland Florida are a true green oasis of tranquillity, allowing to relax after the excitement of Orlando’s amusement parks.
See Legoland Florida map.
This unusual theme park is dedicated to Florida’s most famous native inhabitants, alligators. In Gatorland Orlando visitors will have a chance to see alligators, crocodiles, pythons, lizards as well as tropical birds. The park features several attractions related to the feared reptiles, amongst them: alligator feeding, alligator and python wrestling and an over 370 meters long zip line ride over the alligators’ habitat.
Shopping is, for many, one of the greatest attractions of a U.S holiday. Along with large shopping malls, there are multiple outlet stores where designer goods can be purchased at very attractive, discounted prices.
Orlando’s Florida Mall is the largest indoor shopping centre of central Florida, housing over 270 stores and restaurants. It is located fairly close to major theme parks of Orlando.
Mall at Millennia
The absolute must-do for tourists on a shopping spree in Orlando is Mall at Millennia hosting over 150 stores including world-class brands, luxury restaurants and nigh clubs.
Orlando has a humid subtropical climate with an average annual temperature of 22 degrees Celsius and little variation between the seasons.
There are two distinct seasons: wet and dry one. The dry season lasts approximately from November till April and the wet one, from May till December.
See Orlando climate chart (weather, rainfall and sunshine hours).
Florida, although often referred to as ‘The Sunny State’ receives quite a significant amount of rainfall during the summer months being the wettest months June, July and August. Those are also the hottest moths in Orlando. The heat and extreme humidity is not the best combination for many tourists who prefer to visit Orlando outside the traditional holiday months of July and August.
When planning a trip to Orlando, do take in consideration the hurricanes which affect the state of Florida. In the land-locked Orlando, those are less of a concern, however strong winds may be experienced from June to October.