Orlando Florida

Richard Harbourne 10 November 2008
If you like Theme parks and Disney and want to be a big kid for a few weeks then go to Orlando in Florida. This is a place for all ages and families.

Orlando International Airport is only around 20 minutes from International drive, which is where a majority of the hotels are. Sanford Airport which is where all the charter flights go into is around 1 hour away.

2008 was my second visit to Orlando and this time I went back for longer. My first experience was a work trip and was just 5nts. But it was a great insight and I experienced first class VIP treatment in a few of the parks and hotels.

The first time I went to Orlando I stayed at the Universal Hotel Royal Pacific which is part of 3 hotels literally on Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures door step. I enjoyed the location and standard so much that the second time I went back with my wife and friends we stayed 1 week at the Universal Hotel Hard Rock. One of the huge advantages of staying in one of the Universal Hotels is they will automatically upgrade your park tickets into Universal and Islands of Adventure to fast track. Which means you do not have to queue to get on to any of the rides and this will mean you can do all the rides easily in a whole day in each park. We then stayed the second week at the Disney All Stars hotel right by Disney so we could be closer to the other parks.

Wherever you stay in Orlando getting around is very easy. A lot of the hotels run shuttle busses to all the parks or you can hire a car and do it all yourself. This would be more for people I would say who are maybe staying in a Villa in maybe the Kissimee area or if you wanted to get out of Orlando and drive down to Clearwater,Tampa or even Miami which is around 4 hours away. You could even do a twin centre flying into one airport and out of the other, driving in between and dropping the car off as you depart.

In my two week holiday I managed to visit all the parks (just) it was hard work and believe me you will do a lot of walking as the parks are huge. But it is all well worth it and I wouldn't have had it any other way. Both times I visited was during the Halloween season which runs from Sep-Nov. Halloween horror nights was my favourite event and experience out of everything else. I can talk about it for hours. If you are lucky enough to go away during this period I will tell you all about it. Do not miss it!! I also recommend the express ticket that they offer which is generally the same cost again for the ticket. This means you do not queue to go into any of the haunted houses and events and you will see everything in 1 night, just about.

There are many different types of park tickets you can purchase with various different deals at different price ranges but I can have all that pre booked for you so you do not have to worry as I will recommend the places to go and see. There are also many water parks to visit and have fun at.

If you are looking to get out of Orlando during your stay Clearwater is not too far, only a few hours away and we stayed there 1 night. It was quite small but really nice with a few restaurants and bars along their magnificent beach. If you are looking to visit Busch Gardens in Tampa which is another theme park full of roller coasters then you could visit Clearwater also as it is very close to Tampa.

There is a huge shopping outlet in Orlando which we visited and came back with bags and bags of shopping. It's too hard to resist as you can get so many bargains that you just would not get back in Ireland.

So if you are looking for a thrilling experience and enjoy all different kinds of rides then Orlando is the place to go.