Country: United States
Currency: Dollar (USD)
Peak Season: June-August, December-January
Shoulder Season: February, May-August
Median Temperature: 25.40 C / 77.72 F
Main Languages: English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bus, shuttle, taxi
Recommended Duration of Stay: 7 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $150.00/day
Tourist Passes: Go Orlando Card
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Combine massive amusement parks, blockbuster movie studios, a domineering basketball team, high-tech research facilities, and tons of other cool stuff for both the kids and kids-at-heart, and what do you get? Orlando, Florida! Yep, Orlando has evolved from swampy rural community to a booming metropolis filled with family-fun entertainment spots, snazzy accommodations, and a diverse population to boot. Orlando is Vegas— minus the sinful excesses, and Hollywood—without the overrated publicity. It’s the place tourists love to go to when it’s their first time visiting the United States. And despite its fickle climate, Orlando manages to draw crowds even at its most downtrodden days.

Knowing that Walt Disney World’s completion was well underway, both locals and business moguls knew the city was destined for commercialism in the decades to come. The 1970’s catalyzed commissioning of airlines, resorts, hotels, and a salvo of smaller amusement parks to complement Disney World. The 1990’s saw a steep rise in both entertainment and recreational facilities throughout the city. The turn of the millennium paved the way for game development and animation studios, such as Electronic Arts and Pixar Place to set office in Orlando. A revitalized interest in interactive software development in the early 21st century spawned countless gaming software academies and full-fledged universities to branch out “game development” and “animation” as key course offerings. These, and many others, continue to make Orlando a preferred tourist destination of the younger, tech-savvy population.

Packing List

  • Light, cottony clothes for the hot and humid weather, as well as sleeved clothing for Orlando’s very changeable weather; don’t forget umbrellas and jackets too if taking on the hurricane season
  • Credit cards and cash for contingencies; spending in Orlando is very variable and may go up above your expectations, so try to always bring plastic with you, especially if tugging along a family
  • Credit cards and cash for contingencies; spending in Orlando is very variable and may go up above your expectations, so try to always bring plastic with you, especially if tugging along a family
  • Refreshments, snacks and anything to keep you nourished, everything sold in amusement parks has an insane markup; food connoisseurs may have difficulty ingesting many dishes offered here
  • A decent camera and film/memory (batteries are conveniently sold in kiosks); Orlando offers plenty of scenic backdrops; knowing foreigners, cameras are indispensable in places like these

Things to Do

  • Having a great time at Walt Disney World, the catalyst for Orlando’s rise as an amusement hub, paving the way for proliferation of lesser theme parks, water parks and other entertainment venues
  • Visiting Universal Orlando Resort, the second-largest resort in the city; the resort not only serves as a fully themed amusement/accommodation park, but also a production set for Hollywood flicks
  • Hauling your fear to Gatorland, a theme park and wildlife reserve for native alligators, reptiles and amphibians of the state; alligator trainers put their life on the balance by wrestling with crocodiles
  • Recapturing Apollo space explorations by going to the Kennedy Space Center; interestingly, to make up for the undeveloped land, the remaining area acts as grazing and reserves to Florida wildlife
  • Taking a breather from all the theme parks by going to Sanford, known for its preservation of early 20th century homes and shops, including its two attractions: St. Johns River and Lake Monroe

DON'T

  • Forget to check weather updates before departing for Orlando; plan ahead and check to see if hurricane season is nearby—you can always defer your trip and wait for the skies to calm
  • Go outside your apartment if it’s love bug season; they swarm in deafening numbers and, even though they don’t bite, cause nuisance by attaching themselves to anything that moves
  • Lose track of friends and family when going to different venues (even inside the same theme park); always set a meet up time and location and check to see if everyone has enough pocket money
  • Trust ticket scalpers to be all selling authentic admissions to various attractions; it’s better to book and set out your theme park itineraries a few weeks (or even months) in advance
  • Book any rooms with “spectacular views” and “five-star amenities”; since you’ll be spending a lot more time in the theme parks, better to just secure a noise-proof room that isn’t love bug infested