A First Time Visitor’s Guide to Orlando

Orlando is one of the most popular tourist
destinations in the world with its theme parks and perfect weather.

But if you’ve never visited before, the sheer
amount of things to see and do can be a little overwhelming, so we’ve put
together this quick guide to everything you’ll need to know when visiting
Orlando for the first time.

Theme Parks

The theme parks are the major draw to Orlando,
four Disney
, two at Universal Studios and others such as SeaWorld close by as well.

All of the parks are located fairly close to
each other, in an area a few miles (10-20 minutes) to the southwest of the
city, with Disney found in Lake Buena Vista, and the Universal and SeaWorld
parks around International Drive.

We spoke to flight booking experts, Globehunters, who said: Be sure to book
tickets to theme parks well in advance, as they’re far more expensive if you
turn up on the day, and you can usually bag some good deals in advance, with
many airlines offering package deals that include your flight, hotel and park

Water Parks

If the idea of walking around a theme park in
the heat is too much to bear, consider heading to one of the water parks

 There are two at Disney (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach), as well as Aquatica at SeaWorld or the new Volcano Bay at Universal.


If you want to spend some time at the beach
during your stay, you’ll want to head out to either Cocoa Beach or Daytona
Beach, both of which are about an hour and a half to the east, via SR 50 to US1
to Cocoa or Interstate 4 East to Daytona.

If you want to head out to the beaches on the
west coast, such as St. Pete, Clearwater, and Tarpon Springs, this will take
about two hours via Interstate 4.

Where to Stay

You essentially have two options when it comes
to choosing where to stay, either a rented holiday villa or a standard hotel.

A holiday rental gives you that home away from
home feeling, and is ideal if you’ve travelling with a large group.

If you opt for a hotel, we recommend staying in
the International Drive (I-Drive) area, as this is where the majority of the
tourist activity is located.

If you’re not planning on driving while you’re
in Orlando, it could be a good idea to stay on site at one of the many Disney
or Universal hotels, and just make use of the free shuttle buses.


If you’re going to be heading further afield
than just the main theme parks, then you’ll probably want to hire a car during
your stay, and there’s a great range of rental companies at Orlando
International Airport.

However, as we previously mentioned there are
plenty of shuttle buses to the parks that you can make use of, as well as the I-Ride Trolley.

As for arriving, Orlando actually has two
airports, Orlando International Airport (MCO) and Orlando Sanford (SFB), both
of which are arrival points for UK flights, although Sanford is about 30 miles
away, in the city of Sanford.

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