Sun-drenched, upbeat and unapologetically touristy, the capital of Orange County is best known for its immense collection of theme parks. Discover the USA’s ultimate family paradise on a holiday to Orlando from Glasgow Airport.
Variants on a theme
From daredevil rollercoasters to man-made tropical oases, from Harry Potter’s Hogwarts to the futuristic world of Terminator, the theme parks around Orlando catapult visitors into elaborate fantasy worlds. Relive the highlights of E.T., Shrek and Despicable Me at Universal Studios Florida (1000 Universal Studios Plaza), meet the killer whales at SeaWorld (7007 Sea Harbor Drive), indulge your inner LEGO fanatic at LEGOLAND (1 Legoland Way), or have fun in the sun – and the water – at SeaWorld’s Aquatica resort (5800 Water Play Way).
Shhhh, keep it to yourself – but Orlando’s suburban ring of leisure parks hides a culturally vibrant city core. Get your art fix at progressive galleries such as the CityArts Factory (29 South Orange Avenue) and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art (445 North Park Avenue), or discover exciting up-and-coming talent at the Grand Bohemian Gallery (325 South Orange Avenue). The Orlando Shakespeare Theatre (812 East Rollins Street) and Orlando Ballet (2211 North Orange Avenue) both put on world-class performances throughout the year, while events such as the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival (March) and the Florida Film Festival (April) attract crowds of culture vultures from around the world.
Rest and relaxation
It might not have a coastline, but the contrivances of man have ensured that Orlando still has beaches galore. Relax and recharge your batteries at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park (1145 Buena Vista Drive), swim in the tropical lagoons of SeaWorld’s Aquatica resort, or sunbathe on the white sands of Cocoa Beach, just a 45-minute drive from the city. If your nerves are twanging from one rollercoaster ride too many, indulge in a luxurious spa treatment at the glamorous Waldorf Astoria Spa (14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane).