Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Orlando: Tips for your next vacation

Orlando is often regarded as the most kid friendly destination in the world. More than 51 million tourists visit this iconic landmark to enjoy world-class activities at Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studio Orlando, Sea World and Gatorland. Besides, it is also a busy venue for corporate events and international seminars. In fact, most visitors complain that they don’t get the time to visit all the great attractions. Nevertheless, here are some tips to get you started.

Getting There

The Orlando International Airport is the second busiest airport in Florida. Most local airlines including Air Blue, South West and AirTran operate several daily flights from all across America. Foreign carriers such as Lufthansa, British Airways, AeroMexico, Virgin Atlantic and Air France also have daily schedules. The nearby Sanford International Airport is home to Allegiant Air.

If driving to Orlando, it is useful to avoid the morning rush hours between 7 am and 9 am. For passengers traveling by train, CSX Transportation and Amtrak offer interstate railroad services connecting Southern Florida and Northern United States, respectively. Moreover, a high speed railway network connecting Tampa and Orland is expected to resume somewhere in 2014.

Getting Around

Several local tour operators and private shuttles offer fast access to major attractions. If touring with a small group, hire a small van as most companies adhere to ‘per shuttle’ pricing policy. The I-ride trolley is another price saving option. These colorful trolleys take visitors everywhere around the International Drive. The park and ride feature of these trolleys is a great way to save money and arrive at prime locations faster than other means.

Car Rental

Sheer competition among care rental agencies makes sure that visitors are able to find cheap car rentals. To further improve your chances of getting a great deal, always book at least 30 days in advance. If late for booking, always ask for last minute deals. Luckily, most car rental companies have last minute rates available even during the peak holiday season.

Amusement Parks

While all major attractions are located around International Drive, Walt Disney World Resort is situated along Lake Buena Vista. If traveling with kids, it is best to visit Epcot Center and Animal Kingdom, first. These theme parks offer variety of attractions within a small parameter. Leave other parks for evenings as they require you to walk.

For movie fans, a visit to Universal Studios is a must. The park is geared around movie themes providing thrilling cinematographic effects. Sea World and Wet’n’Wild water parks are the other main attractions. Children will also love Gatorland, which is often dubbed as the alligator capital of the world.

Recreation

For adults, Orlando offers world-class golf, nightlife and outdoor activities. Home to some of the most prestigious tournaments, Orlando has more than 170 golf courses and 20 training academies. Dinner shows, interactive entertainment and live music are hallmarks of the city’s nightlife. The Universal City Walk is a prime example of such an entertainment. Examples of outdoor activities include riding in an open cockpit airplane or using an air-boat to traverse swamplands.

Shopping

Downtown Orlando and Winter Park are prime spots for the best shopping deals. Besides, several specialty shops offer hard to find clothing and d├ęcor. The Florida Mall, Mall at Millennia and Lake Buena Vista Factory are major clothing outlets. Fit2Run, Jockey, Cartier, Tupperware Brands and Shepler’s Western Wear offer specialty products at factory rates.

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