It’s been almost two years since I visited Orlando and since we’re gearing up to go again next year, I thought a blog post dedicated to it would be a good idea. Orlando is not the place to go if you’re looking for a relaxing holiday by the beach. It’s the place to go if you’re looking for adventure, sun and most of all FUN!
We spent 3 weeks in Florida in September 2015 and it was 3 of the best weeks of my life. We stayed in The Avanti Resort on International Drive which is the perfect place to stay if you’re going for the theme parks but don’t want to stay in the likes of Disney or Universal Hotels. The Avanti Resort is a massive hotel with a beautiful big pool and jacuzzi perfect for relaxing in after a long day at a theme park. The rooms are standard, spacious and clean with a huge King Size Bed. The Staff were so friendly and couldn’t have been more helpful. The Resort offer a free shuttle to the Disney, Universal and Sea World Parks and you can book on the bus each evening for the next day.
The first theme park we visited was Universal Studios. This is definitely my favourite park. I’m not a fan of Rollercoasters but this park has so many Simulator rides and gentler rides suitable for people just like me. My favourite rides at this park were Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Spiderman, E.T Adventure and Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. We really enjoyed Harry Potter World and spent quite a while there. I even got to try Butter Beer! It was very, very sweet and I only managed to drink about a quarter of the glass. The theming around the park is amazing and it really makes you feel like you’re walking down Diagon Alley.
We also visited Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. We LOVED Epcot. It is such a fun park and we loved every ride we went on especially Mission: Space and Test Track. Animal Kingdom was also such a beautiful day and we really enjoyed the Kilimanjaro Safari. We went to Animal Kingdom on a really, really hot day and there’s a LOT of walking to do around that park so you could say we were a little tired when we got back to the hotel. Hollywood Studios is definitely worth a visit. Go see the Beauty and The Beast Live Show if you get the chance – It is quite enjoyable (and not just because it’s one of my favourite Disney movies). The day we went to Magic Kingdom was such a let down. We left it until near the end of the holiday because we were most excited to go there and unfortunately it just so happened to be the start of Mickey’s not so scary halloween party, which was a sold out event which means we had to leave the park by 6pm and leave Orlando without seeing the magical Wishes fireworks – gutted. There was also a lot of Thunder and Lightening storms that day and so most of the rides were shut down which resulted in us walking around with those silly plastic bag things over us in the rain for quite a while.
I wasn’t sure whether to go to Sea World or not and in the end we did out of curiosity. I’m not one to jump on a bang wagon and I believe there are two sides to every story and so I had to see it for myself. I hated the animal shows. I just couldn’t stop thinking about how those animals should be out there in the wild not squished into a small tank staring at the same glass every day. We also had tickets for a dolphin swim in Discovery Cove and although I felt the same as above, it was an amazing experience. I didn’t like how the dolphins were treated. The first dolphin we had just wanted to play and because she wasn’t listening to what the trainer was telling her to do, the trainer got really annoyed and sent her off back out to a gated part of the pool and brought in a new dolphin. We were told what to do and when to do it and you got a 30-40 second swim with the dolphin. There’s also a massive pool full of Manta-Ray that you can swim with and you really feel like you’re in the sea. You’re provided with a snorkel and a life vest if you wish and you can spend as much time as you like in the Manta-Ray pool. Discovery Cove is a all inclusive park and you can eat and drink as much as you like when you like.
We visited two water parks while we were there, Wet N’ Wild (which no longer exists) and Aquatica which has the best lazy river in the entire world – Roa’s Rapids. I spent most of my day in this river while Aiden went on all the crazy water rides, I went on a few but I just loved the lazy river so, so much.
We also visited Busch Gardens so that Aiden could go on the crazy big coasters such as The SheiKra. I went on a Giraffe Safari whilst he went on the rollercoasters and it was quite fun. The Giraffe’s weren’t forced to come over and them seemed to be in a semi-natural habitat. We were given a Lettuce to feed them if they came over and it was just such a lovely morning.
While we were in Orlando we visited the Mall at Millenia and The Premium Outlets. The Mall at Millenia is amazing. I could have spent a lot longer there. I definitely enjoyed splurging in Sephora, Bath and Body Works and treating myself in Micheal Kors. I may have gotten a little obsession with Bath and Body Works Hand Sanitisers whilst in Orlando and bought over 40 of them…
Old Town is also worth a visit for an evening if you fancy walking around little shops and a small amusement park. I also recommend visiting The Olive Garden and Bahama Breeze for dinner. The upside Down Pineapple cake from Bahama Breeze is AMAZING.
I am super, super excited to return to Florida in 2018. I think it is definitely the best place to go for adventure and fun and it is perfect for couples, friends and families.
Until next time,