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When you think of Orlando, the first thing that springs to mind is Disney or Universal Orlando theme parks.
However, there’s much more to Florida’s Orange County than meets the eye, and a flight to Orlando with Qatar Airways and our partners gives you the chance to explore this vibrant part of America’s ‘Pan Handle’ in more detail. Flights to Orlando are plentiful, thanks to the popularity of the region’s family attractions.
Trips to Orlando almost always include visits to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando. Known for being a very family-friendly destination, Disney World is home to several different theme parks including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and more. No trip to Disney World is complete without seeing the famous Wishes Night time Spectacular, a fireworks extravaganza in Magic Kingdom. If you are looking for more activities, take the family to Universal Orlando, which is home to theme parks and night-time entertainment.
One of the best ways to discover the attractions Orlando has to offer is to buy a Go Orlando Card or an Orlando FlexTicket. These do not cover any of the Disney attractions, but can save you money on entrance fees to other attractions throughout the region.
There are plenty of museums to visit during your trip to Orlando, including the weird and wonderful Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium, the Orlando Science Centre and the Orlando Museum of Art. However, for a more comprehensive journey through American art and culture, visit the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.
To take a trip back to 1950s America visit Old Town, a blend of that most American of events, a county fair, with old-fashioned boardwalk entertainment. The Hanibal Square Heritage Center has a slightly more formal feel, and takes a more in-depth look at life in the southern states, including fascinating photographic and audio histories from the beginning of the 20th Century right up to modern times.
Families will no doubt head to one of the many theme parks that jostle for the attention of visitors, but if you want to wander a little bit further away from the crowds then you may need to travel out of Orlando and into the surrounding countryside. One way of getting away from the crowds is a sunrise hot air balloon ride, or head out to sea for a day’s fishing on one of the many charter boats available from Clearwater Beach.
A trip to Orlando provides you with all the entertainment you could ever want, and there’s even guided shopping tours for those interested in a bit of serious retail therapy! If you want to get out and about then the West Orange Cycle trail allows you to explore the countryside at your own pace. Hire bikes are available.
Most chain restaurants can be found along the CityWalk at Universal Orlando, and a greater range of international cuisine can be found at Downtown Disney.
However, if you want to steer away from the usual tourist restaurants, there are plenty of independent eateries throughout Orlando. Many are BBQ-based menus, as this is very much the staple fare in the southern states of the US. However, there are some gourmet options available for more discerning palettes, as well as plenty of Mexican and Latin American-based restaurants serving a more eclectic mix of dishes.
Americans love their Malls, and the largest in Orlando is the Florida Mall, which is home to over 200 outlets, from high-end international labels through to ‘Mom and Pop’ shops selling exclusively American goods.
For luxury shopping during your travels to Orlando, head for The Mall at Millenia. There are also some various ‘Ethnic enclaves’ such as Little Saigon, which is filled with Vietnamese outlets, and Little Brazil, where you’ll find South American goods aplenty.
Flights to Orlando arrive at Orlando International Airport, a few kilometres from the city centre. Be prepared for lengthy security queues, particularly in the summer.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Orlando please check the visa and passport requirements.
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