10 Reasons We Think Orlando Florida is the Best
Okay, so we might be a little biassed when it comes to picking our favourite holiday destination in the world. We’ve been fortunate enough to visit a number of holiday hotspots around the world and whilst they’ve all had their own unique qualities, Orlando is a destination that has it all.
We thought it would be handy to put together a “newbie” guide to Orlando, and plucked the number 10 from the sky. So, here are ten reasons why we love Orlando and the sunshine state of Florida so much.
1) It’s a One-Size-Fits-All Destination
Right from the moment you board the plane to begin your journey to the USA you’ll noticed from your fellow passengers that Orlando attracts a wide audience. On your plane your fellow passengers are most likely going to be a mix of age, class, and idea of fun. Yet they are all heading to the same place confirming it has something for everyone. It’s the perfect destination for thrill-seekers, sun-seekers and shopaholics alike. It’s perfect for singles to have a great time mingling with other singletons, couples looking for either an action-packed holiday or a lazy holiday in the sun, as well as for families (visiting “the Mouse” is a must for families). There’s no age limit either. Families with babies, toddlers and young children travel to Orlando and Florida each year right through to pensioners looking for some well deserved relaxation.
2) Home to World Renowned Theme Parks
If you’re after thrills and spills and consider yourself an adrenaline junkie then there are plenty of legendary theme parks located in and around Orlando for you to check out. Universal Studios Resort is high up on many thrill-seeker lists. Walt Disney World Resort is a must, especially as the resort is made up of several theme parks covering a massive area. Many attractions have a theme park on-site or close-by so if you’re travelling as a group this is handy if not all of your group share the desire to be hurtled around a roller coaster blisteringly fast.
3) Loads of Attractions
If theme parks aren’t your cup of tea then there are hundreds of attractions to suit all budgets and tastes. SeaWorld offers a blend of theme park attractions with wildlife shows and exhibitions. Venues such as WonderWorks Orlando (a unique attraction set inside what looks like an upside-down house from the street) offer interactive exhibitions for all ages. A bit further afield is the NASA Kennedy Space Center which is an essential attraction for a glimpse into all things “space”. Low ticket, great value attractions are also available offering fun-fair style attractions and there’s plenty of opportunities for a round of crazy golf too!
4) Easy to Get Around
You’ve got two main choices when visiting Orlando – hire a car or don’t. If you’ve never driven abroad then there are worse places to begin than America. If that’s not much of a reassurance then you’ll be pleased to know there are plenty of buses ferrying residents and tourists alike around the city. The iRide trolley bus pretty much caters for tourists in the main and covers International Drive. It’s a reliable service that represents excellent value for money. A hire car would offer you additional opportunities making it easier to visit places like the Kennedy Space Center, Tampa, Clearwater and even Miami. The down side would be that it can be costly in terms of parking and gas if you run up a lot of mileage. A car is also a must if you are staying in the Kissimmee area due to the distance from most attractions on International Drive.
5) Great Exchange Rate
This point is probably subjective and the world economic crash of 2008 did nothing to help the £:$ (GBP:USD) exchange rate. At the peak before then, the exchange rate was around £1:$2. This effectively meant that everything you bought on holiday in Orlando was half the price of that in the UK. For example, we fondly remember using a Buy One Get One Free coupon for breakfast on International Drive. We paid around $10 US dollars for two massive but delicious cooked breakfasts, plus pancakes and a coffee (that was including a tip too!). Where can you get this in the UK for £2.50 a head?!
Since the good ‘ol days the exchange rate has slumped but has pretty much remained at £1:$1.60 for a while. That doesn’t sound too different but assuming you converted £1,000 for your holiday, you’d get $400 less than you did back in 2008. Nevertheless, it’s still a good exchange rate compared to say the Euro (which currently sits at around £1:€1.20) and no doubt as the world recovers the pound-dollar rate will get stronger once again.
6) Everything is bigger in America
Let’s dwell on breakfast again! I don’t think massive really does it justice but we found this pretty much every where we went. American portions are generally bigger than British portions. Take McDonalds for example. A “small” Coca Cola in the US is served in a 16 fluid ounce cup (around 473ml), whereas in the UK it is served in a 250ml portion (roughly around 8.5 fluid ounces). We found the same to be true of pretty much everything we ate and drink over there. You could look at that as a bad point but we prefer to look at it as receiving far better value, especially when you consider the pricing is generally on the same scale as the UK (where we see items priced at £1 it’s normally priced at $1 in the States for global chains). Combine this with a good exchange rate and you can feed your family very cheaply in America, leaving more spending money for theme parks, shopping and more!
7) Customer Service
America differs to the UK in that every form of service pretty much requires a tip. You tip when you receive poor service and you tip better when you receive fanatical service. As such, we tended to find that most of the service industry went over and above what we expected wherever we went. This was, as you’d expect, most noticeable in restaurants where service was always with a smile. It’s a small aspect but it makes a difference to your holiday.
8) No Language Barrier
Many people are frightened by going to a foreign land and not being able to speak the lingo. The main language in America is American English which means you’ll understand what the locals are saying! There are some quirky differences between British English and American English so keep an eye out for those but it all feels very familiar. So, strap your fanny pack on and head on over to the States!
9) Great weather
There’s no denying that Florida receives a healthy amount of great weather. Located on the South Eastern tip of the USA, it’s close to all the regions that you know get nice weather (Cuba, Mexico, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, etc). Orlando sometimes suffers from bad humidity which combined with glorious sunshine means it feels sticky and heavy. Towards the end of the tourist season it’s prone to tropical storms and occasionally hurricanes) so it’s wise to plan your holiday carefully to get the best weather going.
A holiday without a beach is like a sandwich without a filling. It’s a bit odd. Orlando is inland so doesn’t have natural beaches of its own (you’ll find a sandy spot in Aquatica if you want to feel the sand between your toes) but with a hire car you’re close to some stunning beaches. World famous Daytona Beach is around an hour’s drive away. Tampa and Clearwater is around a two hour drive away whilst Miami is a mere four hours away. If sandy beaches and luscious blue water is a must for you, great beaches aren’t too far away from this one-size-fits-all destination.