Florida’s 500

This year, Florida celebrates its 500th birthday, and what better way to celebrate than a trip to the region’s world-famous Orlando?

What to do in Orlando

Jam-packed with theme parks, shopping opportunities and eateries you can kill a whole week’s holiday without ever leaving city.

Starting with the obvious, Walt Disney World cannot be missed.  Some may see it as merely a fantasy word for kids, but with its superb restaurants, hotels and attractions, the park is a great location for hen parties and group holidays, whatever your age.  Similarly, Universal Studios Florida is an exciting insight into the world of cinematic wonder.  Jump into the world of glitz and glamour, striding through the streets of NYC or Hollywood’s red carpet, riding through scenes from the Transformers or Despicable Me.   Top of my list, however, would be Harry Potter World.  I’m a huge fan and the idea of trawling the scenes of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley is, well – magic!

If theme parks aren’t your thing, SeaWorld Orlando is the city’s answer to the Florida Everglades.  Okay, it may not be wild, but visitors can experience up close and personal dalliances with dolphins, sharks and even whales.  Soon they’re even opening an icy new venture: Antarctica, Empire of the Penguin.  Opening on 24 May 2013, the cool new attraction is just in time for the summer rush.

Harry Potter's Diagon Alley

Where to Eat in Orlando

A real culinary city, Orlando has a wealth of restaurants and café suitable for any time of day.  Of course the classics of TGI Fridays and The Cheesecake Factory make an appearance, but if you fancy something a little more special, you won’t be stumped for choice.  A hub of culinary expertise, Orlando is renowned as a tester platform for budding chefs and restaurants and is often frequented by up and coming stars.  With a range of cuisines on offer, why not try The Oceanaire  for some fresh and fancy seafood or Tony Roma’s for some international treats, packed with succulent, sticky ribs and signature steaks?  A quirky alternative, Yellow Dog Eats is a charming eatery serving gourmet cuisine with vegan and vegetarian options. Decked out with homely décor, a mosaicked patio and soft, subtle lighting, this friendly hide out is perfect for a lazy lunch among friends.

Yellow Dog Eats

Where to Stay in Orlando

If you choose to venture to the popular theme parks of Orlando, it’s clearly convenient to stay on-site. Don’t feel like you’re missing out however, as these accommodations are super close to the attractions and offer some great service and a comfortable stay.  The Hard Rock Hotel, for example, is seriously popular and for good reason.  It has numerous eateries, entertainment, business features and a range of room and suit choices.

If you’re keen on staying in the heart of the city, it’s a good idea to rent out a vacation home instead.  The best way to see a destination, in my opinion, is to experience it like a local. And what better way to start than to live like one?  Orlando Vacation Homes 360 is a great example, as they rent out villas, private homes, condos and townhomes.  Splashing out you can even bag a private pools, games rooms, free WiFi and resort-style facilities.

Orlando Villas

How to get to Orlando

Flights to America often come with a hefty price tag, but picking the right airline can help keep the pennies in your pocket. Flights to Orlando with Thomas Cook start at a measly £205 and fly from popular airports like London Gatwick and Manchester.

So, with summer around the corner, consider Orlando for your next big trip and celebrate the state’s birthday in style. Viva Florida!

Flickr credit –

Pop Culture Geek

Dan Bock

Yellow Dog Eats

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2 responses to “Florida’s 500

  1. Wow I can’t believe it is 500 years old!
    I was there last month and made a day trip to Orlando to see Mickey and his Disney crew.

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