You won't be the only tourist in town if you Orlando in central Florida – 52 million visit annually – but you'll escape the bulk of crowds if you skip July and August. Similarly, it’s easy to view Orlando as simply a thrill-seeker’s paradise, and never venture beyond the realms of Walt Disney World, Universal and Seaworld. But Orlando city itself offers a relaxing counter to the adrenaline excitement of the theme parks, with leafy avenues, lovely gardens, parks and museums.
Airlines that fly to Orlando
Flights from the UK to Orlando will disembark at Orlando International Airport. Orlando International Airport (MCO) is located southeast of central Orlando. The airport code refers to the airport's former name as McCoy Air Force Base, named after Colonel Michael Normal Wright McCoy, who died in a plane crash in 1957.
British passport holders are eligible for the USA’s visa waiver program, allowing you to visit the United States without a visa for 90 days. While you might not need to apply for a visa, you will need to gain prior authorisation through the country’s Electronic System for Travel Authorisation, commonly referred to as an ‘ESTA.’ Those who are not approved by this online system prior to their flight may run the risk of being turned away at the airport. For travel on non-British passports or for more information, please ask your consultant.
Head to Winter Park, a little city in its own right, considered to have the best eateries in Orlando. Lake Eola is also a gastronomic hub – this beautiful lake right in the heart of downtown Orlando is lined with top-notch restaurants and bars. You can tour the rest of Orlando any way you want – on foot, Segway, by helicopter or even balloon. Remember, it's not just for kids!
Shopping in Orlando is as magnificent as you would expect too, with the Mall at Millenia and Florida Mall both world-class. After a hard day’s shopping, catch a live show downtown – with comedy, dinner shows, theatre and concerts, and international acts such as Cirque de Soleil, Orlando caters for every taste.
For a glimpse of Orlando attractions that don't centre around fibreglass or candy, spend some time at:
- Forever Florida – a 4,700 acre eco-ranch and wildlife conservation area
- Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art – houses a comprehensive collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) including Tiffany art glass, leaded-glass windows, lamps, jewelry, pottery and paintings
- Orlando Science Center – an interactive learning centre featuring Florida's largest refracting telescope; one of Florida's many wacky attractions
- Harry P. Leu Gardens – 50 acres of landscaped gardens and lakes, featuring flora gathered from around the globe since 1936