Orlando’s World Famous Theme Parks
Orlando draws more than 62 million visitors every year. Most of them are there to visit one of more of the World-Famous Theme Parks that share the Orlando area. Disney World opened in 1971, expanding on the success and fame of the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Realizing a concept in the spirit of found Walt Disney’s vision, the park opened Epcot in 1982, showcasing culture and cities from all around the world. Disney has two other the theme parks in the Orlando area. Disney’s Hollywood Studios opened in 1989 and the Disney Animal Kingdom arrived in 1998. Visitors may also cool off at Disney’s water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.
Witnessing the huge success of Disney’s expansion into Florida, Universal Studios opened a second theme park, Universal Orlando and built the Universal Orlando Resort. Adding to the Universal complex in 1999 came the Islands of Adventure theme park and the CityWalk shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Universal unveiled the incredibly popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2010. Universal will also soon be opening a brand-new water park, Volcano Bay
SeaWorld Orlando offers theme parks and marine zoological parks. Included in the underwater exploration fun is Discovery Cove, which is home to a large range of aquatic animals, including their word renowned bottlenose dolphins, as well as a huge aviary housing more than 25- varieties of tropical birds. Aquatica is SeaWorld’s South Pacific themed par and features water attractions for all ages and swimming abilities.
If the big three aren’t your idea of theme park fun, there is also Gatorland, just south of Orlando. Visitors to the Orlando area can make easy drives to Busch Gardens in Tampa for thrilling rides and safari adventure and to the Kenney Space Center for the true meaning of thrilling adventure with a look back and look ahead at our country’s never ending love affair with space exploration.
Orlando Area Shopping
The Orlando area is home to great shopping. The Mall at Millenia offers an upscale, indoor shopping experience with more than 150 luxury brands and outstanding dining and entertainment options, all housed in a stunning modern building. Florida’s largest shopping mall, The Florida Mall, also calls Orlando home. Shopping enthusiasts can explore 1.9 million square feet of shopping with over 260 stores.
Bargain hunters will be thrilled by what’s waiting for them at the Orlando Premium Outlets and Prime Outlets malls. Disney and Universal also offer great shopping in their theme park complexes and Pointe Orlando gives visitors a quieter outdoor shopping area with unique retailors and wonderful entertainment and dining options for every palate.
Don’t Forget the Beach
For those who crave the sand and sea, Orlando is in Florida, home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. Being centrally located between Florida’s coasts, beach-goers can choose to travel to the Atlantic coast of Florida to beautiful Cocoa Beach or Daytona Beach. Both are less than 100 miles east of Orlando. Those seeking the sun shining on Florida’s Gulf Coast may easily travel west from Orlando to Clearwater Beach and St. Petersburg Beach, also less than 100 miles away.