Of course everyone equates Orlando with Disney, and why wouldn’t you? We have world class attractions between Disney, Universal, Sea World and Epcot, all supported by a vast range of accommodation, dining opportunities and, did I say shopping? Premium outlets vie with upscale malls like the Mall at Milenia for your shopping dollars.
Orlando also boasts the Orange County Convention Center that attracts roughly a million delegates a year. Best of all, it’s located right on International Drive amid an array of hotels, restaurants and at a stone’s throw from Universal Studios.
Aside from the Mouse, Orlando has lots to offer, including neighborhoods that aren’t on the tourist’s typical path. Winter Park, for example, is one of Orlando’s first residential neighborhoods, just north of downtown. Winter Park was founded in the late 19th Century and still has the original railway and cobbled streets, such as Park Avenue which is lined with swanky shops and award-winning eateries.
Downtown Orlando is a vibrant business center with a lively after-work scene. As you start to explore the Orlando area, you’ll find it’s dotted with lakes. This has made the city popular for watersports such as waterskiing and wakeboarding.
A trip to Orlando is easily combined with a visit to one of central Florida’s glorious beaches. Named the Space Coast for the Kennedy Space Center (the area code is 3-2-1!), this is the longest stretch of beach in Florida. It’s also the largest nesting ground for sea turtles in the contiguous United States so come between May and October for nesting season! Popular towns include Cocoa Beach and Canaveral. Daytona Beach and its famous Speedway are an hour to the northeast, while Melbourne Beach is about an hour away to the south. Venture a little further and you’ll be in tony Vero Beach.
GREAT EATING PLACES
ORLANDO WOMEN’S NETWORKS AND EVENTS
BEAUTY AND FITNESS
CUSTOMS AND SAFETY
At the end of the day, Orlando is a major city so you would be prudent to exercise the same caution that you would anywhere. The tourist areas and downtown are safe during the day but you should be careful at night. Trip Advisor’s Orlando Health & Safety Link is a very good resource: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g34515-s206/Orlando:Florida:Health.And.Safety.html.
TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT
Orlando is easy to reach by air because of direct flights from all over the USA, Europe, Canada and Central America. The Disney influence has meant a great attention to detail in transportation. Exiting the airport is easy. There are buses, and rental cars on property which is really handy. It’s a short walk to pick up your car from the well lit and staffed rental lots. Because Orlando is so geared to tourists, the city and major roads are well signed. Watch out for tolls and double check with your car rental company to see if there is a transponder on your car. I’ve had incidents where friends have paid each and every toll, only to find when they returned their car that they were included in the rental fee.
ABOUT JAYNE MCALLISTER
I’m Jayne and I’m a former travel magazine publisher turned holistic wellness and nutrition coach. I work with female business travelers to keep them fit and healthy on the road, and I’m the creator of www.dineoutloseweight.com . I also create and implement corporate wellness programs for companies that have cadres of business travelers as life on the road presents its own set of challenges.
When I’m not blogging, coaching or working on my books, I’m out exploring the paradise I call home. While I hail from the north west of England, I consider myself to be a Floridian as I’ve lived here most of my adult life. I love Central Florida because we have it all: attractions, shopping, fine dining, parks, natural habitats, gorgeous beaches and our very own Space Center!
I’m married to a New Yorker so we like to say we’re “harf and haff.” Thankfully he likes to travel as much as I do. You can learn more about me at www.jaynemcallister.com. I hope you’ll reach out to me if you have questions about Central Florida or if you’re visiting here.
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