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Orlando Florida Vacation Travel

More About Orlando FL - Editor's Tips - Weather Maps & Dining

When to go?
Despite the brutal summer heat, June, July an August bring Orlando choking crowds of American and foreign tourists, most looking for the thrills that only Mickey Mouse and the Disney crew can provide. In addition, there are enough people within a short drive that this predominantly tourist-town fills to capacity on holidays and weekends throughout the year. The constantly shrinking off-season runs mid-September through April with significant crowds during the winter holidays and the March/April Spring Break. Even if Disney and Universal are not in your itinerary, the crowds will still slow you down a bit, so plan your trip as far from the rush as possible. Each park changes operational hours for individual attractions seasonally, weekly and even daily, so check the schedule as soon as you arrive to maximize the fun.

Where to stay?
In addition to the themed resorts within the Disney and Universal realms, there are nearly-infinite hotel, motel, inn, timeshare and condominium options all over Orlando to fit any budget. Beyond the family-vacation, double-bed arrangement, many business suite-style chains are right on I-drive, offer reasonable rates and boast separate rooms for parents and kids, plus full kitchens and living rooms. The savvy Orlando traveler can negotiate better deals with the hotels using AARP, AAA and union benefits or find money-saving, all-inclusive packages. Be sure to ask about transportation to and from major attractions, as many places will provide complimentary shuttle service or will at least make arrangements for you through a transport outfit.

What to do?
Orlando has lots of fun activities to offer away from the major theme parks. Arrayed along International ("I") Drive are a wide variety of theme-restaurants, attractions and shopping venues and two upside-down buildings. On the same day in Orlando you can drive racecars, surf wave pools and water slides, play mini golf with pirates and sip a cold beverage without coming in sight of Disney, Sea World or Universal (and without breaking the bank). The older attractions in Orlando that predate Disney, like Gatorland and the water ski shows offer laidback family fun without the crowds. Even though you will be miles from the beach, you will be outside a lot and the Orlando sun is dangerous (even in the winter and on the rare cloudy days), so be liberal with the sunscreen, especially for the children. The trick to enjoying an Orlando vacation is to avoid the long lines by hitting the busiest attractions early in the day and in the middle of the week, so you can see and do the most during your stay.


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