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Orlando - Sightseeing

With so much to see and do it’s difficult to decide what to experience first. However we’ve broken down and highlighted some of the exciting opportunities Orlando has to offer.

Shopping

From the extravagance of the glitzy malls to the bargain prices of the outlet warehouses, shopping in Orlando is big business with more variety than you can begin to imagine. If you want to experience something unique then head to the independent boutiques, jewellers and galleries in Downtown Orlando, or if its big brand shopping that takes your fancy head to Church Street, where you’ll find the mini mall featuring 50 speciality shops and restaurants.

If you’re looking for something a little unusual for a gift, then don’t overlook Orlando’s string of museums, which are packed with weird and wonderful gift ideas.

But for some serious shopping head to one of Orlando’s nine malls.

Mall at Millenia, Millenia Blvd., Orlando (10:00am-10:00pm, Mon-Sat, Sun: 11:00am-6:00pm)

Filled to the brim with expensive stores, you can peruse the rails in more than 150 shops including Burberry, Gucci, Chanel and Cartier, help yourself to beauty products at L'Occitane and Sisley skincare, or try some chocolate treats at Lindt Chocolate. Alongside these you’ll find major US favourites in the shape of Macy's and Bloomingdales, and if you get hungry doing all that shopping there’s an extensive food court filled with culinary treats.

Orlando Fashion Square Mall, 3201 East Colonial Dr (10:00am-9:00 pm; Sunday – 11:00am-6:00pm)

This is a shopping destination that caters for everyone. It features designer stores like Victoria’s Secret as well as department stores like Macys, and American favourites including Hot Topic. This mall has everything covered. With an extensive food court and even a cinema inside, this is more like a day out than a shopping experience.

Orlando Premium Outfits, 8200 Vineland Ave. (10:00am-9:00pm; Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm)

The superstar superstore to end them all; this is a shopping experience like no other. Featuring more than a 150 stores including Banana Republic, Burberry, Coach, Cole Haan, DKNY, Kenneth Cole, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren, Versace and many more, you’ll be able to snap yourself a bargain with discounts on many big brands.

Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Dr. (Mon-Sat: 10:00am-10:00pm / Sun: 10:00am-9:00pm)

This is more than just a shopping centre, it’s a fun filled entertainment centre as well. It features a plethora of designer outlets including Tommy Hilfiger, Armani, Hollister and Victoria’s Secret. You’ll also find an abundance of restaurants serving delicious cuisine, a 21 screen cinema and the WonderWorks; a fun filled amusement park for the mind.

Orlando holidays – Theme parks

Disney World Resort

The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is possibly one of the most famous places on earth. It sparkles with the Disney magic we’ve come to love.

The sheer size of this wonderland means you’ll need a few days, a map and a comfy pair of shoes in order to really enjoy everything the resort has to offer. Here are some of the highlights we wouldn't want you to miss.

The gateway to the Magic Kingdom® is found on Main Street USA, the heart of the resort, which is lined with amazing shops, restaurants and superb vantage points for the nightly parade. This epic walkway leads you to the various ‘Funlands’ within Walt Disney World, which are made to resemble a complete eco-system filled with rides, attractions and dining spots.

Filled with numerous attractions, take in the awe-inspiring views of Cinderella's Castle, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain and the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad amongst numerous other sights, cementing Disney World’s status as the premier theme park known to man.

Head over to places like Adventureland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland and Liberty Square, filled with amazing attractions including wild-west villages, sci-fi zones, tribal forest clearings and medieval townships all kitted out with the most thrilling, state-of-the art rides.

By far the most popular land in the park for younger children is Fantasyland. Here Disney's roll-call of famous characters rule the roost, keeping the children entertained between their time on rides.

Top Rides include Pirates of the Caribbean (Adventureland), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Frontierland), Space Mountain (Tomorrowland) and Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin (Tomorrowland).

End the day with the 'spectromagic' rainbow-illuminated parade of your favourite Disney characters.

Disney's ®Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Enter the electrifying world of Disney’s magnificent water park filled with amazing water rides. Experience the amusingly named, yet incredibly thrilling, Humunga Kowabunga. Alongside the rides you’ll also find the world’s largest artificial wave. It seems the Disney magic knows no boundaries in this world of water.

Disney's Animal Kingdom ®

Enjoy the vast abundance of rides and adventures in this magical land, where you can enjoy the Lion King festival, navigate the river rapids on a creaky raft, board the snow train in search of a Yeti, take a Kilimanjaro safari or enjoy Everest, complete with Himalayan village recreation. However the true draws here are the beautiful animals that include zebras, crocodiles, white rhinos, giraffes, ostriches, lions, hippos and elephants, amongst others

Disney Hollywood Studios

As the saying goes ‘there’s no business like show business’ and that’s evident here at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. With a high-tech meets nostalgia hybrid, pay homage to the silver screen in a series of themed rides and attractions. Prepare yourself for the likes of the Tower of Terror, the "rock'n'roller coaster" (which goes to the tunes of Aerosmith), and sound and light spectaculars starring the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and friends.

Epcot

Although it’s no longer the cutting edge vision of the future, Epcot is still a beautiful and charming period piece with the power to captivate and thrill you no matter how old you are. With the giant golf ball taking centre stage of the whole park, you can enjoy the thrills of the Spaceship Earth ride, the Imagination Institute, Mission Space (where every rider has a role to play in navigating a successful voyage) and Test Track's crash test dummies road race. Top off a fabulous day of thrill seeking rides by experiencing the 'Reflections of Earth' lightshow which takes place nightly.

Universal Orlando® Resort

isiting Universal Orlando will leave you hypnotised by its sheer magnitude. Although it is renowned for its huge collection of theme parks, the resort is more like a playground city filled with hotels, winding waterways, spas, bars and a full range of facilities both on site and clustered close to the main gates. So if you’ve come to Florida for fun, screams and everything you could want, Universal's theme park is the place for you.

Universal Orlando is actually two incredible parks, stuffed with attractions, restaurants, shows and nightlife. Try Universal's Islands of Adventure® for big thrills, twisting roller coasters and heart-pumping white knuckle rides, all designed under the watchful eye of creative consultant Steven Spielberg.

Look for Marvel Super Hero Island's rides based on the comic book heroes, Jurassic Park's white-knuckle rides and Seuss Landing's kiddie-friendly thrills. For all you film buffs out there Universal Studios Florida gives you the chance to be part of the action, with totally immersive 4-D cinema shows; you can cosy up to the likes of Shrek, and experience live shows from The Blues Brothers and Beetlejuice, to push the fun factor higher than it’s ever been.

Top Attractions

International Drive

If you’re looking for fun then head straight to the amazing Orlando suburb of I-Drive. This area was named in honour of International Drive, the infamous highway where there’s a shopping mall, theme park, outlet store or entertainment complex on every block.

Subtle is the last thing you can expect when heading to I-Drive, which is like a quieter and more family orientated Vegas. Half Measures is something this place knows absolutely nothing about.

If you want feeding the stretch is filled with a variety of different restaurants from 'build your own burger' restaurants to 'murder mystery' dinners. If you’re a foodie you’ll be shocked by the extreme quality and variety on offer here, with culinary delights from the world over, prepared in some of Florida's best restaurants.

During the day time you won’t even have to leave this stretch of land if you don’t want to, as it provides a thrilling day out for everyone. Take the time to visit Discovery Cove and take a dip in the pool with the dolphins, sink a few balls at the Hawaiian Rumble golf course or go shopping at one of the many outlet malls, and grab yourself a bargain or two.

In amongst the wonder of shopping, amazing activities and culinary delights, I-Drive is a beautifully presented and designed suburb, with lush greenery all around. Enjoy yourself as you explore this majestic area filled with winding walkways, large open squares, water-features and parkland; by doing this you’ll also discover more of the area, from hidden boutiques, great ice-cream joints and friendly bars like Karma Korner, with its climbing wall and basketball court.

Once you've found your friendly bar and enjoyed a cool beer or two, you can take the I-Drive trolley bus, which travels the length of the drive, to Universal Boulevard and Theme Park and back to your hotel. Everything here is taken care of for your convenience.

Titanic: The Experience (Daily, 10:00 am–8:00 pm) 8445 International Drive, Orlando

Take a stroll through a full scale recreation of the most famous ship in history. Wander through the Titanic’s state rooms and experience the magnificent and elegant entrance, allowing you to descend down that famous staircase. With costumed actors dressed to add a sense of authenticity, you’ll get a real life experience as you check out the 200 plus artefacts and historical treasures from the real ship.

Train Land international (Open daily, 10:00am – dusk) 8990 International Drive

With a history that began more than 150 years ago thanks to the railway lines, it’s only natural there’s an exhibition paying homage to Florida’s history. This fun and informative exhibition commemorates this history with the largest indoor G-gauge layout in the country, weaving through a vast wonderland of forests, farmland, cities and mountains. Following the fun packed display you can enjoy a ride on the little steam engine that takes you through the outdoor gardens

Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour (Daily, 10:00am – 4:00 pm) 312 East Morse Blvd., Winter Park

After a morning spent sightseeing in the glorious Florida heat, there’s nothing better than sitting back and giving your feet a rest. However just because you’re putting your feet up doesn’t mean you can’t explore Florida further. Take a one hour narrated cruise through the Winter Park’s lake and canal system and observe the Azalea Gardens, swaying palms and the Isle of Sicily recreation. This is a wonderfully lazy way of exploring Orlando’s other side.

Orlando Science Center, 777 E. Princeton St., Orlando, FL 32803

If you’re a bit of a science geek at heart, then you can’t visit Orlando and not take a trip to the Science Center. This is an exciting day out for people of all ages. With amazing exhibits such as Science Live, along with the fantastic exhibit halls featuring everything from Our Planet, to Kids Town sections, you can explore every different aspect of science.

Orlando Science Center Orlando Science Center, 777 E. Princeton St., Orlando, FL 32803

Informative and entertaining, the Science Center displays are big on the region's principal contribution to US advances – namely that of powered flight and its Touch the Sky exhibit explores the science and history of aeronautics.

Orlando Sea World (exit 72 off Interstate 4)

Keep you and the kids entertained all day as you take a trip to one of Orlando’s most famous and well known attractions; SeaWorld. Here you’ll find an array of sea life including dolphins, whales, rays and sea lions all trained to enthral you with their amazing water performances. Head into the world’s largest underwater tunnel and get up close and personal with the ocean’s most featured beasts at The Shark Encounter. If you’re a land based lover then don’t worry as there are plenty of tropical lagoons and rainforests to keep you entertained too.

Gatorland, Highway 441, South Orlando

Visit one of Olrando’s most thrilling and unique attractions, Gatorland. Well known across the globe for its swamp dwelling friends, you can get up close and personal with Florida’s toothy inhabitants at the fun filled theme park. With alligator wrestling, a petting zoo and a vast marshland swarming with birds, Gatorland is one of the best attractions around.

Jungle Adventures, 26205 East Highway (S.R.) 50 Christmas, Florida 32709

Partake in a little bit of ‘eco-tourism’ with a visit to the wonderfully exciting Jungle Adventures. Get close to Florida’s native wildlife as you observe the park’s amazing animal exhibits, which include alligators, crocodiles, turtles, snakes, monkeys, macaws, skunks, bobcats, panthers, bears and deer. Alongside animal shows, you can also experience the gator jamboree feeding, the Native American village and a jungle swamp queen river boat cruise.

Wet 'n' Wild, 6200 International Drive

It wouldn’t be Orlando without another water park. With it getting so hot here take a day to relax, unwind and have some fun at this family friendly water park. Filled with multi passenger rides, water chutes and wave machines you’ll have the time of your life, and don’t forget to experience 'Disco H20', where you can 'boogie down on a retro raft adventure.'

Nightlife

Downtown Disney

For an amazing night out look no further than Downtown Disney’s entertainment, shopping and eating complex. With few around to rival the abundance of opportunities, this place truly has something for everyone. Take the time to experience the absolutely jaw dropping Cirque du Soleil’s modern day circus tricks. Then head over to DisneyQuest which feature five floors of fun and games with rides, gizmos and arcade machines. If you want to party then head to Pleasure Island, filled with a range of bars and nightclubs featuring everything from comedy, to 80s discos and rock ‘n’ roll; this is a truly magnificent place to have a night on the town.

I-Drive

Nightlife along I-Drive is definitely for the young and energetic, or those who like a touch of glitter and a dash of drama. Here you’ll find medieval banquets, ghostly castles, murder mysteries and middle-eastern Bedouin tents, alongside a variety of themed bars.

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure

Be shocked and amazed as you live the pirate’s life at the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure, located at 6400 Carrier Dr. Orlando, which has often been cited as the "World’s Most Unique Interactive Dinner Show." This swashbuckling, action packed, multi-million dollar Broadway styled musical comedy adventure is fun for all. You can tuck into Caribbean delicacies served on board an authentic replica of an 18th century Spanish Galleon.

If the thought of a leisurely stroll from bar to bar is more appealing, head for Wall Street Plaza, with eight good-natured bars and restaurants lining a pedestrianised street, a great starting point for historic downtown adventure.

Wall Street Plaza

If you don’t want to be confined to one place, and fancy strolling from bar to bar then head to the Wall Street Plaza. Here you’ll find a number of friendly bars and restaurants lining the busy street; for an historic downtown adventure, this is a great place to begin.

Church Street Station

For something a little out of the ordinary try the Victorian themed Church Street Station. This unique station is spread out across several blocks, tying together a whole range of entertainment spots between the station and Orange Avenue, via the disused railway. Whether you want a disco, a themed restaurant or a rock bar, you’ll be sure to find it here.

Improv Comedy Club and Restaurant

For lovers of all things comedic, check out the amazing Improv Comedy Club and Restaurant. Situated on Church Street, you can guarantee yourself a series of side splitting laughs as big name headliners take to the stage alongside new up and coming talent.

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.(s12) TM & © 2012 Marvel & Subs. Jurassic Park, Camp Jurassic, Jurassic Park Discovery Center, Jurassic Park River Adventure ® Universal Studios/Amblin. Dr. Seuss properties TM & © 2012 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All rights reserved. Shrek 4-D © 2012 DreamWorks Animation L.L.C. The Blues Brothers © 2012 D. Aykroyd and J. Belushi Pisano. Beetlejuice and Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue TM & © 2012 The Geffen Film Company and Universal Studios. Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2012 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.