Orlando

Orlando is a large city located in Orange County, Florida.

Orlando, for most people, conjures up the image of theme parks, mainly Walt Disney World, but it has a lot more to offer than that. (In fact, Disney World is not in Orlando, but is in nearby Lake Buena Vista). With the estimated 52 million tourists a year, Orlando and many other areas in the region have developed a lot to offer the less theme park minded (or theme park exhausted) traveler.

Other cities in the metropolitan area include Altamonte Springs, Davenport, Kissimmee, and Winter Park.

Lake Eola in downtown Orlando, Florida.

Understand

When people think of Orlando, most think of theme parks and a vast urban sprawl. However, the city proper contains none of the major theme parks (Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World), dinner attractions (Arabian Nights, Medieval Times), or even most small theme parks (Gatorland, Holyland Experience, Ripley's Believe-it-or-not, etc.). However, since Orlando is the larger city associated with most of these popular attractions, you will find details and descriptions of them below.

Climate

Most tourists visit Orlando between June and August, while another peak time for tourism is March and April. Ironically, the less busy times for tourism correspond to the best weather in the Orlando area; the summer months can be exceptionally busy with families who are making a trip while kids are on summer vacation. Visiting when the weather isn't so hot means fewer people in the area and that provides some advantages, but you will be able to enjoy cooler weather.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°F) 72 73 77 83 88 91 93 93 89 84 77 73
Nightly lows (°F) 50 51 55 61 67 73 75 73 72 65 56 51
Precipitation (in) 2.1 3.1 3.5 2.6 3.0 6.5 8.1 7.5 6.8 3.9 1.7 2.1

Many say central Florida has two seasons: hot and hotter. Orlando has warm, balmy springs and autumns; hot summers complete with daily thunderstorms; and temperate winters affected by the occasional cold front. That being said:

Florida Cold & Snow

While most think of Florida as a year-round paradise, many would be surprised to learn that there are at least ten clear winter mornings a year when lows fall to near freezing. However, even on the coldest of mornings, highs will soon reach into the 50s and 60s! Nevertheless, every 3-4 years, snow flurries will mix with rain somewhere in the region, the most recent being a snow/sleet mix on an exceptionally cold 9 January 2010. However, only once since records began in 1948 has any measurable snow fallen at the airport (0.2" in/0.5 cm Jan 1977). So if you visit between November and March, bring a jacket...it may be warmer than northern states, but not as warm as you may think it will be!

Get in

By plane

Orlando International Airport

Main article: Orlando International Airport

Orlando International Airport (IATA: MCO) is the city's primary airport, and the second busiest airport in the state in terms of passenger traffic. The airport is located to the southeast of downtown but is conveniently located with respect to the region and area attractions.

Orlando International Airport is a domestic destination for Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways & Southwest Airlines. There are a great many international destinations throughout North America, South America and Europe.

Full sized Hotel, with all amenities and services, directly within Orlando International Airport itself.

Orlando International is structured into two components, landside and airside. There is a central landside terminal (one building divided into sides "A" and "B"), containing airline counters, baggage claim, rental agencies, numerous shops, and a hotel. This central terminal is connected via trams to four other terminals, known as Airside 1-4, with the airplane gates. There are plenty of shops and restaurants in both the central terminal and the airsides.

Security screening is performed in the central landside terminal before taking the tram to the airsides and, as in all U.S. airports, only ticketed passengers are allowed past security. Security lines can become extremely long (1 hr), especially during the summer tourist season and near holidays. Combined with long check-in lines, it is advisable to arrive 2-3 hours before your scheduled departure.

Orlando is the "rental car capital of the world" and, as can be expected, there are many car rental agencies offering a large number and wide range of vehicles for rental. Additionally, there are numerous car rental agencies located off-site which provide free airport transfers from their location and may offer lower prices (See OIA website). Rental agencies at the airport are: Advantage Rent A Car (+1 407-857-1999), Alamo (+1 800-327-9633), Avis (+1 800-831-2847), Budget (+1 800-527-0700), Dollar Car Rental (Domestic: +1 800-800-4000, International: +1 800-800-6000), Enterprise Rent-A-Car (+1 800-325-8007), E-Z Rent A Car (+1 800-277-5171), Hertz Car Rental (+1 800-654-3131), L and M Car Rental (+1 407-888-0515), National (+1 800-227-7368), Thrifty (+1 800-367-2277). Beware: Several gas stations near the airport prey on visitors topping off the tanks of rental cars by charging extraordinarily high prices ($2-3/gallon above local prices)! The practice has made national news and all stations are now required to display their prices on road-side displays. Nonetheless, there are still many unsuspecting visitors who are shocked to pull up to a gas pump with regular unleaded gas for $6.50/gallon, when stations 2-3 miles away are charging just $3.50!!

Public transportation in the Orlando area is provided by Lynx (, +1 407-841-5969) bus system. Lynx buses can be found on the Ground Transportation Level (Level 1) of the Main Terminal's "A" side at Commercial Lane spaces A38-A41. Fares are $2/ride with free transfers within 90 minutes. Day passes are $4.50 and a 7-day pass costs $16. Discounted fares for Youth/Elderly requires riders to present a Lynx-issued ID, available only by applying at the Central Station Terminal with a 5-7 day turnaround and therefore not viable for short-term visitors. Routes (known as links) from the airport are:

Almost every medium to high priced hotel in the city offers airport transfers. Additionally, there are several shuttle services options that run from the airport to various points, including Kissimmee, theme parks, University of Central Florida, and the cruise port at Port Canaveral. Approximate rates for shuttle vans range from $18-26 depending on your destination (see OIA website for details on local transport). You may wish to contact your hotel to inquire about discounts on certain shuttles or possibly free airport transfers.

Out-of-town shuttles provide service to destinations within about 1-2 hours' drive. These shuttles are prohibited from serving Orange, Seminole, and northern Osceola counties. A full, up-to-date list of these may be found on the OIA website.

Taxi Cabs/Vans may carry up to 9 passengers/luggage and may be found on the Ground Transportation Level (Level) of both the "A" and "B" sides of the Main Terminal. Rates are determined by a taximeter, regardless of the number of passengers, and flat fares are prohibited. Taxi Cab companies at the airport include: Ace Metro/Luxury Cab (+1 407-855-1111); Diamond Cab Company (+1 407-523-3333); Quick Cab (+1 407-447-1444); Star Taxi (+1 407-857-9999); Town & Country Transport (+1 407-828-3035); & Yellow/City Cab (+1 407-422-2222).

Located inside the landside terminal is the Hyatt Regency,  +1 407-825-1234, fax: +1 407 856-1672, e-mail: . .

Orlando-Sanford International Airport

A secondary airport which serves the Orlando area is the Orlando-Sanford International Airport (IATA: SFB, ) located in Sanford, a city just to the northeast of Orlando, the side of Orlando opposite most attractions. The airport is a hub for the small carrier Allegiant Air, which flies to smaller cities and secondary airports across the Eastern U.S & Canada.

The airport is owned by a European company and, as a result, has strong ties to European charter and holiday airlines. Service between Orlando Sanford International and Europe includes: Monarch Airlines (London-Gatwick & Manchester; seasonally to Belfast-International, Cardiff, Glasgow-International, & Newcastle upon Tyne); Easyjet (Manchester; seasonally to Belfast-International, Glasgow-International, & London-Gatwick); Thomson Airways (Birmingham, London-Gatwick, Manchester; seasonally to Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, & Newcastle upon Tyne); Arkefly (Amsterdam); and Icelandair (Reykjavik, seasonal). Monarch,Easy Jet & Thomson flights can only be booked round-trip, originating in Europe; passengers cannot book outbound flights from Orlando-Sanford on these airlines.

Rental car agencies located on-site are: Advantage,  +1 407 585-4445, toll-free: +1-800-777-5500. ; Alamo,  +1 407 585-3500, toll-free: +1-800-327-9633. ; Avis,  +1 407 585-4420, toll-free: +1-800-331-1212. ; Budget,  +1 407 585-4427, toll-free: +1-800-527-0700. ; Dollar,  +1 407 324-1314, toll-free: +1-800-423-4704. ; Enterprise,  +1 407 585-4400, toll-free: +1-800-736-8222. ; Hertz,  +1 407 585-4410, toll-free: +1-800-654-3131. ; National,  +1 407 585-4405, toll-free: +1-800-327-9633. ; Thrifty,  +1 407 324-1314, toll-free: +1-800-847-4389. .

Taxi service is available from Yellow Cab Company of Orlando,  +1 407 422-2222. . Shuttles are available from American Coach Shuttle,  +1 407 322-1988, toll-free: +1-800-781-8999, e-mail: . and Orlando Carriers, Inc.,  +1 407 418-0513, e-mail: .

Regional airports

Other regional airports within an hour and a half drive include Daytona Beach International Airport (IATA: DAB; ; served by Delta to Atlanta and American to Charlotte) & Melbourne International Airport (IATA: MLB; ; served by Delta to Atlanta, American to Charlotte, & Baer Air to Marsh Harbour, Bahamas). In addition, Orlando area visitors who plan on visiting the Gulf Coast may consider flying into Tampa International Airport (IATA: TPA; ), about 80 mi (130 km) west of Orlando or just over an hour's drive, as it is less crowded and a bit easier to access via road.

If you plan on visiting more than just Orlando and plan on taking international flights, you may want to consider flying via Miami International Airport, a 200 mi (320 km) and a 2-3 hour drive south of Orlando, which offers more international flights and is the largest U.S. gateway for flights to South/Central America & the Caribbean.

General aviation

All persons flying via general aviation to the Orlando area should consider arriving via Orlando Executive Airport, and Kissimmee Airport (if you are flying in for the theme parks). Orlando Executive and Kissimmee serve general aviation (95%) and air taxi (5%) exclusively. Additionally, Orlando Sanford International serves general aviation alongside its commercial use.

Orlando Executive Airport provides 24-hour service through two fixed based operators, SheltAir Aviation Services and Showalter Flying Services. Air taxi and air charter companies such as Orlando Jet Charter fly a variety of private charter aircraft and jets, from charter luxury Gulfstream's down to economical piston twins for small groups and individuals.

By train

Main article: Rail travel in the United States

Orlando has an Amtrak station that provides service to other destinations such as Miami, but also connects to other points as far north as New York via the Silver Star and Silver Meteor lines.

Nearby Sanford is the southern terminus of the Amtrak Auto Train which carries passengers and automobiles between Sanford and Lorton, Virginia, effectively serving as a car-rail link from Orlando to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The train runs daily with no intermediate stops and takes 17 and a half hours one way.

By bus

Get around

By car

Open Road Tolling

Open road tolling is employed along most of Orlando's toll roads. A driver with a SunPass or E-Pass transponder and a prepaid account continues straight along the road at the speed limit, with the toll accounted for electronically; drivers paying cash (almost all tourists) must follow signage that diverts them to toll booths constructed off the right side of the highway. Drivers who don't have transponders and continue going straight past the toll booth are photographed and ticketed. The fine is $100 per offense, plus tolls outstanding.

Some rental car agencies use Sunpass or toll-by-plate to cover tolls, with incurred tolls charged to the customer's credit card. Inquire with the company when renting a car.

Toll roads in the Orlando area are only compatible with Florida's SunPass (or the older E-Pass) transponder for electronic payment. Other electronic tolling systems, including E-Zpass (Northeastern U.S.), TxTAG (Texas), and Fastrak (California), are not compatible with Sunpass.

If you mistakenly drive through a SunPass lane, you can still contact the Florida DoT to pay the toll without being fined; see sunpass.com/violationsMissedToll or contact +1-888-824-8655. You will need the license plate number and, to the best of your knowledge, note the date, time, and location of the missed toll.

The car is omnipresent in Orlando, and it is a very easy and convenient (if not congested) way to get to your destination. Orlando is a sprawling city with most attractions lying far to the south of the CBD and into adjacent cities like Kissimmee. The roads are all wide and easy to drive on with all major attractions well signed, but traffic jams around downtown are common in the afternoons, and around the touristy areas on Friday nights and all day Saturday. Orlando ranks 8th in the nation in terms of traffic congestion, and there are numerous ongoing construction projects on area expressways. Traffic information is available from electronic signs over roadways, most local radio stations, and also by calling 511 (a free, automated service which provides current traffic info).

As with most urban areas in the U.S., there are plenty of drivers who prefer to speed and drive aggressively. The Orlando area receives over 50 million visitors each year, many who drive while in town, while home to just 2 million residents. The combination of these two types of drivers can make Orlando's roads a bit hectic at times. Speed limits in the Orlando area are higher than some parts of the U.S., with a speed limit of around 45-50mph on major roads. The speed limit on Interstate 4 and tollroads is 65mph, with urban sections close to downtown posted at 55mph. Drivers in the left lane tend to drive 5-15mph faster than the speed limit. While it is the law to keep right except to pass, this is not strictly enforced.

The main highway through Orlando, and the only interstate serving it, is Interstate 4 (commonly called "I-4") which runs diagonally from northeast to southwest across the Orlando area. In recent years major construction on it has widened it through areas south of S.R. 528 making it a commuter-friendly highway (except for traffic during rush hours and Friday and Saturday evenings). Downtown Orlando; International Drive; Amway Arena; the Mall at Millenia; Arabian Nights dinner theater; and theme parks such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, Discovery Cove, the Holy Land Experience, and Wet n' Wild are all conveniently located along/near I-4.

Other major highways include the Beach Line Expressway (S.R. 528), a toll road known until recently as the Bee Line, which runs east from I-4 (exit 72) towards the Space Coast beaches and Kennedy Space Center, Cocoa Beach, and Port Canaveral. S.R. 528 is, like all Orlando area expressways (which doesn't include I-4), a toll road. While tolls are modest for short trips within Orlando, tolls can quickly add on long cross-town trips. Bypassing Orlando on S.R. 417 is $5.50 for 55 mi (89 km). The Central Florida GreeneWay (S.R. 417) starts at I-4 just west of SR-192/Disney World. It takes you north, passing both the Orlando International Airport and the Orlando-Sanford International Airport. It ends at I-4 in Sanford, FL. S.R. 408 starts at SR-50 on the East side of Orlando, by the University of Central Florida and takes you past the west side of Orlando to the city of Ocoee, FL. It ends at the Florida Turnpike. S.R. 429 starts in Apopka, FL at U.S. 441 and takes you past the Florida Turnpike and Disney World. It ends at I-4, just west of SR-192/Disney World. Florida's Turnpike starts in Miami, FL at I-95 and takes you north through Orlando and ends in Wildwood, FL at I-75. See this convenient toll calculator online: .

In Orlando, the main tourism area is International Drive, a strip of road that runs parallel to I-4 for about 10 miles (16 km). Many tourist-focused shops, restaurants, and attractions are to be found along this road; therefore, it is excruciatingly hard to drive on and find parking along this road on weekends, especially in the summer and from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, and excursions to this area are best by bus during such times. Other major roads include: U.S. 192 in Kissimmee (fronted by thousands of small shops and attractions), Orange Blossom Trail (US 17/92/441...a North-South alternative to I-4), John Young Parkway (which can be an alternative to US-441), & S.R. 50 (E-W route towards the CBD).

A few local laws to keep in mind:

Gasoline

There are a few gas stations that prey on unsuspecting travelers returning rental cars to the airport. This includes Suncoast Energys and Sun Gas on Semoran Blvd near the airport entrance. Prices at these stations are often more than $2/gal above typical market price. Look before you pump! Plan ahead to have enough time before your flight to drive an extra mile or so up Semoran to the cheaper stations. There are also stations around Disney World that have similar practices.

By rental car

Orlando is the largest rental car market in the world and is known as the capital of car rental companies, with all major car rental companies accessible. Operating directly within the airport are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, E-Z Rent-a-car, L & M Car Rental, National, and Thrifty; courtesy shuttles are available for transport to other rental companies.

If you arrive by air via Orlando International Airport and pick up a rental car there, you can go through the north exit and head to SR-528 West to get to International Drive, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld. This will require $1.75 in tolls. Alternatively, you can take a direct route to Walt Disney World through the south exit to SR-417 South, following it to Exit 5, and taking SR 536 straight into Disney. This requires $2 in tolls. Toll booths along this expressway uses open road tolling: see note above in box. Be careful when you return your rental car, the gas stations within 2 miles of the airport do not advertise their prices and cost over $5 per gallon. The prices 3 miles out are standard.

By bus

Orlando's public transportation is the LYNX bus service. Approximately 60 routes serve the metro Orlando area and costs $2 per ride (transfers included) except for the free Lymmo bus service downtown.

LYNX buses of interest to visitors include routes 8, 42, 50, and 111 -- e.g., bus 8 or 42 for Universal, bus 8 for SeaWorld, and bus 50 or 111 for Disney. Seven-day standard passes are $16. Check out GO LYNX to plan your trips.

By train

Base one-way fare is $2.00, with an addition of $1.00 for each county line crossed. An all-day pass costs $4.50.

Direct rail connections to OIA and the attractions areas are currently being studied for possible future expansion.

There is currently no service on weekends and some federal holidays.

By trolley

By taxi

Orlando is visited by millions of tourists each year and there are dozens of taxi companies that are operational in the region. It will not be a problem to find transportation from The Orlando Airport to your hotel or from the hotel to a theme park, restaurant or mall. Unfortunately, some of those companies do not have any license or insurance, and operate illegally. If you are not planning to rent a car, you probably should do some research and arrange your transportation before arriving to Orlando.

See

The Go Orlando Card is very useful.

Gardens & Parks

Museums

Do

Major Attractions

Orlando is one of the biggest tourist destinations because of the nearby theme parks and resorts. Close to International Drive is Universal Orlando Resort, which includes two theme parks, three hotels and a large shopping district. SeaWorld Orlando is a marine theme park featuring Kraken, the only floorless rollercoaster in the Orlando area, as well as Believe, the new Shamu adventure. About 35 minutes southwest of downtown Orlando is Walt Disney World. Comprising four theme parks, two water parks, dozens of hotels, two shopping and dining districts, five golf courses, and much more, it is the largest privately managed tourist destination on the planet. Not far from Disney World lies the Alligator Capital of the World: Gatorland.

Gatorland

Minor Attractions

Sports Teams

Downtown

Despite the proximity of theme park haven Lake Buena Vista, the city has a lot to offer on its own. Downtown Orlando is a growing area centered around Orange Avenue that is packed with bars, clubs, and restaurants, as well as theaters and concert venues. The main strip on Orange Avenue is closed most nights because of the large volumes of pedestrians. Just a few blocks over is Lake Eola, a picturesque park situated around a swan-filled lake. In the middle of the lake is a lighted fountain that has been established as an icon of Orlando, and on one side of the lake stands the historic outdoor shell theater, where tourists and locals alike can see a version of the Nutcracker every December. Swan-shaped paddle boats are available for rental as well. Taking over for Church Street as the main night time hot spot is Wall Street. It is a small pedestrian only alley off of Orange Avenue that houses several restaurants and bars. They also have frequent concerts on Wall Street, providing a stage for bands to play for everything from Cinco de Mayo to the Capital One Bowl and Citrus Bowl celebration weeks.

Golf

Tennis

Venues

Buy

Major malls

Mall at Millenia

The Florida Mall The largest mall in Orlando located at the crossroads of Orange Blossom Trail and Sand Lake Road, about a mile north of the Orange Blossom Trail/Florida Turnpike/Beachline Expressway interchange. Home to over 200 shops including Macy's,American Girl Dillard's, JC Penney, and Sears. You can go an entire day in this mall and still not finish. Popular among international tourists wishing to stock up on cheap American goods, but of better quality than found at the many outlet malls/stores.

The Mall at Millenia This is Orlando's most upscale and beautiful mall. Find everything from Tiffany's to Hugo Boss and Gucci. Also home to upscale department stores like Macy's, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus. This also features Apple and Sony Style selling computers and related products. This mall is part of the very new and trendy Millenia area of Orlando. Conroy Road exit off of I-4 a few miles south of downtown.

Orlando Fashion Square &mdash, E Colonial Dr and Macguire Blvd, more than a mile NE of downtown.

Outlet malls

Orlando Premium Outlets - Vineland Ave Home to the biggest designers such as Armani, Fendi, Burberry, Ferragamo, Lacoste, Coach. Also home to Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Polo, Nautica and many more. Located off of 535 and visible from I-4 closest to the Disney World area. This is the best mall to pick up bargains from all the name brands and designer wear.

Orlando Premium Outlets - International Drive (formerly Beltz/Prime Outlets) Home to many designers such as Polo, DKNY, Nike, Reebok, and Liz Claiborne. The mall has completed a major renovation recently, resulting in a beautiful outdoor mall with a wide variety of stores.

Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores Select from over 300 designer and name brands such as Gap, Reebok, Carters and Eddie Bauer. Stores offer factory direct, quality merchandise at savings up to 75%. Off of SR-535 near International Dr and Disney.

Ethnic enclaves

Little Saigon, East Colonial Dr (around N Mills). Here you will find Vietnamese and Asian grocery stores, gift shops, and a few herbal healing stores, which stock items from China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, etc. Also home to many good inexpensive Vietnamese and other Asian restaurants.

Little India area This area is a bit spread out. You will find many Indian stores in the South Orange Blossom Trail area on the main streets and side roads. Starting with Lancaster Road, which houses a video store and Indian restaurant, and then traveling south you will see a few Indian shops in clusters every mile all the way to 417 where you end at the local Indian movie theater

Little Brazil, the north end of International Dr. Several Brazilian restaurants, bakeries, stores, hairdressers, imports and exports shops. Some are hiding on the back of strip malls, some others are easy to find right up front flying the Brazilian flag.

Eat

Not a drop to drink?

Orlando's tap water is notorious among travelers for being unpalatable; many describe a sulfuric or metallic taste. Just as many find it perfectly drinkable, however, and it's absolutely as safe to drink as any other municipal water supply in the U.S. Either way, those who think they might be sensitive to Orlando's unique terroir should consider taking their refreshment from a bottle or can.

A wide variety of restaurants can be found in CityWalk at Universal Orlando, including Margaritaville, Hard Rock Cafe, Pastamore, NASCAR Cafe and much more. Parking is $14 during the day and $3 after 6PM (except during holidays or special events, such as Halloween Horror Nights). Much choice can also be found in Disney Springs, including Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood, and Wolfgang Puck Cafe. Texas de Brazil, is a Brazilian steakhouse in the heart of downtown, serving beef, chicken, lamb and pork in many preparations.

American

Peruvian

Asian fare

Latin inspired

Turkish

Drink

Orlando nightlife away from the theme parks is centered mostly around Central Boulevard and Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando. Here you can walk and find many bars. A short walk away is the tiny Thornton Park District, located near the intersection of Washington and Summerlin. Among the dozens of cafes and pubs, you might stop in for a drink and a quick bite at Dexter's on Washington. For local flair head across the street to Burton's Frosty Mug, or sample the hip urban environment at the trendy HUE at the corner of Washington and Central.

Although most of the downtown Central avenue crowd is comprised of the "twentysomething" generation, for a more 30's and over entertainment experience, one can enjoy live jazz on many nights in the lounge of the Grand Bohemian Hotel located downtown on Orange Avenue. The jazz is excellent and the ambiance is quite comfortable, although drinks tend to be pretty pricey here.

Also, for a more professional crowd with a Latin twist, there is the Samba Room, located on Sand Lake Road, about 3/4 west of I-4. This is a lively restaurant and happy hour type of place. The look is chic and the locals and tourists alike gather here for a quality food, beverage and people watching experience. You should ditch the shorts and flip-flops for a more casual chic look, but if you do you will be rewarded with a nice experience here. If you are traveling west on Sand Lake Road, after passing I-4, The Samba Room is on the left in a large shopping plaza. Latin food, music and mojitos are just some of the specialties here.

Across the street from the Samba Room, on Sand Lake Road, is the Old Vines wine bar, featuring live jazz usually from Thurs. through Saturday nights. The wine selection is extensive and the live jazz is some of the best in town. The jazz is performed in the front of the room by the entrance. There is a divider that separates the more intimate rear portion of the establishment, which is the main dining area.

There are quite a few places to enjoy quality dining and drinks along Park Avenue in Winter Park, an adjacent suburb which is just northeast of Orlando. Winter Park is known for its many older grande homes that dominate the more historic sections of this suburb affectionately referred to by many as the center of Orlando's "old money." Park Avenue is an active pedestrian street featuring trendy shoppes, galleries, restaurants and nightspots. It has recently grown from becoming a one street attraction to more of a district, as several nearby streets have now added similar attractions.

Of particular interest and uniqueness on Park Avenue is the Wine Room, a converted bank featuring literally hundreds of wines available for self serve sampling. The mode of purchasing here is to pre-load a wine "credit card" supplied by the Wine Room. You are then at liberty to peruse the entire building and select any wine you wish to try, merely by inserting your "credit card." Each wine station automatically deducts the value of your current purchase and advises you of your card balance. Dress is very casual here and you are likely to meet both locals and visitors, all sampling and enjoying their vinos of choice throughout the night.

At the theme parks, CityWalk at Universal Studios. For a nominal admission fee, both sites offer numerous venues for libations and entertainment. If you're staying along International Drive, there are plenty of bars, pubs, and clubs.

Sleep

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget $
Mid-range $
Splurge $

With a hotel around virtually every corner (actually 4 or 5 around every corner) it seems impossible to throw a rock and not hit a hotel. There are hotels to meet every traveler's need, whether it be a hostel or a 5-star resort, although many visiting families often prefer to rent their own private villa as they usually provide much more personal space and have their own private facilities. There are also a large number of lodgings in the surrounding cities and towns.

See Also: Davenport, Kissimmee, Lake Buena Vista.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

In addition to the dozens of hotels on the Disney property, there are a few other luxury hotels and spas in the area:

Stay safe

Extreme Temperatures

Never leave children, pets, or the elderly in a parked car for any length of time! Due to high temperature for most of the year, the interior of a parked car can easily heat to lethal temperatures in a short amount of time. During the summer, the interior of a parked car can reach 130-170°F (55-75°C) in just 15 minutes, regardless of the color of the exterior or interior, or whether the windows are open a small amount. You not only risk death, but it is illegal and the consequences are taken VERY seriously, including thousands in fines, potential imprisonment, and the involvement of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Like most cities in America, there are certain areas of Orlando which are more dangerous than others. Some areas travelers should be cautious of are:

While it is unlikely that any one individual would experience serious crime in these areas, tourists stand out in these areas, and can unwittingly do things that can make them targets for criminal behavior, so it is sensible to stay away.

While crime in the Orlando area is not particularly high, with the annual tourists far outnumbering the regional population (~2million), a substantial amount of local crime ends up being directed at tourists. The most common crimes are theft of items from cars and hotels, so following common sense travel precautions are particularly important in an area like Orlando.

While hurricanes attract most of the attention, the proximity to two coasts also brings frequent, and sometimes dangerous, thunderstorms. These occur nearly every day during the rainy season from mid-June through September. While some days it may only rain for 10 minutes, other thunderstorms can last for hours and its not unheard of for one location to remain dry while another spot 10 miles away gets a couple inches of rain on an afternoon. The summer thunderstorms are the main reason that Florida is the lightning capital of the western hemisphere. During these storms it is best to remain indoors due to the danger posed by frequent cloud-to-ground lightning. Golfers are especially vulnerable. A couple of dozen people are killed each year by lightning in Florida and many more spend much time receiving treatment for lightning strikes.

Pets are better off left with a friend or in a kennel. If you choose to bring your pet, note that most theme parks and hotels prohibit pets but may provide kennels for a fee. Most places to accommodate service animals, however. Also note above about interior temperatures in parked cars.

Connect

Cope

Consulates

Go next

Walt Disney World, about 35 minutes southwest of Orlando proper, is so expansive that it needs its own travel guide.

Also within an hour of downtown Orlando:

A bit further, but good day trips or next destinations include:

Routes through Orlando

Jacksonville Winter Park  N  S  Kissimmee Miami
Jacksonville Winter Park  N  S  Kissimmee Tampa
Tampa Lake Buena Vista  W  E  Winter Park Daytona Beach
Wildwood Winter Garden  N  S  Kissimmee West Palm Beach
Punta Gorda/Tampa Kissimmee  S/W  N/E  Winter Park Jacksonville/Daytona Beach
Sanford‎ Winter Park  N  S  Pine Castle → END


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 26, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.