Members from our resort team live and work in the greater Orlando area and offer some helpful insider tips to the Central Florida area.
The Best Theme Parks in Orlando
Well, you have some that are great for kids and others that are better for grown-ups and some that cater to all. Disney’s Magic Kingdom® Park is the signature park, so both kids and grown-ups will love it. For grown-ups seeking the most thrills, I recommend though perhaps Universal's Islands of Adventure™. For kids a real treat is LEGOLAND® Florida Resort. LEGOLAND is designed specifically with kids in mind so they’ll love it. A personal favorite of mine is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
A Top Tip from a Local
Well, I have lived here all my life so I know all the tricks! For Walt Disney World® Resort buy your tickets in advance online, and once you’ve done that, set up an Disney FastPass+ where you will be able to book up to three rides on a given day. These will allow you to avoid long queues. With parks like Universal Orlando® Resort, SeaWorld® Orlando or Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay they charge you for their version of the FastPass+, so my advice here would be to arrive early, when the park opens and do the most popular rides first!
Disney Hidden Gems
There is a great variety of things you can do around Walt Disney World® Resort that don’t involve theme parks and water parks. Disney Springs® is a great area of restaurants, shops, and shows. There is no entry charge and parking is free. I love the cupcake ATM! If you visit one of the hotels around Disney’s Magic Kingdom® Park you can get a trip on the monorail, this is very nice. You can visit Disney’s BoardWalk area and roast marshmallows with the kids in the evening which is also free!
The nearest beach to Orlando
Cocoa Beach is the nearest beach at maybe an hour away on the Atlantic. It’s got a great atmosphere and extra special if you can time it with a launch from Kennedy Space Center. You can watch the rocket take off while you’re sitting on the beach. Visiting Daytona Beach is a famous American landmark and you can drive your car onto the beach. Personally, I love the Gulf Coast, including Clearwater and Sarasota. The best beach in Sarasota is at Siesta Key, the sand is white and the water is warm.
The best golf courses in Orlando
In Orlando, with over 100 golf courses, you are spoiled for choice! My favorite is Southern Dunes. It’s a great value and features lots of interesting elevation changes. Walt Disney World® Resort has some great courses too, especially Osprey and the new Tranquilo course. For signature courses, it is hard to beat Greg Norman’s two courses at ChampionsGate.