Orlando, a city in central Florida, is home to more than a dozen theme parks. Prepare to be thrilled by the famous Walt Disney World, comprised of 4 parks, including Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and 2 water parks. You could also visit Universal Orlando, offering 2 parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. With its famed theme parks, superb restaurants and appealing attractions, this magical city is sure to provide excitement for both young and old. The local currency is United States Dollar (USD) and the time zone is UTC/GMT -5 hours.
THINGS TO DO
Walt Disney World
The Walt Disney World Resort, known as Walt Disney World or Disney World, is an entertainment complex in Bay Lake, Florida. The resort opened on October 1, 1971, and is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an attendance of over 52 million annually. The property covers 27,258 acres (11,031 ha; 43 sq mi), housing twenty-seven themed resort hotels, nine non–Disney hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, four golf courses, one nine-hole walking golf course for young golfers, two themed miniature golf courses, one camping resort, a downtown-like shopping district, and other entertainment venues. Magic Kingdom was the first and original theme park to open in the complex followed by Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Universal Studios Orlando
Universal Studios Florida is composed of themed areas and attractions based on the film industry. The themes of Universal Studio’s are targeted at making guests feel like they are in a movie set with rides, shows, and attractions inspired by popular film, television, and music productions. The park consists of eight themed areas – Hollywood, Production Central, New York, San Francisco, Diagon Alley/London, World Expo, Springfield, and Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone. Universal’s Islands of Adventure, opened in May 1999, is a theme park composed of seven distinct “islands” that are themed to various forms of adventures. Visitors start off in the Port of Entry and make their way through the various islands – Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing.
Kennedy Space Center
he Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the visitor center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It features exhibits and displays, historic spacecraft and memorabilia, shows, two IMAX theaters, a range of bus tours of the spaceport, and the Shuttle Launch Experience, a simulated ride into space. It also encompasses the separate Apollo/Saturn V Center and United States Astronaut Hall of Fame. There were 1.5 million visitors in 2009 and it had some 700 employees.
Gatorland is a 110-acre (45 ha) theme park and wildlife preserve located along South Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, Florida. Billed as the “Alligator Capital of the World,” Gatorland features thousands of alligators and crocodiles, a breeding marsh with boardwalk and observation tower, reptile shows, aviary, petting zoo, swamp walk and educational programs. The park is known for buying and rescuing nuisance alligators from trappers that would otherwise be killed for their meat and skin. The Breeding Marsh area of the park was used in the filming of the 1984 movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. This park also has a snakes of Florida exhibit with the snakes like indigo snake cottonmouth and rattlesnakes. The park is also known for its leucistic alligators.
Disney Springs is an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida, near Orlando. The complex opened on March 22, 1975 as the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village and has been expanded and renamed at other times over the years. The current complex includes three areas: West Side, the Landing, and the Marketplace. Disney Springs is open year-round and requires no admission or parking fees.
Victoria & Albert’s
The ultimate in fine dining at WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort and one of the finest restaurants in the Southeast, Victoria & Albert’s features Modern American cuisine with exquisite products sourced from around the world – truffles from Italy, the finest caviar, fresh herbs from Ohio, beef from Japan, poulet rouge from North Carolina, oysters from North Florida. Chef Scott Hunnel’s approach is imaginative and his food is an art form, featuring vivid colors and textures, with exquisite wine pairings offered with each course. Recipient of AAA’s highest achievement, the Five Diamond Award, “Forbes Travel Guide” Four Star rating and glowing reviews from Zagat and others, the restaurant in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa evokes another era when dining was an elegant ritual, with a knowledgeable maître d’hôtel and chefs in classic white toques.
Each season has its own flavors and colors, and each day Chef Hunnel selects whatever is fresh at the market to create unique menus for the Dining Room, Queen Victoria’s Room and the Chef’s Table. With a wealth of resources from farmers, fishermen, and artisans, the kitchen sources pristine ingredients for dishes such as Spanish octopus with Iberico ham and sherry vinaigrette, or a whimsical poached local chicken egg with Florida corn and crayfish. Flavors shine as Hunnel melds tradition with innovation – it’s all about the joy of pleasing his guests.
Bull & Bear Steakhouse
Dining at the award-wining Bull & Bear is a culinary journey unlike any other. Named Diner’s Choice Top Restaurant by Hilton Worldwide, the restaurant offers a menu featuring re-imagined steakhouse classics and trend-setting fare, including Fried Chicken, Escargot & Gnocchi, Pasta Explosion, Flaming Lobster on the Spit and its signature 32-Day Dry-Aged Tomahawk Rib Eye. Bull & Bear is renowned for tableside preparation and the highest levels of personalized service. Our team of experienced sommeliers will be delighted to suggest the perfect wines to accompany your meal. The dining room and lounge exude the warmth of a private club, with exquisite views overlooking the resort’s pool and golf course. Views of the nightly Epcot® fireworks can be enjoyed from select tables. Be certain to leave room for dessert, especially the delectable Lemon, the delightful Bull & Bear Beignets or the decadent Chocolate Bar.
Experience the cuisine of the James Beard Award Winning Chef, Norman Van Aken. NORMAN’S is internationally celebrated as one of the finest hotel restaurants in the world and features celebrity Chef Norman Van Aken’s acclaimed New World Cuisine as the culinary centerpiece. New World cuisine is best described as a fusion of Latin, Caribbean and Asian recipes with traditional European technique. The large windows and outdoor terrace feature breathtaking views of the lake and golf course. Dress code is Business Casual: pants and closed toe shoes for gentlemen and children (jackets not required), dress or long pants for ladies.
Jiko – The Cooking Place
Vibrant spices, crackling wood-burning ovens and boutique South African wines transport you to the heart of Africa. Twin wood-burning ovens roar as subtly changing light mimics the warm red, orange and gold tones of an African sunset. Watch chefs prepare appetizers in the open show kitchen, and after dinner, stroll through the grounds of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to encounter more than 30 species of African wildlife in lush, natural habitats. At this Signature Dining experience, Guests are asked to adhere to the dress code. Men may wear khakis, slacks, jeans or dress shorts and collared shirts. Sport coats are optional. Women may wear capri pants, skirts, dresses, jeans or dress shorts. Not permitted in the dining room are tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs, torn clothing and shirts with offensive language or graphics.
Discover a delicious blend of traditional African, Indian and Mediterranean cuisine. Steak, chicken, seafood, vegan and vegetarian dishes are infused with a uniquely bold blend of tantalizing flavors and fragrant spices. Changing seasonally, the menu may include flavor bursting appetizers like imaginative brick oven-fired flatbreads and mouth-watering entrées such as oak-grilled filet mignon. The children’s menu features pizza, grilled chicken or steak, and market-fresh fish served with ancient grains and vegetables. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit.
Chatham’s Place Restaurant opened in 1988 and has continually maintained a tradition of extraordinary food, service second to none, and an atmosphere of relaxed elegance. Owners Chef Tony Lopez and Maurice Colindres welcome you into Chatham’s Place as if it was their home, and you are the most special guest in it. Chef Tony settles for nothing less than excellence. His brilliant menu includes many herbs, vegetables, and fruits from his own organic farm. His seasonally driven dishes are impeccable and sure to impress all. His passion for all that is cuisine has helped him become more than an incredible chef but an inspired artist. Before, during, and after your experience, maitre’d Maurice Colindres, will make sure that everyone has a smile on their face. His contagious energy and love for the guest makes every dinner feel like a special occasion. His dedication and commitment to hospitality has reached hearts from all over the world for over thirty years.
Slip away to this casual waterfront setting for coastal cuisine with spectacular views. View the Magic Kingdom fireworks and Electrical Water Pageant from the waterfront verandah. Guests at this Signature Dining experience are asked to adhere to a business casual dress code. Men may wear slacks, jeans or dress shorts and collared shirts. Jackets are optional. Women may wear dresses, skirts or dress shorts with blouses or sweaters. Not permitted in the dining room are tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs, torn clothing and shirts with offensive language or graphics.
Delight in superb seafood, steak and more in this waterfront hideaway. Narcoossee’s serves a spectacular, innovative selection of fresh seafood from both local waters and around the globe, including the popular whole-steamed Maine lobster. For land-based fare, savor filet mignon or the New York strip, free-range chicken or delicious vegetarian selections. For the best of both worlds, select the pairing of steak and butter-poached lobster tail. For a perfect ending to any meal, treat yourself to such sumptuous desserts as the coconut-chocolate crème brûlée and the almond-crusted cheesecake with Lambert cherry sauce. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit. Menus are subject to change.
Enjoy American cuisine infused with Mediterranean flavors, plus an award-winning, international wine list. At this Signature Dining experience, Guests are asked to adhere to the dress code. Men may wear khakis, slacks, jeans or dress shorts and collared shirts. Sport coats are optional. Women may wear Capri pants, skirts, dresses, jeans or dress shorts. Not permitted are tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, hats for gentlemen, cut-offs, torn clothing and t-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics.
Savor vibrant Mediterranean-style dishes in this lively, inviting restaurant. Wrought-iron railings resemble vineyard grapevines, while Old World furnishings and mosaic-tiled floors contribute to the warm décor. Some tables look out onto the manicured courtyard of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, while others let you peek into the bustling onstage kitchen. Fresh, seasonal ingredients influence the oft-changing menu. Begin your meal with crispy risotto, sautéed shrimp and a sharply dressed charcuterie plate. Then, delight in mouthwatering specialties like braised veal shank, pan-roasted chicken and oak-grilled filet of beef. For a sweet ending, indulge in such decadent desserts as warm chocolate-banana torte, cheesecake and tropical fruit crème brûlée. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit.
Kabuki is a traditional Japanese popular drama performed with highly stylized singing and dancing. At Kabooki, diligent detail meets creative freedom. But premiering the best from all points in the culinary color wheel is no easy task. Our experienced itamae Henry Moso continues his applauded career here. After years of amplifying menus in the Orlando circuit, the critically acclaimed chef debuts an enticing combination of flavor and atmosphere at Kabooki. Behind the bar, the staff performs under his direction to brandish dishes with the vibrancy of Mexican flavor, the sophistication of French preparation, and the curated integrity of Japan. Every night at Kabooki, the tastes of the world meet for an authentically global encounter.
Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster
Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster has been a favorite of the Orlando community for over 21 years. A fine dining experience, Carole, David and Alice Christner have built a restaurant that provides meticulous service in an intimate and relaxed setting. All steaks are USDA Prime, aged in house and are cut fresh to order.
Homemade delicacies set the pace – each meal at Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster begins with piping hot bread and personal touches continuing throughout. From the salad dressings to signature desserts, each ingredient is carefully selected with a serious focus on beef. Every serving, be it the U.S.D.A. Prime Strip, U.S.D.A. Prime Ribeye, U.S.D.A. Prime Porterhouse or U.S.D.A. Choice Plus Filet Mignon is corn fed, aged in house and cut fresh-to-order. Attention to detail doesn’t end there, cold water lobster tails are imported from Australia and New Zealand and the seafood is hand selected from our finest local markets. Christner’s boasts a wine portfolio of over 4500 bottles while the drink profile is rich in imported and locally crafted whiskies, spirits and beer.
Orlando, Florida’s weather consists mainly of two major seasons – hot and dry. Due to the city’s proximity to the Tropic of Cancer and its low elevation, it is generally fairly warm all year around – boasting an average annual temperature of 22.4°C. Orlando has a sub-tropical climate which is warm and humid. Morning humidity stays at above 85% all year round with humidity at its highest during June to October. Because of the extreme humidity, it often feels hotter than it actually is. Due to the year round warmth, swimming pools, fun parks and other aquatic activities generally run all months of the year.
Spring is a particularly fleeting season, arriving roughly around March time in Orlando. While the weather is fine and likely to be enjoyable, it is likely to be busier at this time of the year, with many of the schools broken up for the holidays. This is likely to affect you particularly if you are planning on visiting the theme parks, so be prepared for some queues for your favourite rides. The weather is still hot and the sun fierce, so be sure to protect your skin with the correct clothing and plenty of sun cream. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated at all times as well, to avoid getting ill. This is particularly necessary if you are spending a lot of time queuing up for rides at the theme parks.
The summer months are the rainy season. The mercury begins to rise in May, with average daily highs rising above 30°C and daily lows hovering around the low twenties. The rainy season really begins to kick-in in June and lasts through until September and early October. Most notoriously, Orlando is hit almost daily by strong afternoon thunderstorms which often consist of high wind, fierce lightning and sometimes hail. July and August are very hot and humid, with 95% humidity and day time highs of 32°C – 36°C. Orlando, like the rest of Florida, is subject to hurricanes. However, due to its location inland from the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes have a tendency to weaken before hitting the city. Florida’s hurricane season runs from the start of June until November with the worst months being from late August until October. It is also important to take into consideration the strength of the Floridian sun and the intense heat.
As with spring, autumn in Orlando is equally fleeting. During October to November, the weather remains warm but is much less humid than in the tropical summer months. As well as this, autumn is outside of the hurricane season, so you’re far less likely to get caught in any dangerous, extreme weather conditions. There are also fewer crowds and shorter lines for all the rides.
During winter, Orlando weather remains pleasant, with humidity lower and temperatures more moderate. The coolest months occur during January and February, where the minimum temperature hovers between 10°C to 11°C and the average maximum ranges from 21°C to 22°C. Sunshine levels decrease from the summer months but are still good at an average of seven hours per day for most of the season. The lowest rainfall is typically between November and January and in April. December to May is also the period that Orlando is particularly prone to wildfires.