Sunday, November 4, 2012

Starts with the letter O

I have just returned from an amazing trip to Orlando, Florida. It was a special trip for travel agents and our amazing hosts were from Visit Orlando. We were treated to superior class accomodations at the Reunion Resort and had special VIP days planned at the Disney Parks, Universal Orlando Resort and Sea World. I am going to touch on each of these amazing experiences in separate posts, but I wanted to touch on the Orlando area for this post.

When people think about Orlando, their first thought is about Disney World. It is a fact that Disney is what drives everyone to the destination, but Orlando is so much more than the mouse.

There are amazing attractions other than the theme parks. There are over 100 ticketed attractions in and around Orlando. Besides the major parks, there is now a Legoland, Gatorland, Florida Eco-Safari, Richard Petty racing experience just to name a few. A few years ago, Visit Orlando determined that it would take you 67 - 8 hour days to complete and see all there is to do in Orlando and the surrounding area.

There are over 167 golf courses within a 20 minute drive of each other. There were three courses at the Reunion Resort alone! the theme parks as you exit every single ride, you spill into a gift shop. It is a genius marketing tool. But there are just as many shopping options that don't involve theme parks.
There is the Florida Mall, The mall at Millenia, Orlando Premium outlets (2 huge malls).

TIP: for the outlet shopping, you have to go on the website and register. once you do that, you can check back when you are going to be there, and print coupons for the stores in the mall. The coupons change regularly. 

Now, let's talk food...everyone likes to talk about food and food options...well in the area, there are over 5000 restaurant options. Did you know that the world's largest McDonald's playplace!

They have an area in Orlando called Restaurant Row - a high density area of restaurants, including some amazing chains and independants like: Chatham's Ristaurante, Timpano, Bonefish Grill, Amura Sushi, Roy's, Christinis, Seasons 52 and so much more.

The theme parks have amazing restuarant options as well:
Downtown Disney - just to name a few: Bongo's (owned by Gloria Estefan), House of Blues, Fulton's Crab House, Planet Hollyowood.
Universal City Walk - just to name a few: Emeril's, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, Hard Rock Cafe (world's largest), Bubba Gump's Shrimp, Nascar Cafe, NBA cafe.

The theme parks and the hotels have amazing restaurant options to choose from as well. There are really too many to list, but you should check each theme park and make a reservation in advance (that to follow in another post).

Sharks underwater Grill @ Sea World
Mythos @ Islands of Adventure
The Brown Derby @ Hollywood Studios
Mama Della's @ Portofino bay
Emeril's Tchoup Chop @ Portofino bay
Ohana's @ the Polynesian
Coral Reef @ Epcot
La Hacienda de San Angel @ Epcot....
And the list goes on and on.

So, as you can see, there is much more to Orlando than just a mouse! Stay with me for a few more posts and I will share my experiences with you.

Thanks for reading,

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