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Orlando, Florida, is host to over 52 million visitors each year. Famous for its theme parks, the city and local area has more hotel beds than any other city in the USA, except for Las Vegas. It is the county seat of Orange County. Located in Central Florida, it is the center of the Orlando metropolitan area, which had a population of 2,387,138, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released in March 2016, making it the 24th largest metropolitan area in the United States, the sixth largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States, and the third largest metropolitan area in Florida.
There are over 100 neighbourhoods in Orlando.
Four theme parks - Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom, and two water parks - Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon - comprise the world famous Walt Disney World Resort. It is said that people should allow seven full days to explore the 47 square miles of pure fun. Magic Kingdom's Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farm are considered to be amongst the best family theme park rides in the world. Animal Kingdom's Dinosaur and It's Tough to Be a Bug are also widely known as great thrill and 3-D simulation rides respectively.
Love films? Love shopping? Universal Orlando Resort may live up everyone's expectations. All the rides and attractions at Universal have been designed so that people can feel immersed into the most popular Universal Studios films. Men in Black Alien Attack, Back to the Future: The Ride, E.T. Adventure, Terminator 2: 3D, and the Simpsons ride have been highly rated by theme-park fans. Universal Studios' sister site, the Island of Adventure offers the most innovative rides and attractions ever created, such as The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls and Incredible Hulk Coaster. For those looking for other type of entertainment, CityWalk is full of shops, restaurants and clubs.
When visiting Orlando and particularly the theme parks, it is strongly advisable to start with SeaWorld Adventure Park, as its stadium style shows ensure short queues under the heat. The park features sea lion, dolphin and orca shows, which run at particular times. Therefore it is also good to plan in advance the day with the help of a show schedule.
Discovery cove is not the typical park in Florida, it is more about interacting with nature and animals. People have the chance to swim with dolphins, learn about exotic birds, tropical fishes and land mammals, explore artificial coves. Situated just opposite to SeaWorld, there are no roller coasters and all people need is swimming suits and snorkels for the day.
Considered America's best water park, Wet'N Wild has attractions for the entire family. It was also given the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Waterpark Association thanks to its high quality service and world-class thrill rides, which ensure a full-day of fun. It is run by Universal Studios Recreational Group since 1998 and it is strategically located on International drive.
Aquatica, SeaWorld's waterpark has got the most thrilling rides amongst Orlando's water parks. There are two river rides, a couple of massive wave pools, more than 30 water slides and white sand beaches, surrounded by the most amazing and exotic sceneries. The park is part of the Worlds of Discovery, who also run Busch Gardens Tampa and Adventure Island.
Check the Orlando Events Calendar for more information.
Orlando has a temperate tropical climate with generally warm and humid weather. Winters last from December to February but it's mostly around or slightly above 20 °C during the day and around 10 °C at night. Snow and frost are very rare, but have occured during extreme circumstances when winds directly from the north blow down to Florida. Summers from late May to September are unbearably hot and humid with days generally over 30 °C and nights between 20 °C and 24 °C. Most rain falls during this period, but a shower or two is also possible during the winter months. From June to November is also hurricane season, though Orlando is not as severely hit as coastal areas in general.
|Avg Max||21.6 °C||22.6 °C||25.6 °C||28.3 °C||31 °C||32.5 °C||33.1 °C||33.1 °C||32.1 °C||29.2 °C||25.8 °C||22.7 °C|
|Avg Min||9.2 °C||9.8 °C||12.9 °C||15.2 °C||18.8 °C||22.1 °C||22.8 °C||23 °C||22.4 °C||18.8 °C||14.2 °C||10.7 °C|
|Rainfall||58.4 mm||76.7 mm||81.5 mm||45.7 mm||90.2 mm||185.9 mm||184.1 mm||172.2 mm||152.7 mm||61.5 mm||58.4 mm||54.6 mm|
To/from the airport
Greyhound Lines serves Orlando, linking with its national routes.
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.
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.
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Sixt Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
Orlando is visited by millions of tourists each year and this means that the region require more taxis to serve this great population of travelers. There are several taxi companies that are operational in the region.
Lynx provide local bus services which reach most corners of the Orlando area. They call at the Disney Transportation Center, which there are transfers to Disney's own transport to their parks and resorts.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Rodeway Inn Orlando||7050 S. Kirkman Road||HOTEL||67|
|Palm Lakefront Resort & Hostel||4840 W.Irlo Bronson Hwy 192 Kissimmee, Florida 34746||HOSTEL||-|
|Ramada Convention Center I-Drive||8342 Jamaican Court||Hotel||-|
|Sunstyle Suites||7209 S Orange Blssm Trail Orlando, FL 32809||Hotel||68|
|Tuscana Resort||1395 Tuscana Lane Champions Gate, Fl||Hotel||-|
|Knights Inn Maingate Kissimmee||7475 W Irlo Bronson Highway||Hotel||-|
|Magical Memories Villas - Disney Area||2801 N Poinciana Boulevard||Apartment||-|
|Orlando Continental Plaza Hotel - International Dr||6825 Visitor’s Circle||Hotel||-|
|Monumental Hotel Orlando||12120 International Drive||Hotel||-|
|Monumental Movieland Hotel||6233 International Drive||Hotel||68|
|Record Parkside||4651West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway||Hotel||-|
|Best Western Airport Inn & Suites||8101 Aircenter Ct||Hotel||-|
|Hampton Inn Melbourne||194 Dike Road||Hotel||-|
|Super 8 Titusville Kennedy Space Center Area||3480 Garden St. I-95 Exit 220||Hotel||-|
|Days Inn Orlando Convention Center/International D||9990 International Drive I-4 Exit 72 To Exit 1 to I-Dr.||Hotel||-|
|Orlando Metropolitan Resort||8444 International Drive||Hotel||-|
|Days Inn Florida Mall||9301 S Orange Blossom Trail||Hotel||-|
|Orlando Metropolitan Express||6323 International Drive||Hotel||-|
|Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa||8112 Poinciana Blvd.||Apartment||-|
|Palisades Resort||14200 Avalon Road||Apartment||-|
|Comfort Inn & Conference Center||2025 West SR 434||Hotel||-|
|AAE Universal Maingate||5827 Caravan Court Days Inn||HOSTEL||-|
|Ramada Suites Orlando Airport||7500 Augusta National Drive||Hotel||-|
|Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Near Universal||5605 Major Blvd||HOTEL||-|
|Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort||1850 Hotel Plaza Blvd||Hotel||-|
|Rodeway Inn||6119 S Orange Blossom Trail||Hotel||-|
|DoubleTree by Hilton||5780 Major Blvd||Hotel||-|
|Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort||2000 Hotel Plaza Blvd||Hotel||-|
|Quality Inn International||7600 International Drive||Hotel||-|
|Red Roof Inn Orlando International Drive||9922 Hawaiian Court||Hotel||-|
|Hampton Inn||7110 South Kirkman Road||Hotel||-|
|Motel 6 Orlando - International Drive||5909 American Way I-4 at Kirkman Road, Exit #75-A Orlando, FL,||HOTEL||-|
|Motel 6 Orlando-Kissimmee Main Gate East #464||5731 W Irlo Bronson Highway||Hotel||-|
|Motel 6 Orlando-Kissimmee Main Gate West #436||7455 W Irlo Bronson Highway||Hotel||-|
|Orlando Grand Hotel||3155 South John Young Parkway||Hotel||67|
|Quality Inn Universal||6101 Sand Lake Road||Hotel||-|
|Ramada Gateway Orlando||7470 West Irlo Bronson Highway Kissimmee||Hotel||-|
|Crowne Plaza Orlando Universal||7800 Universal Boulevard||Hotel||-|
|Royal Plaza Located in the Walt Disney World||1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd Lake Buena Vista||Hotel||-|
|Rosen Inn At Pointe Orlando||9000 International Dr||Hotel||-|
|Clarion Lake Buena Vista||8442 Palm Pkwy. Lake Buena Vista||Hotel||-|
|Rosen Inn Universal||6327 International Drive||Hotel||-|
|Holiday Inn Main Gate East||5711 West U.S. Hwy 192||Hotel||-|
|World United International House||4400 Simmons Rd.||HOSTEL||-|
|Vista Cay Resort by Orlando Resorts Rental||4874 Cayview Avenue||APARTMENT||-|
|World United International Hostel Kissimmee||4640 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (U.S. 192) Kissimmee||HOSTEL||-|
|World United Cabin Hostel||3401 South Hiawassee Drive||HOSTEL||-|
The Ramada Convention Center on International Drive is two miles from Universal Studios and SeaWorld, five miles from Walt Disney World.
There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.
See also International Telephone Calls
The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.
The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.
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