Helen Hatzis
Helen Hatzis
July 17, 2017 ·  7 min read

Orlando: Theme Park Capital of the World℠

  • With mild temperatures year-round, outdoor activities are virtually limitless for adventure enthusiasts
  • The free Visit Orlando App features artificial intelligence and augmented reality experiences for visitors to explore, have fun and earn savings throughout the destination

Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando – Theme Park Capital of the WorldSM is the No. 1 family vacation destination and most visited destination in the United States.  An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports, and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels.

Orlando offers unique outdoor adventures that will get your blood rushing and your spirit soaring. Its varied landscape is breathtaking with green grass, lakes, rivers and natural springs, tall native palm trees and untouched forests are just a few of the sights you will enjoy as you take in Central Florida’s natural beauty.



  • Recently named the Best Foodie City in the nation by Wallethub, Orlando has developed a dynamic dining scene with a roster of celebrity chefs, home-grown culinary talent, and inventive new concepts
  • More than 5,000 restaurants across Orlando
  • Dynamic dining scene with a roster of celebrity chefs and James Beard Award winners
  • All tastes and price points can find a mouth-watering menu
  • Satisfy your cravings during Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month



Orlando’s fine dining saga sparked with a handful of celebrity chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Chef Emeril Lagasse. Today, newcomers have flocked to join them, many of whom chose Walt Disney World Resort’s Disney Springs as their home base, opening restaurants including Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen, Chef Rick Bayless’ Frontera Cocina, Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s Morimoto Asia, and Guy Fieri’s collaboration with the new Planet Hollywood Observatory.



As the area’s reputation for good food has developed, local chefs have also stepped up their game. The destination is the proud home of local celebrity chefs and 2016 James-Beard Award Nominees James and Julie Petrakis of The Ravenous Pig, Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon and Scott Hunnel of Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. In total, that makes 13 current James Beard winning & nominated chefs, representing 17 restaurants between them, with more on the way.



Low cost doesn’t mean low-bar flavor in Orlando. The classic Beefy King has been serving the area’s best roast beef sandwiches since the 1960s, and still offers them at a bargain price today. Vegans tout the greens-and-grain bowls at The Sanctum Café as their affordable go-to, while Tako Cheena is the choice for bold fusion of Mexican and Asian flavors on a taco. Slurp a bowl of Vietnamese noodles at Pho 88, or head to Pizzeria Del-Dio, consistently named one of the best pizza places in the city.




When it comes to filling your vacation itinerary, Orlando offers no shortage of things to do. Take advantage of experiences that are uniquely Orlando, like splashing thrill rides at one of Orlando’s multiple water parks or getting up close with alligators and other wildlife at Gatorland. Adrenaline lovers can experience the thrill of indoor skydiving. And the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down at Cirque du Soleil,  Blue Man Group or one of Orlando’s dinner theaters for an entertaining nightcap.

Don’t forget to check out Volcano Bay, a new water park at Universal Orlando Resort that offers an entirely new guest experience featuring TapuTapu wearable technology that allows guests to wait in line virtually. Walt Disney World Resort also opened up a new attraction called Pandora – The World of AVATAR. This is the largest expansion in Animal Kingdom’s history, featuring floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and a Banshee flying attraction, as well as new after-dark entertainment.  Kraken Unleashed at SeaWorld Orlando was also transformed into a virtual reality (VR) roller coaster.

The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye has become one of Orlando’s newest icons. Standing at 400 feet tall (122 meters), it is the tallest observation wheel on the east coast of the U.S. Another must-see attraction is Orlando’s Science Center that offers an observatory, giant screen and 3-D theaters and hundreds of hands-on exhibits on four floors, for guests to explore, experiment and discover.



  • Don’t overlook the amenities designed for relaxation at Orlando’s world class resorts. Orlando has expansive pools that are kid-friendly or created with adults in mind, offering settings to relax and unwind.

Sit back, relax, and float your worries away while you ride along one of Orlando’s lazy rivers. With more than 15 lazy rivers, totaling more than three miles in length, Orlando’s network of lazy rivers is impressively diverse. If you’re hoping to do some site-seeing as you float through a lazy river, then Aquatica’s Loggerhead Lane is a great spot. The river travels through the Commerson’s Dolphin Habitat, for a unique view of dolphins and other tropical fish on their journey.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach is home to Orlando’s longest lazy river. Cross Country Creek is 3,000 feet in length and takes about 40 minutes to complete. The river flows around the entire park, making it a fun mode of transportation to other parts of Blizzard Beach.

What’s a vacation without a little pampering? Get soothed, refreshed, rubbed and scrubbed at one of the city’s many award-winning spas. The City Beautiful lives up to its name with world-renowned spa brands like the Waldorf Astoria® Spa, the Mandara Spa at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton Spa® Orlando, Grande Lakes. Kids can even enjoy the experience at one of multiple resorts with spa menus for children.



  • Forbes Magazine named Orlando the most affordable destination in the US in 2016.

Orlando visitors are truly spoiled for choice with more than 450 unique properties spanning luxury, themed properties and some of the most kid-pleasing rooms in the world at every price point. With more than 119,000 hotel rooms in metropolitan Orlando, more than 20,000 vacation home rentals and 22,000 vacation ownership properties, there’s sure to be something to please every visitor.

Check out some of Orlando’s newest accommodations for 2017 including: Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat or Margaritaville Resort Orlando. Looking for a luxury stay then be sure to visit The Waldorf Astoria or the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort.

For visitors that want the comforts of home during their stay, Orlando vacation rentals offer convenience and plenty of amenities. All Star Vacation Homes or Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa are perfect accommodations for you and your family! Looking for a budget-friendly hotel? Try Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, B Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World or Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista for a relaxing oasis.



With a wide range of activities and attractions, Orlando has something for every budget. In fact, Forbes Magazine named Orlando the most affordable destination in the US in 2016. Stretch the dollar even further with these tips designed for travelers looking to get the most out their vacation without breaking the bank:

  • Book Early – It’s wise to book early for the best choice of flights and accommodation; traveling in May and September offer best value for money.
  • Buy Early – Purchase theme park and attraction tickets before leaving home, as the theme park websites and travel agencies will always offer the best deals in advance.
  • Enjoy Extra Perks – Staying at one of the theme park’s on-site properties has advantages, such as early admission/extended hours; complimentary transportation; and front-of-the-line access.
  • Free and Inexpensive Attractions – There are many activities in Orlando that guests can enjoy that range from free to under $25 including: The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Kings Bowl Orlando, SAK Comedy Lab, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium. More info on the Visit Orlando blog.
  • Save on Attractions – Take advantage of destination-wide savings by visiting com/deals for discounts on everything from attractions, shops and restaurants to spas, golf courses and cultural arts venues.
  • Utilize In-Market Resources – Download the free Visit Orlando App, featuring artificial intelligence and augmented reality experiences for visitors to explore, have fun and earn savings throughout the destination. Available in Apple App and Google Play
  • Getting Around – Orlando is much easier to navigate with a car, although many of the hotels offer complimentary shuttle service to the theme parks. Ride sharing services are available.
  • Plan a Pool Day – Orlando’s resorts offer everything from water slides and lazy rivers to white sandy beaches, so be sure to set aside time to enjoy your onsite amenities.
  • Eating Out – Pay attention to three magic words: “Kids Eat Free.” Many restaurants have special offers where children dine free with a paying adult, like The COOP in Winter Park, Monday through Wednesday, or Kobe Japanese Steakhouse on Tuesdays. The theme parks also offer special dining packages, with meals and snacks included in one deal.
  • Shop Smart – Orlando’s diverse shopping selections range from high fashion well-known brands to smaller eclectic shops. Each mall/outlet offers coupon booklets worth hundreds of dollars in savings. Visit the Simon Guest Services Booth at The Florida Mall to receive the Style Savings Booklet containing over $900 in savings at many of their retailers and restaurants.