Orlando: From National Parks to Entertainment Parks
Each year, more than 50 million people visit Orlando, Florida, to experience some of the most well-known and popular tourist attractions in the world. If you’re planning to become one of the 50 million, you might want to explore some of these popular sites while you’re there.
The Magic Kingdom
Naturally, you should start with Orlando’s most famous attraction, which is part of the Walt Disney Resort. This park, which is primarily aimed at children, is split into six areas where fantasy almost becomes reality, including New Fantasyland, where your wide-eyed children can see mermaids, Disney princesses and enjoy a meal in the castle of The Beast. The featured rides in the Magic Kingdom include mountain-themed activities Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. This is a treat for all the family.
This theme park is paradise for film fans, with rides and attractions based on some of the most popular films ever made. Some of the rides are: the Men in Black Alien Attack, Revenge of the Mummy and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. The rides provide the thrills you would expect from a world-class theme park and include rollercoasters that zoom overhead, whizz underground and loop the loop in a spine-tingling corkscrew as you scream with a mixture of delight and terror.
Another of Walt Disney World’s theme parks, the Epcot Centre is a celebration of Earth and space, with pavilions dedicated to different countries, such as Japan and Norway, where you can sample the food of the country and enjoy entertainment based on its culture. For example, the Mexico Pavilion is designed to mimic an Aztec pyramid, around which you can take a boat-ride past a model volcano before exploring a gallery of folk art, listening to a lively mariachi performance and enjoying a delicious Mexican meal. You shouldn’t leave without visiting the Mission: Space motion-simulator ride to experience the feeling of blasting off in a rocket ship.
Tosohatchee State Reserve
Orlando has more to offer than its famous theme parks. You can also enjoy some of the world’s most beautiful scenery in several nature parks, encompassing a range of eco-systems, such as saltwater marshes, cypress woods and swamps. Tosohatchee State Reserve is fantastic for nature-lovers; you can follow the trails through the cypress woods to the river, where you can fish, swim or try your hand at canoeing. You should bring binoculars with you, because some of the wildlife might be a little shy and you don’t want to miss a chance to see bald eagles or white-tailed deer and it’s definitely better to view the alligators from a distance. Camping is allowed in the park, but check first, as there are restrictions during hunting season.
Bill Frederick Park
This hilly park is the largest in Orlando, and runs alongside Turkey Lake. It is a managed, ruralised area within the urban spread and has many more activities than the undeveloped Tosohatchee Reserve. There are two 18-hole disc golf courses, facilities for boating, cycling, fishing and swimming as well as camping, whether that is in tents, cabins or RVs. There is a moderately challenging trail around the park and a farm, where children can feed and pet the animals.
Luckily for you, it isn’t necessary to choose between the theme parks and the nature parks. If you organise car hire, Orlando is very accessible and, with careful planning, you can enjoy Space Mountain and the wide-open space on a mountain. Your holiday snaps will be proof that there’s more to Orlando than Mickey and the gang.