Orlando

General Information

So much to do

There’s so much to do in and around Orlando that two weeks often isn’t enough to squeeze it all in. Millions come here every year, not only for nearby Disney World and Universal Studios (not to mention the Space Coast just an hour away) but town-sized shopping malls, global cuisine and clear, sunny skies.

Shopping

Souvenir shops and generic national chains dominate central Orlando and its tourism hub International Drive. If you want to pick up a plush Mickey Mouse or a cut-price bikini then this is the place to look, but venture off the tourist trail and you’ll be rewarded by some more interesting finds. The Mall At Millenia (4200 Conroy Road) is the city’s most upmarket mall, and houses brands such as Bloomingdale’s, J Crew and Anthropologie within a serene glass bubble. A colourful collection of fresh and home-grown produce makes the Sunday Orlando Farmer’s Market at Lake Eola a worthwhile weekend excursion. And offbeat bookshops such as the spiritual Spiral Circle (750 North Thornton Avenue) are perfect when you want to while away a few comfortable hours in the cool.

Food & Drink

The strong focus on family entertainment means that Orlando has plenty of child-friendly restaurants. Kids can dine with their favourite cartoon characters at Disney’s 1900 Park Fare (4401 Floridian Way), while Chip ‘n’ Dale are the hosts at rotating restaurant Garden Grill (The Land Pavilion, Epcot). If you’re after something a little more upmarket, then check out Chef’s Table at the Edgewater (99 West Plant Street, Winter Garden) – a local favourite, thanks to its delicious traditional cuisine. Seasons 52 (7700 Sand Lake Road), a fresh grill and wine bar with a sophisticated feel, is also well worth a look in.

Events

Orlando Folk Festival

Hotels

Theme park capital of the world and international tourism hub, Orlando often feels more like a holiday resort than a working city. Most of the hotels here are large, slick chains, such as the five-star Ritz Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes (4012 Central Florida Parkway), with its 18-hole golf course and 370-sq-m spa. The best mid-range options tend to be attached to theme parks – SpringHill Suites at SeaWorld (10801 International Drive) continues the marine theme with its aqua-heavy décor and tropical pool, while Coco Key Orlando Water Resort (7400 International Drive) has its own outdoor water park. Plain but presentable Econo Lodge International Drive at Universal (7102 International Drive) is close to Universal Resort and makes a good budget option.

Essentials

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