The Hard Rock Cafe at the Universal City Walk in Florida Disney World. This photo was taken during our vacation in March. Beautiful weather and taken during mid-day.
Orlando is a large city located in Orange County, Florida. Orlando, for most people, conjures up the image of theme parks, mainly Walt Disney World, but it has a lot more to offer than that. (In fact, Disney World is not in Orlando, but is in nearby Lake Buena Vista). Downtown Orlando includes none of the major theme parks (Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World), dinner attractions (Arabian Nights, Medieval Times), or even most small theme parks (Gatorland, Holyland Experience, Ripley's Believe-it-or-not, etc). The region sees an estimated 52 million tourists a year, and downtown Orlando is developing significantly under this tourist boom. Other cities in the metropolitan area include Altamonte Springs, Davenport, Kissimmee, and Winter Park.Weather in the Orlando areaOrlando has warm, balmy springs and autumns; hot summers complete with daily thunderstorms; and temperate winters affected by the occasional cold front. Most tourists visit Orlando between June and August, while another peak time for tourism is March and April. The less busy times for tourism correspond to the best weather in the Orlando area; the summer months can be exceptionally busy with families who are making a trip while kids are on summer vacation. Visiting when the weather isn't so hot means less people in the area and that provides some advantages, but you will be able to enjoy cooler weather.Get in by airplaneMost people arrive by commercial air arrive via Orlando International Airport, which is Orlando's primary airport, and the busiest airport in the state in terms of passenger traffic. The airport is located to the southeast of downtown but is centrally located with respect to the region and area attractions. Orlando International Airport is a secondary hub for AirTran Airways, Southwest Airlines, & JetBlue Airways, all of which fly numerous routes to/from Orlando.Major AttractionsOrlando is one of the biggest tourist destinations because of the nearby theme parks and resorts. Close to International Drive is Universal Orlando Resort, which includes two theme parks, three hotels and a large shopping district. SeaWorld Orlando is a marine theme park featuring Kraken, the biggest rollercoaster in the Orlando area, as well as Believe, the new Shamu adventure. About 35 minutes southwest of downtown Orlando is Walt Disney World. Comprising four theme parks, two water parks, dozens of hotels, two shopping and dining districts, five golf courses, and much more, it is the largest privately managed tourist destination on the planet. Not far from Disney World lies the Alligator Capital of the World: Gatorland.