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The Sunshine State

Updated on November 1, 2009

The Place of a Million Dreams

A breathtaking end to a magical day in Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom, Florida
A breathtaking end to a magical day in Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom, Florida
Luxurious holiday villas in Orlando
Luxurious holiday villas in Orlando
One of the many beautiful sights on the Safari ride in Disney's Animal Kingdom
One of the many beautiful sights on the Safari ride in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Walt and Mickey present the dazzling Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom
Walt and Mickey present the dazzling Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom
The Tree of Life in the Animal Kingdom: Hundreds of animal figures are carved into a magnificent tree trunk
The Tree of Life in the Animal Kingdom: Hundreds of animal figures are carved into a magnificent tree trunk
A view across the lake to Expedition Everest in the Animal Kingdom
A view across the lake to Expedition Everest in the Animal Kingdom

Orlando, Florida - Disney!

Also known as the Sunshine State, Orlando, located in central Florida, America, is one of the best known cities across the USA. Ranking as the number one reason is, of course, the amazing Walt Disney World Resort. The Walt Disney World Resort consists of four parks: the oldest, but certainly not the least spectacular of the lot, the Magic Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios (previously known as MGM Studios) and Epcot. Each of these parks are unique in their own special way, helping to make the day the most magical it can possibly be for you and your family.

The Magic Kingdom is a fantastic place to take your kids, watching them enjoy rides such as the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, or Peter Pan’s Flight, where you glide through the air looking down over London. For the more adventurous little ones, take your kids on the Fantastic Three: SpaceMountain, SplashMountain and ThunderMountain. What you’d prefer – speeding through a pitch black space with spontaneous drops and turns, plummeting 5 stories into a bush of seriously big thorns (oh, and again getting a little wet…) or winding through the mountains of the Wild Wild West on a rickety old steam train – is your choice!

Animal Kingdom features an all-new attraction built into a magnificent man-made mountain called Expedition Everest, a wild roller coaster ride where you are on an expedition searching for the supposed Yeti. I’ll let you find out whether you find him or not…!

Hollywood Studios is, of course, famous for its Twilight Zone: the Tower of Terror ride, where legend has it that 50 years ago two couples stepped into the lift of the five-star Hollywood Hotel during the worst thunderstorm in 50 years, lightening struck the lift cable and they plummeted down into the twilight zone, never to be seen again. I challenge you to take a ride, if you dare, in that very same lift on the Tower of Terror, and plummet 12 stories down in two seconds flat! But what about your kids? What’ll they do? Trust me, they’ll be the ones dragging you back on for a second go!

Epcot is something special. You always wanted to go to America…and France…and China…and Canada...and Germany? Well now you can do it all in one day (and you will need to pencil in a full day for this park). Epcot allows you to walk around the world, from country to country, 14 to be exact, tasting their specialities, taking part in activities related with that country (like belly dancing in Morocco!), aided by real American people in America, French people in France, Chinese people in China… Epcot is also home to the fantastic new ride that is Soarin’, where you soar through the sky, feeling the breeze on your face, enjoying a journey across the world with your loved ones beside you whilst always remaining in a surround-screen room. Test Track is an awesome ride where you are a test crew for a car company, testing out the car’s breaks and tyre compatibility…I would be a little careful with that barrier test though, you might just not stop in time…This ride so happens to be Dad’s fave, but I can’t think why …

Known as "the Place of a Million Dreams", Walt Disney World attracts around 52 million tourists per year, and you can see why! When the boss himself, Mickey, appears, so many faces light up…as well as the kids’!

Orlando is third in line from being the largest metropolitan area in the USA, after Miami and Tampa. You’ll find that it homes the second largest University in Florida, the University of Central Florida, which has the 5th largest enrolment in the nation; so basically, Orlando is full of the smart folk!

Another major attraction is, but of course, the city’s well-known symbol that is the fountain of LakeEola. This magnificent land mark, found in Downtown Orlando, puts on a fabulous light show at night, changing colours to create the illusion of coloured water fountains. Trust me; it’s a sight you don’t wanna miss!

And as if we hadn’t got enough of the wild roller coasters, dazzling day shows and top-notch restaurants from DisneyLand, the SunshineState is also home to Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Resort (two other really big theme parks!).

As well as being a great family day out, Universal Studios comes alive at night, with shows such as the Blues Brothers, so you can sit back and enjoy, while watching astounding firework displays that will just take your breath away! Or if you simply want a fun day out, Universal includes such rides as the 3D Spiderman ride, popular with all the family, the thrilling Hulk roller coaster, which loop-the-loops a stomach-churning amount of times, and the Pop-eye water rapid ride, where you may get a little wet…but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

SeaWorld shows you the very best of aquatic life, the way you’ve never seen it before! See amazing dolphin shows from the audience or beneath the water surface, visit the sting-ray pool and let your kids feed them, or feed a dolphin that’s 5cm away! What an experience! Of course, what would a park in Orlando be without roller coasters? I made the mistake of going on Kraken thinking it was just a little loop-the-loop…think again! Those loops sure can be deceiving! Whatever you chose to do though – to ride or not to ride – I can assure you, your day will not be a disappointment...nor will your holiday in Orlando for that matter!

Text and Photos by Daniella Wood

© 2009 by Daniella Wood. All rights reserved. Copying without permission is illegal and will be prosecuted.

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    • DaniellaWood profile imageAUTHOR

      DaniellaWood 

      8 years ago from England

      Thank you very much, James :) I'm glad you enjoyed and, for me, there's not a bad word to say about Orlando - I've been three times and loved every second!

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      8 years ago from Chicago

      Thank you very much for writing so eloquently about the place where I live. You did a great job and I enjoyed reading it.

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