Orlando welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists to what many travellers call the "vacation capital of the world" each year. The accolade is well deserved; nowhere else on earth offers such a concentration of excellent amusement parks.
Walt Disney World
Orlando's rise to first place on the tourist list began when Walt Disney decided to locate his second attempt at an amusement park near the city. He began by purchasing vast tracts of land, far more than he needed to construct a Florida version of the original Disneyland. Over time, additional parks have been built on these lands, so that now, the "Magic Kingdom" is but one of four themed parks that make up the complex known as Walt Disney World.
Epcot was the second park constructed. It focuses on allowing visitors to explore the cultures of the world, as well as the technological breakthroughs that have made the world a better place in which to live.
Disney's Animal Kingdom is the largest amusement park in the world. The guests experience an African safari complete with gorillas and hippos, as well as a roller coaster themed as an expedition to the summit of Mount Everest.
Disney's Hollywood Studio explains to visitors the art of movie-making, taking them back to the "golden age" of Hollywood, the 1930s and 40s.
The theme park’s overwhelming popularity, especially with families, has meant travel companies now offer competitive holiday packages using Walt Disney World to lure in customers. Packages often include tickets to the resorts and round flights, however many operators are now even hiring out Orlando villas to customers- conveniently situated near to the park.
Even though Mickey and friends attract millions of tourists to Orlando each year, accommodation close to the park is sometimes hard to come by. However don’t despair, many hotels in Orlando offer access to other family attractions, including several theme parks that make up Universal Studios Florida. Hiring a car will allow tourists to explore a new park every day, should they wish.
Universal Studios is a venue where guests can "experience the movies”. It features six areas built around popular movie-making themes. For example, in the New York section of the park visitors will find architecture that will make them feel they are merely streets away from Broadway. This section allows guests to experience what it might be like to be caught in a tornado or to be chased by an Egyptian Mummy intent on revenge. Another popular section is themed to resemble Amity Island, the fictional setting of the Jaws movie series.
At Universal's Island of Adventure amusement park there are seven themed areas; the newest of these is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which features a recreation of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as well as a model of the steam train known as the Hogwarts Express and a shopping area themed to resemble Hogsmeade.
The popular Sea World is set to add three major attractions very soon. These will include penguin and turtle experiences, and a chance to see marine mammals such as sea lions, dolphins, and killer whales up close. There will be several shows each day where the animals will perform for enthusiastic crowds. Sea World visitors can also enjoy several roller coasters, including Manta, which is designed to mimic the swimming action of manta rays along the sea floor, and Kraken, a floor-less roller coaster based on a legendary monster of the deep.