How long was your stay?
How did you travel?
As a couple
Tell us why you traveled to this destination.
Orlando has always held a special place in my heart. As a kid, I visited Orlando numerous times. We would rent a spacious villa just off International Drive and spend our days exploring the theme parks and indulging in delicious food. Even as I got older and stopped going on holiday with my family, I still found myself drawn to Orlando. There’s just something about the city that feels like home.
Give us all the details! Tell us where you went and what you did on your trip.
Accommodation We went as a group of 2 couples so we decided that renting a villa would be the best way to go. Not only would we have our own private pool, but we could also come and go as we pleased without the worry of disturbing other guests. Our villa was located in Davenport, which turned out to be the perfect location because it was close to everything we had planned on doing. To make getting around easier, we decided to hire two cars. This would allow us to split up into two groups and explore different parts of the city if we wanted.
Day 1: We arrived pretty late in the afternoon of our first day, so we took a trip over to Disney Springs to unwind from the long day of traveling. Disney Springs is a large complex with a wide variety of restaurants and stores. All the restaurants looked amazing, and it was so hard to narrow it down to a singular one, but after much umming and ahhing, we decided to go to Rainforest Cafe. There was a really great atmosphere, and we got a seat right in front of one of the giant fish tanks, which was great because the brightly colored fish gave us a beautiful dining view. Disney World We dedicated five days of our trip to Disney Parks. With four theme parks, two water parks, and a whole host of other activities, it’s no wonder we were averaging 38,000 steps a day!
Day 2: We headed to Magic Kingdom Bright and early for a day filled with long wait times, baking heat, and crowds, but it was definitely worth it! The park was decorated for Halloween, giving it a cute but spooky vibe. We rode some of our favorite rides, including Splash Mountain and Haunted Mansion, and we also had a lovely meal at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. Top tip: Head to Aloha Isle in Adventureland, Where you can find the fan-favorite Dole Whip, a pineapple soft-serve that is sure to cool you down on a hot day. The Dole Whip can be enjoyed on its own or as a float!
Day 3: Today, we got to head to my second favorite park, Epcot. There is something about the ability to ‘travel’ amongst the countries, and learn about different cultures, which has always fascinated me about Epcot! As soon as we walked in, we were enveloped in the atmosphere of foreign lands. We took our time to explore each pavilion and discover what they had to offer, and of course, we had to stop in the UK pavilion just to check what treats had made the stock list from back home. We ended our day by getting dinner in Via Napoli, located in Italy (the Carciofi Pizza was to die for!) and watched the firework show afterward. Top tip: Visit Club Cool in Future World to get a taste of soft drinks from around the world. Try a sample of Beverly for something that’s bound to be unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before!
Day 4: Day 4 was designated to Animal Kingdom, my favorite of all Disney parks! Eager to explore, we arrived at the park for opening and headed straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris as soon as the rope dropped. Many animals had just been given breakfast, so we got a great view of them roaming around and tucking into some food. Once the safari was over, we continued around the park and went on each ride, the favorite of the day being Avatar: Flight of Passage. We ended our day with a showing of the Festival of The Lion King, which was a fantastic experience, as always. Top tip: Visit the Conservation Station to find the Affection Section, a petting zoo where you can get up close with the animals.
Day 5: Hollywood Studios was the final park we had to tick off our list. This park has never quite hit the spot with me. We never seem to be able to make a full day of it, and since we aren’t avid Star Wars fans, a large majority of the park is wasted on us. We do, however, love Toy Story land. The attention to detail that Disney has executed really gives you the feeling that you have shrunk down and become a toy. Although we didn’t end up spending the whole day at Hollywood Studios, it was nice to get back to the villa early and rest our legs after a hectic few days.
Day 6: After four long days of exploring the theme parks, we were in need of something a bit slower-paced. So we decided to go to Typhoon Lagoon, one of the Disney water parks. As soon as we arrived, we could tell that this was going to be a different kind of day. The park was much less crowded than the others, and there was a laid-back atmosphere. The lazy river was my favorite part- I floated around for what felt like hours, soaking up the sun and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Then we hit the waves in the surf pool and rode all the water slides before relaxing on our sun loungers for the remainder of the day. It was exactly what we needed—a chance to rest and relax.
Day 7: It was the first Saturday of our holiday. We daren’t step foot in any theme parks as we knew they would be hectic, so we spent the morning relaxing poolside at the villa. After a couple of hours, we drove to Celebration, a charming little town that looks like it has stepped out of a fairy tale. The streets were lined with quaint shops and cafes, and there was a real sense of community. Due to the date of our visit, the houses were all adorned with incredible Halloween decorations. It was so much fun to drive around and look at all the decor. It was obvious that no expense had been spared! We stopped for dinner at the Celebration Town Tavern. I ordered a Mango Mojito and the Vegetable Primavera. Both choices were 5-star! The service was excellent, and the food was delightful. We even managed to be seated at an outdoor table with a lovely view of the lake.
Day 8: What better way to spend a sunny day than floating down a natural, crystal-clear lazy river? On day eight, we headed to Kelly Park and did just that. We rented an inner tube for $5 each from a small business just outside the park (the park itself does not rent these out) and hit the water. This was the first time we had ever been to Kelly park, and I have to say it made a lasting impression! We had stopped on our drive to buy some food, so when midday rolled around, we parked ourselves on a picnic bench and had lunch before returning to the water for the remainder of the day. On our way back to Davenport, we stopped at Tacos and Tequila, and as the name suggests, we had tacos.… and tequila, well, tequila-based cocktails anyway! Top tip: make sure to get to Kelly Park early. The park quite often reaches capacity by late morning! The entrance fee is $3 for a car of up to two people and $5 for a vehicle containing more than two.
Day 9: We were over halfway through our holiday at this point and hadn’t even stepped foot in Universal Studios, so that’s what our schedule held for day nine. We got to the park for opening, so we could make the most of our day & enjoy as many rides as possible, although the park was surprisingly empty throughout the day, with 30 minutes being the longest we had to wait for a ride. We managed to get on everything we wanted and spent lots of time exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, drinking plenty of Butterbeer. Dinner for the evening was at Mel’s Drive-in, followed by a Strawberry and Peanut Butter ice cream from Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour for dessert – this was definitely a 10/10. Top tip: take a picture of all of your Universal tickets, so staff can easily reprint them if you lose them! This tip would have saved us an hour spent with customer services searching through every email in our inboxes.
Day 10: We started the day a bit differently on day ten. For the previous nine days, we had been enjoying breakfast at the villa, but today we felt like a change of scenery, so, since we were going to Islands of Adventure anyway, we thought we would grab some breakfast before we started exploring, we ate at Croissant Moon Bakery. It was a lovely way to begin an action-packed day. After breakfast, we made a beeline for Seuss Landing. It may sound odd for a 25-year-old to say, but it is one of my favorite areas of the park, it brings back so much childhood nostalgia, and I always make time to wander around it on each trip. This park was a lot busier than Universal Studios had been the previous day. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure had just opened its doors a few months prior, so the park was bustling, and the ride itself had a 4.5-hour wait time! Something we couldn’t bring ourselves to do in the sticky Florida heat. Despite the crowds, we were still able to have a great day exploring the park and were able to tick off nearly all of the rides we wanted to. On our way out of the park, we decided to stop at Cowfish on Citywalk. We had high expectations for this place and expected it to blow our minds, but unfortunately, it just didn’t hit the spot. The poor service paired with cold & missing food left us feeling underwhelmed and disappointed.
Day 11: Volcano Bay was on the cards for today. The last time we visited Orlando, this park was still under construction, so we were thrilled to finally get the chance to explore. As soon as we stepped past the turnstiles, we were blown away by the theming of the park. It was like we had been transported to an entirely different land! There were so many amazing rides that kept us entertained all day long, although the star of the show was definitely TeAwa the Fearless River (basically a turbo-charged version of a lazy river!), with an honorable mention for Krakatau Aqua Coaster. After an action-packed day that kept us smiling, we ventured to Sugar Factory for a not-so-healthy dinner and dessert.
Day 12: Since we had hired cars, we decided to take a day trip down to Miami. The drive itself took around 4 hours, but it was nice to see a different city. We had lunch at Lombardi’s, which has a beautiful view of the marina. We then went and meandered along South Beach for a while before getting back in the car and having a drive around, mansion-spotting. After fantasizing about which houses we would own if we were to stumble upon a massive lottery win, we began the long journey back to our comparatively small villa, happy to have seen a bit of Florida beyond Orlando.
Day 13: It was finally shopping day! There are two different outlet malls in Orlando, The Vineland Premium outlets and the Orlando International Premium Outlets. Both are so different to the outlet stores we have here in the UK; I can never quite believe how cheap the items are. The Disney outlet is a real hit with up to 80% off official merchandise. Although the queue to enter the store can often be extensive, the discounts are definitely worth it! With a long flight home looming the next day, we headed back to the villa early, stopping to pick up a Chilli’s order on our way, and just spent some time sitting by the pool reminiscing about the great times we had over the previous two weeks.
Day 14: Sadly, it was our final day in Orlando. We had to check out of the villa pretty early, so we packed the cars up and spent the final hours of our last day at Universal Citywalk. Although we had walked through and had dinner at CityWalk earlier in the week, it was nice to get the chance to have a stroll around and do some people-watching (one of our favorite past times) while sitting outside Starbucks with a coffee. After this coffee stop, we headed to the airport to catch our flight back to a very rainy North Wales :(.
Would you recommend this trip to a friend?
What was the highlight of your trip?
The highlight of my trip was definitely riding Big Thunder Mountain while the fireworks were going off in Magic Kingdom. It was completely unplanned but absolutely mesmerizing. I have never been lucky enough to see them from such an incredible vantage point before, and it is something that will stick with me forever.
If you were to take this trip again, is there anything you would add or do differently?
We would spend more time in Miami, maybe a night or two, to experience more. We wanted to do and see many things, but we didn’t have enough time in our schedule. If we went back, we would love to explore the art at Wynwood Walls and visit the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.
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