But I Don't Like Theme Parks

Florida Guide > Accommodation

“But I don’t like theme parks”, said sister-in-law. Brother-in-law said, “been there once, seen it all”. These are the responses we got when we offered our families a special rate if they wanted to go to our recently purchased Florida villa.

Why do people think that Disney, Mickey Mouse and Sea World are the only things to see in Florida? How can they believe they can see all that Florida has to offer in just 2 weeks? If this is to be your first visit to the sunshine state, prepare to be amazed!

Of course the little ones will want to see Mickey and Minney, the thrill-seekers will make for the rides and the sun-worshippers are bound to get a tan. But there is so much more waiting for you.

Where do I start? Interested in sport? Which one? Golf, baseball, fishing (fly or deep sea), flying, sky-diving, swimming, bungee-jumping, tennis, squash….? All of these and many more are available for you – or for those couch potatoes who just like to watch, try one of the many sports bars where you can view sports TV coverage whilst enjoying a meal and drinks.

Like shopping? Boy, oh boy, do I like shopping! And shopping in the USA is the best there is. The malls are so big you can shop all day long, go back another day and find stores you missed the first time round. The choice available is beyond belief with malls specialising in designer goods at knock-down prices, specialist shops, and mega-stores selling everything from a hairbrush to a rifle. Prices will seem familiar – the numbers are usually the same for familiar items – but at the current exchange rate you are paying very nearly half UK prices.

So – what is there to do in the evenings? That is if you have any energy left for such things when the kids have run you ragged at Wet’n Wild or Cypress Gardens or Gatorland or…. You get the picture. Well you have to eat, don’t you? So what about Italian, Chinese, Middle Eastern or Japanese food? Or just good old steaks, seafood, sushi and all-you-can-eat buffets. Too tired for the table? – just get Dad to get everyone a take-away. Of course if you want a great night out, with dining, you can go to any one of the numerous dinner shows such as Capone’s, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Shows, Pirates or Arabian Nights.

There is now a bible adventure park called the Holy Land Experience. A rodeo takes place every Friday night in Kissimmee sports arena and you can go for an airboat ride. The little ones will surely enjoy the Green Meadows petting farm and horse riding is available locally. Go-kart tracks, crazy and miniature golf and helicopter tours are yours to enjoy, with various exhibitions such as Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Wonder Works and Titanic.

So, you’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt. OK then, why not head off out of town to the many beautiful beaches along the coast? Clearwater is a favourite of mine. Take a day to visit the Kennedy Space Centre – the IMAX films of space are stunning! Perhaps go even further afield, stay overnight and choose a different route back.

If you are considering whether to go – be it the first or second visit, take some time to research what Florida, and especially Orlando, has to offer. There are some very good guidebooks on sale now and of course, the Internet is a wonderful source of information. When you get there, pick up the many free guides and listings available to get the very latest news on all the attractions. These have money off coupons for restaurants, shops, golf green fees etc. Inside are extremely useful maps and schematics to help you find your way around.

Whatever you do, wherever you go, you are bound to have a fantastic holiday – enjoy!

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