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Orlando must do recommendations

You don’t need to be a travel professional to know that Orlando’s number-one draw is its theme parks. After all, from Disney to Universal, these amusement parks promise far more than just roller coasters and costumed characters. Instead, they’re all inclusive experiences where visitors can shop, dine, and snooze – thanks to a number of onsite hotels – in style. But while they’re an essential first stop, there’s plenty more to do around town. Here are the must do recommendations for your Orlando holiday – both in the parks and beyond.

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Theme parks

There are a few reasons that Orlando draws millions of international visitors every year – and most of them are its colossal, thrilling theme parks. From Walt Disney World (which technically comprises four different parks, and is the most-visited holiday resort on Earth) to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, these one-of-a-kind parks offer up a bounty of entertainments designed to appeal to visitors of all ages.

Orlando's top new theme park attractions

Water rides

Down here in the tropics, the opportunity to cool off is always welcome – and when you combine a refreshing dip with theme park adventuring, then all the better. Disney’s water parks and water rides offer up spills and chills for daredevils, from the soaring summit of Splash Mountain to the whirling currents of Kali River Rapids.

A thrill seeker's guide to Disney water rides

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Theme park hotels

Planning to spend your Orlando holiday exploring the city’s many amusement parks? If so, make things even simpler and book yourself in at a theme park hotel. Walt Disney World alone offers 18 different hotels, and depending on where you stay, you can look forward to everything from private, waterfront cottages to soothing spas and gourmet dinners.

Where to stay in Orlando: The Disney hotel guide

Disney Springs

Once known as Downtown Disney, the redubbed Disney Springs captures a different side of Orlando’s themed offerings. A destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment – and open to all Orlando visitors, not just those who’ve already purchased park admission tickets – it tempts visitors and locals alike with its array of attractions spread across four different “neighbourhoods.”

Seven great things to do in Orlando for free

Daytona international speedway

Just a little over an hour from Downtown Orlando, Daytona Beach isn’t just an appealing stretch of sand: it’s also home to one of the best-known racetracks in the country, the Daytona International Speedway. You can come here to see a race… but why sit in the grandstand when you can get behind the wheel yourself? With the Richard Petty Driving Experience, you can zoom around the track in a real NASCAR racecar.

Once in a lifetime adventures in Orlando

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Image credits:

UOR Globe © Universal Orlando Resort

Roller coaster © iStock: jimfeng

Aqua Drag Racer © Universal Orlando Resort

Leows Royal Pacific Resort © Universal Orlando Resort

Disney Springs © Todd Anderson

Richard Petty driving experience © Drive Petty