Florida certainly lived up to its name as a non-stop fun filled holiday in our recent family holiday to Orlando. Florida is a place where your kids will always been screaming in delight in the sunshine and you will always be running to keep up. This was our first proper holiday with our two boys ages 4.5 and 2.5 years old. They love wildlife, Toy Story, Lego, Spacemen, Batman, all the type of things that boys and big boys like me at 34 enjoy, so Orlando was top of our list as a base for a fun action packed holiday. We booked with Virgin Holidays having heard great things about them, especially for family holidays like this.
The Virgin Atlantic flight we took from London Gatwick to Orlando Airport was unexpectedly stress free. I say unexpected because this really was the main worry for us prior to the holiday – just how would the boys would behave on the plane as it was harry’s (our youngest) first time flying and 9 hours is a long time. I don’t know if it was because they both love their iPads, movies and games but they were good as gold! They slept for a few hours but most of the time they enjoyed the food, entertainment and the experience of being on a plane.
Once arriving in Florida, I would suggest to anyone that you make a list like we did of your ‘must see’s’ as you will be hard pushed to fit everything into a two week trip.
We chose first to go to SeaWorld; this is a super park and one of my personal favourites. Up close encounters with the animals (boys loved the playful young dolphins) and it’s very well laid out so your not walking miles to see everything. As you walk around there is music and huge water fountain displays on the lake that the park surrounds.
We also visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. These parks offered something different to see and do, the safari was defiantly the highlight for us in Animal Kingdom, and you almost feel like you have been transported from Orland right into Africa.
The Magic Kingdom certainly doesn’t disappoint and lives up to all the adverts you’ve ever seen on TV. The magic kingdom is captivating and magical and has brilliant rides and attractions for kids and adults. Our boys love Buzz Lightyear, especially Dylan our oldest and we managed to get a photograph with him (head to Tomorrowland to find Buzz!).
There were so many rides that we didn’t do as not suitable for young children, but there are also loads that are. We had great fun on the go karts!
We also took a drive out to Cape Canaveral to the Kennedy Space centre, this was top of my list of things to see and I was not let down. It’s a nice drive out and good to get out of the hustle and bustle of Orlando. See the rockets tower over to you is awe inspiring. A definite must see is the Shuttle Atlantis. It’s a brilliant show with an amazing surprise at the end – I won’t ruin it by writing about it but it gives me goose bumps thinking about it again. I bought myself a Nasa t-shirt at the awesome Kennedy Space Centre shop and the boys both had Atlantis rockets which they love. If you don’t manage to buy anything here and wish you did days later, don’t worry as there is a space shop at Orlando Airport – and that goes for Disney and Sea World shops too.
After a little shopping break (definitely top of my wife’s list – bargains to be had at Orlando Premium Outlets) we headed over to the Gulf of Mexico coastline and headed to Clearwater Beach. It takes about 2 hours from Orlando but it’s certainly worth the drive out. Clearwater is beautiful, pure white sand, which is like sugar and clear blue waters, very idyllic.
So Florida in short really does offer everything for the family and it a great family holiday destination.