Orlando is one of those places that everyone wants to visit. But when should you go, where should you stay, and what should you do when you arrive? Get the answers with our ultimate guide to the world’s most magical destination.
There are so many tips here that we’ve broken our guide down into separate sections. Use the menu below to hop straight to the topic you’re interested in!
Your whole experience of Orlando will be shaped by the time of year that you choose to visit. That said, the weather is almost always good in Florida, with plenty of opportunities for swimming and sunbathing. They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing…
If you’ve never visited Orlando before, it can be tricky to know where to stay. These guides will help you find the perfect resort for your trip, whether you’re planning a golfing vacation or a grand tour of the theme parks.
Eating at Orlando’s theme parks can be pricey, especially if you’re travelling with the kids in tow.
But there are plenty of affordable places to grab a bite to eat in Florida’s entertainment capital, from supermarkets and fast-food joints to diners, resort cafés and simple roadside restaurants.
These are some of the best options for eating on the cheap in Orlando.
At the theme parks
You can expect quick service and fast food at the Liberty Inn, which offers everything from classic burgers to gluten-free options.
The Fife & Drum Tavern, a patriotic American restaurant, serves up turkey legs, popcorn and root beer floats. Captain’s Grille, with its nautical setting, provides guests with the chance to try American seafood classics.
You can cool down at the Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, where options include all-American favorites such as sundaes, grilled-cheese sandwiches and flavored sodas.
Smoky scents fill the air at the Flame Tree Barbecue, which offerschicken dinners, jalapeno cornbreads and smokehouse meats.
To cool down, pop along to the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck for a soft-serve waffle cone or frosty float. If you’d prefer a classic American lunch with a twist, try the dinosaur-themed Restaurantosaurus, which serves up black bean burgers, hot dogs and beer.
Treat yourself to a few classic baseball favourites at Casey’s Corner where you can pick from hot dogs, nachos, cotton candy and Cracker Jack. Or, for a real feast, tuck into bottomless platters and milkshakes at the Whispering Canyon Cafe.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
ABC Commissary, a studio-inspired cafe with film posters on the walls and movie trailers on repeat, offers hearty dishes in an Art Deco setting. Try the chicken burgers, BBQ steaks and ice-cold beverages.
Make a pit stop at the food trucks in Disney Springs. With themed snacks from all across the globe at Fantasy Fare and delicious macaroni cheese at Superstar Catering, there’s always a wide choice available.
The rides at Universal are thrilling and so are the restaurants, too! Captain America’s Diner is where all the famous heroes hang out – expect dishes like chicken fingers and cheeseburgers. Taste the famous ‘Green Egg and Ham’ sandwiches at the Green Eggs and Ham Café or feast on juicy quarter-pounders at The Burger Digs. Don’t forget the Three Broomsticks, a Harry Potter-inspired restaurant providing classic British favorites and the famous ‘butter beer’.
Universal Studios Florida
There’s a fun dining option for everyone at Universal. Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone Dining is perfect for kids and adults alike, serving pizza, pretzels and ice cream. Alternatively, take a trip down to Springfield Dining with the Simpsons. Krusty Burger serves up classic burgers and hot dogs, while Lard Lad donuts delivers on the sweet-treat front.
Shopping malls in and around Orlando
Central Florida’s largest indoor shopping center offers a vast number of restaurants. Head to Five Guys for burgers and milkshakes, or visit A&W All American Food for more yummy fast food. Sbarro serves up homemade pizzas with a variety of toppings.
This open-air shopping mall has plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. Try Abode Gila’s, a casual margarita bar serving tacos, wraps and frozen drinks. Hearty meals are served up at The Pub, a British-inspired bar with an American twist.
The Mall at Millennia
Keke’s Breakfast Café was born in Orlando, and the first restaurant opened at The Mall at Millennia. The top-notch breakfasts never fail to deliver – and the huge portions are sure to bring a smile to your face.
For a quick and easy lunch or dinner, head to one of the many fast-food joints or diners near Orlando. Global franchises like McDonald’s and Subway are easy to track down, while classics like Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Shake Shack and Dairy Queen can be found over onInternational Drive.
Feeling hungry? You might want to stop by one of the many all-you-can-eat restaurants in Orlando. Pick from Disney favorites like the African-style Boma and Tusker House in Animal Kingdom, or hop over to Epcot for a German buffet at Biergarten Restaurant. You can also feast on Brazilian-style cuisine at Texas de Brazil on International Drive. For a healthier option try Sweet Tomatoes, the ultimate salad buffet restaurant at Universal Studios. In South Orlando, El Palacio features a whole range of comforting Latin food, while Woodlands Indian Cuisine is a great option for vegetarians.
If you really want to keep things cheap, head to Orlando’s supermarkets. These offer essentials like bread, milk and every ingredient for a home-cooked meal. You can stock up on everything you require and prepare the food back at your vacation rental. Find out more information with our guide to grocery shopping in Orlando.
Resorts in Orlando that offer cheap eats
For a convenient and affordable dining spot, head over to The Cove at Reunion Resort, where options include refreshing smoothies and burgers. If you’d like to sit in the sunshine, The Clubhouse Grille offers indoor and outdoor dining with a varied food selection. The American-style breakfast is a big hit, as are the cocktails.
A luxurious gated community, Formosa Gardens has a shopping village close by – and it’s home to several different restaurant choices, including a sandwich shop. Grab something to go or sit down at Giordano’s Italian Restaurant for a mouth-watering pizza.
Located within easy reach of Disney, Championsgate is home to The Grille Room, where the menu runs from grilled sandwiches to affordable 5-course meals.
The Encore Club
For the best cocktails and hot appetizers, head over to the Shark Lounge at the Encore Club. Casual dining is also available at Finns (you can view the menu here and here). If you’re at the pool, Bis Grill is handy for quick snacks and drinks.
The best way to escape Orlando’s scorching weather is by visiting one of the many water parks. There are more than half a dozen to choose from, and they are home to some of the world’s best water rides. In this ultimate guide, we’ll take you through park by park and show you the best rides each one offers. Just use the menu below to hop straight to each water park.
With wave pools, beaches and high-speed water slides, this one-of-a-kind water park is home to some of the world’s most thrilling H2O-based attractions. Aquatica is run by Seaworld and it promises unlimited fun in the sun. Take a look at which rides Aquatica has in store…
Ihu’s Breakaway Falls
Get ready to brave Orlando’s tallest, steepest, and only multi-drop tower slide of its kind. At nearly 80 ft tall, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls is where you’ll face your biggest fears. Stand in the see-through capsule and wait for the floor to drop out from beneath your feet.
The classic family favourite, Dolphin Plunge takes riders down 250 ft of clear tubes, underwater, and through Aquatica’s beautiful Commerson’s dolphin habitat.
Big Surf Shores & Cutback Cove
Guests can catch a wave in the world’s only side-by-side wave pools. Filled with a combined 860,000 gallons of water, these enormous pools deliver very different experiences.
Grab an inflatable and experience weightlessness as you speed down flumes into massive tunnels on Omaka Rocka.
This adventure river zips guests through 1,500 ft of rapids, past geysers and through waterfalls at an exhilarating speed.
For fun at a much slower pace, take a trip on this lazy river, passing exotic birds and tanks of colorful fish.
Good to know
There are plenty of places to eat and drink at Aquatica. Try the Waterstone Grill, which serves an assortment of sandwiches and salads, desserts and drinks. Alternatively, head to the Mango Market, a grab-and-go restaurant serving picnic baskets full of tasty lunch items. At Banana Beach, an all-you-can-eat buffet, you’ll find pizzas, hot dogs, pulled pork, baked chicken and yummy desserts.
Aquatica is open all year round. For specific hours of operation and to buy tickets at the best rates, please call our concierge team on 1-866-341-8086 (US) or 0800 43 34567 (UK).
Typhoon Lagoon water park
One of two water parks run by Disney, Typhoon Lagoon is a great place to escape to on a hot and sunny day. The lazy river and water slides provide excitement wherever you look. Here are the best rides to check out when you arrive.
Side-by-side slides offer gentle thrills and spills for younger visitors (there’s a maximum height limit, which means parents have to wait at the bottom).
Crush ‘n’ Gusher
Pair up on this multi-passenger, rollercoaster-style raft ride as you zoom through the 400-ft-long tubes and create a big splash in the water.
Hurtle 214 ft downhill for a 5-story drop in the dark until you reach the big surprise! Tweens, teens, adults and kids will love the thrills and chills this attraction brings.
Float away on this blissful lazy river, which takes you on a tour around the entire water park. Paddle along the current as you lay on your rubber ring, drifting under waterfalls, rope bridges and a canopy of tall trees.
Good to know
There’s no shortage of dining options at the waterpark. Try Typhoon Tilly’s, a shipwreck-inspired restaurant serving fried shrimp, fish baskets and BBQ pork sandwiches, or stop off for a spot of ice cream at Happy Landings. It offers root beer floats, sundaes and more. Another option is to drop into Lowtide Lou’s for a selection of wraps, sandwiches and frozen cocktails.
Operating hours are subject to change and vary throughout the year. To find out the opening times take a look at their website.
Blizzard Beach water park
Themed like a wintry ski resort, Blizzard Beach offers beaches, calming rivers, ‘snowy’ slides and brightly colored play areas. Here’s which water rides Disney’s Blizzard Beach features.
Downhill Double Dipper
Ready, steady, go! With these side-by-side slides, you can race against your friends to see who can reach the bottom first. Plummet 50 ft downhill at top speeds and disappear through a black hole.
Choose between 3 different inner-tube slides for an instant water rush. These one-of-a-kind water flumes each offer a different experience to the next.
Ride up to Mount Gushmore on colorful wooden chairlifts with umbrella canopies. The slow-moving lift gives you a scenic view of the park and ends at the Green Slope, a prime location for even more attractions.
Blizzard Beach’s most extreme ride, Summit Plummet has a near-vertical drop and is one of the world’s tallest and fastest free-fall body slides. This sheer 120-ft drop is perfect for thrill seekers.
Good to know
Looking for a sweet snack? There’s a kiosk within the water park serving up sundaes, waffle cones and frosty desserts. You can also visit the snowmobile next to the chairlift ride for simple snacks. Another option is to take a snack break with either a hot dog, a beer or a salad at the ‘Avalunch’ stand. You can book tickets to the park and get up-to-date opening hours by contacting our concierge team.
Redefining the water park experience, the brand-new Volcano Bay (opening in May 2017) is the best water park in Orlando for adults. It offers attractions to suit every member of the family and is split into four areas, Rainforest Village, River Village, Wave Village and, of course, The Volcano. These are the rides you can look forward to…
Krakatau Aqua Coaster
Experience dark twists and turns in the volcano before plunging through a waterfall on a four-person ‘canoe’.
Surf’s up! Head down to the beach for a swim or splash around in the sparkling lagoon, set at the foot of Krakatau volcano.
Honu ika Moana
Prepared to get drenched on these two twisting multi-person slides. Honu reaches new heights whilst ika Moana sprays water directly at guests from the center of the raft.
These 4 twisting slides are inspired by trees’ twisting roots. Riders can enjoy all 4 twisting tracks, but be prepared to get completely soaked on the way down as tiki statues spray big jets of water!
Cool down and make a splash in Reunion Resort’s water park – located just 5.5 miles to Walt Disney World. The surrounding tropical gardens and tall palm trees create the best place to relax after a day at the theme parks. Float along the lengthy lazy river or get your heart racing with the 110-foot water slide – there’s entertainment for all ages. Take shade in the lounge areas with a cocktail at hand whilst the younger guests enjoy Reunion’s water fun.
The nearby splash park is the best water park in Orlando for a 5 year old, located next to the Sandy Ridge communal pool. With a swirly slide, playground and water fountains, there’s lots of fun to be had.
The food and beverage service on site is open Monday through Sunday, 11am- 4.30pm (times may vary).It’s an easy access eatery for snacks and beverages when visiting the water park.
An aqua paradise isn’t far away if you stay at the Encore Resort at Reunion. With more than 2 million gallons of water, it isn’t just any ordinary water park. Whether looking for thrills or relaxing water fun, there’s plenty to choose from. Drift down the lazy river or be adventurous, trying out the Tsunami and Aqua Drop water slides. For younger kids, there’s even a Surfin’ Safari splash zone to cool down from the Orlando sun.
If you get hungry when at the water park, nearby is Bis Grill, the best place to refuel with a snack or two.
Searching for a villa near these top Orlando’s theme parks? Browse our entire selection here. For the best prices, check out our last-minute deals.
If you’re wondering where to head for grocery shopping in Orlando, don’t worry – there are plenty of great stores and supermarkets near Orlando’s best resorts. And if you don’t fancy shopping you’re in luck, as there are some handy grocery delivery services, too.
This simple guide will help you find the best way to stock up on groceries for your vacation.
Supermarkets in Orlando
Many of the big resorts have stores on site, selling basic items such as milk, bread and tea, but if you want to stock up on other groceries, there are much larger supermarkets nearby.
Most resorts are located around the Interstate 4 and US Highway 192 where you will find a number of Publix, Winn-Dixie and Walmart supermarkets, as well as several smaller shops.
There are also a number of fast-food restaurants, as well as liquor stores and ATM machines. If you head further along Highway 192 you’ll find the W Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway with even more grocery stores, plus a string of well-known restaurant chains like Burger King, Wendy’s, TGI Fridays and an Outback Steakhouse.
Our top picks for stocking up in Orlando
Address: 11957 S Apopka Vineland Rd, Orlando, Fl 32836
Phone: (407) 465-8600
Hours: Monday–Sunday, 6am–12am
Special features: ATM, drug store, deli, bakery, seafood, fresh meats
Address: 14928 East Orange Lake Boulevard, Kissimmee, FL 34747
Phone: (407) 239-4989
Hours: Monday–Sunday, 7am–11pm
Special features: economically priced groceries, plus beer and wine
3250 Vineland Road, Kissimmee, FL 34746
Phone: (407) 397-1125
Hours: Monday–Sunday, 10am–10pm
Special features: This store has a great selection of Disney souvenirs
Address:4795 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, Kissimmee, FL 34746
Phone: (407) 594-0029
Hours: Monday–Saturday, 8am–11pm; Sunday 8am–10pm
Special features: Drug store, Starbucks, low-priced grocery shopping in Orlando
Grocery delivery services in Orlando
If supermarket shopping isn’t your thing, you may prefer to use a grocery delivery service. Not only does it save time, it’s also a great way to avoid splurging on non-essentials at the supermarket checkout. The best grocery delivery services offer a wide selection of products, as well as fast delivery and low fees.
Our top picks
Orlando Grocery Express Orlando Grocery Express is an online grocery delivery service that will deliver your shopping straight to your vacation home. Just visit the website, shop for all the items on your grocery list, then choose a delivery date and time – your fresh groceries will then be delivered to your door. Orlando Grocery Express delivers 7 days a week, and charges a small fee of $14, with free delivery on orders over $200.
Garden Grocer works the same as Orlando Grocery Express – just visit the website, select items and place them in an online cart. Items cost a little more than in a typical supermarket, but there are regular special offers as well as further discounted rates if you place your order in advance. Delivery is $14 on orders under $200 and just $2 thereafter. A minimum order amount of $40 applies.
We Go Shop We Go Shop works in a slightly different way. You select the store you want your groceries from, then just provide your shopping list. An agent will visit the store, do your shopping for you, and then deliver to your vacation home. The service doesn’t mark-up the items so you get your shopping at the cost you would normally pay, although there is a shopping service fee. There is no minimum order value either.
If you want groceries on arrival at your vacation home, you can choose from a number of different welcome packs. There’s a basic pack filled with tea and coffee, fruit, pastries, soap and detergent. There’s also a wine and beer pack, and a premium welcome pack filled with a more extensive selection of goods. Welcome packs can ordered through the Top Villas concierge service, and can be tailored to you individual requirements.
If you prefer to buy seasonal goods at the peak of freshness, then Orlando’s food markets are an excellent bet. Not only can you get great deals on the freshest goods around, you may even get to meet the people who grow or prepare the food.
Our top picks
Whole Foods Market
This eco-minded grocery store sells a wide range of fresh local produce, as well as delicious chef-created foods, baked goods and a wide range of natural and organic grocery items. It offers an online delivery service too so you can get your groceries delivered to your vacation home.
Market on South
Located in Orlando’s Milk District, this bohemian artisan market is home to a grocery store, a restaurant and a bakery. There’s a vegan kitchen there too, serving an array of full plant-based dining and drink options.
Open 7 days a week, Lucky’s Market sells high quality fresh local produce, plus delicious craft sandwiches and homemade pizzas.
Orlando Farmer’s Market
Taking place every Sunday in Lake Eola Park, the Orlando Farmers’ Market is more than just your average farmers’ market. You’ll find a massive selection of seasonal fresh produce, as well as other goods like plants, artwork, handicrafts, jewelry and pottery. There are regular live music events, as well as a beer and wine garden.
If you’re thinking of booking an Orlando vacation and you need advice on the best places to stay then contact the Top Villas travel team today. Additionally, our dedicated concierge team can arrange any added extras you need such as great value car hire and attraction tickets.
When Youtube’s cutest family decided to stay in a Top Villas vacation home we got pretty excited! Here’s the lowdown on their stay, including a 5-day video diary filmed in and around one of our newest Orlando villas.
Who are The Michalaks?
Image courtesy of The Michalaks / Facebook
You may have heard of Youtube vloggers the Shaytards and the Saccone-Jolys, but there is one family hailed as the cutest in the vlogging game, and that is The Michalaks.
Known for their beautifully-edited Youtube videos, London-based couple Hannah and Stefan Michalak spend their time travelling with their super-cute son Grayson, making mini movies of their unique experiences as they go.
The average vlogger probably leaves the house with just one handheld camera, but The Michalaks never leave with less than 8! They also pack multiple lenses – and even a drone – to capture amazing aerial shots.
The Michalaks’ unique and creative videos have won them an army of fans, including more than 250,000 followers on Youtube alone.
Where did they stay?
During their recent Orlando vacation The Michalaks chose to stay in one of our brand-new villas in Orlando.
Located in the exclusive Encore Resort at Reunion, the luxury 5-bedroom property offers spacious open-plan living and dining areas, as well as a private swimming pool with a hot tub, a gorgeous sun terrace and luxury fixtures and furnishings throughout.
The resort is just minutes from Disney World, and offers a range of exciting amenities including a water park, sports courts, a fitness center, restaurants, bars and free transfers to the local theme parks.
The Michalaks decided to stay for 5 nights, but vacation homes at Encore are also available for short stays of just 3 nights or more.
If you’re thinking of booking an Orlando vacation and you need advice on the best places to stay then contact us today. Additionally, our dedicated concierge team can arrange any added extras you need such as great value car hire and attraction tickets.
This exciting railroad journey takes guests through the seven dwarfs’ diamond mine on a train designed to look like it’s been hand-carved by the dwarfs themselves. As the train trundles along, expect to see animated dwarfs, bright lights and music from the classic Snow White film.
Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
Watch your favourite mermaid tale come to life on this whimsical musical adventure, which takes you on a journey through the waves, playing some of the best songs from The Little Mermaid. Meet some of the characters and enjoy an underwater adventure like no other.
Dumbo the Flying Elephant
One of the original Disney World rides, Dumbo the Flying Elephant is still a family favourite. Take a journey up into the air aboard Dumbo the elephant, singing along to the carnival songs and flying over Storybook Circus.
Based on the old Disney movie Song of the South, this hair-raising water ride tells the tale of Br’er Rabbit. The ride begins in a loading area where you’ll board an eight-passenger log flume, seated in rows of 2. As the flume departs it slowly ascends a steep chain lift before taking a rollicking ride through the wetlands of old-time Georgia, USA. Be prepared to get soaked during the 9-minute aquatic adventure – the 5-story splashdown reaching speeds of up to 40mph.
This exciting ride is great for young kids, who get the chance to fly above Storybook Circus with Goofy and his stunt aeroplanes. The Great Goofini’s daredevil act begins in the grand circus marquee, swooping through the sky with gentle bends and dips.
Located in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase, the ‘Frozen Ever After’ Ride is inspired by the movie spectacular, Frozen. This attraction tells the tale of Arendelle, taking you through the enchanted kingdom on a winter adventure. Explore the movie’s main highlights and meet the two princesses for the ultimate Frozen experience.
Experience an out-of-this-world space launch on this shuttle simulator. Slingshot around the moon and dodge meteors, getting a taste for life as an astronaut along the way. From the Planetary Plaza and the Simulation Lab to the shuttle itself, every stage of this ride is jam-packed with entertainment for all ages.
Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
Explore Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion with a gentle boat ride along the river. With cultural sights and 3 feathered amigos at every turn, learn about Mexican culture through videos, projections and live-action footage.
This interactive driving experience begins with designing your dream vehicle. When it’s ready, buckle up in a 6-passenger ‘simulation car’ and put your new creation to the test. Cruise and steer along with this speedy Disney ride.
Take a tour through time and explore the history of communication, from the Stone Age to modern-day computing with this ultimate learning experience.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
An expedition with a twist, this rollercoaster ride ventures to the Himalayas, taking in a series of spectacular peaks from the er… comfort… of a rickety wooden train. Glide through hidden tunnels, descend down the dips and be prepared for an unexpected encounter. This family friendly ride is full of thrills.
Less of a ride and more of an experience, the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction lets you venture through an African-inspired landscape, passing real elephants and crocodiles along the way. The whole ‘expedition’ lasts for 18 fun-packed minutes.
Enter prehistoric times with a tour aboard the thrilling Time Rover and save the dinosaurs from extinction. Race through the darkened forest with sharp turns and mystical creatures everywhere you look.
Kali River Rapids
Strap yourself in and gently glide across the river with water splashing in all directions. The gushing waterfalls, sharp turns and dramatic slopes make this river raft ride one for all the family.
A spinning rollercoaster made up of exhilarating curves and drops, this surprisingly exhilarating ride transports you back to prehistoric times with a fun modern twist.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Fans of rollercoasters and rock music love this A-list theme park ride which blasts guests from 0–60 mph in just 2.8 seconds. Expect plenty of twists, turns and drops on the super-speed concert quest as you race through the Hollywood hills. Boarding a VIP ‘stretch limo’, grab the chance to shine like a superstar while passing illuminated landmarks.
Toy Story Midway Mania
Inspired by the legendary Disney-Pixar film, this shoot-em-up carnival-style ride takes you on a lively 4D journey through ‘Andy’s Bedroom’ where you’ll ‘shrink’ to the size of a toy, grab your spring-action shooter and take aim at an array of interesting virtual targets. Join all your favorite Toy Story characters as you hop on board a swivelling carnival car and shoot your way through six animated games.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Board the ‘fright elevator’ and join the lost souls of Hollywood’s Golden Age as you plunge into pitch black at the once-glamorous Hollywood Tower Hotel. Expect a series of random drops, side-to-side motions and lifts during the ride – you’ll never know which direction you’re heading.
Explore a galaxy far, far away on an electrifying tour aboard Starspeeder 1000. The simulator ride features digital 3D video, audio-animatronics characters, special effects and music, immersing you in an intergalactic adventure.
For the First Time in Forever
Relive the magic of Disney’s movie spectacular Frozen in the For the First Time in Forever sing-along show. Watch classic moments, stories and sing-along tracks for an afternoon of family fun.
DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park
With 5 floors of gaming entertainment, there’s plenty of activities from classic arcades, virtual interactive fun to the Animation Academy. Experience the Pirate action on Battle for Bucaneer Gold or grab your paddle and take a 4D adventure on the Virtual Jungle Cruise. Cyber Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblaster and Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride also feature.
Transformers: The Ride 3D
Experience Transformers first hand with this 3D simulator ride. For the main event you’ll be in the heart of the action as you’re loaded into Evac the Autobot and drive towards the others. Optimus Prime and Megatron fight it out in front of your eyes as you and Evac weave through the cityscape avoiding Decepticons whilst being sprayed by burst water mains and engulfed in smoke. You’ll be thrown across the city and land with a thud as the action shakes and jolts riders.
The Simpsons Ride
Set around Krusty the Clown’s theme park Krustyland, this simulator ride flies through the air, causing havoc along the way. With the ride divided into 3 sections, you’ll be able to watch the animated series before the ride even begins.
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem
The journey begins at Gru’s home where you’ll be recruited as one of his minions, a part of the next mischievous scheme. The minion training doesn’t go to plan and you’ll get launched on a trip through Gru’s super villain laboratory. Hold on tight as the adventure begins in this 3D simulator ride with the Minions.
Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts
This 3D ride takes you on a journey to Gringotts bank, under the fire-breathing dragon at the end of Diagon Alley. Step right into the middle of the action, fighting off the malicious villains before you return safely to Diagon Alley.
Revenge of the Mummy
Plunge into total darkness and tackle the army warrior of mummies as you soar through this spine-tingling ride. The rollercoaster features scenes from the Mummy movies, placing you right in the action.
Launching guests from 0–40 mph in 2 seconds flat, this ride isn’t for the faint hearted. Enter Dr Bruce Banner’s lab and become part of his secret experiment while queuing for the ride. As you board, be prepared to turn upside down, experiencing some serious G-force and furious speeds of up to 67 mph.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Explore the corridors of Hogwarts then soar above the castle grounds with Harry Potter and friends on this wizard-themed adventure. Come face to face with magical creatures like dementors, fly over the Quidditch pitch, pass the ‘whomping willows’ and enter the world of Harry Potter like you’ve never seen it before.
The Dragon Challenge
These two different rollercoasters are designed to represent two ‘dragons’, the aggressive Chinese Fireball and these Ferocious Hungarian Horntail. Be prepared for twists, turns and loops across the sky on intertwining coasters.
Flight of the Hippogriff
The family friendly coaster takes you on an adventure with Hagrid as he teaches you how to approach a Hippogriff, a mystical creature with the head of an eagle and the body of a horse. Soar and spiral through the landscape, passing Hagrid’s hut along the way.
The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man
Put on your 3D glasses and get ready for the crystal-clear graphics on this thrilling simulator ride. Glide through the friendly neighbourhood with Spiderman, marveling at the sights as you go. With the audio, lighting and graphic so vivid, this groundbreaking ride should really be high on your theme park bucket list.
The tallest, quickest and longest ride in Orlando is inspired by the high speeds of the ocean’s fastest sharks. Standing at impressive 200 ft tall and reaching speeds of up to 73 mph, this 4,760 ft-long rollercoaster is only recommended for serious adrenaline junkies.
Named after the fictional sea monster kept caged by Poseidon, this furiously fast floor-less coaster offers an unearthly experience with speeds of up to 65 mph and 4000 ft of eel-like twists, turns and loops.
Aquatica’s most popular ride lets you glide through 250 feet of clear tubes underwater, giving you a glimpse of black-and-white Commerson’s dolphins along the way. If you’re lucky, you’ll see them swimming alongside as you pass by.
Putting a new spin on water park fun, Omaka Rocka offers different thrill-level slides for everyone.
For those who prefer life in the fast lane, Aquatica’s biggest thrill ride launches 8 riders down a steep hill, head first.
Other theme parks in Florida
This spin coaster is the only one of its kind in the world, featuring a vertical lift and taking riders on a whirlwind adventure. Explorers will come face-to-face with an 80 ft snake icon, trek over the park’s Serengeti Plain and discover the mysteries of an Egyptian archeological excavation.
The first drop tower of its kind in the world, this ride mimics dive speeds of the earth’s fastest animals. Standing at 335 ft, the ride sends guests plunging 60 mph straight down and at its highest point riders pivot 90 degrees in midair to a face-down dive position. Designers have compared it to skydiving, who used special sequencing technology so that passengers can’t anticipate when they will drop each time.
The ‘floorless’ cars on SheiKra give riders an unobstructed view of the ground, which rushes past at speeds of up to 70 mph. It passes through two loops, a vertical drop, an underground tunnel and a water feature finale, all within a half-mile of steel track.
After the blood-curdling thrill of an initial 135 ft drop, rider plunge into a diving loop, experiencing a full 3 seconds of absolute weightlessness whilst spiralling 360 degrees. Following that, riders tear through one of the world’s largest vertical loops.
Named after the Egyptian God of War, this ride lets you experience thrills like never before. With its epic loops, zer- gravity rolls, 150 ft heights and furious speeds of up to 60 mph, riders are thrust in all directions.
Families love the curves, drops and corkscrews of Sand Serpent, a five-story “wild mouse” style coaster. With a top speed of just 22 mph and a low height requirement, it’s perfect for young thrill seekers.
Lego City Driving School – Lego City
Children aged 6–13 have the chance to earn their own Legoland driving license, using electric cars to navigate their way around a realistic course featuring traffic lights and roundabouts. Take to the road and become a newly passed driver at LegoLand.
Mia’s Riding Adventure
Mia’s Riding Adventure is a simple ride that lets young adventurers saddle up on ‘horses’ before being spun around and tilted from side to side.
Take a tour around a prehistoric jungle of life-sized, animated dinosaurs (made from Lego, of course) whilst the wooden rollercoaster curves and dips, creating thrills for all ages.
Looking for a villa near Orlando’s theme parks? Browse our entire range here. For great prices, check out our last-minute deals.
It’s not too late to book a half-term family holiday, whether you want to chill on the beach in Thailand, go skiing in the French Alps or rent a villa near Disney World in Orlando.
If you need a little inspiration before you book, here’s a rundown of ideas for the February half-term holidays…
Koh Samui, Thailand
What’s the weather like in Koh Samui in February?
If you’re heading to Koh Samui in February you’re guaranteed lots of sunshine and hardly any rain. In fact, Koh Samui sees less rainfall in February than in any other month of the year. Daily temperatures can reach up to 86F.
Flight times from London to Koh Samui
You can fly from London to Koh Samui (via Bangkok) in around 13 hours.
Things to do
Think white sandy beaches, boutique spas and idyllic islands. You can sample traditional Thai cuisine and see the world from a new perspective on an elephant trek. Little ones will love the Coco Splash Water Park, as well as zip-lining over Samui’s rich rainforest. Other kid-friendly attractions include football golf, where you steer a football around a golf course – using your feet, of course – as well as go-karting, kayaking, crazy golf, kids’ playgrounds and beaches galore.
Where to stay in Koh Samui in February
This luxury Koh Samui vacation home is still available for the February half-term holidays.
Offering 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and a private swimming pool, this pretty villa is located in the Bangrak area, close to the beach, and within easy reach of the popular Fisherman’s Village area.
The weather in Orlando during February half-term holiday is perfect for little ones. Daytime temperatures begin to creep upwards as spring arrives, and you can expect it to reach a comfortable 73F during the day – warm enough to enjoy Orlando’s water parks. It’s also a good time to visit the theme parks as they aren’t as crowded as in the peak summer months (see our handy crowd calendar for more information). February is a great time for golf too, as you won’t have to endure the stifling heat experienced later in the year.
Flight times from London to Orlando
The average flight time from London to Orlando is around 9 hours.
Things to do in Orlando during February half term
There’s so much to do in Orlando you’ll find it tricky deciding where to start!
If you’re visiting Orlando for the February half-term holiday, you’ll be in time for the Mardi Gras festival at Universal Studios and the Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Disney World. Kids will love the never-ending theme parks, as well as other highlights like Aquatica and Gatorland. There’s also an array of fantastic shopping and entertainment districts too, like i-Drive 360, Universal Citywalk and Disney Springs.
If you need any more inspiration, there are themed dinners, wacky museums, indoor play zones and animal parks. There’s indoor skydiving too, so your little ones can actually fly – we’re not kidding.
If you stay in one of our luxury villas in Orlando, you’ll have some of Florida’s best golf courses on your doorstep, plus fantastic resort amenities like water parks, swimming pools, restaurants, sports facilities and kiddie play zones.
Where to stay in Orlando during February half term
It offers 7 bedrooms, a cinema, a game room and a large private swimming pool – there’s also a Harry Potter-themed bedroom that little ones will love. The beautiful home is located in the exclusive Reunion Resort community, just 5.5 miles from Disney World.
If you’re heading to Chamonix in February, you can expect lots of snow and some seriously good conditions for skiing and snowboarding.
Flight times from London
You can fly from London to Geneva, Switzerland in 1 hour, 30 minutes. From Geneva, you can drive to Chamonix in around an hour.
Things to do
Chamonix is one of the highest and most famous ski resorts in France. It’s also home to Mont Blanc, the highest mountain range in Europe. It boasts stunning surroundings and a whole host of family-friendly attractions that make it perfect for the February half-term holidays.
The half-term week is pretty busy on the slopes, but you shouldn’t let that put you off. You can avoid the waiting times by pre-ordering your lift passes. You can also book skiing lessons so you won’t have to queue for the lifts. Dining in-chalet is a great way to avoid the busy restaurants, or you could even take a packed lunch out onto the slopes.
It’s not all about just skiing either. Chamonix is a great place for non-ski activities like husky dog rides, hiking and snowshoeing. You can chill out at a spa, or visit the surrounding towns with their great shops and buzzing après ski.
Like much of the Caribbean, the Turks and Caicos islands have become a year-round holiday destination. The high season runs from around mid-December to mid-April, so if you visit for the February half-term holiday, you’re guaranteed great weather. Average daytime temperatures will be around 80-84F, with a constant trade wind that keeps the climate feeling comfortable.
Flight times from London to Turks and Caicos
Around 10 hours.
Things to do in Turks and Caicos in February
There’s the main tourist centre of Providenciales, as well as the quieter islands of Middle and North Caicos, and the historic capital island of Grand Turk. Each area offers its own unique character and charm, but all offer plenty of things to do.
Providenciales, or Provo as it is known locally, is the best known of the islands with a wide range of hotels, restaurants and attractions. In Grand Turk you’ll get a glimpse into Caribbean history, with the area’s Bermudian architecture and traditional laid-back vibe. You’ll find some of the best diving there, too.
Middle and North Caicos are great if you’re looking to find the best of the local environment. There are secluded bays to explore, as well as lush green woodlands and the biggest cave network in the Caribbean.
South Caicos is the centre for fishing, with lobster and conch exported from the islands. You’ll find the historic Cockburn Harbour here too, as well as secluded beaches with gorgeous views over the turquoise sea.
Most of the islands are only around 10–25 minutes by air from Provo, and most of them can be reached by boat.
There are 3 en-suite bedrooms, as well as spacious indoor/outdoor living areas and a large infinity pool. The property is conveniently located close to Leeward Marina, and just a short drive from the famous Grace Bay Beach area.
Hailed as a place where the sun shines all year round, Miami is a top choice for the February half-term holidays. Similar to Orlando, temperatures in Miami are starting to heat up for the spring, so you can expect daily temperatures of around 76F.
Flight time from London
Flights from London to Miami International take around 9 hours.
Things to do
If you’re visiting Miami for February half term, there are endless kid-friendly things to experience. There are sunny palm-fringed beaches where little ones can splash around and build sandcastles. There’s also the colourful art deco architecture, which is sure to wow visitors of all ages.
For day trips head to South Beach, a great place for swimming and water sports, as well as roller skating along the famous boardwalk. Or head to Miami Zoo, the only zoo in the US located in a subtropical climate. Another great place is Jungle Island, where you can spot exotic birds and a variety of wild animals.
It’s not just the kids that will love Miami, either. For golfers, it’s paradise. The city is also home to world-class spas, great shops and an excellent range of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Where to stay in Miami
Set in a peaceful gated community in Palm Beach, this huge 5-bedroom villa is the perfect place for a family getaway.
Fringed by immaculately manicured gardens and right by the waterfront, it features a swimming pool and a hot tub, plus a movie theater and a private boat dock.
If you’re booking a trip for the February half-term holidays, you can call the Top Villas travel team for any help or advice you need. Additionally, the concierge service can arrange any added holiday extras such as great value car hire and attraction tickets.
Deciding what to wear at Disney World may sound like an easy task, but that’s one of the most common misconceptions among Disney first-timers. Sure, you’ll want to look great for your vacation photos, but you’ll also want to be dressed for the lines, the rides and the weather.
So how do you look good, while keeping it practical? Here are a few suggestions…
1. Keep the weather in mind
When you’re considering what pack for a trip to Disney World, the weather is an important factor to bear in mind. The temperatures in Orlando fluctuate throughout the year, so the clothes you pick for February should be quite different from those you pick July.
What to wear at Disney World in the summer
Orlando’s weather during the summer is very hot and humid, so you’ll want to wear something light and airy to keep you cool. Daytime temperatures average a sauna-like 92F, so it’s best to wear natural fabrics like cotton or linen, or sports apparel that’s designed to wick away sweat and keep you dry. Despite the heat, the parks are still usually nice and comfortable as many of the lines are air-conditioned or have cooler fans.
Orlando tends to be quite rainy in the summer months, so be sure to pack a light rain mac or a small umbrella – you can buy ponchos at the park, but these tend to be more expensive than elsewhere. Don’t worry too much about the rain though, as showers are usually light, and most park-goers consider them a welcome respite from the heat.
What to wear when it cools down
While Orlando is sunny all year round, the winter and spring months bring cooler, more comfortable temperatures. The best clothes for Disney during these months are comfortable lightweight items with a light jacket or sweater for the cooler evenings.
Light and bright colors look right at home in Disney World, and they will also help to keep you cool. That thing we’ve all heard about darker colors absorbing the sun is absolutely true, so sticking to lighter colors will keep you cooler on sunny days. Bright colors come in handy for families with young kids too – they make it easier to spot little ones who accidentally wander off.
3. Wear comfortable shoes
When it comes to the best shoes to wear at Disney World, the key priority is comfort. There are 4 sprawling theme parks to walk around and the waiting times for rides are often long, which means that even if you’re not walking, you can end up standing in line for long periods of time.
The best shoes to wear at Disney World are lightweight walking shoes like sandals, pumps or sneakers that sit securely on your feet. Try to avoid wearing heels, or shoes with hard wedges and heavy platforms as they’ll end up hurting your feet. Also avoid brand-new shoes that haven’t been worn before, as they may end up rubbing your feet. Wearing flip flops at Disney World is a big no-no – get on a ride with them and they’ll be flying off your feet as fast as you can say ‘roller coaster’.
4. Take a hands-free bag
You may want to look stylish at Disney World, but a theme park is no place for a heavy handbag. A practical choice is a small crossbody bag, or a lightweight tote or backpack with a zip, as you don’t want anything falling out when you’re whizzing around on rides.
Suitcases, coolers and backpacks (with or without wheels) are all allowed in the park, as long as they are no larger than 24” long x 52” wide x 18” high. Snacks and non-alcoholic drinks are also allowed, so you can pack refreshments along with your personal items.
When deciding what to wear at Disney World, be mindful of being thrown around on rides. Large or dangly pieces of jewellery could get broken, watches could get splashed and expensive items could get lost. If you must wear jewellery keep it simple, and don’t wear anything you’d be too upset about losing.
6. Pack sun protection
When in the Sunshine State, it’s wise to carry sunscreen, sunglasses and maybe even a cap or sun hat. One bad case of sunburn could spoil your whole vacation – not to mention the longer-term implications like sun damage.
7. Don’t wear anything you’ll worry about
You’ll want to look good for your vacation photos, but don’t compromise your fun by wearing anything you’ll worry about. Your favorite white jeans or expensive sneakers may look great when you get dressed, but they won’t look the same after a day at a theme park. Keep in mind that you’ll get dirty clambering on and off rides – there are water rides too, so there’s a good chance you’ll get wet.
Steer clear of wearing anything you’ll worry about staining while you’re on the rides, or wandering around eating and drinking.
8. What not to wear at Disney
You may be wondering what to wear at Disney World, but there are a few things you can’t wear too. The theme parks are a casual, family-orientated environment, and they ask that you use your discretion and common sense when dressing for a visit.
As part of the Disney Dress Code, guests are asked to wear proper attire including shoes and shirts at all times. Attire that is not appropriate for the parks includes (but is not limited to):
Costumes and masks worn by guests age 14 or over
Clothing with obscene language or graphics
Excessively torn clothing
Clothing not appropriate for a family environment
We recommend that you review the Disney World park rules before your visit to avoid any delays or disruptions. These are updated regularly so check back before you pack.
Cute outfits for Disney World
If you’re looking for cute oufits for Disney World, we recommend checking out J’s Everyday Fashion style blog.
Image courtesy of Jeanette Johnson
Run by Orlando-based fashion enthusiast Jeanette Johnson, the website is packed full of everyday fashion advice, including outfit ideas for every season, a ‘how to style’ section, and a handy shopping guide to help you find affordable outfits for every occasion.
The National Football League will celebrate its brightest stars during the 2017 Pro Bowl, with a whole week of exciting activities coming to Orlando at the end of January.
If you’re wondering exactly what’s going on and where, you’ll find everything you need to know in this handy guide…
So what is the NFL 2017 Pro Bowl?
The 2017 Pro Bowl is the National Football League’s most famous all-star game.
It’s moving from its longtime base in Honolulu, to the recently reconstructed Camping World Stadium in Orlando for the next 3 seasons. With this move, the game will feature a traditional format with an NFC versus AFC conference matchup scheduled for 8pm on Sunday 29th January 2017.
The NFL’s most popular stars will be in the spotlight at the 2017 Pro Bowl game, with a total of 88 players – 44 from the NFC and 44 from the AFC – having been determined by the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches.
The game will be accompanied by the one-of-a-kind Pro Bowl Week, with family-orientated events taking place at Disney World and its ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
At the time of writing there were still plenty of tickets available for the game, with prices starting at $89 each. You can buy tickets here.
If you’d rather catch the game at home, it will be televised nationally by the ESPN channel, and broadcast by Westwood One radio.
The 2016 NFL Pro Bowl game in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Where is Camping World Stadium?
The Camping World Stadium is located at One Citrus Bowl Place, Orlando, FL 32805.
Located west of Downtown Orlando and just north of SR 408, the Camping World Stadium is easily accessible from multiple directions.
Tell me more about Pro Bowl Week!
For the first time, the NFL will host unprecedented activities during a unique Pro Bowl Week.
Football fans of all ages can revel in a week of legendary football fun, with a host of exciting events kicking off on January 25th at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.
You can catch all your favourite players on the Pro Bowl’s official practice ground, take a 5K run with your family through Disney World, or join the Pro Bowl Parade down Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom.
There are also a number of youth events and player appearances, as well as a one-of-a-kind Pro Bowl Skills Showdown where you can watch Pro Bowlers competing in dodgeball competitions, power relays, precision passing battles and epic skills showcases.
Mayor Buddy Dyer, Mayor Teresa Jacobs, NFL reps and coaches and athletes from Edgewater High School pose for photos with Mickey Mouse at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
Where can I stay for the Pro Bowl?
Hiring a vacation home is a great way to get top accommodation near the Camping World Stadium at great rates. Best of all there are a number of late space deals with up to 30% off Orlando villas during Pro Bowl Week!
If you can’t decide where to stay, there are some fantastic resorts in Orlando, where you’ll find vacation homes of all shapes and sizes, all within easy reach of all the Pro Bowl action.
Some of our biggest and best rentals near the Camping World Stadium are located at the exclusive Reunion Resort, home to world-class amenities. We also offer a great range of rentals at the exciting Encore Resort at Reunion, where you can enjoy short stays of just 3 nights or more. These resorts are around 20 minutes by car from the stadium, and just a few minutes to Disney World and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
If you want to watch the game from the comfort of home, our Top Villas vacation homes come equipped with a range of excellent amenities including state-of-the-art entertainment systems, huge HDTVs, multiple indoor and outdoor living areas, private pools, game rooms and plenty of space for families and friends.
Reunion Resort 6000
How do I get to the game?
A Pro Bowl shuttle service will be provided by the Camping World Stadium for the 2017 Pro Bowl in Orlando.
This free event transportation will run to and from the stadium from selected downtown locations throughout the day from 3pm until around 2 hours after the game. Parking in the surface lots and garages downtown usually costs $10–20.
Alternatively, taxi pick-up and drop-off areas will be off-site on Church Street, within easy walking distance of the venue.
Many pre and post-game celebrations in the downtown area are within easy reach when using the Camping World Stadium’s transportation options.
If you’re thinking of travelling to Orlando for the 2017 Pro Bowl and you need advice on the best places to stay then contact the Top Villas travel team today. Additionally, the Top Villas concierge service can arrange any added extras you need such as great value car hire and attraction tickets.
Good times are guaranteed at the Encore Club in Florida. But when the kids learn how much there is to do nearby, they won’t mind leaving the resort’s splash pools and playgrounds behind – for a while, anyway.
The resort is 5 miles from Walt Disney World Resort, and just a short drive from some of the USA’s best and most beautiful water parks. Pick a luxury vacation rental here and you’ll also have a huge range of shops, restaurants, and family friendly attractions at your fingertips. The only tricky thing is deciding what to do first.
Hit the water parks
There’s a whole lot of laughs to be had at the Encore Club’s AquaPark but for a change of scenery you might want to check out one of the area’s other water-based attractions.
Florida is home to some of the wildest water parks on Earth, including Disney’s ski-themed Blizzard Beach, whose lightning-fast slides are the stuff of legend. The Legoland Water Park, home to a Lego-edged wave pool and a build-your-own-raft facility, is perfect for families with young kids.
Test your nerve on Orlando’s best rides
Colorful parades feature high up on most to-do lists, but there’s a lot more to Disney World than meeting Mickey at the Magic Kingdom. Theme parks like Epcot, Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom are all easy to visit on day trips from the Encore Club.
Beyond Disney, the magic doesn’t end. Check out the movie-themed rides and attractions at Universal Studios, or clamber aboard the nerve-jangling rollercoasters at the Islands of Adventure. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall is not for the faint hearted; it pushes you 200 ft into the sky with more thrust than a 747’s jet engine – and more acceleration than a space shuttle.
Check out the restaurants near the Encore Club
The fine-dining scene in Orlando is super diverse, with inventive chefs serving delectable dishes from every corner of the globe. Casual, family focused places are easy to find, whether you’re visiting a water park or exploring downtown Orlando.
You don’t even have to leave the Encore Club to find delicious food. Our dining guide has more details on eating there and at nearby Reunion Resort.
Shop ‘til you drop
Orlando is paradise for shoppers, thanks to the huge selection of boutiques, malls and fashion outlets. Try the Mall at Millenia, an upscale shopping destination with stores by Gucci, Prada, Versace and Chanel, or head to the Florida Mall for casual shopping and dining.
Get help with attraction tickets
Whether you want to visit a single theme park or check out 7 of the big ones during a week’s vacation, our dedicated concierge team can help you find the perfect tickets. Our concierge team can also arrange for a private chef to prepare meals in your vacation rental, either on a daily basis or as a one-off treat.
Vacation rentals at the Encore Club
Looking for a luxury vacation rental? Head to over to our main Encore Club page, where you’ll find upscale vacation homes sleeping up to 24 people. Our deals page has great last-minute offers.