It’s been exactly one week since the end to our excellent family adventure in Orlando, Florida. In other words, I’ve been dreaming and reminiscing about Orlando for exactly one week now. Sigh.
(I kid you not – I’ve dropped it into every conversation that I’ve been a part of since our return. I’ve even taken to applying bronzer with a heavy hand; lest you forget that I just came back from the Sunshine State, I need to direct your attention to my tan. Ahem. You could say I have a one-track mind, but the truth is, when your family vacation is as awesome as ours was, it’s hard not to sing it from the rooftops. Orlando! Orlando! I love you, Orlando…)
Okay, the truth is that I have a lot of posts coming up – reviews of the majestic Wyndham Grand Orlando, our fabulous experience at the T-REX restaurant, the iconic Universal Studios, the childhood nirvana that is Legoland, and the ever popular SeaWorld. However, I’ll get to that over the next several weeks, because I have simply taken way too many photos to condense the goodness into one post! But before I get to the in-depth reviews, I just wanted to share with you why I think Orlando is the perfect spot for a family vacation – especially for Canadians.
Convenience and Comforts of Home
If you’re flying from Toronto, did you know that Orlando is only 2.5 hours away? Too true! It’s a great short-haul flight and several airlines offer it direct from YYZ. Both times we’ve flown to Orlando, the kids were entertained for the duration of the flight… heck, I’ve spent more time on Highway 401 trying to cross the city than it took us to land in the Sunshine State! One of my biggest pet peeves with family air travel is arriving at your destination exhausted from the trip. NOT an ideal way to start off a vacation – and NOT an issue at all when you Visit Orlando.
Next, while vacationing with young children, it’s nice to have the comforts of home. Simple things – like choosing a destination where the locals speak your language, accept major credit cards and you don’t have to worry about the kids drinking the water – are key when you are travelling with young ones. Plus, in the event of an accident, you’ll want access to quality emergency care (spoken like a true hypochondriac). Now Orlando just happens to offer many of the comforts of home – and much, much more.
Family vacations should offer your children experiences they can’t have in their own backyard, and, they should offer an experience for everyone in your family. With so much to do and see in Orlando, it’s no surprise that families – and extended families – flock there every year. Think about it: Walt Disney World, animal interactions and child-friendly restaurants galore for young children. Premium shopping outlets and reknowned spas for Mom, and world-class dining and golf courses for Dad. Got a teen? Well, Orlando answers with Cirque du Soleil, Universal Studios and more. It truly is a one-stop place for family adventures, and, you’re bound to discover a few new activities to bring you all together.
The single BEST thing about vacationing Orlando – especially in terms of family travel – is affordability. With so many options for accommodations (did you know that Orlando has the MOST hotels in the United States?), you’re sure to find something that suits your needs and budget. Plus, because everything is in such close proximity (less than 20 minutes from one major attraction to another) it’s easy to plan travel around the city as well.
Thinking of enjoying the theme parks? There’s always ways to save! Purchase tickets in advance online, or as part as a tourism package deal, and you can chip away at the cost. Consult chat forums where members share their best tips for making your dollar stretch.
You can even find amazing deals on air travel: In celebration of Family Day, Visit Orlando is offering Canadians a special travel package via Thomas Cook Kids First with up to $500 in added value, including:
- $50 Kids First Visa prepaid card
- $25 Indigo gift card
- $25 Shoppers Drug Mart gift card
- Free seat selection
- Free airport lounge pass
- Free kids activity book
- One year Today’s Parent magazine subscription
- Park ‘n Fly savings
Some restrictions may apply, but you can find all the details at VisitOrlando.com/FamilyDay.
I’ll be back over the next few weeks with an in depth look at some of the places we visited, and why they helped make for the perfect family vacation. In the meantime, here’s one of my favourite photos from the trip: our only family photo! After forgetting to pose as a family altogether at Disney World last year, I made sure we huddled together for at least one group photo.