• There is actually a pretty good night-life in Orlando, so if you don’t have kids or are bringing the grandparents along, take advantage of the babysitter and get out for some cocktails and entertainment.
  • Downtown Orlando is actually a pretty bustling area. Head to Orange Avenue and check out the various bars, clubs, and restaurants.
  • Right off Orange Avenue is the pedestrian-only street called Church Street. More restaurants and bars can be found here, and there is plenty of live music on nearby Wall Street.
  • Explore Lake Eola, a park nearby downtown.

Why you should add Orlando to your RTW travel list

  • Home of Disney World, “the happiest place on earth”
  • Not enough theme parks? Try Universal Studios and SeaWorld
  • Too many theme parks? Get back to nature and see the endangered manatee at Blue Spring State Park
  • See if you have the “right stuff” at the Kennedy Space Center

Why you should not add Orlando to your RTW travel list

  • If you don’t have kids, it’s not the most desirable destination, but there are plenty of adults who still love it sans kids. To each their own.
  • A car is almost a necessity if visiting Orlando.

Overview

Orlando is one of the country's most visited cities primarily because of the abundance of world-class theme parks nearby, but they aren't the only reason to come. Most find the area quite pleasant even if they don't visit a park, and of course the weather during winter is nicer than just about anywhere else in the country, so many people flock here to play golf or do other outdoor activities they can't do up north. Orlando isn't too near the ocean or the gulf, but it's close enough to both that within a couple hours by car you can be swimming in the deep blue.

What to do

Walt Disney World is the first thing that springs to mind for most people, and certainly the most visited park in the area. It's in the nearby city of Lake Buena Vista, which is about a 40-minute drive from the heart of Orlando itself. Disney's Epcot Center theme park is right next door, but also in the same area you'll find Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Gatorland, Wet 'N Wild, Discovery Cove, and a few smaller ones as well.

Downtown Orlando has become an attraction unto itself in recent years. Every night the streets fill with pedestrians who are shuttling between the many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs packed into the center of town. There are also a couple dozen golf courses, quite a few shopping malls, and even a handful of museums that are far more interesting than you'd expect for such an area.

Getting there

Airfare to Florida is usually quite cheap so you'll want to book a flight to Orlando unless you are driving from nearby. There are two major airports in the area, but Orlando International is the larger of the two and the easier to get cheap fares into. Public transportation is not a strong point of Orlando, but fortunately it can be shockingly cheap to rent a car.

If you have to go to the airport by car you can pay the Orlando airport parking in advance and save both time and money. Or you can pay for the Orlando airport shuttle to take you to the airport and back.

Where to stay

There are hundreds of hotels in Orlando in all price ranges. Many are business hotels or upscale resorts, but of course there is no shortage of family hotels in the area. As mentioned above, most of the theme parks aren't actually in Orlando, so pay close attention to the location of your hotel if you want to stay close to where you'll be going that day. If your budget is limited you'll be happy to know that there are a few actual hostels in Orlando, and some of them are close to the parks.