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Orlando, FL

The most famous resident of this central Florida city is Mickey Mouse, the cartoon creation of animated movie tycoon, Walt Disney. His vision has turned Orlando, and the adjacent Lake Buena Vista and Kissimee areas, into the world's busiest, biggest and best-known concentrated tourist paradise. Disney bought up land in the area with the aim of establishing his dream theme park back in the 1960s. He died before the first park, the Magic Kingdom, officially opened in 1971. But his legacy lives on. Currently the Disney empire in Orlando includes four theme parks, dozens of smaller attractions, thousands of hotel rooms and holiday apartments, hundreds of restaurants and snack bars, and even two cruise ships.

It is not only the Disney dazzle that draws visitors to Orlando. There are plenty of other attractions, like Universal Studios, Discovery Cove, and the beloved SeaWorld, all adding to the maelstrom of thrills this city is now renowned for.

Famed for one of the US's most popular attractions, Walt Disney World, Orlando boasts many other noteworthy attractions besides the iconic Magic Kingdom. Head a little further into this Floridian city to discover Universal Studios, its two theme parks, entertainment complex, and film sets. Visiting during the summer? Wet 'n Wild is a must for cooling off, while Sea World has earned itself a reputation as one of the best marine parks in the world for more than 25 years.

Florida's second most popular attraction is the Kennedy Space Centre at the nearby Cape Canaveral. The John F. Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, 46 miles (74km) southeast of Orlando on Florida's east coast, is one place in the state where fact is just as entertaining as fiction. Visitors to the centre follow the story of NASA's exploration of space through interactive exhibits, movies, and tours. Guests can tour a full-size replica of the space shuttle 'Explorer', walk through a giant model of the International Space Station module, and view films about Mars and the Pathfinder exploration. They can also explore historic authentic rockets, like that piloted by pioneer astronaut John Glenn, and marvel at the Apollo/Saturn Centre, which houses all the artefacts from the historic moon landing. The Space Center requires several hours to fully appreciate.

The delights that the Universal Orlando entertainment complex has to offer are so numerous that it takes at least two days to fully appreciate. There are two theme parks: the Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. Universal Studios is a movie-themed park with thrilling, innovative rides, production studios, and film sets where visitors can go behind the scenes and see the tricks used to create movie magic. Islands of Adventure offers thrilling rides, shows, and villages on five different islands all based on hit film classics. On-site are three superb luxury hotels, so that the fun never has to end at Universal Orlando.

There is no shortage of shopping opportunities for travellers in Orlando and with a choice of luxury department stores, upscale boutiques, antique shops and farmers markets, shoppers will have a hard time deciding where to begin. Many hotels offer free shuttle services to major shopping destinations.

Start off at one of the largest single-story malls in the United States, the Florida Mall, which features more than 250 stores including Macy's, Sears, JCPenney, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as an outdoor shopping plaza where shoppers can enjoy all those sunny days. The Festival Bay Mall on International Drive is home to stores, a skate park, and a theatre. The Waterford Lakes Town Center is an open-air mall featuring large chain stores, small shops, restaurants, and even IMAXDigital. And the Mall at Millenia boasts designer names like Betsey Johnson, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton.

Want to know more? Check out our full Orlando destination guide and then give us a call!

Travel guide by wordtravels.com © Globe Media Ltd.