It’s true: Orlando is a magical place. Every day here, no one is too old, or too young, to wear Mickey ears or wave a wand and cackle in delight. For family fun, there are theme parks that tap into your love affairs with comic-book heroes and galaxies far, far away, and leave you screaming at every free fall and splashdown. I-Drive is 11 miles of sensory overload such as the Wheel at ICON Park and WonderWorks. Disney Springs combines shopping, food, attractions, and live entertainment. A short ride from the bright lights are outdoors adventures such as 72-degree springs and airboat rides in the headwaters of the Everglades.
Facts & Info
- Census Population (2020) – 1.5 million (city), 2.4 million (metro area)
- Time Zone – Eastern Time (UTC-5 / UTC-4 during daylight savings)
- Area Codes – 407, 689
- Airports – Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- Nickname – The City Beautiful
- Demonym – Orlandoan
- State – Florida
- Country – United States of America
Things to Do at Orlando Florida
- Gatorland – An Orlando classic that’s home to hundreds of alligators and other local wildlife.
- The Wheel at ICON Park – Take in the 360-degree views from 400 feet above International Drive
- Disney Springs – The magic of Disney meets an outdoor mall filled with shops, restaurants, and bars
- Discovery Cove – An all-inclusive park that gets you up close and personal with marine life
- Orlando Science Center – Learn and play through hands-on exhibits for all ages.
Where to stay in Orlando Florida
The best neighborhoods to stay in are located from Downtown Orlando south to Kissimmee, with quick access to major highways for getting around.
- International Drive – This central location is close to the airport, Universal Orlando, and Walt Disney World
- Lake Buena Vista – This is the best location for Disney vacations and most of the hotels include free theme park transportation
- Downtown Orlando – Stay downtown to experience the best of the arts, culture, and food scenes in Orlando.
Restaurant in Orlando Florida
You could spend a year eating at a new restaurant every day in Orlando and never run out of options.
- Gringos Locos – This Tex-Mex restaurant is a late-night classic after an evening at the Wall St Plaza
- Raglan Road – One of the many fantastic restaurants at Disney Springs, offering Irish classics like fish and chips
- Bosphorus Turkish Cuisine – Multiple locations throughout Orlando offer Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine
- Victoria & Albert’s – This fine dining experience at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is one of the top restaurants in Orlando
- Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen – This restaurant sources local seafood for its fish-camp cuisine.
Orlando Travel Advice
Best Time to Visit
Spring is the best time to visit Orlando for comfortable weather but lighter crowds. Summer is the busiest season to visit Orlando, but you can have a fantastic vacation at any time of the year.
- Fall – Fall in Florida is only slightly cooler than summer and the hotels usually have better prices
- Spring – Spring is the perfect blend of comfortably warm weather and low crowds in Orlando
- Winter – The holidays attract a lot of visitors to the theme parks, however, the rest of winter is fairly calm
- Summer – Perfect time for swimming or visiting the springs, but the theme parks will be packed.
In most cases, a car is necessary for your visit to Orlando. However, hotels and resorts do offer some free transportation options.
- Walking – With a WalkScore of 41, the Orlando metro area is not very walkable. Downtown Orlando and International Drive are good locations for walkers.
- Driving – A car is necessary to visit different parts of Orlando. Traffic can be overwhelming, especially during holidays and around the theme parks.
- Public Transit – The bus system is not used by most people. SunRail runs through the east side of town from Kissimmee to DeBary.
- Ride Share – Uber and Lyft are both available in Orlando, but surge pricing is common.
- Biking – The suburbs of Orlando offer excellent biking routes and there is an active cycling community.
Tips & Things to Know
- Check the map – Some of the roads in Orlando can be confusing to navigate. Take a look at your route ahead of time and don’t just rely on a navigation system.
- Don’t forget sunscreen – They don’t call it the Sunshine State for no reason. The sun’s rays are strong year-round, but it is especially important to lather up in summer.
- Eat local – Orlando has hundreds of local, family-run restaurants that showcase a variety of cuisines. Check out Yelp or your hotel’s concierge for recommendations.
- Buy souvenirs outside the theme parks – You can find lots of stuffed animals, toys, and clothing souvenirs at the outlets and even the local grocery stores. Save your money and don’t buy the full-priced
- Don’t fret about the afternoon showers – It is normal for afternoon showers to show up in the summer. They never last too long and they even help cool it off.
What to Pack
- Sunscreen – Don’t become a tomato tourist! Even when it’s cloudy, the sun’s rays are still very strong.
- Bathing Suit – Between the hotel pools, the water parks, and the nearby beaches, there are lots of opportunities to make a splash.
- Walking Shoes – Sightseeing and visiting theme parks mean you’ll be getting lots of steps in. Don’t let blisters ruin your vacation.
- Reusable Water Bottle – Orlando can reach over 100 degrees in the summer with high humidity. Always stay hydrated.
- Mickey Ears – Or your favorite Disney/Universal clothing. Dressing up makes a theme park vacation even more special.
Costs & Budgeting
- 3 Star Hotel Room – $120/night
- 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – $80/night
- Rental Car – $40/day
- Ride Share from Downtown to Airport – $25
- Take Out Meal for Two – $20-30
- Sit Down Dinner for Two – $80-140
- Draft Beer – $6-12
Fun and Interesting Facts about Florida
Florida has Nothing But Coastline (almost): Florida is the only state that’s tucked between both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. As a matter of fact, over two-thirds of the entire state’s population lives in a coastal area.While Florida isn’t an island, it is a peninsula. This means that it’s surrounded by water on three sides. The Atlantic Ocean to the East, the Gulf of Mexico to the West and the Straits of Florida to the South. This is the place to be if you love wide-open water. In fact, Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States (lower 48). Alaska has the longest coastline in all of the United States.
The Lowest Highest Natural Point – At One With the Sea: Did you know that Florida is the flattest state in the US? Most of the state is at or around sea level.
As a matter of fact, the highest point in Florida is only 345 feet above sea level. What does that mean? Well, if you want to look smart with some fun facts to share with your friends, tell them that Florida has the lowest highest natural point in America.This means, that if you stand on the State’s high point, Britton Hill at 385 feet above sea level, you are still lower than other states.
Friendly Sea Cows :Florida is home to the friendly sea cow. Manatees are the best part of Florida. Have you ever seen one of those gentle and chubby underwater friends? If not, Book this Manatee swim and snorkel to swim among the manatees in Homosassa State Wildlife Park.
These animals are harmless and often friendly with humans, but you should never reach out and touch one. Luckily for you, Florida’s Crystal River lets you get up-close and personal with manatees. Crystal River is also the only refuge that’s made specifically for manatee protection.
Hurricane Season: Florida is known for its hurricanes, and all Florida residents know that hurricane season is just a fact of life. If you plan on traveling, make sure that you do your due diligence and look into the weather first.
Florida, with its watery surroundings, is a prime target for these summer storms. An estimated 40% of hurricanes that head to the US hit Florida. Most hurricanes are mild enough, however, hurricanes are getting more powerful with each season, and the latest hurricanes of Irma and Ian have caused massive devastation around the state.
Fun In Orlando: Orlando is a prime destination for vacationers everywhere. And did you know that Florida is home to two of the biggest theme parks in the world: Universal Studios and Walt Disney World Resort? And here is another fun fact, Walt Disney World Resort is the most visited theme park in the world. Walt Disney World Resort is home to several theme parks of its own, including Epcot and Magic Kingdom. It’s almost the size of San Francisco.
There are so many boats and waterways in Florida, that Florida is often touted as the boating capital of the world.
Similar to those scenes you’ll see of the canals in Italy with people taking boats through the streets, in Cape Coral, there are 400 miles of waterways. It’s not as large or extensive as it sounds, but it’s still impressive when you see it up-close.
Is Orlando safe for tourists?
Orlando is safe for tourists. The areas that tourists visit most, like around the theme parks, have low crime rates. For more information, read our full guide to safety in Orlando.
Is Orlando worth visiting?
Orlando is a great destination for families, friends, or couples. The theme parks are the largest draw, but Orlando also offers plenty of natural spaces and cultural attractions to enjoy.
Is it expensive to visit Orlando Florida?
An Orlando vacation is generally considered expensive. However, you can visit Orlando on a budget, especially if you do not plan on visiting the major theme parks.
What is the cheapest month to go to Orlando?
January (and into early February) is the cheapest month to visit Orlando. Avoid school breaks, holidays, and events at the theme parks to find the most affordable rates on hotels and tickets.
How do I plan a trip to Orlando?
Travel Lemming Orlando travel guides will tell you everything you need to know about visiting Orlando.
What is the cheapest way to get around Orlando?
Renting a car is the most affordable way to get around Orlando if you are planning on visiting sites and attractions around the area. If you are staying at Disney or Universal, utilize the free transportation options between the hotels and theme parks.
Does Orlando have a subway system?
Orlando does not have a subway system. There is a SunRail train that runs from Kissimmee in the south to DeBary in the north.
How do you get around Orlando without a car?
If you do not have a car in Orlando, you can utilize free transportation options from your hotel. Depending on where you are staying, they may offer transportation to the theme parks, entertainment centers, and outlet malls. Rideshare apps are also available in Orlando.