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  • I am very impressed with the time and effort it took to put your guide together. You certainly have exhibited a very caring and helpful attitude for those vacationing in the Disney area. Kudos to you and your wife. We will be studying and reading the next 5 months!
    Rick Lund, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • We have stayed in many condos in many parts of the world throughout our travels, but yours was especially nice. You provided a personal touch to everything. We usually do not stay in the same place twice but you can be sure when we come back to Orlando, there is nowhere else we would even consider.
    Silke Stenmetz, Berlin Germany
Insider Guide

One of Gatorland's most popular residents is "Chester." At 950 pounds and 13 feet long what do you think he eats?
Answer: Anything he wants!

There is much to do here. Here are places our guests have enjoyed (other than the obvious Disney, Universal, etc):
 
Gatorland:
The kids and the adults will love this place. Be sure you are there for feeding time as you watch these beautiful prehistoric animals show you how they've survived for millions of years. At first, our granddaughter had a frozen look on her face - and then a gentle smile. Worth a million bucks.

Congo River Miniature Golf:
Here's where dad's golf game means absolutely nothing and the children have a great chance of "putting a whipping" on dad. The scenery, design and lay of the land is great fun. There are courses close by in Kissimmee, and in Orlando too.

Golf Courses and Orlando Golf Courses:
Ask Frank about golf! Golf in Kissimmee and Orlando is unrivaled. You can play at the Disney courses which are a little pricey (what did you expect?) or the great courses like Champions Gate (designed by Mr. Golf, Arnold Palmer), Falcon's Fire, etc. In addition to this website, our Guide To Disney and Orlando that we provide FREE, will provide details on almost every course within a 25 mile range for you!

And yet more to plan for.

Beaches
Florida and beaches go together like warm milk and cookies! Some of the highest rated beaches in the world can be found here. Being in the middle of the state, we have equal access to both the wonderful blue-water Atlantic Ocean, and the warm serene turquoise waters of the gulf coast.
 
This website will tell you everything you need to know: Florida Beaches at BeachHunter.net

Sea Legs Deep Sea Fishing Port Canaveral FloridaDeep Sea Fishing by Sea Legs:
If you are into deep sea fishing, there is no better experience than fishing in the turquoise Florida Atlantic Ocean waters!

“Sea Legs” has been touted by our guests as “an unbelievable experience that they wish never ended.”  Not for the faint at heart, as there are some very large game fish out here and the sea can be a bit choppy at times. Click on the link and call for more information!

The Holy Land Experience:
Mixed reviews. We've had some folks say that it was as close to going back 2,000 years as you will get unless you have a time machine, and that it was humbling and spiritual. Others have said they were somewhat disappointed (maybe they were looking for "Noah's Ark Roller Coaster" ?) Our advice is to go and tell us what you think. If nothing else, it will give the kids a "story book" biblical experience they can relate to and understand.

Discovery Cove:
This is a MUST for children, but make no mistake - it's not cheap. The rewards however of the interaction of your child with these magnificent creations will be a lifetime memory for them, and for you as well. Your MUST make reservations WAY IN ADVANCE.

Hot Air Balloon Rides:
Ok, I'll be the first to admit you will never see me in one of these things. Heights are just not my thing, especially hanging out of a basket. But the views, peacefulness, colors of the balloons and ride are unsurpassed (I am told). A once in a lifetime experience for those with the stomach for it!

Jet Skiing Kissimmee and Orlando:
You can jet-ski on the gulf, Atlantic, or any of the beautiful Florida lakes. This website will give you some good choices.

Boggy Creek Airboat Rides:
We have done this several times now with the grand kids and friends because it's that good. They will take you on a large air-boat that uses giant fans to propel the boat through Boggy Creek. The wildlife you will see is amazing - eagles, sand cranes, birds of every type and - gators in their natural habitat. The captain will give you lots of wonderful details about what you are seeing. About a 25 minute ride to get there. Excellent fun. You will get slightly wet if you sit in the front of the boat. Have the children volunteer to sit up top with the captain!

Busch Gardens:
It's in Tampa (about 45 minute ride) and in my opinion, the "king" for roller coaster rides if that's your thing (CLEARLY not mine). Lots of other great rides too. Worth the trip. You can do it all in a day for sure.

Adventure Island:
It's a water park also in Tampa, with loads of water slides and other water rides. Excellent fun. Some of the steepest slides you will find anywhere. Allow about 45 minutes for the ride there.

Lowry Park Zoo:
What a great place for the kids and adults. We'e been there several times now. It's not the Bronx Zoo or the San Diego Zoo, but it has warmth, personality, is fun to traverse and great photo opportunities as well. From Tigers to Giraffes - you won't go wrong here. Combine it with Bush Gardens or Adventure Island for a full day in Tampa!

Pirates Adventure Dinner Theatre:
A MUST for the Jack Sparrow and Pirate fans. I have heard nothing but rave reviews from our families who have gone. Lots of swashbuckling action right from the start.

Arabian Nights Dinner Theatre:
Another excellent dinner theatre adventure. We've done this one ourselves. Food is good (not great) but the show is a knockout! Volunteer for the show and have some fun with it! Use our Disney Guide to find out how to get 43% discounts on admission tickets!

Medieval Times Dinner Theatre:
This one is excellent as well. Lenore was picked from the audience to be "The Queen" but refused. And if you refuse the king, you could be subjected to beheading (no such luck!) JUST KIDDING LENORE!! Food is good (not great) but the show is very entertaining. Do it.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not!:
Careful with this one if you have little ones. Some of the "oddities" may scare them because they are real and not made up. Very, very interesting and fun for adults. We've done it a few times.

Kennedy Space Center:
Mixed reviews. It's hard for children to fathom the complexities and uderstand how all this happens, but just to see these vehicles and look inside is truly amazing, especially for adults. More like a museum. I loved it.  If you have a "museum" mentality and love learning, this is for you and the family.
 
Cypress Gardens:
It's been re-designed and rennovated. I haven't been there since the rennovation but families that have gone said it was great and defintely worth it. Older folks will love the gardens and landscape. Has an 1800's feel to it, like a walk in the park on a Sunday afternoon.
 
Sterling Cruise Ship Gambling:
One of Lenore's favorites. Adults only - try to find a babysitter because children are not allowed on board. Vegas type gambling on a 7-level cruise ship. It leaves port twice a day from Port Canaveral (about an hour ride to get there).  The cruises are at 11AM and 7PM daily, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The ship travels the Atlantic for about 4 hours and then comes back to port. Admission is FREE and they also supply a large food buffet FREE as well, of sanwiches, fruit, etc. Even live entertainment (Elvis, John Denver, Sinatra, Marilyn impersonators) on every cruise, and all FREE! You can even sit out on the deck and work on your tan if you prefer. Lots and lots of fun.
 
Wonder Works:
No personal experience here. Others have loved it and said the kids had a ball. Worth a try.

Want a nice change of pace from the hectic theme park schedule?
Try these links to some of Florida’s most beautiful Nature Trails and State Parks and work in a few beautiful and relaxing day-trips:

Lake Kissimmee State Park:

 

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park 

More nature trails, parks:
Osceola Parks and Recreation Dept. Nature Trails

Parks, Preserves and Hiking Trails 

Texas De Brazil Restaurant:
OK. This is by far Lenore and my personal favorite restaurant of all time, and anywhere. It consists of a salad bar (very poor choice of words) I cannot even begin to describe, with cheese wheels, every conceivable veggie from asparagus and hearts of palm to artichoke hearts and raosted pepper, lobster bisque soup, shrimp - you name it. Then come the Brazilian waiters all dressed up with giant skewers of steaks of every kind loaded on their shoulders like gauntlets. Chicken, filet mignon, sirloins, pork - it just keeps coming until you say "uncle"! A truly amazing place.  Call way ahead for reservations and prices. It's in Orlando, about a 25 minute ride. Don't miss this.

SkyVenture
Ever thought of SKY DIVING? I haven’t, not in my wildest dreams. But here, at SkyVenture everyone from 3 years old to the grandparents can experience the same feelings and thrills that sky divers have!  You will experience winds of more than 125 mph and work with real instructors! Don’t even think about asking me to come along (jumping off a curb is as high as I go) but for those with the desire, it’s a lifetime thrill! I have rave reviews from our families on this one.

Harry P. Leu Gardens
These are without question some of the most beautiful gardens you will ever see. The experience is like a walk during the 1800’s through gardens of exotic flowers. It contains the largest rose garden in the state of Florida and more than 3 acres of “idea gardens” you can take home with you.

Want another nice change of pace from the hectic theme park schedule?
Try a day of horseback and trail rides for a day at one of these wonderful stables. We have heard rave reviews from several families! What a great way to spend a day with the family, and what child doesn’t love horses!



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