Attractions & Shopping
||How else could we start this section, other than with the Theme Parks...
Disney have four parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios (used to be MGM) and Animal Kingdom) as well as two fantastic water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon);
Universal Studios has two main parks, those being Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, but the Universal family also includes SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, Discovery Cove and the new water park, Aquatica.
Then, of course you also have Kennedy Space Center, Gatorland, Celebration, Kissimmee, beaches galore on both coasts, airboat rides, and a whole range of eating, shopping and entertainment possibilities on International Drive ...
Disney Theme Parks
Magic Kingdom: One of the first sights you see on entering Magic Kingdom is the iconic view down Main Street USA, with Cinderella's Castle at the far end. This park is all about the young, and the young at heart, creating magical memories with your favourite Disney Characters, as you journey through seven fantastic lands.
Rides & attractions here are generally a little more sedate than in some of the other parks, but include Mad Hatter's Tea Party, The Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, Monsters Inc, Splash Mountain and the scenic Liberty Square Riverboat, that takes you around the park on a half-mile ride. Every night you can experience the spectacle of Magic Kingdom's Wishes Night-time Spectacular fireworks display.
Approx 11 miles from the Villa, heading North along World Drive
Epcot: Or Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow is Disney's technological park of discovery, with the emphasis on high-tech fun. This park is divided into two distinct parts:
Future World, where most of the rides are, including the 3 most popular rides here:-
Soarin, a flight simulator with a difference, where you glide over the Golden Gate Bridge;
Mission: Space, a shuttle launch and a trip to Mars, which all feels VERY real if you do the full, unabridged version of this ride (you experience nearly 3G during the lift off);
Test Track a 5-minute whirl along Disney's longest and fastest track. You can watch before you go in, and see cars whizzing past at 65mph, as the ride finishes.
World Showcase, which is a journey around the world Disney style where you can easily have breakfast in Canada, lunch in Italy and dinner in China, and without suffering jetlag!
Approx 8 miles from Villa, situated off World Drive
Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Welcome to a journey into the world of film and TV. Discover tricks-of-the-trade and behind-the-scenes glimpses, as well as rides such as:
The Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror, perfect if you feel like experiencing what it feels like to drop 13 floors in a lift, before your lunch;
The Rock n Roller Coaster, featuring Aerosmith where you climb aboard Cadillac Cars for a high-speed trip through LA.
Lights, Motors, Action: Stunt Show is an amazing live stunt spectacular featuring cars, motorbikes and even jet skis - well worth a visit. You'll see a motorbike chase, a Car Ballet and they even show you how they do some of the tricks too!
Approx 7 miles from the villa, situated very close to Epcot. The Disney road signs are very easy to follow once you get onto World Drive, just off US-192
Animal Kingdom: Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest Disney theme park in the world, spreading over an impressive 500 acres. The animals are undoubtedly the star attraction here, but there is still plenty for the avid theme park lover, especially with the striking Mount Everest in view as you wander around the park.
Housing Expedition Everest, a quick-turning, high-speed roller coaster adventure complete with an 80-foot drop and a Yeti who stalks daring riders entering his territory.
Kilimanjaro Safaris has you boarding a 32-seater truck for a tour of the savannah and a close-up look at lions, giraffes, elephants, zebra, ostriches and antelope.
Also, if the weather is hot, Kali River Rapids is sure to cool you down. Climb aboard the 12-passenger circular raft for a turbulent trip down the Chakranadi River.
Approx 5 miles and 10 mins from the Villa, heading East on the US-192
The Disney Water Parks:Florida specialises in elaborate water parks, and the Disney Water Parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are the two most well known. Each one with its own unique theme, they are perfect for half a day of watery fun for a change to the usual style of theme park.
Blizzard Beach means Disney ski resort, snow-effect scenery, Christmas trees and waterslides designed to look bobsleigh and ski runs. Summit Plummet (pic left) rockets you down a ski jump at up to 60mph.
Typhoon LagoonAccording to Disney legend, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park was created in the wake of the storm-of-storms, that left behind it Mount Mayday, a lazy river called Castaway Creek and the body slide that is Humunga Kowabunga where you drop over 200ft at speeds of up to 30mph.
Approx 10 miles from the Villa, heading North on the I4
Universal Studios: Universal Studios is the only place on earth where you can experience all the excitement, thrills and comedy of the greatest movies and TV shows ever created - and you are right in the middle of the action! This is a full day-out, and make sure to check times and dates as there may be shows/sports being filmed and you can be in the audience for FREE.
Swerve and crash your way through Krustyland on The Simpsons Ride. Plunge into darkness on Revenge of the Mummy. Experience the miracle of OgreVision with the hilarious Shrek 4-D. Then zap aliens to save the galaxy on the interactive ride MEN IN BLACK: Alien Attack. Or take your music for a ride on the all-new Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, the world’s most technologically advanced roller coaster where YOU pick the music..
Approx 18 miles from the Villa, heading North along the I4
Islands of Adventure: Next door to Universal Studios, and the home to the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction, as well as the incredible spectacle that is The Hulk roller coaster.
Harry Potter dominates here now, and the attraction includes rides like Flight of the Hippogriff, the revamped Dragon Challenge which used to be Duelling Dragons until recently, and the ride all Harry Potter fans head for, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. You also get the chance to stroll around Hogwarts, sample Butter Beer, eat in The Three Broomsticks and visit Ollivanders Wand Shop
Approx 18 miles from the Villa, heading North along the I4
Busch Gardens Tampa:
Located just outside Tampa, about an hours drive from the Villa
Sea World: Approx 15 miles from the Villa, heading North along the I4
Shopping in Orlando