• Travel Anne

Orlando: A Magical Place!

Updated: Apr 2

It is hard to have a discussion about Florida without mentioning Orlando and its theme parks. It is after all the “Theme Park Capital!” In fact, Orlando is one of the most-visited destinations in America. But there are plenty of things to do in the area besides Mickey.

By Anne & Les Heintz

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The fact of the matter is that there are more things to do in Orlando than you realize! It’s a perfect place for both adventure and relaxation. There are so MANY hotel choices that can accommodate almost any budget. A lot of it will depend on the best location for the age of your family or what Park you want to focus on….or not!

Anyone looking ahead to brighter days in 2021 will be delighted to discover brand-new reasons to enjoy a getaway in Orlando, recently named the top trending U.S. destination for 2021 by Sojern. Ranging from fresh theme park thrill rides to tantalizing restaurants to innovative places to stay — not to mention increased health and sanitization measures to help safeguard visitors — the Theme Park Capital of the World continually evolves, and 2021 will be no exception. We don’t want you to miss a second of it!

What’s more, you can experience Orlando’s newest additions with confidence thanks to robust safety measures throughout the destination, including face-mask and social-distancing policies, reduced capacity at indoor venues, enhanced sanitization, and more, as well as ample opportunity to spread out under their gorgeous skies. Featuring theme park rides and shows, attractions beyond the parks, incredible hotels, and innovative dining, here are your new reasons to visit Orlando in 2021!

**Related: Dear TravelAnne Explorers: Hope Springs Eternal!**

Regarding the theme parks, there are a ton of choices. We would discourage you from trying to do them all during one trip, especially now. Visit Orlando has a great review of what’s available. It’s a good place to start even before you contact TravelAnne!

**Please note: Depending on the timing of your visit, some experiences may be temporarily modified or closed. Learn more about healthy travel and what’s open in Orlando, and check with your favorite attractions and other Orlando businesses for their current status.**

That said, there is more to Orlando than the theme parks. If you are looking for a locals perspective, Winter Park is a great dining and shopping option. But it is somewhat off the beaten path, so we’ll stick to the area nearest the parks.

There are a ton of resort options that are either on or near any of the theme parks. The best choice for you depends on your budget and goals for the vacation.

**Related: A Much Needed Shot in the Arm!**

We feature three high ranking choices, namely the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes and Four Seasons. All of which could be destinations on their own with never setting foot off their property! All three properties are good size and have limited occupancy.

The Ritz Carlton (above) is the largest of these choices and is pretty much what you’d expect from a Ritz property.

The Waldorf Astoria (above) has a newer feel to it. We’re impressed by their attention to detail. The entire property feels “fresh,” which is important in todays climate. Even the hallways to the rooms smell clean!

The Four Seasons Orlando (above) is the crown jewel. It’s more expensive, but if you can write the check you should. U.S. News & World Report just ranked this property #1 in Orlando, #2 in Florida and #6 in the USA. It’s great for all categories… families, couples and even a girls spa weekend!

There’s a good deal of new material on Orlando that we’ve just posted. Even if you’re planning for next year, you should find it helpful.

We just received an update that Disney is now operating at 40% capacity. Fast Pass is currently not available as they are using those lanes for social distancing purposes. There are certain things that remain closed in the Parks at the present time such as Walt Disney World Railroad, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Harmony Barber Shop, Typhoon Lagoon, Frontierland Shooting Gallery…there are also certain venues that are closed for refurbishment, although many things will be back online by summer.

Been to Disney more times than you can count? You can avail yourselves of LegoLand, ICON Park in the International Drive area with 7000 square foot family entertainment center. Museum of Illusions, based on math, science and psychology. Dezerland Park which is an indoor park featuring Go-karting tracks, trampoline park, and an auto experience which is a collection of Batman, James Bond vehicles and other innovations in the motorcar world. The Phillips Center for the Performing Arts offers the country’s first socially distanced music festival. You can see live music and comedy shows as well as movies while in the confines of your own elevated box.

Orlando has been developed to encourage multiple visits. There are endless options! Some people will see it as the ultimate destination. Others will treat it as a side trip. Either way it’s a fun experience. And for a destination known to draw crowds, we’re impressed with how Orlando has adapted to the strange times we are living in!

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