Thrilling fun follows flights to Orlando
America’s playground for kids of all ages
You’ll have more than your fair share of belly-laughs and barrel-rolls – and certainly some butterflies – in Orlando, America’s capital of fun. Theme-park thrills are thick on the ground here. So is a balmy climate that’ll have you wondering: “sun-bed or roller-coaster?” Those booking flights to Orlando can count on more than just fun and sun, too. There are plenty of grown-up japes, of the retail variety, available in Orlando’s malls. And, when in Florida, you mustn’t miss the snap and crack of its ‘gators, the adorable manatees or the glee of skimming over one of its lakes in an airboat.
When should I book flights to Orlando
Orlando is at its most fun in high summer. But it can also be at its stickiest and busiest. You won’t find too many cheap tickets to Orlando around December, either. That’s when every kid’s Christmas-time wish seemingly comes true. Instead, for those cheap tickets to Orlando plan to book Orlando flights in late winter or spring. That’s when the heat is at its kindest and the queues at their shortest. If you want the cheapest tickets to Orlando, try waiting until September to compare options. Prices often drop then, as the new school year starts.
Where can I fly to Orlando from
As a big international destination, Orlando hooks up to airports across the UK. Most direct return flights to Orlando, though, start at London Gatwick, taking around 9 hours. Virgin, Iberia and Delta all offer flights from here, as does low-cost carrier Norwegian. Thomas Cook and Virgin also offer non-stop flights from Manchester to Orlando International (MCO). If you want to fly to Orlando from Edinburgh, Air Canada is an option, but you will have a stop-over. The same is true of the British Airways route from Birmingham.
Getting from Orlando International Airport to Orlando
Orlando International Airport is only 6 miles from the city centre, although it’s nearly 20 miles from the hotels around Disney World Resort. There’s an excellent bus service from the airport to the city, for less than $5, or you can catch the LYNX, the local metro system. Shuttle buses to the resort hotels at Disney are more expensive, costing as much as $30. Hailing a cab will get you there faster most of the time, but can be up to twice as expensive as the shuttle.
Making the most of the magic in Orlando
There’s no doubt that Disney World tops the attraction list, for the wow factor, wide-eyed wonder and princess swoons. And Orlando’s claim to be the ‘magic kingdom’ works in more ways than one. Universal Studios has both rip-roaring rides through the magic of the silver screen and the spell-binding antics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Kids of all ages will be awed by the rocket science at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. And nature gets all touchy-feely at Discovery Cove, with breath-taking swims with dolphins. Capital of Fun? More like epicentre of entertainment.
Orlando When to Go
Orlando’s tourism ebbs and flows with the school season, but conventions have evened out the highs and lows, meaning there’s never a true lull in the throngs of visitors.
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, families flock to Central Florida despite summer’s oppressive temperatures, humidity, and afternoon downpours (rain ponchos are a must). July 4 competes with Christmas as the busiest day of the year at the attractions. After the relatively quiet months of September and October, the crowd swells again from Thanksgiving through Christmas, when weather is generally mild (but an occasional freeze can occur). Spring break in March is the next big surge. Expect long waits and heavy traffic, but the theme parks extend hours to accommodate.
Crowds are manageable from the end of April, after spring break, until school is out in June. This is when temperatures begin to heat up, but rain is rarely a problem.
Once school starts in the fall, crowds lighten from Labor Day until Thanksgiving. Ideal weather unfolds in October, with mild temperatures through May. Once the winter holidays are over, crowds lighten again from January through March (until spring break). Families might consider taking kids out of school for a few days this time of year for a more enjoyable visit without the crowds.
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