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Orlando is America's great theme park and playground, where the city guarantees fun for all ages. Apart from the thrilling rides and movie adventure, Orlando also has a colourful arts scene with culturally lifting galleries and museums to visit as well as a number of music or theatre productions staged around the city.
Getting to Orlando
Orlando International Airport is one of the main gateways to Florida and the family holiday hotspot of Orlando, providing convenient access to the destination's famous attractions and the downtown area.
The base is located 11km south-east of the city centre, which can be reached via transport options including local buses, taxis and shuttle vans that also run to locations such as Lake Buena Vista and Walt Disney World.
Visitors can also check if their hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service from the airport or hire their own vehicle from companies such as Budget, Hertz and Enterprise.
Major carriers from countries all over the world offer flights to Orlando International Airport, including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Aer Lingus, American Airlines and Air France.
Travellers heading to central Florida can also catch flights to Sanford International Airport in the city of Sanford, about 32km north-east of Orlando.
Get to know Orlando
Orlando is the most visited holiday destination in the United States. It attracted a record-breaking 51.5 million tourists in 2010, becoming the first location in the country to welcome more than 50 million people in a single year.
The Greater Orlando area - which encompasses Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake counties - has a population of more than 2.1 million residents in an area of some 2.2 million acres.
Orlando has existed in its current form since the 1830s, when European settlers arrived and established a town in the area.
Arguably one of the most important events in the city's history came in 1965, when Walt Disney opened his new Walt Disney World theme park in the area. Over the following decades, the park became the world's most visited entertainment resort and tourism grew into the cornerstone of the local economy.
Orlando is now home to some 450 hotels and more theme parks and entertainment attractions than anywhere else in the world.
Five must sees in Orlando
No trip to Orlando is complete without a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, 34km south-west of the city centre. The resort comprises four theme parks where visitors can encounter their favourite Disney characters and try all sorts of rides. There are also water parks, spas, golf courses and much more to explore.
One of Disney World's main competitors is the Universal Orlando Resort, which consists of the Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure parks. Here, visitors can experience everything from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Marvel Super Hero Island.
Orlando also provides plenty of highlights for animal lovers, such as SeaWorld. This park presents regular shows featuring killer whales, sea lions and more, and is also home to thrill rides like Kraken and Manta.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the sprawling theme parks, Orlando visitors can find attractions offering culture and some peace and quiet. The Arboretum at the University of Central Florida boasts a collection of more than 600 plant species, including over 100 bromeliads, in an area spanning 80 acres.
Holidaymakers can also spend some time at the Orlando Museum of Art, which presents about a dozen exhibitions every year. The institution also has permanent collections covering topics such as African art and contemporary American graphics, with the latter including pieces by Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Ed Ruscha.
Direct Flights travel tip
When to go to OrlandoOrlando's climate is defined by two major seasons. The months from May to September bring humid weather, with temperatures regularly climbing into the 30s in degrees C and fairly heavy rainfall.
The period from October to April offers more comfortable conditions for holidaymakers, with less rain and lower temperatures.
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