Orlando is generally associated with Disney World, but there is a lot more to Orlando than just Disney. Here the top five attractions in Orlando with no Disney connection.
Islands of Adventure
This is part of the Universal Studios resort, and is situated across from the studios close to International Drive. Steven Spielberg was the creative consultant involved in its design, and it is as spectacular as it should be with the great man involved. Get there early, because it can get busy, and although the official opening time is 9 am, they often open the doors sooner.
Although queues can be long, Islands of Adventure operate an optional Universal Express fast pass system, where you can use your ticket to book for your ride in advance over a specific time period. You get to join a shorter queue and get on your rides quicker. All in all, Islands of Adventure is regarded as a fantastic Orlando attraction, and frequently tops the internet theme park lists.
If you have ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins, then this is your chance. Discovery Cove offers a dolphin swim option ticket and a non-swim option, and the entrance is located on Central Florida Parkway. It offers a fantastic tropical experience, where you can go reef diving and snorkel in the company of exotic fish and rays. You will swim with dolphins in a beautiful lagoon, relax as you are carried down Wind-away River, so-called because you can take in the sights and sounds of the tropics while you enjoy the colorful birds feeding from your hands as you relax and wind down after another year.
Discovery Cove has been regarded as one of the most peaceful and relaxing adventures they have ever experienced, and after a visit they say that they feel ready for whatever the world has in store for them. Because the number admitted at any one time is maximized at 1,000, you will never be crowded and that is an attraction of Discovery Cove that many appreciate.
Killer whales, sharks, barracudas, turtles, penguins and dolphins: just a small selection of the marine wonders you will find at SeaWorld. To get here, simply take International Drive from the city and you find SeaWorld on your right. It provides you with a wonderful insight into many aspects of the marine world that will both amaze and enthral you, but that is not all there is.
The rides are fantastic, among the best being the Wild Arctic, Journey Atlantis and the Kraken. The food is fantastic, and many people head for SeaWorld first as soon as they reach Orlando. In fact, many come to Florida just for this attraction and the two above, and forget Disney.
Visit Universal Studios close to International Drive (you can't miss it) and see the movies brought to life. Famous characters wander around the grounds (make sure Beetlejuice doesn't catch you littering!). It is still a working studio, making TV programs, and is a must for any movie fan.
You can watch Terminator and Shrek movies that have not been released anywhere but here, enjoy the special effects used in movies such as Earthquake and visit the set of Jaws. Not only will you find some of Orlando's most thrilling rides, but you can also bask in the sheer nostalgia of the place and find out how many of these classic movies were actually made. Disney World is for kids, but this is for you and me. And the children of course!
If you are looking for a change from the busy commercialism of the top four attractions here, then head off on the South Orange Blossom Trail towards Kissimmee and visit Gatorland, which is one of the original attractions of Orlando. It does what it says on the tin, and introduces you to the life of alligators and crocodiles, not just American species but also ferocious jungle crocs.
It's also good for the kids, and Alligator Alley allows them to touch emus, goats, llama, deer and tortoises among other friendly animals - though don't let them touch the gators or crocs! In fact, they can't, and your children are perfectly safe at Gatorland. You won't be going home without them! It educates them about the wildlife of Florida, and also on some of the more fascinating creatures from around the world.
So there you have it. The top 5 Orlando attractions that have voted for by visitors, other than those connected to Disney! What many don't understand, is that Disney World or EPCOT isn't at the top of the list of favorite Orlando attractions.
Accommodation in Orlando
When visiting Orlando, it is important that you are staying in the right accommodation. Most people opt for hotels, because that is what they are used to, but there is an alternative. Orlando vacation villas can offer a degree of privacy and luxury that most hotels cannot, and enable large parties to stay together in accommodation that can offer up to eight bedrooms at less cost per head than any hotel.
Alternatives are cabins and trailers, and although these are also very popular, many are starting to find hotels somewhat restrictive and expensive for large families and groups of buddies on golfing or other trips. Orlando can also offer some of the best holiday villas in the country. You should choose that which best suits your need so that you can enjoy a vacation that offers you excitement by day, but peace and relaxation by day.
When visiting the top 5 Orlando attractions other than Disney, make sure you have comfortable and spacious accommodation. Your holiday would likely be much less memorable otherwise.