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Alternatives to Disney in Orlando

Palm Tree Image: Drew Coffman at Unplash

Famed for its theme parks and family holidays, Orlando is one the most popular tourist destinations in the world. According to Visit Orlando, a record 68 million people visited Orlando in 2016, with many of those fulfilling lifelong dreams of visiting Walt Disney World.

But what if you want to visit Orlando, away from the craziness of the theme parks? Orlando is a vibrant and beautiful city, with so much more to offer than just those famous black Mickey Mouse ears - but where should you stay if you don’t want to be Disneyed-out?

You may be looking to escape the crowds, or you might even be planning to spend a couple of days at the theme parks, but not want to be in the thick of it. Whatever your reasons for not wanting to stay in a Disney resort, you’ll be sure to find your perfect hotel in Orlando - without hearing “it’s a small world after all” over and over.

Orlando Image: Wikimedia Commons

But Orlando’s just Disney, right?

Wrong! Orlando is a magnificent city that’s just waiting to be explored. Culture vultures will feel right at home at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which boasts the largest collection of Tiffany Glass, among some other unique pieces.

If you’d rather see some real Florida wildlife, consider a Kayak Eco Tour through Shingle Creek. Here you can get up close (but not too close) to alligators and bald eagles, among other all-American fauna. Guided tours are available, but the brave can venture across the creek alone.

Indulge in a spot of retail therapy at the Mall at Millennia, where you can browse a selection of luxury brands, including Gucci, Burberry and Armani. If you’re looking for a bargain, a visit to the Orlando Premium Outlet Centre is a must. Located on the world-famous International Drive, here you can find all of your favourite fashion labels, at knockdown prices.

Night owls will love the large selection of chilled-out wine bars available in the city. Caramel Cafe and Wine Bar is famous for serving more than 50 world vintages to tantalise your tastebuds, whereas Eola Wine Company is a great place to unwind with a choice of 70 wines and a range of tacos.

Orlando Image: Wikimedia Commons

Where to stay

Located 21 kilometres from the Disney theme parks, the Ramanda Kissimmee Downtown Hotel is perfect for couples and families looking to stay somewhere that’s not too far from the action, but far enough that you can come away and unwind once the day is over.

The hotel features a large outdoor pool - perfect for cooling off from the hot Florida sunshine. There’s also a hot tub onsite, which is great for soothing those aching muscles after a long day exploring everything Orlando has to offer.

The Satisfaction Orlando Resort is a wonderful choice for couples, families and groups looking to add a touch of luxury to their Florida holiday. The crystal clear heated pool is equipped with a state-of-the-art electronic system, ensuring that the water is balanced every 30 minutes. Want to keep in touch with people back home? The resort offers poolside wifi, so you can keep up to date with all the goings-on of the UK during your holiday.

For a five-star Orlando experience, it has to be the magnificent Waldorf Astoria. Here you can indulge in a luxury treatment at the stunning spa, or get a hole in one at the Rees Jones-designed golf course. Kids will stay entertained at the kids club - where roasting marshmallows and poolside scavenger hunts are the norm. If you do fancy travelling into the world of Disney during your stay, you can take advantage of the free luxury transportation to and from the theme parks.

If you’ve fallen in love with Orlando, why not book your dream break today? We have a wide range of three, four and five star Orlando hotels to suit all needs and budget.