When I went there: 6 months in 2010 and June 2012
I still dream of Orlando – it’s a large playground for children and adults. I have been to Orlando a handful of times with my family as a child, then I returned in 2010 with university to complete a placement. I worked in Hollywood Studios in shops and also selling food. I then went back in 2012 for a small holiday with a friend I had met there in 2010.
Walt Disney World
I love Walt Disney World and I didn’t realise how much I loved working there until I returned home. On my days off I would visit the parks free of charge and then hit Downtown Disney for dinner and a movie. My favorite park is Magic Kingdom as it is typical Disney. I’d always get goose bumps when I walk through the park turn stiles and see Cinderellas Castle rising high ahead of me. The atmosphere is amazing. It has different lands, Fantasy Land, Frontier Land, Tomorrow Land and Adventure Land.The rides are all family suited with something for everyone but beware the queue wait times can be long. Especially for the more popular rides such as Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain. There is always the standard 3pm parade that tours up down Main Street then there is the Electrical Parade at night which is definitely worth a look. Magic Kingdom did have a fireworks show called ‘Wishes’ but I heard they stopped this. This was my favourite show full of all the Disney characters and projections shown onto the castle.
The actual ‘future’ part of Epcot is run down and needs updating. The rides are boring and
dull. The only ride worth trying to go on is Soaring but always has a horrendous queue. My favourite part of Epcot is the World Showcase, countries from around the world have their own pavilion. The pavilion is made to look like the country for example Paris has an Eiffel Tower and French shops selling Chanel and Dior. Me and my friend tried to go for dinner one night and everywhere was full, you definitely require a reservation. We ate in the restaurant in Paris and The Coral Reef restaurant, both were disappointing. Epcot has a fireworks show everynight at 9pm called Illuminations.
Well this park was home for me, I worked here for 6 months. This park has a few more adult friendly rides with Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Roller Coaster. I experienced Rockin’ Roller Coaster but was completely terrified as I have a fear of roller coasters, its a very smooth roller coaster and I would say to try it. The park has a number of shows as it is a movie based park. I worked across from the Beauty and Beast show so heard this on an hourly basis. The park has it’s own Main Street and at the top is the famous Micky hat but I have heard this has now been removed and what remains now is the Chinese Theatre. There are a number of restaurants to try, we ate at Mama Melrose – this was an Italian and was really good and we went to Sci Fi theatre which is set up like an outdoor drive in Theatre. Hollywood Studios has a show called Fantasmick every few days a week, I never saw it but heard it’s very good. There is the standard 3pm parade, when I was there this was Highschool Musical.
This is the only park that does not have an evening show as it closes early on with having animals. Animal Kingdom has different sections, Africa, India, Asia and Dino USA. This park is everything animal with a Lion King (it’s excellent) and a Finding Nemo show and an African Safari. There is a Micky safari parade at 3pm. The main ride for adults is Expedition Everest. A run away train that twists, turns and goes backwards. The goal is to find the yetti.
Full of restaurants such as Planet Hollywood, Fulton’s Crab Shack and T rex. I love Downtown Disney and you can end up spending a fortune here. There are boutiques selling quirky Disney couture and there is the largest Disney store in the world The World of Disney. Selling amazing deserts and chocolate is Ghirardelli, they give out free samples so we returned numerous times. At the bottom end of Downtown Disney is Disney Quest, a virtual indoor theme park and Cirque Du Soleil. While I worked at Disney we got discount we went to see La Nuba and it was excellent. We also visited House Of Blues for a night of music.
Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach
My favourite waterpark was Typhoon Lagoon, a large number of water slides have been
added where as I find Blizzard Beach still quite dated.Typhoon Lagoon has the famous wave pool.
There are a number of nice hotels at Disney all themed with pools and restaurants. We stayed in Pop Century when I returned to Disney in 2012 and the food was nice and the hotel was well kept. The grandest hotel is The Hotel Floridian which is 5 star and a goal for me is to stay there one day.
Disney has extra shows and activities always going on. They have separate shows outwith the park, we went to one called Hoop-De-Doo Musical Review where we got a meal and watched a film. We also played Mini Golf at Winter Summer Land.
I only went twice while I worked at Disney and it is a park aimed at adults mostly. Universal Studios is movie based and a long similar lines to Hollywood Studios with rides on movies. They have an ET ride, The Simpsons, Jaws and The Mummy. I went on the Mummy and had a panic attack. It was far to fast for me and was in the dark. I did not like this one bit. Island of Adventure is a newer park and has a Popeye water ride, a tall log flume and a section dedicated to Jurassic Park. There is also a section for kids themed with Dr Seus.
Universal has it’s own version of Downtown Disney called Citywalk. I dont find it as good as Downtown Disney but offered a variety of different restaurants and shops.
I went to Seaworld when I was with my family as a kid and remember loving all the animal shows but scared of the roller coasters, not much has changed. Seaworld has expanded with another park and a few waterparks.
The shopping in Orlando is excellent. There are numerous designer outlets to choose from. I lived in walking distance of one which was rather dangerous.
The nearest beaches to Orlando is Cocoa or Daytonna. We made a trip to Daytonna for my room mates 21st birthday. It was a nice day out but I heard Cocoa is nicer.
All the main tourist spots in Orlando are a long International Drive. We ate in many restaurants Hooters, Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill, IHOP and a number of fast food joints.
We had a number of nights out in Orlando but all the clubs are ages away from each other. Its not like back home where you can walk to the next bar. Some of the clubs are in shopping estates which I find really odd.
Verdict: I love Walt Disney World and will definitely return, it will always have a place in my heart. I had such an amazing time there. As for the other parks I am not to bothered about them, I’m a Disney fan Go Back? To Walt Disney World yes