most visitors think of as Orlando actually includes Kissimmee
and Lake Buena
Vista as well. Walt Disney World's theme
parks are mandatory magic for Central Florida visitors. The
Cinderella's castle are familiar around the world as the symbol
of The Magic Kingdom, Disney's original park In Lake Buena Vista.
The castle is a fantastic backdrop for playful rides and roaming
characters like International celebrity, Mickey Mouse.
Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's newest adventure park,
is filled with the natural drama of life in the wild, Visitors
have thrilling encounters with animals from real life, the
distant past, and imagination. The latest addition to Disney's
Animal Kingdom is Asia, which showcases the exotic wildlife
and lush rain forests of the continent's southern region.
Guests embark on many fascinating journeys encountering
natural mysteries at every turn.
is a two-part educational and cultural attraction designed
to challenge the mind and satisfy the senses. Here, you can
sample a warm croissant at a bakery in France, tap your foot
to an authentic oom-pah band in Germany, learn about the age
of dinosaurs, and take an exhilarating trip through the human
body all in one day! Disney MGM Studios allows visitors to
see Disney animators creating wonderful characters and explains
movie-making on an entertaining backlot tour.
Studios Florida shares the movie- making theme of Disney-MGM
Studios, but attractions are presented quite differently
Universal, promoters say you can "ride the movies." Some rides
provide an entertaining look at famous movies of the past, such
as "Kongfrontation," where guests meet King Kong on the New
York subway. Jaws, Earthquake, Terminator 2: 3-D Battle Across Time
and the works of Hitchcock are among the perk's other movie attractions.
Twister, a technological marvel, invites guests to experience the
awesome live spectacle and destructive nature of an actual tornado,
a mere 20 feet away.
newest park is Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. Five islands,
each with a distinct personality, offer something for everyone.
Experience the bustling marketplace of Port of Entry, battles between
good and evil on Marvel Super Hero island, slapstick ruckuses at
Toon Lagoon, prehistoric megalosaurs in Jurassic Park, mythical
sorcerers on the Lost Continent, and fanciful revelry at Seuss Landing.
to Central Florida will
want to explore natural attractions as well as fantastical
ones, and SeaWorld is a wonderful place to start. Now
guests can be Trainer for a Day, working alongside real SeaWorld
animal trainers to learn training techniques, feeding, and
show preparation. Attractions include the "Pacific Point
Preserve," a sea lion and seal habitat which mimics the
rocky, northern Pacific coastline; and "Manatees: The
Last Generation?" an up-close look at the endangered sea cow.
newest attraction is Wild Arctic, which takes visitors on a chilling
adventure to experience the natural beauty of the artic Visitors
come face to face with real polar bears, walruses, harbor seals
and beluga whales. The highlight of a visit to SeaWorld is the
"Shamu: New Visions" show during which killer whales interact
with trainers, defy gravity in breathtaking leaps; and make a
big splash (and a wet audience !) with a flick of the tall and
attractions are very popular in the Orlando area and also
center around themes, whether of an era or an ethnicity. Medieval
Times Dinner and Tournament in Kissimmee allows you to
cheer a knight on to victory. Disney's Pleasure Island celebrates
New Year's Eve every night with laser lights and dancing in
Street Station in downtown Orlando is a nighttime smorgasbord
of activities and eateries, hosting a variety of different clubs
and restaurants. Universal Studios CityWalk is a colossal 80-acre
entertainment mecca, where themed restaurants, nightclubs, cinemas,
live entertainment, and shopping abound.
Shopping areas in Orlando have as much variety as the local
attractions. Souvenirs of your adventures for yourself and to
take back home are easy to find. Outlet centers and factory stores
abound here and offer some of the best bargains in town. Shopping
areas in Orlando and Kissimmee are also popular for their fun
environments, such as at Pointe Orlando,
the Church Street Station Exchange, Disney Village Market Place
or Old Town in Kissimmee.
fun is everywhere in Central
Florida, though it's not a beach destination.
Wild, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard
are water parks where visitors can beat the Florida heat
& and have a slipping, sliding, good time of it! The
newest, Disney's Blizzard Beach combines water with "snow"
from a "freak Florida snowstorm," creating snowy
beauty flourishes in several parks, which offer breathtaking
displays of lush plant life. Cypress
Gardens, a short distance from Orlando in Winter
Haven, shows off stunning outdoor floral displays
as well as world-class water-ski shows daily. Bok
is a serene sanctuary abounding with azaleas, camellias
and magnolias. A
World of Orchids displays thousands of
rare end exotic examples that flourish in a state-of-the-art
air conditioned, tropical rain forest garden showcase.
exudes an air of relaxed sophistication. Long considered the cultural
capital of Florida, the Ringlings and other wealthy
families made Sarasota their winter playground, imparting the legacy
of the arts early on.
fair city soon became a haven for artists, thespians
and musicians. The powder white sands of the keys attracted
more visitors and they soon developed into rustic, laid-back
a cultural calendar that rivals that of any metropolis, Sarasota
boasts several world-class museums and arts venues. A beautiful
Italian Renaissance villa-turned-art-museum, the John
and Mable Ringling Museum of Art houses one of
the most comprehensive collections of Baroque paintings, plus
exquisite 17th-century tapestries.
Next door, the Ringling residence, Ca'
d' Zen (House of John), a 30-room mansion nestled
on picturesque Sarasota Bay, is modeled after a Venetian palace.
The Circus Museum on the grounds
contains memorabilia from the Big Top, including parade wagons,
photographs end costumes.
Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts
(formerly the Asolo Center) is an outstanding regional
theater, as well as a teaching conservatory. Honored by
the state of Florida for its high quality of artistic production
and performance, the Sarasota Opera Association presents
four operas in February and March, A celebrated orchestra,
the Florida West Coast Symphony,
presents a stunning season with several internationally
guests. The Van Wezel Performing
Arts Hall, a purple, shell- shaped landmark,
Is known for its distinctive architecture and excellent
is also rich in lush natural beauty. The Marie Selby
Botanical Gardens set on Sarasota's sparkling bay, is
an orchid research center with stunning grounds that showcase
these and other exotic blooms.
at the Mote Marine Aquarium are a means to explain the work of
Mote scientists to visitors and to encourage an understanding
and appreciation of the aquatic environment. The lab is world
renowned for its scientific research, particularly research on
sharks and the assessment of environmental pollutants. The
Gulf Coast Heritage Trail, the state's first ecotourism
trail, winds through Sarasota County.
Siesta Key is renowned for its ribbon of sugary beaches,
the widest and most popular in the country. Since the 1987 "Great
International White Sand Challenge," the sugar fine sand here
has been officially top rated every year. Independent judges selected
Siesta Key's sand over 29 other entries, including the Bahamas
and Grand Cayman, as
the whitest and most powdery sand in the world
is a vibrant area filled with boutiques and eateries. Bright
umbrellas dot the casual outdoor cafes and in-line skaters
and bicyclists share the sidewalks with those strolling
through this lackadaisical community. Board one of the colorful
Siesta Key trolleys for an overview of this beautiful barrier
Besides sparkling beaches, Lido Key also boasts St.
Armands Circle, a European-flavored Outdoor shopping
area. Here more than 145 exclusive shops and boutiques carry
quality merchandise from Mondi, Tiffany & Co. and Tommy
Bahama. Several fine restaurants and ice cream parlors also
line the circle. A horse-drawn carriage ride around the circle
is the perfect evening treat.
For the more active visitor, Sarasota offers watersports, fishing
and tennis galore, along with many excellent golf courses. A
municipal baseball stadium is used for spring training by the
Cincinnati Reds. Nearby Myakka River State Park, Florida's largest,
offers sun-dappled rivers and cypress-studded paths for hikers
So just kick back, relax and let your cares dissolve in Florida's
premier west coast paradise.
to stop by historic Ybor City, where 100 years of decayed
elegance has been restored to antique splendor. Vicente Martinez
Ybor and Cuban immigrants established this 'city within a city"
in the 1800's building it on the cigar industry. Stroll the quaint
streets and breathe in the aroma of freshly baked Cuban bread drifting
out of the local bakeries and restaurants, Visit Ybor Square where
reflects the mosaic of different cultures and influences that
have made it the dynamic urban center it is today. The coexistence
of the quaint historic villages with sleek skyscrapers in
evidence of this rapidly growing city's success at reconciling
its rich history with modern-day development The kaleidoscope
of activity ranges from its bustling port brimming with shrimp
boats, banana barges and cruise ships, to its festive marketplaces
to its multi-ethnic restaurants and shops.
cigar makers demonstrate their ancestors' craft. At night, La Septima
Avenue), the main stretch, Is shut off for pedestrians as
revelers fill the streets of Ybor club hopping at the many
trendy nightspots. Eclectic art galleries, mom-and-pop stores,
wrought iron balconies and brick sidewalks enhance this
delightful glimpse at Tampa's Cuban culture.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is listed among the nation's top
four zoos. Besides exotic animals, Busch Gardens also features live
shows and a variety of thrilling rides including their newest attraction
Gwazi the Southeast's largest double wooden roller coaster. The
water park Adventure island offers breathtaking flumes and slides
us well as a leisurely tubing trail. For more family
fun, stop by Lowry Park Zoo or the Museum of Science and
Industry, which offers interactive educational exhibits as well
as an IMAX theater.
Florida Aquarium, set along the picturesque waterfront,
displays marine life and natural Florida habitats in an educational
and entertaining fashion. The Henry
B. Plant Museum (now the University of Tampa),
is one of the finest examples of Moorish architecture in Center
offer rotating exhibits and a stunning season of performing
arts. If you enjoy spectator sports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(football), the Tampa Bay Lightning (hockey), Tampa Bay Storm
(arena football), Tampa Jai Alai Fronton, Tampa Bay Downs
and Tampa Greyhound Track offer a wide variety of excitement.
restaurants reflect its cosmopolitan character. Spanish. Southwestern,
Italian, Asian, continental and seafood restaurants abound.
Shopping can be enjoyed in a variety of settings. Old Hyde
Park Village, nestled in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods
off picturesque Bayshore Boulevard, is an elite shopping area
with exclusive boutiques and cafés. Brandon is
home to a large shopping
district and mall.
Tampa is surrounded by several notable communities including Dover,
Hamilton, Plant City, Riverview, Ruakin, Apollo Beach