Orlando: The Magical Capital Of Theme Parks
Florida’s third most populous city, Orlando bustles with cultural venues. From museums to theatres to art galleries to manicured gardens, the city, splayed in the very heart of the state, boasts a vibrant character. And yet – its claim to world fame is rather singular. Theme parks.
The city has a dozen of amusement parks that offer adventures of various kinds – from hair-raising roller coaster rides to jaunts into the wizardly universe of Harry Potter to close encounters with wildlife. With the thrill streaming outside the parks and into their affiliated and appropriately themed hotels, restaurants and spas, Orlando is the place to create unforgettable family memories.
The Backpacks for a Magical Trip.
Before you cheerfully set sail for Orlando’s theme parks, pick your luggage with some due care. The weather in Florida, especially in the summer, is blisteringly hot and humid; the crowds are large and lively, so any bulky pack would be more of a nuisance than help. SWISSGEAR, however, has just the right rucks to take along. The 1651 City Pack Backpack, for instance, comes with an air-flow back system that allows for a comfortable, sweat-free carry, reinforced by adjustable padded shoulder straps. With a side water bottle pocket, a spacious main compartment and several accessory pouches, it effortlessly accommodates all the essentials for a day of fun.
The SWISSGEAR 5698 Laptop Backpack is another option to take along the journey. Ergonomically designed, it boasts enough space to bring all your digital devices needed to capture the joy Orlando has to offer. From a laptop sleeve to tablet pouch to smartphone and ID pockets, the bag is an ideal companion for tech-focused, theme-park explorers.
Day backpacks are one thing, but luggage is another. Finding the best case can be a challenge in its own league, especially when going to a destination that requires double the garments you would usually take – do not forget the relentless heat that will leave you changing ensembles several times a day! SWISSGER 7330 Expandable Hardside Spinner Luggage collection features a 19” carry-on and 26” luggage that not only can schlep a mini wardrobe, but can also keep it intact and secure with elastic tie-down straps and tight pockets. Whether you drive or fly to Orlando, the pair will lend a sense of ease and style to your trip.
The Classic Adventures.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park is where all the fun originated. It is the place to visit childhood cartoon heroes and introduce your tots to them. The surge of nostalgia for a time when life seemed simply amazing – remember how even the most trivial of things exited you as a kid! – mixes with the joy of old-but-gold rides that, perhaps, even your parents can recall. While Cinderella’s turreted castle still towers over the park, new additions have doubled the fun here in recent years.
The Pirates of the Caribbean section offers a gravity-defying plunge that would make even Captain Jack Sparrow shriek. The Seven Dwarf Mountain Train affords a journey that is more favorable to the stomach. Chugging through a diamond mine, the coaster brings Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to life. Of course, you can also stumble upon Snow White around the park, poised and pretty and ready for photo ops. Donald and Goofy and Mickey and Minnie Mouse, along with a slew of other iconic characters, are looking for chats, hugs and snaps as well.
More childhood friends reside at EPCOT, where an imagined future unfurls to fill the acronym that stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Amid the pavilions of disparate cultures that serve signature food, play traditional music and exemplify national architecture, visitors can meet Anna and Elsa as well as the whole gang from Finding Nemo. Here, however, raw fun is not supreme, giving way to a slew of educational opportunities. From Norway’s Frozen Ever After ride to The Seas with Nemo and Friends – the largest manmade ocean environment in the world – to Future World, children and adults, alike, have plenty of chances to learn and muse about the world today and tomorrow.
Orlando’s theme parks is where prehistoric critters and their modern counterparts meet. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park has revived yeti and a slew of dinosaurs that once roamed the ancient world. It also leaps outside our world to explore space life with its Pandora section. Barreling back to our eon, the park almost dabbles as a respondent zoo. From butterflies to flamingos to gibbons to giraffes to elephants to hippos to lions, among other creatures, the Animal Kingdom bustles with life that can be explore and enjoyed through exhibits and slow rides such as the Kilimanjaro Safaris and the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Of course, no trip to Florida is complete without marveling at its most renowned reptile – the alligator. Gatorland is the best spot to meet the state’s famed native inhabitant. Here you can zipline over ponds of gators and crocs, embark on an into-the-swamp escapade and enjoy daily handler shows. With a disciplined schedule, a half-day at Gatorland will leave enough time to venture into a much more heavily trafficked park – Seaworld Orlando. Despite the recent controversy around Seaworld, the park is poised to expand with a new water raft ride, Infinity Falls, as well as a Sesame Street-dedicated quarter. Aside from the roller coasters, the park invites visitors into the universe of magnificent sea creatures like orcas, penguins, sharks, sea lions, walruses and turtles to name a few.
Talking about the sea, Orlando boasts several water-centered venues to soak in the merriment and escape the sizzling temperatures of Florida. Disney has its own splash spot, Typhoon Lagoon, which emulates the serenity and wonder of a tropical village. From leisurely floats to refreshing slides to ocean animal photo-ops, the park does not much differ from SeaWorld’s Aquatica. Offering the perfect combination of relaxation and elation, both water parks can cool down – while inadvertently adding to – the frenzy of festivities that Orlando harbors.
Book worms and movie mavens will find many reasons to rejoice in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where rides race through the literary and film history of the country. Comics protagonists like Spiderman, troopers from Star Wars, the Muppets, and Toy Story characters all champion immersive rides and shows that transport visitors to the past and the future with equal effectiveness.
While Hollywood Studios presents an amalgam of favorites, Universal has added to the party. Think the Simpsons, the minions and Harry Potter. The young wizard’s special district at Universal is particularly enchanting, inviting muggles to a world brimming with magic.
Orlando is a magical city in itself. Often dubbed the theme-park capital of the world, it never disappoints. Perpetually delivering jolts of adrenaline, it is a city that excel in the entertainment of toddlers, teens, parents and grandparents with the proficiency that only a first-class amusement destination can master and sustain throughout the decades.
Orlando is a magical city in itself.