No story of our vacations would be complete without including our trips to Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida. This is where we spent our honeymoon and where we have returned several times since. There is so much to do in this area that a week's vacation is barely enough - and Disney is constantly adding more parks and attractions so there is even more to do each time we visit. Below is Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom.
EPCOT Center has always been our favorite park at Disney World. We have made many visits to Spaceship Earth, listening to Walter Cronkite tell the story of the history of communications.
Spaceship Earth at EPCOT Center
At the Land Pavilion, one can learn much about the land and the food we eat, from its origins, how it is cultivated and the basic food groups.
The Land Pavilion at EPCOT Center
Journey Into Imagination is one of our favorites - Sponsored by Kodak, it explores color and imagination. Some of our other favorites in Future World are Communicore East and West, which are now called Innoventions and are full of hands-on demonstrations of the latest technology, Horizons, which explores life in the future, and the Wonders of Life, which explores the human body.
Fountain By Journey Into Imagination
The other half of EPCOT is the World Showcase, where one can learn all about the countries of the world, including Mexico, China, Norway, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Great Britain, Japan and Morocco. Walking around the world, one can sample food, drink, entertainment and see items from the countries. Many of the countries also have a ride or film that exposes you to the sights and culture of the country. The restaurants are our favorite part of this park - we have eaten at least once in just about every country and several times at our favorite restaurants, at Mexico, Japan and China.
China Exhibit In The World Showcase
EPCOT is a beautiful place at night, with light and fireworks shows, and dancing fountains throughout the park.
Fireworks Over World Showcase Lagoon
In addition to the three major parks, there are several water parks that are worth a visit - River Country, Typhoon Lagoon, and Blizzard Beach (which we have not yet visited), several Golf Courses, the Walt Disney Marketplace - an open air Disney shopping mall, Discovery Island - an island full of unusual birds and greenery from all over the world, and Pleasure Island - a night spot with restaurants, shops and night clubs. There are also many Disney hotels - we have stayed at the Polynesian and the Caribbean Beach resort. Each hotel has a different theme and stays amazingly true to its theme. We dined at the Wilderness Lodge and could have sworn we were at Yellowstone or Yosemite.
Flamingos at Discovery Island
The third major park at Disney World is MGM Studios. Here you can learn how movies are made, be part of a game show being filmed, learn how animated films are created, and be part of a famous movie like the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, or the Muppets. Below is a picture of my favorite ride, the Tower of Terror. where you enter the Twilight Zone and ride in an elevator to the top of the Hollywood Tower Motel only to free fall to the bottom!
Tower of Terror at MGM Studios
In addition to the Disney parks, there are many other parks in the Orlando area that are worth a visit. These include Sea World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens (1 hour away in Tampa), and the colorful Cypress Gardens, pictured below. Also an hour east of Orlando is the Kennedy Space Center, where one can take a bus tour to see the building where the Space Shuttle is built and housed, the launch pads and even a Saturn V rocket. When the timing is right, you may even get to see (and feel!) a launch. We have also gone on several fishing charters in the surrounding Indian River, where there we have caught red fish and tarpon.
We've taken quite a bit of video an pictures over the course of several trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando. A video montage of our trips is included below.
Video Montage of Walt Disney World Orland (click here to download a copy)
Here are some useful links for planning a vacation to this area: