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Local time Orlando

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Things to do in Orlando

Camp amid the magic of the great outdoors

If you are looking for an adventure on the ‘American frontier’, check out the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort (+1 407 824 2900; disneyworld.com/resorts/campsites-at-fort-wilderness-resort). From pools with a 67ft-long corkscrew waterslide, wagon rides, pony rides, fishing to archery, many of the recreation activities are perfect for children and families.

Check out the Central Florida Everglades via an airboat

The wetlands that are located in the Everglades National Park cover 1.5-million acres (607,028 hectares), thus, the park itself is humungous. However, it is about a four-hour drive away from Orlando. For something closer to the city, check out the 'Central Florida Everglades' situated around Lake Kissimmee. The best way to explore the unspoiled and protected swamps, marshes and rivers is to join an airboat tour. Viator (+1 702 648 5873; www.viator.com) and GetYourGuide (+1 844 326 5840; www.getyourguide.com) are two of the companies that offer such services. Some of the tours even offer a visit to an aviary and to watch an alligator-handling show.

Float high above Orlando in a hot air balloon

Take to the sky and enjoy a flight on a hot air balloon as it glides across meadows and waterways of Central Florida. The experience generally lasts around an hour and concludes with a nice glass of champagne. Orlando Balloon Rides (+1 407 894-5040; www.orlandoballoonrides.com) is, for example, one of the leading companies for hot air balloon rides.

Play a round of golf

It is said that Orlando has more than fifty golf courses with many of them playing hosts to PGA Tour and other championships. For an ultimate golf experience, get ready to tee off in one of the many perfectly manicured courses. Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge (+1 888 422 9445; www.bayhill.com), for example, is one of the top golf courses in the entire city.

Take a ride on a swan paddle boat

Nestled in the heart of Downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park is a great place to kick back and feed swans and other birds living in the park. Visitors can also rent a swan-shaped paddleboat by the Relax Grill, a lakeside grill located in the park. A wheelchair-accessible boat is also available.

Featured Hotels

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Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort

An 18-storey atrium welcomes honeymooners and families, screeching parrots and all. It’s hard to imagine a more replete resort hotel, and there’s a whole world to explore, from one of the best pools in the country to the comprehensive sports on offer to the destination restaurants.

Galleria Palms Hotel & Suites

One of the best-located budget hotel options you’re only a mile and a half from Disney but you can stay at a fraction of the price of similarly placed hotels. The rooms aren’t the largest you’ll ever stay in but they are clean and modern and there’s even a free breakfast.

Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld

Formerly the Doubletree Resort Orlando, a US$35m refurbishment in 2010 means this is now one of the best value hotels on International Drive. Set in 11 hectares (28 acres) of landscaped gardens, there are three main pools and a children’s pool. There are varied dining options on site, and a myriad of choices just nearby.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

This magnificently themed resort is a real slice of Africa, complete with a 13-hectare (33-acre) wildlife reserve out the windows of the 1,293 rooms in the six-storey luxury resort. Rooms are laid out in a horseshoe shape after a kraal African village design.

Disney's Pop Century Resort

The best and newest of Disney's budget-priced hotels, with 2,880 rooms that pay tribute to 20th-century pop culture and great pool amenities. Expect bright colours and themes from the 1950s to the 80s. You’re close to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Portofino Bay Hotel

This re-creation of an Italian fishing village is in the heart of Universal Orlando Resort, complete with fine restaurants and shops. The guest rooms are decorated with a Mediterranean theme and there’s a lively piazza with vintage Italian sports cars and scooters.