Orlando has always been a great destination for a family holiday – but what sets it apart from other locations is the fact that it is home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The theme park has only been open for a relatively short period of time but has already prompted children around the world to beg their parents to take them there.
There is much to occupy holidaymakers of all ages boarding flights to Orlando – whether you’re looking for exciting rides, Harry Potter souvenirs or simply the opportunity to soak up the sights and sounds of the world so lovingly created by author J K Rowling.
Perhaps the most attractive part of the Wizarding World of Harry potter is its rides. The main one is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, which sees visitors tour Hogwarts before embarking on a fantastic trip high above the boarding school.
Holidaymakers can visit rooms such as the Room of Requirement, Dumbledore’s Office and the Defence Against The Dark Arts classroom before getting on a rollercoaster that travels over the grounds of the castle and into encounters with an attacking dragon, the Whomping Willow and a Quidditch match.
Meanwhile, the Dragon Challenge allows you to choose from one of two ‘dragons’ before embarking on a sky-high journey – the dragons are actually two very different rollercoaster rides.
Staying on the topic of winged beasts, the Flight of the Hippogriff lets you find out all about the best way to approach a Hippogriff and take a training flight – or rollercoaster trip – on the back of one.
If you want to stop for something to eat, the Three Broomsticks tavern and the Hog’s Head pub to the rear offer plenty of food and drink to keep you going.
You can choose from dishes such as Cornish pasties, fish and chips, trifles and apple pies, as well as glasses of pumpkin juice and Butterbeer.
If you’re still hungry, why not head to Hogsmeade and visit the Honeydukes sweet shop? Here, you can choose from sugary treats such as Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans, Fizzing Whizzbees, treacle fudge, Cauldron Cakes and exploding bonbons.
For more Harry Potter souvenirs, check out Dervish and Banges for magical items such as Sneakoscopes, Spectrespecs and Omnioculars, a host of Quidditch equipment and Hogwarts school uniforms.
You can also pick up replicas of props from the Harry Potter movies at Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, as well as send a postcard home via the Owl Post.
If you’re looking for the perfect magic wand, head to Ollivanders and take your pick. For items of a more amusing nature, visit Zonko’s joke shop and pick up an Extendable Car, a Boxing Telescope, a Screaming Yo-Yo or Shrunken Heads.
Once you’ve fully explored everything that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has to offer, why not visit other attractions in Orlando?
The Universal Orlando Resort – where the theme park is situated – has numerous other sights to take in.
For example, the Islands of Adventures section contains rides and exhibits relating to famous characters such as Popeye, Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk.
Meanwhile, Universal Studios Florida lets visitors immerse themselves in the worlds of their favourite films through attractions such as The Simpsons Ride, Beetlejuice’s Graveyard Revue and ET Adventure.
Elsewhere in Orlando, you could check out the two SeaWorld parks in the city, as well as visit Discovery Cove – where you can go swimming with dolphins.
Port Canaveral offers the opportunity to indulge in a spot of whale watching, while Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is a must-visit for those who fancy a taste of life on the high seas.
You might also want to take a hot air balloon ride above Orlando, visit the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex or get to grips with the Earth’s prehistoric past at Dinosaur World.
Furthermore, the Walt Disney World Resort is sure to be a hit with the kids – so try to find the time for a trip to the theme park during your Orlando holiday.
Just a few of the attractions here include the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Cinderella Castle and the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor.