Fantastic Florida Experience
Orlando, Naples, Sarasota - Florida, USA
With lots of exciting attractions and stunning white sandy beaches, Florida really does have something for all the family. No matter what age the children are they will simply be in awe of everything around them.
I flew into Orlando International Airport and after clearing customs I took a 25 minute transfer to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. The hotel is located in the Bonnet Creek area which is a great place to stay for getting to the nearby Theme Parks. The hotel has its very own lazy river, a beautiful golf course, an award winning spa and a wide choice of beautiful restaurants too. This really is wonderful 5 star accommodation, the rooms are just stunning and all have great views in every direction.
The Waldorf Astoria boasts many in house luxuries. The poolside private cabanas can be rented from 9am-6pm and can accommodate up to 8 guests. In addition to your own private space you will have many amenities at your disposal such as, complimentary soft drinks, poolside service, 2 lounges a sofa and a coffee table, refrigerator a HD LCD TV and WiFi. The hotel is situated right in the heart of the action and not far from malls such as: The Florida Mall, Orlando Premium Outlets on IDrive and The Winter Park Village to nightlife from Disney and Universal. You also have complementary coach shuttle transportation to the Disney Theme Parks! The hotel also has a Kids Club from 5-12 year olds so you can have some free time as well to enjoy the beautiful spa, go for a swim or do some shopping.
During my stay, I visited Universal Studios Orlando which is packed full of exciting rides and shows – my favorite was the new Harry Potter ride set in it’s very own Harry Potter town.
I also stayed at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World where I was lucky enough to meet Mickey, Minnie & Goofy who joined us for breakfast. With it’s own complimentary transportation it was easy to get to the Theme Parks without the hassle of having to drive.
All Four Seasons resorts are special and this one was no exception. The quality is astounding from start to finish. The hotel had lots of facilities including an amazing kids club, great restaurants, a golf course, adult-only pool and world class spa and salon.
They also have many complimentary facilities geared around their clients’ needs especially those with children. Offering; Kids Camp for 8 hours a day, 5 acre water park, ping pong and pool tables, a video games room and some tennis and golf lessons. It is also worth mentioning that under 5’s eat for free.
The coolest thing about this resort though is on select Saturday & Thursday evenings they host a “Dive-In Movie” in the family pool. You can chill out on an inflatable doughnut, glide aimlessly around the pool and watch a movie while chomping down on free popcorn, amazing.
It was time to leave Orlando and pick up the hire car for the 3 hour drive to Naples where I stayed at the Naples Bay Resort. The hotel was set out like an Italian Village on a beautiful marina. The nearby 5th Avenue has a great buzz and is easy to get to to enjoy an evening meal or for some retail therapy.
There are many other activities to enjoy in this area such as kayaking, water sports and snorkeling so check out Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Recreation Area if you are interested! You can also rent bikes and cycle with the family down to the nearest beach, go for lunch or just to explore around Naples. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous and seek a life on the ocean waves for a spot of fishing you can also hire boats. Both services of course have extra fees and the fishing will require local licensing.
No trip to Naples would be complete without a visit to the Everglades which is just under an hours drive. Home to the Aligator, Manatee, Dolphin and many species of birds this is a must see.
Last but not least, I visited Sarasota which is just South of Tampa. Renowned for its cultural and environmental amenities, it is the gateway to miles of white sandy beaches, shallow waters such as Siesta Key where you can take a boat ride around the bay and the Gulf of the Intracoastal Waterway. There are many art galleries and theatres and is also home to an Amish community.
I have never been to Florida before and everyone else in the office had so I didn’t really get the vibe of Orlando but now I really do! It is a very vibrant place and full of things to see and do. Even if you don’t go to the parks there is an abundance of other attractions. From cruising on a glass bottom boat over reefs to water sports, wildlife tours, historic sites, museums, shopping malls, dining, visiting landmarks and much more. Plus Florida isn’t just about Orlando, from there there are many things to explore in Tampa, Miami and other places. All are really great for families and people of all ages, there really is something for everyone.