Is there anything else to do when visiting Orlando besides the theme parks?

What else is there to do in the Orlando area besides visit Disney World, Universal Studios and Lego Land?  Plenty!

One of our favorites spots to send people who are renting one of our Disney area vacation homes is an airboat ride to see alligators.  We always send them to Midway, which is about midway 🙂 between Orlando and Cocoa Beach or Cape Canaveral (two other great places to visit after your airboat ride).

airboat

We like Midway because you are really are out in “wild” Florida, and nothing is scripted.  Its just a fun ride through the central Florida waterways (mostly the St. Johns river).

If you are brave enough, you can hold a baby alligator before or after your airboat ride!  Either way, you will be treated to a fun ride and be able to view LOTS of large alligators sunning themselves on the banks of the river or in high spots on the marshes.

So pack the sunscreen and a good camera and head out for a morning or afternoon of fun!  Be sure and call ahead to make reservations to avoid any wait times, but if you are curious you can always stop in on your way to or from Cocoa or Cape Canaveral.

Have fun!

 

How far away are the Florida beaches from my Disney area vacation rental home?

Good question!  The drive usually takes  an hour or so if you are going to the East coast, and an hour and a half if you are going to the West coast.

So how to decide on which coast to visit?

The East coast has the famous Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral.  And don’t forget Ron Jon surf shop!  The East coast also has waves for surfers, especially in the winter time or when a storm is coming in.  There are great beaches both above and below Cocoa  – the whole coast, in fact!

The West coast is calm but the beaches are a little spread out and so harder to find.  In fact, the coastline gets marshy just above the Tampa area.  The West coast offers some more attractions like Busch Gardens, and of course you may want to visit the lovely downtowns of Tampa and St. Petersburg.

Clearwater Beach west of Tampa proper is known for its large expanses of white sand, but it can take a bit of time to get from Tampa to Clearwater, so plan for some extra traffic to deal with.  We highly recommend Fort Desoto (south of Clearwater) for its quiet beaches and history lesson all in one!  In fact this picture on our website home page was taken by me at Fort Desoto!

No matter which coast you hit from your Disney area vacation rental home, be sure and pack the sunscreen and prepare to have a great time!

What is the best time of year to visit Orlando?

While the kids schedule usually runs the family calendar, including vacation planning, you may want to give some thought to jumping out of the normal vacation cycle of summer, Christmas and spring school breaks.

With high temps in the 70s, and little to no crowding at the theme parks, January is a wonderful month to visit Orlando.  You will also save on Disney area vacation rental homes and enjoy a better selection of homes.  You can order pool heat so the water is still nice and toasty, or jump into the spa that heats up to 104 or so!  Oh, and winter is our dry season so leave the umbrellas at home!

sun

February has similar temperatures and is fairly quiet unless you hit a northern secondary school break week.  Even then, things are not as crazy as March when we have the Canadian secondary school break,  lots of U.S. college breaks, Easter break for many U.S. secondary schools, etc.

The “shoulder” months of April and October have lovely temperatures, low humidity and less than normal crowding at the parks.  A lot of Europeans come in October (school break) but the parks are still relatively quiet.  And did I mention the weather is fantastic?  Sunny, 80s and low humidity – perhaps my favorite Central Florida weather month of the year!

So whip out those planners (or smartphones or tablets) and get planning!  Find your spot in the warm Florida sun!

What are the rental options when considering an Orlando area vacation rental?

When planning your trip to the Orlando area to see Disney World, Universal, the other parks and of course the nearby beaches, you will want to do some research on the extras you will want in your Orlando area vacation rental.

At OurFloridaConcierge, we provide lots of options to accommodate almost any need.  If you have small children we can rent strollers, high chairs and cribs.  If you are bringing your favorite grill master with you, we can rent you a state-of-the art gas grill.  And if you don’t want to bother with a shopping run the minute you get into town, we can stock the fridge and pantry with a welcome pack of food items.  If you need to store passports or other sensitive documents (or cash!) we can rent you a house safe with your own security code.

Charges for these add-ons vary.  High chairs are around $30 for your stay.  Cribs are around $60 due to the time to set them up and take them down.

Many of our owners keep some sort of grill around the house, but if you want to ensure stress free grilling on a well-maintained gas grill, we suggest a rental which runs about $50 for the week.

A safe rental usually runs about $20 for the week at an Orlando area vacation rental.  And a welcome pack is $50 which will provide a six person group with coffee, tea, milk, sugar, bread, butter or substitute, preserves, bottled water, soft drinks, orange juice and cookies.

Don’t forget pool heat in the winter at around $20 a day, and spa heat in the summer at around $10.

ATS 215x215Web bannerAnd, of course, we can hook you up with Disney tickets since we are an authorized reseller!

Whatever options you choose, here is hoping that your Orlando area vacation rental exceeds your expectations in every way!

Beware of Florida Alligators!

Mention the word alligator and many people become frozen in fear!  Unlike its cousin the crocodile, however, there is really no reason to be afraid of alligators.  They usually only feed at night, are by nature afraid of humans and only eat small critters that wander too close to them!  A few of our communities are near small lakes that should have alligators in them.  If you can find them, they are not one of the shy ones, meaning they may have been fed by humans, thereby associating humans with food.  This is of course a bad idea, and you want to stay away from any alligator who seems to have an interest in you!  Especially the ones that are your size or larger!
http://www.ourfloridaconcierge.com/vacation-home-communities.asp

Other stuff to do in Orlando?

When most tourists think of Orlando, they think of sun and fun and the amusement parks – rightly so!  But did you know we also have plenty of other great things to do, both indoors and out?  We have beaches only an hour away, of course, plus museums, hang gliding, indoor and outdoor parachuting, river tubing, echo tourism, zip lines, ATV riding, nature walks, boutique shopping, wineries, breweries – the list is endless! You can get some more ideas here…
http://www.ourfloridaconcierge.com/concierge-services.asp

Orlando Beaches, Lakes, and Springs

Orlando is about an hour from each of the Florida coasts – the Atlantic to the east with its great surfing, and the calmer Gulf waters to the west.  The type of beach you go to will depend on the activities you and/or your family will want to enjoy.  After you hit a beach or two, you may want to check out our inland freshwater lakes and springs, especially if you are a diver.  And the really adventurous diver may want to try some inland cave diving – exploring the vast underground rivers and springs that crisscross the state!