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Orlando - Just the name sounds like a fairy tale!

Main Street U.S.A. Walt Disney World (c)

Before my Road Trip around the USA in 2022, I met a very committed person, Ole Vidar Skogheim, at IPW, an international tourism conference in Orlando. He talked about theme parks as if they were the most important thing in the world and after I got to experience a bit of these parks myself, I understand that it is possible to get really hooked. We had a chat about what, why and prices etc., maybe you can get some tips, if your family is planning just this type of adventure holiday! I am completely confident that his tips and advice are good, he has been here many times and works with theme parks in particular.

The vast majority of the photos were taken by Ole Vidar Skogheim in Magiske Reiser AS (c) So Ole Vidar, tell us about the theme parks in Orlando! He is as engaged as he has been all week and starts with a clear statement. Orlando is the Mecca of Theme Parks and is the place you should travel to experience the best of the best. Yes, there are many parks here, but there are still two parks that stand out, Disney World and Universal!

A little history and facts first. Completed in 1971, Disney World was the park that started it all in Orlando. Disney World is still the most visited theme park in the world and for good reason. The area is huge and consists of four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs, Disney Board Walk and over 25 Disney hotels, in addition to a number of partner hotels. This means that in terms of extent, Disney World's area is as large as the city of Drammen (border).

Image 1 top left: Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom, Image 2: Spaceship Earth in EPCOT, Image 3: Three of Life In Animal Kingdom, Image 4: Hollywood Tower Hotel in Disney`s Hollywood Studios, Image 4: Parade In Magic Kingdom. He continues without me having to ask anything. Here you will find experiences for all age groups and it is actually just a myth that Disney is only suitable for the youngest children. According to a documentary on History Chanel, you have to spend about 30 days if you want to experience everything Disney World has to offer.

Picture 1 top left: Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in Magic Kingdom, Picture 2: Slinky Dog Dash in Disney`s Hollywood Studios, Picture 3: Rock`N`Roller Coaster in Disney`s Hollywood Studios, Picture 4: Peter Pan`s Flight in the Magic Kingdom Walt Disney had a basic vision when he planned these parks and that was to build a park where those who came to visit, for a short time, would forget all that worried them in real life and just have fun. Walt's vision is well preserved in the park to this day, delivering magical experiences suitable for everyone. You mentioned two parks, yes the other park that you absolutely must bring is Universal Orlando Resort, which is the second largest park in Orlando. The area currently consists of two theme parks, City Walk, a water park and eight hotels. When I say for the time being, this is because Universal Orlando is currently working on a major development in the area. Within a few years, Universal Orlando will introduce a brand new park called "Epic Universe" and the new park will be so large that the entire Universal Orlando area will be doubled in size. Universal Orlando is open to all age groups, but is probably mostly aimed at older children and adults. If you like fast-paced attractions and movies, then this really is the park for you.

The Incredible Hulk Coaster®

You have been here several times and what makes these parks so attractive in your opinion? Ole Vidar has really warmed up in his jersey and is beaming over this question. It's simple, these parks offer everything you can imagine... Everything from fast-paced and memorable attractions, which are based on a whole universe of well-known and beloved adventures and films that we appreciate and grew up with. Both parks also have daily parades, fireworks and a host of world-class shows and performances. If you want sun, summer and swimming, there are also good opportunities for this in the parks' wonderful themed water parks.

Photo: Ingar Næss (c) Both City Walk and Disney Springs offer a bustling nightlife with top-class restaurants and bars, so you can enjoy yourself well into the late hours of the night. Both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando also offer a rich selection of fantastic hotels, which are divided into different categories, which are adapted to each family's budget. If you're an adult and you're going to bring your girlfriend, who is equally fond of speed and excitement, it's guaranteed to be a super holiday.

Image 1 top left: The Simpsons Ride™, Image 2: The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, Image 3: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™, Image 4: : The Incredible Hulk Coaster®, Image 5: Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls® , Image 6: View of CityWalk The alternatives to these parks are many and here is a small overview of the other parks, which are well worth a visit: - SeaWorld Orlando, Bush Garden, but don't be fooled by the name, as this is a fantastic park that offers a lovely animal park, but you will also find some of Orlando's roughest rollercoasters in this park. - Acuatica, Legoland® Florida Resort, Pepa Pig Theme park, which is brand new, can be found an hour's drive away from Orlando. Then you have Icon Park, where you will find many exciting attractions and the famous Observation Wheel and not forgetting GatorLand!

Picture 1 from left: Icon Park, Picture 2 and 3: Sea World When I hear him talk, I think that this must be expensive and what do we have to think about to enjoy the trip? Hen thinks a bit and says that it is difficult to estimate a price for a stay in Orlando, because it depends entirely on what kind of experiences you want and how long you want to holiday in Orlando. But he continues, - to get the very best experience of Orlando, I would recommend spending two to three weeks. In other words, make it a real holiday that you can look forward to both before and for many years after.

Hotels Walt Disney World: Image 1: Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Image 2: Disney's Contemporary Resort, Image 3: Disney's Wilderness Lodge There are far too many people who forget when you are on a trip like this, you are actually on holiday. It is entirely possible to cover a great deal of what Orlando has to offer in a week, but then my experience is that it feels like you are running your legs out. There won't be much time to rest and there's a good chance you'll come home more tired than you were before you went on holiday. If you are traveling on holiday with small children, then it is also not recommended to commit to a full day at the park from early in the morning until late at night. It quickly becomes a very tiring day for the little ones and because of this, this day rarely becomes a pleasant experience for the adults. This is perhaps one of the best arguments I have for getting travelers to choose a hotel that has direct access to the parks. By choosing one of the hotel's parks, you also have the option of taking a break in the middle of the day. He smiles and continues, in my own experience, the perfect park day for families is broken down like this: - Early start in the parks, as many of the parks open an hour or two earlier in the morning for the park's hotel guests. - Take a break from the parks around 13.00-15.30. The reason for this is that, according to experience, this is the busiest time in the parks. Lots of queues and the sun is at its hottest during this period. Then it is good to be able to go back to the hotel, relax or swim in one of the pools at the hotel, at the same time this is also a perfect time to be able to give the very little ones a "power nap". A tip is also to add lunch to this time outside the park, as it is often easy to get a meal because most people are in the park during this time. Later in the day, you travel back down to the parks and have then often recharged so much energy that you can endure in the park until closing time. Another reason for choosing to stay at one of the theme parks' hotels is that by choosing a package price that includes both accommodation and park tickets, you often end up with a better total price than if you choose to stay outside the area and order the tickets on your own .

Universal Hotels: Image 1 from left: Universal's Aventura Hotel, Image 2: Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Image 3: Hard Rock Hotel® Estimated entry price for a family with two adults and two children, one weeks in Orlando at one of the parks' hotels with a flight is set at between NOK 50 and 60.000,- This price does not include food and pocket money during the stay. The price is based on: 7 nights in Walt Disney World at Disney's All Star Movie Resort-8 day park ticket with "Park Hopper" (entrance to all four theme parks and the two water parks) and 7 nights at Universal's Loews Sapphire Falls Resort with an 8-day park ticket, with access to two theme parks and the water park Universal's Volcano Bay. This may sound extreme, but by choosing this type of package solution, even if you do not want to visit the parks every day, you will often end up with the same price when you choose a hotel outside the property and perhaps only want to visit them different parks four to five days. In addition, you often get a number of advantages in such a package price: - Extra early access to the parks (one or two hours before the park actually opens) - Free transportation in the area (Between the hotel/parks and Disney Springs/City Walk) Sometimes the parks also offer to be able to add a pre-paid meal to the package price, which can save you large amounts compared to paying for each individual meal separately in the park. As you understand, there is a lot of planning before the decisions are made, but that is why I love my job and being allowed to help plan these trips. I hope this post answers some of the questions you may have if you are planning a trip to Orlando. At my own expense, I add that when it comes to flights you can now travel directly to Orlando from Oslo, since Norse Atlantic has established a reasonable alternative.

Photo: Ingar Næss the recording was made in connection with presentations at IPW 2022 in Orlando.


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