Orlando Disney world castle

Orlando

Should we even mention Orlando’s theme parks? Just a peek into their alternate realities is enough to deliver a dose of FOMO so large you’ll find yourself wearing a pair of mouse ears on a rollercoaster quicker than you can say Walt who? But you’ve got to hand it to history’s most famous cartoonist and big-thinker. Snapping up those Orlando acres really paid off. With a world of entertainment from competitors surrounding his empire, it’s sometimes difficult to see anything else. But Orlando is quietly going about its city life under the nightly firework displays. Museums, art galleries and farmers markets are well represented. As are golf courses, where the Sunshine State’s notoriously glorious weather has beckoned more than a few big names in the game, over the years.

Out of the city, communities and parks are the places to amble, cycle or horse ride through. Though, even here, Disney has made its mark. If you swing by Celebration, you’ll see the corporation’s idea of utopia. And, spoiler alert, it does look rather nice. You can’t ever really escape the fun side of this city though. And why would you want to? Every entrepreneur comes here trying to build bigger, better and more joyful experiences than the last. All you have to do is enjoy every last second of it.

swimming with manatees in orlando

Top 10 things to do in Orlando (that aren’t Disney)

We can all probably list a bunch of Orlando attractions. But with almost every single one involving theme park rides, mouse-shaped antics or crazy rivers, it can leave little room for all the other things to do in Orlando. Who even knew Orlando beaches were a thing? Luckily, we’re on hand with a little inspo if you’re looking for some time away from the thrills and spills of the roller coaster rides and near constant sugar highs.

golf with cocktails in orlando

Tee off on Orlando’s best golf courses

Orlando golf courses have been designed by big names of the game, and come with a host of resort options – one even tempted the king of the game to make his home here. And while 18 holes of holiday golf is more than tempting, the sunshine state has got far more than Championship tracks and glorious greens for you. If ever you were trying to convince a family member to take up golf, Orlando is the place to do it. In Orlando, golf has been given the ‘fun’ makeover it was crying out for. By all means pack your clubs and book a tee time or two, but don’t miss out on the golf twists Orlando has to offer.

beach and skyscrapers in miami

Orlando to Miami: the ultimate road trip

For Americans, the Orlando to Miami drive is a mere blip on the highway. And yes, the 3.5 hour zip down the turnpike is handy if you’re in a hurry. But for road trippers, devourers of scenery and the inquisitive, an Orlando to Miami road trip is filled with beach action, Florida fun, creeks, parks and coastal towns packed with opportunities to dig a little deeper into American culture, Florida’s history and the sunshine state’s vacation destinations. We’ve drawn up plans for the ultimate Orlando to Miami road trip for those among us who love to travel. Take a day – or 3 – to get there. What matters isn’t the journey time, but what you see along the way.

people swimming at waterpark in orlando

The ultimate guide to Orlando’s theme parks

As well as the mighty Disney, Orlando has a whole host of theme parks for you to frolic, scamper and play through. Though the Magic Kingdom is a great place to start, no one in the family will want to miss Universal’s Harry Potter World. Orlando doesn’t stop there though. With water parks, two movie-themed parks and even a science-based park there’s enough entertainment here to keep you busy for far more than a fortnight. We’ve listed the best parks, their best bits and what to expect… along with a few tips to get you started.

people shopping at orlando's florida mall

Shop til you drop in Orlando’s best malls

Leave a little space in your itinerary to experience an Orlando mall. Huge, sprawling, brand meccas, they are just the spot to pick up a bargain, immerse yourself in America’s retail scene or just curiously browse the stores you’ve heard about via pop culture. Of course, Orlando’s shopping malls aren’t just for retail shenanigans. Entertainment, dining and fun are all close at hand. The best shopping experiences? Well, they have more than a little help from the theme parks. This IS Orlando, after all.

Mirissa Beach views from top

Sri Lanka

An island nation replete with awe-inspiring natural landscapes, endangered species, and some of the best food in the world, it’s no surprise that Sri Lanka makes its way onto so many people’s bucket lists. The landmass has been overlooked in the recent decades thanks to instability, but now in an era of relative peace the tourists are slowly coming back – and rightly so.
The display of flora and fauna is enough of a reason to visit, but there’s also thousands of years of culture running through the island, from the astounding religious history to its strategic location that made it a fascinating marriage of different people and ideas. A vital stop off in the Silk Road, now Sri Lanka is modernising, with a high rating on the Human Development Index and plenty of developing infrastructure so it’s even easier to explore this wonderful land.