In addition to its many cultural and historic landmarks, this destination hosts a number of outstanding festivals and events that may coincide with your visit.
On New Year's Day two top college football teams test their skills during the VRBO Citrus Bowl. A parade and other related activities precede the big game. For suggestions of things to do during your stay, talk to your AAA travel agent about events and activities that are scheduled during your visit.
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In late January the Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities celebrates the life of the noted interpreter of Southern rural African American culture. The African American writer grew up in Eatonville, a community just north of Orlando that holds the distinction of being the nation's oldest incorporated black municipality; this is where the event takes place. Renowned African American musicians, vocalists, authors, educators and artisans celebrate Zora's legacy and Eatonville's heritage with this 10-day precursor to Black History Month. This energetic event is a great option if you’re looking for fun things to do with friends.
Orlando's moderate temperatures are ideal for art festivals. Most popular are the Mount Dora Arts Festival in early February and the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival on the third weekend in March. Spring Fiesta in the Park and Fall Fiesta in the Park celebrations take place in April and November on the shores of Lake Eola.
In March PGA's Arnold Palmer Invitational is held at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Golf's top contenders drive, putt and birdie their way across a challenging championship course.
Courtesy of Enzian Theater
Cultural festivals explore the visual and performing arts. Held in April, the Florida Film Festival highlights cutting-edge current cinema from more than 30 countries at selected theaters. For 2 weeks in May, entertainers from around the world converge on downtown Orlando, treating theatergoers to a variety of unusual and cutting-edge performances as part of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival . The event nurtures “outsider-artist” expressionism with uncensored genre performances ranging from comedy improv to dramedy to musical cabaret. The name says it all. This is nontraditional theater at large. Pencil it into your group travel itinerary and enjoy top-rate entertainment with your fellow travelers.
Pay tribute to our nation's anniversary at early July's Lake Eola Park Fireworks at the Fountain . This picture-perfect setting downtown features a colorful fountain in the lake, but the true show is the spectacular fireworks display that takes place after dark. Live bands fill the park with music, and you can supplement your picnic with a cold one from the beer garden.
flickr / CC BY SA/Sean O'Shaughnessy
The horror, the horror! At Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Florida, don't be surprised if you hear yourself screaming this out loud as zombies pop out of the woodwork in haunted houses and scare zones, complete with terrifying sound effects, strobe lights and fog. This may be the Halloween party of your dreams (or nightmares, as the case may be). If you love adventure travel, it doesn’t get much more adventurous than this! This activity may not be ideal for the faint of heart. You’ve been warned.
Orlando's holiday season unofficially kicks off with mid-November's Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art. Eyeball a large array of stunning Christmas trees, wreaths and gingerbread villages and gather ideas for your own holiday decorating. Kids can get crafty in Toyland Town and meet Santa, and everyone can treat themselves to treasures and trinkets in the holiday boutique. If you love shopping, this is one of the most fun things to do while you’re here.
Change your blah “Bah Humbug” to a merry “Ho, Ho, Ho” with a visit to Light Up UCF mid-November through late December at the Addition Financial Arena. Hit the ice on an outdoor skating rink, marvel at a dazzling light show, take in holiday films, tap your toes to live music, glide down an icy slide and take joy rides on a Santa Train, Ferris wheel and carousel. Complete your evening by warming up with a fresh-cooked meal from one of the nearby restaurants.
flickr / CC BY/Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos
The city of Winter Park rings in the holiday season with Christmas in the Park , which combines a concert by the Bach Festival Choir and stunning outdoor displays of lighted Tiffany windows on loan from The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.
See all the AAA recommended events for this destination.
In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.
In Orange County the sales tax is 6.5 percent; in Lake and Seminole counties it is 7 percent; Osceola sales tax is 7.5 percent. Orange and Osceola counties levy a 6 percent resort tax, while Seminole County imposes a 5 percent tax and Lake County 4 percent.
(321) 235-5300; Sheriff (407) 836-4357
Time and Temperature
Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, (407) 351-8500; AdventHealth East Orlando, (407) 303-8110; AdventHealth Orlando, (407) 303-5600; Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center, (321) 841-5111.
301 E. Pine St. Suite 900 Orlando, FL 32801. Phone:(407)425-1234
The Orlando area is served by two airports: Orlando International Airport (MCO), at SR 436 and the Beachline Expressway, and Orlando-Sanford International Airport (SFB) in Sanford, which serves commercial and private aircraft.
Orlando is served by several major rental car agencies. Arrangements should be made before you depart, especially during peak seasons. Your local AAA club can provide this service or additional information. Hertz, (407) 859-8400 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.
Amtrak provides train service to four stations in the metro area. Passenger-only trains stop at the stations at 1400 Sligh Blvd. in downtown Orlando and 148 W. Morse Blvd. in downtown Winter Park; Kissimmee's passenger station is at 111 E. Dakin Ave. The Auto Train, which runs round-trip from Lorton, Va., stops at the Sanford station at 600 S. Persimmon Ave. Phone (800) 872-7245 for both rail services.
A Greyhound Lines Inc. terminal, (407) 292-3422 for customer service, (407) 292-3424 for tickets or (800) 531-5332 for Spanish-speaking persons, is off West SR 50 (Colonial Drive) at 555 N. John Young Pkwy.
Local taxis are metered and charge $4.20-$5.40 for the first mile and $2.65 for each additional mile plus 60c for each 80 seconds of waiting time. Major cab companies are Ace Metro, (407) 855-1111; Diamond Cab Co., (407) 523-3333; Quick Cab, (407) 447-1444; Town & Country, (407) 828-3036; and Orlando Taxi, (407) 422-2222.
Transportation by bus, trolley or rail is available in Orlando.