Weekend Trips from Hudson
You probably don't, but next time actually do have time, a free weekend maybe, and can afford to spend $50 on a hotel room for one night, remember that not far away from home are the most popular tourist destinations in the world. No, maybe they are not historic (except St. Augustine), but that is not their function. Their function is... to entertain! Also, in some cases, to educate. Walt Disney World is a place for children and adults both, and Florida residents not only get a discount, but the option of going in the off-season, when the lines are not so long. The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center and the MGM Studios Themepark are day events in themselves, so best not plan on going to all of them in a weekend. Best plan on driving the two hours from Hudson to the Orlando area, hitting one on Saturday, spend the night, and hit another one Sunday. Of course, Disney World is not the only thing out there! Please find below an overview of the attractions of the Orlando-Kissimmee area.
The Parks in Order of Distance from Hudson
Walt Disney World
The Walt Disney World Resort Complex south of Orlando is the size of a small country. It encompasses more than 40 square miles (100 square km.) with its own system of roads, lakes and waterways. It contains four large theme parks, three water parks, eight golf courses and over 25 hotel complexes. This is the largest family entertainment facility in the world. It is clean, safe and amazingly well managed, but not inexpensive. Adults and children of all ages can enjoy fantastic holidays at Disney World and you can spend lots of money. Mike says: Don't miss the Lion King show at Animal World.
Universal Studios Great Escape
The Universal Studios Entertainment Complex is located closer to the southern suburbs of Orlando and is not as large as Walt Disney World. It contains two major theme parks, a luxury hotel, and a shopping, dining and entertainment center. Its new Islands of Adventure Theme Park is possibly the most technologically advanced theme park in the world. It also offers a Wet 'n Wild Water Park just across the road. Mike says: See the Blues Brother's show in the New York section of Universal Studios.
Orlando Sea World
This Anheiser-Busch marine theme park is similar to, but larger than the Sea World Parks in other parts of the USA. It contains a huge state-of-the-art roller coaster and several thrill rides, but the main attractions are the marine shows featuring seals, dolphins, killer whales and water skiing acrobatics. It is all very entertaining and educational. Children of all ages enjoy this park.
Theme Dinner Theaters
There are many themed dinner theaters in the Orlando area. Medieval Times in Kissimmee is typical of this type of family entertainment experience. You sit at long tables around a great central arena and feast on a medieval banquet while knights perform equestrian feats and joust in full armor. Similar shows are offered at King Henry's Feast, Arabian nights, Capone's Dinner Show, Pirates at Colossal Studios and at Wild Bill's West Dinner Extravaganza.Titanic: The Exhibition (www.titanicshipofdreams.com) is the world's first permanent Titanic attraction and features full-scale room re-creations, including the world-famous Grand Staircase. You can also see over 200 artifacts, movie memorabilia and live interactive interpretations by storytellers in period costumes. Open 10 am to 9 pm daily. Located in the Mercado Shopping Village on International Drive.
Magic Sunrise offers spectacular hot-air balloon rides high over Orlando. Mike says: this is a fantastic experience that begins with a pre-dawn inflation of the balloon on a mist-shrouded field, followed by a sunrise flight, and culminating in a champagne toast and breakfast buffet.
Drive a NASCAR Race Car
The Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway allows you to ride in a genuine NASCAR racecar. If you have the time, and the money, you can take a half-day driving school then pilot the racecar around the track yourself. Mike says: Wow, what a thrill riding at 146 MPH and playing catch with another racecar. (with wife, Anny in the other racer)
There are a lot of entertainment options in the Orlando area. The world's largest Hard Rock Café is located at Universal Studios City Walk and the giant globe shaped Planet Hollywood is at Disney's West End. There are all types of musical entertainment from dueling piano sing-alongs and dance clubs to rock and roll performances. Check out Church Street Station in downtown Orlando, CityWalk at Universal, Pleasure Island or West Side at Disney and various locations along International Blvd. Mike's favorite is House of Blues at West End for nightly funky blues music in the restaurant.
This is an authentic Florida attraction. Gatorland animal park with thousands of alligators and crocodiles features a variety of shows including "gator wrestling" and the "gator jumparoo". It is great fun for young and old.
These flat-bottomed, propeller-driven boats are an excellent means of transportation in the shallow wetlands that abound throughout Florida. There are several locations near Orlandoincluding Lake Toho where you can take an excursion in a typical airboat. The ride can be fast, exciting and noisy. You can see alligators and wetland wildlife up close.
Orlando has an art museum, a science center and a historical society museum. It also has a Ripley's "Believe it or Not Museum" and an interactive Wonderworks.