Kissimmee Howard Johnson Tropical Palms Resort
Howard Johnson Tropical Palms
4311 West Vine St. (W. 192), Kissimmee, FL 34746
Telephone: (407) 396-7100   Fax: 1-407-358-5140
Toll Free:  (800) 388-7698   Email:
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Walt Disney World

In the beginning, Orlando may have been a sleepy little southern town filled with farmland as far as the eye could Kissimmee Disneysee, orange groves galore, and only two attractions to its name (a water-ski show and some great big gators). Then came the Mouse. More specifically, a mouse named Mickey and his creator, a man of fantastic imagination and vision named Walt Disney. Life in Orlando would never be the same. Since the opening of Walt Disney World back in 1971, Orlando has grown to become one of the world's top vacation destinations. Over 44 million people from all parts of the world make their way to this city each year to sample its unending array of exciting, unique, and diverse activities. Those of us who continue to return year after year can count on each new visit to provide a host of new experiences and magical memories.

When Disney World first opened its gates to the public, I doubt if anyone but Walt Disney, the original Imagineer, could have predicted what lay ahead. Disney, searching for an East Coast location for his second theme park, decided Orlando was just the place he was Kissimmee Disneylooking for. In 1964, in a covert operation that would have made James Bond proud, Walt Disney began quietly purchasing large quantities of land in and around the Orlando area, and within months he had acquired property nearly twice the size of Manhattan. In 1965, Walt announced to the public his plans to bring to Orlando the world's most spectacular theme park. Fashioned after Disneyland in California, construction soon began on Disney's Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately, Walt Disney was never able to see his dream come to life, as he passed away in 1966, just five years shy of the opening of what, to this day, still is the world's most spectacular theme park -- Walt Disney World.

Disney's legacy, while commercialized over the years, has practically become a right of passage, not to mention aKissimmee Magic Kingdom national shrine to which visitors flock by the millions. And if you have kids, a visit here is almost a requirement. The opening of Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom started a tourist boom in Central Florida the likes of which has never been seen elsewhere. Today, The Kingdom That Walt Built entices visitors with four theme parks, a dozen smaller attractions, two nightclub districts, tens of thousands of hotel rooms, a vacation club (otherwise known as timeshares), scores of restaurants, and even two cruise ships. Universal Orlando adds to the dizzying array with two theme parks, three luxury resorts, and an entertainment complex, home to several unique restaurants, clubs, shops, and entertainment venues. SeaWorld tosses in two theme parks and an entertainment, dining, and shopping district of its own. And those are just the major players. All in all, there are over 95 attractions, both large and small, that will keep you coming back for more. There are also plenty of restaurants, ranging from fine dining to on-the-fly fast food; many of the more casual restaurants are as themed as the parks themselves. And the city doesn't lack for hotels and resorts either, with more than 112,000 rooms, villas, and suites to go around (and even more on the way). If you can believe it, the landscape is still changing, evolving, growing, and expanding to ensure your experiences will do the same each and every time you stay and play in Orlando.

EpconBeyond the fast-paced excitement, glitz, and glitter of Orlando's theme parks you'll find Central Florida's more natural side, with hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered. Over 300 lakes, springs, and rivers are waiting to be explored and enjoyed. There are numerous parks and gardens, many with trails for walking and hiking, and the area's wildlife sanctuaries and zoos showcase Florida's animal inhabitants. The number of recreational Kissimmee Disneyopportunities -- picnics in parks, boating along waterways, fishing, biking, and hiking, to name a few -- is almost limitless. And Orlando's rich history and culture come to life through its many museums, galleries, and theaters.

Where to go, what to do, when to do it . . . with so many decisions to make you may very well find your head spinning. Because of the vast quantity of offerings, a vacation to Orlando requires a reasonable amount of planning, not to mention budgeting. The sheer number of attractions and available activities requires that you narrow down your choices to fit both your schedule and budget properly. Entrance fees can be daunting (a 1-day ticket to one of the major parks averages around $59 for adults and $48 for kids 3-9), and when you add in the costs of dining, accommodations, and souvenirs, sticker shock at the high price tag is not out of the question. A typical family of four could easily end up spending several hundred dollars a day! Some parks have begun offering deals to bring down the average daily price of your ticket if you buy multi-day passes, but don't give them too much credit -- the parks are wagering they'll generate additional revenues with all of the money you'll spend on extra hotel nights and meals. But even if you do have deep pockets, there is so much to experience in Orlando that to take it all in properly would require far more time than the average vacation would allow. I doubt if even two or three vacations could do the trick.

Animal KingdomThat's exactly why this book was written: to make available to you the most up-to-date and detailed information on what Orlando has to offer. A mix of options that take into account every budget and taste are included in each chapter so you can make the most informed decisions possible. With this book, you'll have the tools to plan ahead and ensure that your family has the best vacation possible. I have traveled to Central Florida more times than I can count over the past 16 years. Single, married, with kids, and without, I've stood in all the lines, ridden the rides, and dined in the restaurants -- even during the height of summer and spring break. In other words, I've done all of the hard work, so you don't have to, and I give realistic and practical travel tips throughout this book in order to help you enjoy a more magical vacation. At the same time, I also give you options to help make your vacation more affordable and to keep expenses to a minimum while still having the maximum amount of fun. The Orlando tourism gurus will ensure your family has a steady stream of new things to see and do.

hotels and theme parks in Disney World hotels and theme parks in SeaWorld hotels and theme parks in Universal Studios hotels and theme parks near Wet and Wild hotels near convention center
Disney World
6 Miles
8 Miles
Universal Studios
10 Miles
Wet & Wild
10 Miles
Convention Center
8 Miles
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