News Experience Kissimmee, the perfect base for exploring Florida

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Experience Kissimmee, the perfect base for exploring Florida

Kissimmee is just minutes away from Orlando International Airport (MCO) in the heart of central Florida, making it the perfect place to stay for your epic sunshine holiday. Florida’s renowned theme parks are on your doorstep, while Kissimmee itself is packed with opportunities for fine dining and fantastic shopping – and there are thousands of accommodation options for every budget.

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The world’s most famous theme parks on your doorstep

Kissimmee is just ten minutes from Walt Disney World Resort, Disney’s mega theme park that incorporates the Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This autumn sees the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, an immersive new land that features rides on the Millennium Falcon as well as the opportunity to build your own lightsaber and companion droid. And you can even sample some out-of-this-world cuisine at the Mos Eisley cantina – not to mention blue milk.

Meanwhile, at Universal Orlando Resort, this June saw the debut of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, a new roller coaster at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The coaster is styled after Hagrid’s flying motorbike, and the ride swoops through the Forbidden Forest, past animatronic magical creatures like the blast-ended skrewt.

Experience extraordinary adventures in nature

Venture into the headwaters of the Everglades to explore the American alligator’s natural habitat and nesting grounds. Get an up-close look at turtles, eagles and native plant life as you cruise through 100,000 acres of wetlands. The best way to explore this natural wonder is by airboat: Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park offers half day-excursions into the depths of the swamp aboard a state-of-the art airboat. And afterwards you can explore the various creatures that reside in the Gator Park, including the monster alligators you’d expect, along with exotic animals like bobcats, servals and watusis.

Kissimmee – a shopper’s paradise

From designer outlets to bargain finds, Kissimmee has a wealth of shopping options. The Florida Mall is stuffed with around 250 stores and restaurants, including fashion favourites like Zara and Victoria’s Secret, as well as famous department stores like Macy’s and JCPenney. And that’s not even the only shopping mall in Kissimmee: The Mall at Millenia boasts big names like Bloomingdale’s and Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as the Apple Store and Hermés.

But if you’re after a bargain, make sure to head for the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores. This outlet park hosts 50 stores with amazing discounts on brands like Calvin Klein, Fossil, Gap, Nike and Levi’s. Perfect for grabbing a holiday bargain!

A smorgasbord of fantastic family dining options

Kissimmee has loads of great places to enjoy a massive feed with the family. The kids will love the tropical atmosphere of the Rainforest Café at Disney Springs, with its animatronic animals and special effects, like an indoor tropical downpour. But if you’re after something more sedate, Columbia Restaurant is family owned and has been in operation for more than 115 years. Located in the town of Celebration next door to Kissimmee, Columbia has earned acclaim for its old-world charm and award-winning Spanish/Cuban cuisine.

Make sure to check out the amazing Italian food at Pacino’s Italian Ristorante, a family-run place that’s famed for its brick-oven-baked pizzas. And the kids will flip out when they learn of the existence of the Abracadabra Ice Cream Factory – just choose your flavour and toppings, then watch the ice cream being made right in front of your eyes, by using liquid nitrogen to flash freeze it. Magic!