Flights to Orlando, Florida (MCO)


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One of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, Orlando has been dubbed the "Theme Park Capital of the World." While Walt Disney World started the trend, parks like Universal Studios, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and SeaWorld have made Orlando a total family playground.  And while plenty of area visitors flying into Orlando International Airport (MCO) are in Florida for theme park fun, Orlando’s thriving downtown dining and entertainment scene is not to be missed. 

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Our SkyMiles members travel across the globe, capturing photos like these below while creating a list of all the must-dos while in Orlando.

Flying into Orlando International Airport means flying into the ninth busiest airport in the country. It’s well equipped with bars, restaurants, cafes and shopping. Unlike at many other airports, the food court is actually “before” security, so both travelers and non-travelers can enjoy meals together. Orlando International Airport also features a major collection of permanent artwork. Within its broad architectural expanses, most of which are filled with light and green foliage, the public artwork creates a warm welcome for arriving passengers and even helps them wayfind around the airport.

Orlando International Airport (MCO)

THEME PARKS

Ready your camera for a trip to Orlando because between Disney World and Universal Studios, you're in for a photo-op filled trip. Beloved characters like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Spongebob Squarepants, Shrek and Curious George are waiting to meet and greet and strike a pose with you.

Within these massive theme parks are distinct, smaller parks known the world over. Though Walt Disney World is practically a city unto itself at 40 square miles, it’s divided into four main parks: the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. 

The Magic Kingdom is the resort’s original park with its iconic Cinderella Castle. Throughout the park, rides and attractions draw inspiration from American cities, far-off lands, fantastic places and different periods throughout history.

Epcot, with its famous world showcase, has been described as a sort of “permanent World’s Fair,” with attractions that celebrate innovation and human achievement. The Animal Kingdom is a 580-acre zoo built around the natural environment and focused on animal conservation. And Hollywood Studios celebrates show business, from film and TV to music and theater.

Orlando’s other major theme park, Universal Orlando, is smaller and more pedestrian-friendly than Disney. It features six themed areas all centered around a lagoon. One of the most popular is the recently added Wizarding World of Harry Potter, immortalizing even further the world J.K. Rowling created.

DOWNTOWN

What’s less well-known is that downtown Orlando has become a hot spot for trendy restaurants, cool bars and prestigious cultural events. The scene’s gotten so enticing in recent years that Orlando’s movers and shakers have quietly moved themselves out of their suburban homes and into sky-high condos that circle the iconic Lake Eola Park downtown.

Swans gracefully glide on Lake Eola, swimming around the giant fountain and up to the Walt Disney Amphitheatre which was donated to the city in 1989. The loop around the lake is a breezy 0.9 miles, making it easy to plan a daily run, and the weather generally complies as well with lots of sunshine and temperatures hovering in the mid-70s°F in the winter and mid-80s°F in the summer.

RESTAURANTS

In recent years, the culinary scene in Orlando has exploded with a growing collection of restaurants and award-winning chefs. It’s also, incidentally, the city with the most food trucks per capita. You’ll find that the city has a number of restaurants serving cuisines including Thai, Indian, Japanese, African and Scandinavian among many others.

ARTS AND CULTURE

For art lovers, a monthly gallery hop is sponsored by the Downtown Arts District. You’ll also find impressive collections at both the Orlando Museum of Art and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. For an educational afternoon, stop by the Orlando Science Center for its engaging interactive exhibits. And catch renowned performers from pop, rock and jazz to dance and Broadway at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Orlando has two basic seasons each year. Its hot and rainy season lasts from May through late September and its warm and dry season runs from October through April. During the humid summer season, high temperatures hover in the low to mid 90s°F. During the cooler part of the year, humidity is lower and temperatures are more moderate. In January, the average daily temperature is 60°F.

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