If you’re one of the 181 million Americas stuck in a winter freeze, you could be dreaming of warming climates like those that you would find in Orlando, Florida. As a county seat, Orlando has officially been around since 1856, but there have always been folks enjoying the benefits of living inland. During the late 1800s, Orlando was ground zero for orange growing. Over the years, it evolved into a nice place to visit in Florida. Then in 1965, Walt Disney pulled out his map of America and decided Orlando would be a nifty spot for the second Disneyland theme park. Thus, Disney World was built, and Orlando was forever changed. This area went from a sleepy county to a must-see tourist destination overnight.

Beyond The Big WDW

Disney World has been open since 1971. Since then, millions of visitors have poured through its gates to take in all things Mickey. That includes EPCOT Center that houses Uncle Walt’s vision of the future surrounded by world pavilions. You can have breakfast in Germany, lunch in China and dinner in Italy. Pretty cool. However, it might be that Disney has gotten too big for itself. Recently, the Disney Corporation acquired the Star Wars and Marvel franchise. There were high hopes of some theme rides, but apparently, the brakes have been put on this development. No matter, Disney is not the only game in Orlando.

The Big U

Hoping to catch some of the Disney traffic, Universal Studios opened up a branch of its successful tours in 1990. There are six themed areas including Hollywood (of course), New York and Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone. By 1999, Universal expanded over to its Islands of Adventure. Here is where you’ll get the cool stuff like Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing, Toon Lagoon, and the most recent addition, the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. Take that Mickey Mouse.

Spend A Week

To take in all Orlando has to offer, you need to spend at least a week there. This might make the rest of Florida jealous, but you won’t have a moment’s rest. Discovery Cove lets you swim with the dolphins. There’s plenty more to do there, but everything pales to swimming with the dolphins. For more sea stuff, you can also check out Sea World Orlando. If you’ve ever wanted to go skydiving but have a fear of planes, then iFLY is just the ticket. You get to experience indoor skydiving without the need to jump out of a plane.

What makes Orlando such a great place is that it is far from the coast where the hurricanes come  a calling. That was all NASA needed to know before it set up their space center. You can tour the Kennedy Space Center to get a genuine appreciation of the greatness of American innovation and can do spirit. Remember, in 1961, when Kennedy said we’d land a man on the moon, we barely had a space program. By 1969, we got the job done.

You can pack a lot of vacation into a trip to Orlando.