Our flights with Virgin Atlantic were fantastic. We could pre-book our seat in advance, had plenty of entertainment options (current and classic) on board, wonderful service and a great choice of food and drink. Both our outbound and return flights departed on time and arrived early.

Theme parks:

Kennedy Space Centre
You can visit this park in a day, but I would definitely recommend 2 days, as it would be enough time to take in the full experience and to do as much as possible, especially if you’re a space geek like me. Thereare regular launches so it might be a good idea to arrange a visit around this (dates on KSC website). KSC is a multiuser spaceport, where commercial companies like SpaceX launch from. It’s not just for NASA use. We walked through the rocket garden, visited the heroes and legends hall of fame, had lunch onsite both days, enjoyed the most amazing soft play I’ve ever seen, Imax and space shop where we all bought some astronaut food for souvenirs. We took a bus ride out to the huge vehicle assembly building, observation platform, launch pad viewing area and Saturn V Centre where we walked under the actual Saturn V rocket (rocket to the Moon) and touched a piece of Moon rock. Space Shuttle Atlantic was revealed to us in the most breathtaking way, and we even had the privilege of trying one of the 4 astronaut training stages – we got microgravity! They have 2 amazing simulators we tried; The shuttle launch experience (next best thing to an actual shuttle launch) and Spaceport KSC (we took a journey to the Red Planet). A short stay around this area with a couple of days admission into KSC would be ideal for a family who has been to Orlando before and want to try something a bit different, adults/groups of friends travelling or even as a pre or post cruise break if sailing from Port Canaveral.

At Aquatica you have the chance to do as much or as little as you want in a fantastic outdoor water park. We set up base camp on the sun loungers and headed off in all directions. I was a bit too chicken for the big slides, so I stuck to floating round the lazy river on a rubber ring a few times. I eventually felt brave enough for the rapids which was great fun, but that was my limit, and then it was back to the sun lounger. You can hire a locker for around $30 and towels for around $20 (but I’d say take ones from your hotel instead).

Other activities:

We jumped in an Uber from the hotel to the giant upside-down house down I’Drive as we were booked into the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show. Our ticket included a warm welcome, unlimited pizza, salad, beer, wine and soda and a comedy magic show while we ate. It was good all-round family fun and a great way to spend an evening.

Just a few minutes along the road from WonderWorks is ICON Park, which offers shops, restaurants, attractions, daytime entertainment and nightlife, as well as free parking. As we stepped on our pod on the giant wheel, we were each handed a camera. As we slowly went round, we used our cameras in a fun interactive game trying to line up the red dots on the billboards on top of roofs to get points. It started off quite competitive, but we soon got distracted by the breathtaking view from 400ft up. Premium outlet shopping. There are numerous shopping outlets offering designer or high street names at a fraction of the price. Just remember about your luggage allowance and download the shop’s apps as you might get more discount.

Top tips for visiting Orlando:

  • Take bug spray – bites aren’t nice in the heat
  • Take a high factor suncream as you’ll be exposed to the hot sun for long periods
  • Plan your trip well but don’t try to fit everything in, you’ll need some downtime
  • Choose a hotel with a pool to enjoy your downtime
  • Pre-book your theme park tickets in advance to help budget your holiday. Remember to add on the VIP or fast-track where you can as queue cutting is worth its weight in gold
  • Download the Uber app, it’s one of the fastest and most efficient way of getting round when you don’t want to drive
  • Most parks won’t let you take food or drink in, so take an empty bottle you can fill up at a water station when inside
  • Carry ID if you’re going out for a drink, most places ask if you look under 40. They accepted a picture on our phone of our passport, but not everywhere will
  • Don’t bother taking your straightening iron ladies, there really is no point and you’ll want all the spare luggage allowance you have