Family Vacations to Kissimmee

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Kissimmee – Family Vacation Guide

While Orlando may have the name recognition, many of the major theme parks in Florida reside in neighboring Kissimmee, including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando. Kissimmee, Florida, is located in Osceola County, 30 minutes south of the Orlando International Airport and a stone’s throw from Orlando’s major theme parks.  Historically, visitors were drawn to the area for fishing, sun, and escaping the northern winter chill until the region changed dramatically in 1971 when Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom opened.

Why Go

  • Villas Aplenty

    Kissimmee, Florida, also boasts a large number of vacation homes allowing families to find their home-away-from-home, spread out, splash in their own pool, and save vacation dollars with cooking some meals in a full kitchen. Families can find a home-away-from-home with parents and kids each having their own bedroom, or rent a larger 6- to 7-bedroom house for family reunions and multigenerational trips.  You can find many more amenities in a vacation home than you would a typical hotel room such as a full kitchen, private pool, game room, and multiple flat-screen TVs in every room.  Some vacation homes even allow pets for those that travel with their furry companions.

  • Theme Parks

    Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando may be billed as part of Greater Orlando, but the addresses are Kissimmee. Staying in Kissimmee means staying closer to the theme parks for less traffic and easy in and out.

  • Old Florida

    Get a sense of original “old” Florida with natural adventures including airboat rides, alligator encounters and canopy tours.

What to Do

Families are familiar with the major theme parks that reside in close proximity to Kissimmee, Florida including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando. In addition, you can find many outdoor, naturalistic adventures.

Walt Disney World

This world-famous spot is home to four massive theme parks full including the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there’s no shortage of fun and adventure here. In addition to the theme parks, Walt Disney World contains 36 different hotel resorts, four golf courses, two water parks, a sports facility and an entertainment/shopping/dining complex.

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Universal Orlando

Harry Potter fanatics will love exploring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that’s found here. Universal Orlando Resort consists of two theme parks, one water park, five onsite hotels and a 30-acre entertainment/shopping/dining complex. Universal’s two theme parks are particularly popular with teens and tweens and have some more intense rides than Walt Disney World.

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SeaWorld Orlando

The SeaWorld resort area includes three separate theme parks: SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica – SeaWorld’s Waterpark and Discovery Cove. Each park combines thrilling entertainment experiences with educational animal encounters and in-depth tours. These are also some of the most beautifully landscaped parks in the country.

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One of Florida’s original roadside attractions enticing families to stop since 1949. This 110-acre preserve houses thousands of alligators, snakes, Florida panthers, and more. There are a number of shows offered throughout the day from the kitschy Gatorland Jumparoo and Gator Wrestling to more informative and educational shows. Gatorland is a state designated bird sanctuary, and hundreds of birds fly peacefully above the gaping maw of alligators. Families can also find hiking and nature trails as well as the Screamin’ Gator zipline right over the alligator enclosures.

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Lake Tohopekaliga

Explore a unique and endangered ecosystem via one of the airboat companies that take families on exhilarating rides through the marshes of the 18,000-acre Lake Tohopekaliga. The lake is home to a wide variety of native Florida plants and animals including alligators in their native environment. Boggy Creek Airboat Rides, Spirit of the Swamp and Wild Florida Airboats all offer guided tours through the headwaters of the Everglades.

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Give Kids the World

Why not spend a portion of your family vacation giving back to others?  Kissimmee is home to Give Kids The World Village, a nonprofit resort where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to a week-long, cost-free vacation in central Florida.  Families can donate 3-4 hours of their vacation-time volunteering to serve food, staff venues, and work with kids.

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Getting Around

For families flying into Orlando International Airport, a rental car is the easiest way to get around. Kissimmee is approximately 30 minutes south of the airport, and a car is essential to visiting the attractions – especially if your family rents one of the vacation homes. If you prefer to let someone else do the driving, you can find a large number of taxis, ride-share, and shuttle options. There is also a public transportation system – Central Florida’s Regional Transportation Authority, also known as LYNX buses.

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