When one thinks central Florida, we tend to focus on Orlando, home to several amusement parks and other attractions. But for couples wishing to leave their room and enjoy fun activities, Kissimmee fits the bill. Situated next door to Orlando, Kissimmee’s tagline is The Gateway to Fun. They aren’t wrong.
Let’s start with where to stay. We stayed at Reunion Resort, A Salamander Golf and Spa Resort. The accommodations were luxurious and spacious (ideal for a honeymoon). The resort is a large property that boasts three premier golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson .
- Reunion Spa
- Water Park (including a lazy river) and multiple pools scattered throughout the resort.
- Tennis and tennis camps
- Many great Dining options – we particularly liked Eleven Restaurant sitting atop the Reunion Resort Grande on the 11th floor.
- Forte was also a hit for traditional Italian cuisine. Plus the ClubHouse Grille and The Cover (poolside Caribbean Bar & Grill). We also hung out at The Grande Sushi Bar and of course, in-room dining.
- Recreation & Fitness Centre
- Bike Rentals
- Tennis and tennis camps
If you can dream it, they can do it. From intimate to grand, Reunion Resort offers an expansive location and the ideal setting for your wedding. You can even get married on one of the golf courses. With an in-house catering team, they will turn every wish into a reality. For information about planning your wedding or honeymoon at reunion resort; visit www.reunionresort.com.
What to Do In and Around Kissimmee:
Check out www.experiencekissimmee.com for all that Kissimmee has to offer.
- Hot air balloon rides (with champagne for up to three people – great photo opps)
- Chocolate Kingdom – an interactive journey all about, you guessed it, chocolate.
- The Ice Factory – lace’em up and go for a skate
- Kennedy Space Center – the Shuttle Launch Experience is memorable.
- Walt Disney World (literally minutes from our villa) – Made up of four theme parks –Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Disney Hollywood Studios and Epcot Centre – DisneyWorld is the granddaddy of all theme parks. We visited the Magic Kingdom including the new Fantasyland. Plus the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train that opened in May was a must. If possible, avoid the parks’ high seasons (spring break, the Christmas holiday season). Many Disney fan-created websites offer crowd estimator calendars, including this one: http://www.undercovertourist.com/planning/when-to-visit.html. If you wish to stay closer to Disney World than Kissimmee, many budget options exist from campgrounds to luxury resorts. To be guaranteed MagicBands with park admission, stay on Disney property at a Disney hotel. For details visit disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/
- Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I am not a big roller coaster fan, but do love Harry Potter, so this was a must. You can do both parks in a day if you’re focused, but it might be hard for younger children. Visit Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and then take the Hogwarts Express from Hogsmeade Station in Universal’s Islands of Adventure to King’s Cross Station in Universal Studios to visit Diagon Alley. The recently opened Diagon Alley blew us away. Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts ride is worth the long (two hour for us) wait. The re-creation of Diagon Alley was exact. Yes, we all purchased wands at Ollivanders wand shop. But it’s not all about Harry Potter, the rides in the rest of the parks are just as alluring. One of our favourites was becoming a Minion on the new 3D ride, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem or the trusted and scary The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.
- Discovery Cove. This all-inclusive tropical adventure offers one-of-a-kind opportunities to snorkel in waters teeming with rays and tropical fish, or just relax on their pristine white beaches.
Staying in Kissimmee is a practical and exciting alternative to staying in Orlando. There is so much more to do that goes beyond theme parks. Plan ahead and start getting ready for the time of your lives.