Orlando Travel Guide


Orlando's festivals are not exactly major league, though it must be hard to organise a brouhaha in the shadow of a theme park that wants you to believe that every day's a holiday. Locals step out of Fantasyland long enough to celebrate some of Florida's traditional pastimes like gardening, rodeo and golf.

The Silver Spurs Rodeo has been putting on a fine show since 1944, drawing 50,000 spectators and some of the top rodeo athletes to Orlando in mid-February and again in July. It's the largest rodeo in the eastern US. The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is a big to-do at Walt Disney World in mid to late April. The highlight of October is the Oldsmobile Scramble, when 100,000 amateur golfers putt it out at the Walt Disney World Resort. The Oldsmobile Classic for pros follows. Although Gay Day at Disney is not officially recognised, it's very popular, occurring on the first Saturday in June. In 2002, over 125,000 gay and lesbian visitors descended on Cinderella's Castle, turning the Magic Kingdom into the gayest place on earth on that bright June day.

Public Holidays
4 Jul - Independence Day
11 Nov - Veterans Day
seconday Mon in Oct - Columbus Day
first Mon in Sep - Labor Day
third Mon in Jan - Martin Luther King Jr Day
fourth Thu in Nov - Thanksgiving
1 Jan - New Year's Day
25 Dec - Christmas Day
third Mon in Feb - Presidents' Day
last Mon in May - Memorial Day
Apr/Mar - Easter

When to Go

Orlando's temperate climate - and the lure of the Mouse - make it a year-round destination. Planning to visit Disney World is akin to studying Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Visiting Orlando can be much the same if the D-World is on your itinerary. As a general rule, avoid school holidays. Otherwise, try to avoid the peak summer period; before Thanksgiving and after (up until Christmas) and then late January are good bets.

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