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Vacation in Central Florida
By:Bryn Hiner

There is so much to see and do in Central Florida, its hard to know what to select first! Having lived and worked in the area I know there are few things that are must-see, and others you may want to take-a-pass on, but the choice is up to you.

Do you want an enchanting adventure with plenty of thrills, family entertainment, and maybe a reminiscent visit to an old favorite? Or are you on the cutting edge of new adventures and want to experience only the newest thrills engineered to make all you adrenaline-junkies go wild?

Well, Central Florida definitely will fit the bill whether you have a million-dollar budget, or a more modest family budget, there will be something for everyone in the family. The key is to plan ahead, know what the big-ticket items will cost, like your airfare, hotel, attraction tickets, and meals, and then find creative ways to get the most out every vacation dollar you have to spend. Of course one of the biggest commodities on your trip will be TIME! There is just no way to get to everything done in a single trip, so think carefully about how to budget your time, and your whole family will come away with memories to last a lifetime.

One of the best ways to settle arguments about who wants to go where, and when, is to have a good idea before you even leave home about what the options are, and how long it will take to visit each place. For instance, you may want to spend 1 or 2 days at Disney World, while someone else may want to spend an entire week! A good way to start planning is for everyone in the family to build a wish list of their own must see adventures, then as a family, sit down and decide where you can agree or where you might have to sacrifice things for another trip. If you approach the options with the idea that it may not all fit into one trip, you build in automatic anticipation for another adventure at some later time.

Just be careful not to over-schedule your trip, as you will want plenty of flexibility to explore things you discover along the way, and to have plenty of down time. Dont forget to take the weather into account for the time of year you are going to visit, and remember to plan your days around little-ones sleeping and eating schedules. If you give yourself a little more time for each event that you think it will take, youll avoid unpleasant surprises and give yourself room to relax and ENJOY your vacation.

Once you have your familys wish lists, and youve started to narrow down the choices, take the time to learn the geography. If one member of the family wants to visit Busch Gardens in Tampa and the other wants to visit Daytona Beach, youre talking about opposite sides of the state one on the Gulf Coast and the other on the Atlantic Ocean! So keep your activities locations in mind and youll be sure to avoid disappointments. Florida is a lot bigger than it seems on the map, and youre going to need road-time to get between attractions.

Of course you can always decide to divide and conquer, Dad takes the Gulf Coast and Mom takes the Atlantic Coast, but then you all miss the bonding time doing things as a family. On a smaller scale, the divide and conquer strategy works well for short time blocks; say you have some members of the family terrified of roller coasters, and other bored with quieter pursuits, you can split up for say an hour or two, then meet up for a sit-down lunch and share your morning adventures with each other. This also works well if you have several age ranges to accommodate not everyone will be old enough, or ready to tackle some of the more intense rides, so its good to know those limitations and plan them into your day. Remember that at most attractions, you can wait in line as a family, and then one parent can go on the ride while the other parent waits at the end then switch. The other considerations you will make is how each member of the family fundamentally feels about certain things for instance, a trip to Sea World will satisfy those seeking an adventure as well as those family member that are particularly interested in nature, science, and animals while everyone has a great time!

Walt Disney World has grown up some in the past decade, and offers more of thrill rides, while maintaining the family atmosphere that Walt Disney himself founded Disneyland Park on back in the 1950s. With their 50th Anniversary Celebration, theyve proven to be the venerable giant in the entertainment and theme park industry, and no really does it better. Of course Universal Studios Orlando, Sea World, Busch Gardens Tampa to name a few do an outstanding job, and a visit to all of these parks is a great vacation experience you just have to know your family preferences and which parks will cater to your needs the best.

And lets not forget all the other options out there! With Kennedy Space Center, Water Parks, Gator Parks, NASCAR events, world class shopping, and other adventures, from Tampa Bay, Daytona Beach, Cape Canaveral, Kissimmee, and everything in between, Central Florida has a lot offer and plenty of sunshine to go around!

Bryn Hiner

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