Kissimmee quick – Orlando’s lip-smacking holiday destination
Imagine a place where the sun shines for 232 days of the year, you’re just a few miles from the world’s greatest theme parks, and you can come face-to-face with some of the most spectacular natural beauty in North America by just stepping outside your hotel. Welcome to Kissimmee, (pronounced ‘ki-simi’) where you can bump into Mickey Mouse around the corner, or hop on an airboat to buzz around Shingle Creek Regional Park and say hi to the ‘gators’. It’s a great mix of charming ‘Mom and Pop’ America, quality entertainment, and raw nature at her very best. You’ll also get that typically warm Floridan welcome everywhere you go, and giant breakfasts that’ll make your eyes pop!
Sure, a lot of people book Kissimmee holidays as a great base for ‘doing the theme parks’, but there’s so much more to this part of Florida than just the Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot. You’ve got retro-style shopping, 1950s American Diners, hiking trails, traditional fairgrounds, and wonderfully-named beauty spots like Boggy Creek (which is so much better than it sounds — trust us). Whether you’re looking for an all-inclusive Florida holiday, a chance to experience the ‘real’ America, or are taking the kids to Walt Disney World Resort for that once-in-a-lifetime experience, Kissimmee is definitely right at the top of our Florida favourites list.
Where to stay in Kissimmee
They’re very good at hospitality in the USA. Very good. You’re made to feel welcome from the moment you step through the door, and nothing is too much trouble. Got a fussy eater in your rabble? Don’t worry, they’ll take care of it. Need some extra pampering to really get into the swing of things? Kissimmee hotels make sure you’re looked after with spa treatments and every type of therapy you can imagine.
Better yet, why not bundle everything up into package and have more time to focus on enjoying yourself? Our package holidays to Kissimmee include your flights, transfers and accommodation. You can also upgrade with free transport to Walt Disney World Resort and the region’s other theme parks, pack in some full or half-board deals meaning so meals are taken care of, and you can even pay your resort fees up front. That way you know exactly how much spending money you’ve got to splash out on a few treats for the family (you simply cannot go to Walt Disney World and NOT buy a pair of Mickey Mouse ears for the kids). Here’s a few of our favourite spots and packages to try:
- Red Lion hotel – It may have the same name as your local pub, but this awesome hotel kicks it out of the park when it comes to great family accommodation. You’re just minutes from Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park, and there’s free shuttles to the theme parks right from the front door. Check out the food here, too; it’s authentic American cuisine with all the trimmings.
- Regal Oaks – Florida is famous for its gated communities, so why not try staying in one? Regal Oaks makes you feel like a true Floridian, with plenty of space in a safe environment where the kids can run around and get to know the neighbours. You’re just a few miles from the theme parks, making it a great base for a family holiday.
Kissimmee Resorts: tee off in the Sunshine State
Kissimmee is full of resorts that pack everything you need into one neat bundle, so you can concentrate on having a great time. From 5-star luxury to family-friendly resorts where the kids are right at the heart of the holiday experience, Kissimmee resorts have that typical American extravagance and attention to detail that makes them a top choice for discerning travellers. Not only that, but they’re a great choice for any golfers looking to enjoy a few rounds under the Florida sun. Here’s a few of our favourites (all of which are close to those all-important theme parks, too):
- Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate – sure, every hotel and Kissimmee resorts have pools, but do they have fountains? The Omni Orlando Resort does, as well as its own 36-hole golf course, spa, 18-hole ‘miniature’ golf course (which anywhere else would be a ‘normal’ golf course!), and 15 acres of gardens. This is serious 5-star indulgence, where everyone gets treated as a VIP, especially the kids.
- Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club – pack your nine-iron, because we’ve got yet another resort with fabulous golf facilities. You’ve got 600 acres of immaculate gardens and greens, fairways, and walkways to explore, and of course, you’re just a pitch-and-putt away from those theme parks for the kids. This is more of a hotel complex rather than individual villas, and you’ve got everything you need for a perfect Kissimmee holiday at any time of the year.
Best time to travel
Holidays to Kissimmee are great at any time of the year — just make sure you pack plenty of Factor 30. The region is classified as ‘sub tropical’ which basically translates into hot and sunny.
- October – April – this is the ‘cool’ part of the year, although you’ll still be looking at average temperatures of around 15-20°C. That starts to climb as you enter into the spring months, making April in particular a popular time for visitors.
- May – September – Florida’s summer months are hot, hot, hot! Expect the thermometer to climb up to the mid 30s °C, although the cooling effect of the Atlantic Ocean currents takes the edge off the heat, making it perfect for lazing about by the pool or spending the day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Food and drink
You’re in the USA, which means big, big portions! A pile of breakfast pancakes or waffles should get you started, washed down by plenty of coffee (refills are usually free). Then it’s those kids’ favourites, burgers and pizza for lunch, while grown-ups can go for something spicy such as Tacos. Finish the day off with steaks the size of your own head, or some delicious Italian dining. Here’s a few top spots to try:
- Capone’s – Get your gangster on at this themed restaurant that doesn’t take itself too seriously (the comedy nights are a hoot!).
- Medieval Times – a medieval banquet with jousting tournaments to keep you entertained, jesters having a good old frolic, and women in very big ice-cream cone hats – great fun!
- Abracadabra Ice Cream Factory – If you don’t take the kids here at least once they’ll never forgive you. Watch them make the ice cream in front of you using liquid nitrogen. It’s dramatic, it’s amazing, and the ice cream is just fabulous.
- Fat Boys’ Bar-BQ – a favourite with the locals and a chance to tuck into some authentic Southern BBQ sweet and spicy marinated ribs – expect to end up with sticky fingers and a happy grin!
Things to do
The theme parks are a given, so let’s take a look at some other attractions you can explore on your Kissimmee holiday:
- The Warbird Air Museum – Not simply a museum, but a workshop where WWII planes are brought back to life. Go on a guided tour and see some of the world’s most iconic planes being restored.
- EcoSafaris – the region surrounding Kissimmee is one of the South’s most important eco-sites. Get to grips with the ‘locals’ at the Forever Florida Eco park. You can trek through on horseback, or really get your adrenaline pumping with a zipline safari through the treetops.
- Boggy Creek Airboat and Swamp Buggy rides – you knew we’d get back to Boggy Creek eventually, didn’t you? This amazing spot is slap-bang in the middle of the Florida Everglades, and you’ll get the chance to meet turtles, birds, and yes, ‘gators too. (Not too ‘up close and personal’, obviously…)
- Silver Spurs Rodeo – It’s rootin’ tootin’ fun at this authentic rodeo experience. This is true Americana at its most exuberant best.
- The Old Town Classic Car Show – every weekend you’ll see some concourse-quality classic cars parading through the old town. This is a real treat for petrol heads.
- 4th July – Independence Day – don’t worry, there won’t be any alien invasions this time around, but there will be plenty of fireworks! This is the big one for Americans, and they love to celebrate in style. Head to Lakefront Park for a more ‘vintage’ experience.
- By car – the best way to see all the sights at your own pace is to hire a car. Florida is great for road trips, with broad, well maintained roads and clear grid-type layouts in the cities that make getting around easy.
- Courtesy shuttle buses – if you’re focused on heading to the theme parks then most package holidays to Kissimmee will include free shuttle bus transfers.
Ready to discover this popular part of Florida? Whether you’re a golfer, theme-park lover or simply looking to soak up the sun, check out our Kissimmee hotels to start planning your getaway.