20 days touring and experiencing the wonders of Tampa, Orlando and Daytona Beach
Highs & Lows
Visiting Daytona beach is the most chilling experience!
The weather in July as it is summer, is VERY hot!
I had recently graduated from school and we wanted to celebrate so we decided to travel to the United states in July holidays. We arrived to Orlando which was a 4hour trip from Bogotá/Colombia. We stayed in a Hotel called Hotel Sevilla, it was a beautiful place to stay with good and comfortable rooms and the price was also very comfortable even though we went in a time of high tourism, prices did increase a little but it was an affordable place. With my family we wanted to visit two parks in specific (the ones that we couldn’t have the opportunity to visit before: Epcot and Busch Gardens) so, as we were staying in Orlando we decided to go first to Epcot. It was a 22-minute trip. Personally, I consider that this park, beyond it’s attractions, is a very cultural and historical place perfect for people who really want to feel as if they were touring all around the world. In other words, Epcot was a bit of the world in one park. As you walked through the park you could see cities, countries and traditions, each place with characteristic dances of the region, food and clothes, I highly recommend this park!
The next day, we stayed at the hotel because we were very tired but the third day we decided to go to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and it was an 1hour and 25 minutes trip from Orlando. If you are interested in going, an advice is to wear very fresh clothes because the heat in that time of the year is very intense. Also, as the park is huge, use a good pair of shoes and if possible, take with you an extra set of clothes. And at last but not least, it is important to set meeting points in case someone gets lost. If you are an animal lover Busch Gardens is the perfect park for you, there was an incredible variety of wild life and in very good conditions. It was a hilarious experience because we were walking to an attraction and we saw a group of flamingos that were walking freely and one of the flamingos approached to us and started to bite my mom’s cap it was very funny but beautiful moment since I had never seen a flamenco so closely.
The fourth day, we decided to travel to Daytona Beach to have a relaxing day near the beach. It took us an hour and 30minutes to arrive but the route was very good because the traffic was light therefore, it was an enjoyable time. A tip for those who want to spend the day at Daytona is to take with you the lunch, snacks and most importantly water or sodas. I remember that we couldn't rent a tent so we had to use towels and be in the sun all the time so try to arrive early in the morning so that you can rent chairs and umbrellas. Despite the hot sun, it is a very chill moment with my family. The sand of the beach was very white and the sea had a perfect temperature. After this, approximately at 6:00 pm we decided to return back to the hotel and that was the end of our amazing and relaxed day.
When we arrived to Orlando we rented a car and we went to out hotel which was called Hotel Sevilla, it was a beautiful place to stay with good and comfortable rooms and the price was also very comfortable even though we went in a time of high tourism, prices did increase a little but it was an affordable place. If you are interested on staying in other hotels, the location of the Sevilla Hotel is in a complex of many hotels, so if you wish, you can look for other places to stay near. The good thing about Orlando is that wherever you go, you will always find a restaurant on the road so there's no problem about having breakfast, lunch or dinner. However, some places that I love for having breakfast are of course starbucks, panera bread, and keke's breakfast cafe. If you are planning to stay at the hotel longer, a great idea is to stop at Walmart and buy some food backups. Luckily, near the Sevilla Hotel we had a Walmart, walking it took us 10 minutes to arrive and by car it took no more than 5 minutes. Additionally, near the Walmart for about 5 minutes walking, there were like 4 -5 restaurants that were delicious!. The next day after our arrival, we went to Epcot and I loved the park, it was a good experience and it was definitely a completely different park than the ones I am used to. It was a 22 minute trip from Orlando to Epcot. This park focuses on showing history and culture. As you walked through the park you could see countries and traditions, each place with characteristic dances of the region, food and clothes, I highly recommend this park but mainly for adults because as there are not many attractions, little kids can get bored, but if in the case that you are planning to go with little kids an advice is to ride the Test Track and Frozen Ever After attractions. Also, you should go to Epcot really early in the morning and start visiting each place. First, because the entrance between 10-12am is a mess with long waiting lines and second, because it is a huge park and the time is not enough to see all the astonishing sections. If you want to have lunch there (which is basically a must) you could enter Chefs of France (which offers a variety of flavours and plates from France ), Choza de Margarita ( mexican restaurant), or Bierganten (a German restaurant).
From Orlando to Tampa it was a 1hour and 25 minute trip but the traffic is very light so there's no need to worry. Busch Gardens was a very fun experience. I traveled with my brother so we ride each of the attractions more than once. If you are a lover of adrenaline, I recommend you to ride the Sheikra, Tigris and Montu roller coasters, if you are looking for family attractions you can ride the Congo river rapids and the Sky ride which are also very fun. The park was very beautiful and full of wild life. If you are an animal lover, there is a train station were a train passes every 15 minutes and gives a little tour around animals and you feel like in a safari, you could see the animals freely walking while you were passing. Also, Busch Gardens offers many shows to the public, the best ones for me were, How to coexist (a show that interacts with animals constantly) and Pet shenaningas (also a show with animals ). In other words, this park is perfect for appreciating the magnificent nature and spending a fun time. The price of the ticket is quite expensive but it is TOTALLY worth it. For having lunch, an advice is to go to the Dragon fire Grill or the Serengeti overlook pub, you will mainly find fast food but they are delicious. I also recommend to wear very fresh clothes because the heat in that time of the year is very intense. Also, as the park is huge, use a good pair of shoes and if possible, take with you an extra set of clothes.
With the intention of relaxing and spending time with my family after being in parks and burning a lot of energy, we decided to travel to Daytona Beach, a fact is that the communities that make up Daytona Beach area include Ormond By The Sea, Daytona Beach Shores Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach , Wilbur By The Sea, Ponce Inlet, Holly Hill and South Daytona. We also wanted to see the International speedway and racing club on our way to the beach so we stopped there, it was huge and beautiful but we didn't enter. Before we started the trip (Which was aprox 1h and 25 min) we stopped at a supermarket and we bought lunch, snacks, water and sodas. It was the most beautiful beach I ever saw, the sand was very white and the sea had a perfect temperature. I really recommend going to Daytona beach it you want to have a chill time. However, it you are planning to stay longer, we spoke to a local guy who told us that the recommended things to do were to visit the aquatic park at Daytona Lagoon and the All Access Speedway Tours in Daytona International Speedway so if you are interested you can go!.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
Nothing! everything was great!
Anything go wrong during the trip?
I recommend to use a gps if you don't know were are the places. We got lost several times but that was all part of the experience!
Fast food tastes amazing in parks!
Tips you would give a friend?
Always take with you an extra set of clothes and water, you'll always get dirty.
Rent a car. It's the best option to transport comfy and safe and sound