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Recommended family holidays in Kissimmee
Read time: 6 mins
A visit to Orlando’s theme parks is a trip of a lifetime for many families, so why stay in Kissimmee? Right next door to all the fun, this city is Orlando’s friendly neighbour, perfectly situated in the heart of all the action. The top theme parks are all within a short drive, while Kissimmee boasts an impressive range of accommodation options with something for just about every budget. An outstanding value, you’ll find everything from resorts and condos to eight-bedroom self-catering luxury homes with enough room for the whole family and the cousins too.
Historic downtown Kissimmee boasts a variety of family-friendly restaurants, unique shops and antique stores, as well as classic cars that cruise the streets, and a parade finale on Friday and Saturday nights.
Getting around Kissimmee
Kissimmee is about a 25-minute drive from Orlando International Airport via Interstate 4. The preferred way to get around is to hire a car, conveniently getting to and from all the parks, Kissimmee’s historic downtown, as well as for day trips to the coast. If you’d rather not get behind the wheel, many Kissimmee hotels and resorts provide an airport shuttle. If your property does not, private shuttle services are available as well.
The Kissimmee and Orlando area also offers taxis that can easily be hired at the airport, theme parks and hotels, along with inexpensive and reliable public bus transportation through Lynx. Uber and Lyft are both alternative options to taxis, ride-sharing services that are highly-efficient for getting around to the parks, resorts and to/from the airport.
Theme parks in and around Kissimmee
Disney’s Magic Kingdom
This is the younger sibling of California’s Disneyland that opened in 1955. Sixteen years later, Florida’s Magic Kingdom made its debut with Cinderella’s Castle rising from the centre. It includes six themed areas like Frontierland, Tomorrowland and Fantasyland as well as Main Street USA. Visitors can capture photos with their favourite Disney characters, watch parades, awe-inspiring fireworks displays and more.
Part of Disney World, Epcot is one of the largest theme parks in Orlando, featuring a 1.3-mile promenade around the World Showcase Lagoon that celebrates countries around the world, to sample the best of culture, music, food and products of 11 different nations. It also hosts attractions like the iconic Spaceship Earth as well as a grand finale daily that includes music, fireworks, lasers and special effects.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Animal Kingdom is not like your typical zoological park. Look forward to embarking on a safari without having to travel overseas, getting close to animals from Africa and many other parts of the world with some 1,500 creatures that represent 250 species. Visitors also enjoy attractions like rafting down the Amazon and hopping aboard a runaway train through Mount Everest, animal shows and more.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios will immerse you into the world of show biz, complete with live shows, tours through the backlot, rides, attractions, animation galleries and live stunt shows. Descend the heart-racing Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a must for thrill-seekers, and the whole family will want to visit the new Toy Story Land where visitors can become the size of a toy.
Universal Studios Florida
This is the original park of Universal Studios Resort offering all things pop culture, bringing classics like ‘The Terminator’ and ‘E.T.’ back to life as well as featuring plenty for ‘Simpson’ and ‘Harry Potter’ fans. There are lots of rides here too, like the indoor coaster, Revenge of the Mummy that thrusts riders into total darkness while racing through almost too-real special effects, including warrior mummies and a fireball.
Islands of Adventure
This Universal Studios Park brings more of your favourite movie experiences to life, from a heart-pounding raft ride passing dinosaurs to the chance to wander through the world of Hogwarts. The Marvel Super Hero Island attractions will even take you soaring through the air like some of the super heroes themselves.
The world’s largest LEGOLAND park is especially popular with the kids, designed for ages two through 12. It hosts 59 rides, shows and attractions along with the Big Shop for purchasing LEGO souvenirs to bring back home.
Fun Spot America
Fun Spot America offers two locations, Orlando and Kissimmee, with different levels of thrills providing something for all ages. Extreme thrill-seekers can look forward to riding two of the world’s tallest coasters. The SkyCoasters are a mix between hang gliding and skydiving, and are offered at both parks. Orlando features the only wooden roller coaster, White Lightning, while Kissimmee boasts a wooden-steel hybrid coaster known as the Mine Blower, a one-of-a-kind in America’s Southeast.
This park is perfect for a half-day visit, perhaps spending the morning at Gatorland and the rest of the day alongside the pool back at your resort or villa. The park is focused on gators, the state’s most famous native inhabitants, and not only includes live alligators and crocodiles, but a splash pad for cooling off and a zipline where you’ll speed over the animals at up to 30 miles per hour.
Dining out in Kissimmee
No matter what your tastes, you’ll find it in Kissimmee. The city offers everything from burger joints, All-American diners and pancake houses to upscale restaurants that will bring you on a culinary adventure through Europe. You can even take in a dinner show, complete with pirate battles and medieval tournaments.
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
Take the family back in time with this popular dinner attraction, watching exciting sword fights among brave Knights on their spirited steeds. Dine just like they did back in the day, on a four-course meal, minus utensils and served in a castle-like environment.
When you’re in the mood for the best, head to Eleven. This impressive steakhouse named the region’s Best Kept Secret in the Orlando Magazine Dining Awards, features an impressive menu that includes dishes like New York strip, Mongolian-style lamb chops, pan-seared salmon and Yuengling-battered lobster tail.
For breakfast or comfort food, Woodsby’s is the place to go. A mom-and-pop style cafe, you can get your morning started out right with popular items like pancakes, omelets and hash browns piled with grilled onions, cheese and ham. On the lunch menu are items like hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, salads and daily specials like the gravy-topped meatloaf.
Bahama Breeze is a popular, family-friendly chain that kids and teens especially enjoy, though adults will find something to like about it too. A themed restaurant based on “island paradise,” it features kids’ favourites like mac and cheese and chicken tenders as well as rice bowls, wings, tacos, sandwiches and more.
Where to stay in Kissimmee
There are a wide range of accommodation options in Kissammee, from budget-friendly hotel rooms to sprawling resorts and even villa-style homes for enjoying all the comforts and plenty of space for the whole family and perhaps extended family members too.
Watersong Resort Homes
Located just south of Kissimmee in an elegant, gated community, Watersong Resort Homes features stunning villas that range from four- to six-bedrooms in size, while guests enjoy all the amenities of a resort. You’ll have a full-kitchen for dining in occasionally as well as a private pool. The resort itself offers a zero-entry pool, exercise room, sports courts, walking trails, Italian-style gardens and more.
Trafalgar Village Resort Homes
Located just a short drive from Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, Trafalgar Village Resort hosts an ideal blend of well-appointed vacation homes and desirable community amenities. Choose from four- or five-bedroom homes, all of which include a private, screened swimming pool, a large kitchen for home-cooked meals, and even a washer/dryer. In between all the fun at the parks, lounge on the resort’s manmade beach or snorkel among tropical waters. For indoor fun, there are games in the arcade and an onsite movie theatre.
Paradise Palms Town Home
This beautiful community is aptly-named, offering stylish four- and five-bedroom townhomes set among a tropical paradise complete with a tiki bar and grill, and all the amenities of a full-service resort. Homes include a full kitchen and private splash pool, though you can also enjoy the 5,000-square-foot community pool and indulge in one of the luxurious spas. The massive clubhouse hosts a sauna, sports courts, fitness centre, pool with a waterfall, grotto and pool slide, as well as a kids’ pool.
Bella Vida Resort Platinum Homes
Bella Vida is just a 15-minute drive from Walt Disney World Resort and offers everything you need to enjoy the comforts of home and then some. Choose from four-, five- or six-bedroom villas, all with full kitchens with everything you need to cook a meal, as well as a private swimming pool. High-end resort amenities include over 15 acres of lakes, a zero-entry pool, sports courts, video arcade and a cyber café, as well as walking trails, a picnic area, fishing dock and more.
12 Windsor at Westside
If you prefer to book a specific, named home, you can do that too, such as 12 Windsor at Westside. This luxury six-bedroom, eight-bath house works especially well for large families or groups of friends travelling together. You’ll get a full kitchen, private screened-in swimming pool with an expansive patio and outdoor furniture, as well as a game room, complete with foosball tables. Resort amenities are included as well, like an outdoor spa, children’s splash park and lazy river, zero-entry pool, fitness centre, tiki bar, sand volleyball and more.
Magic Village Resort
Those who have Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the agenda may want to book the Magic Village Resort, located just minutes away. These upscale villas come in a variety of three- and four-bedroom styles, all of which feature a fully-equipped kitchen. Resort facilities include the onsite Villagio Restaurant, a clubhouse with a heated outdoor pool, fitness room and a kid’s play room as well as a complementary shuttle to the Disney parks.
Lighthouse Key Resort and Spa
Located in Kissimmee just four miles from Walt Disney World, the Lighthouse Key Resort and Spa offers two-, three- and four-bedroom condos, all apartment-style providing the amenities of home, like a fully-equipped kitchen, laundry facilities, patio or balcony. You’ll also get access to the resort’s spa, a lap and resort pool, fitness centre, game room and movie theatre.