Disney Fun in Orlando: Character dining at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Photo credit: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.
Iain Miller wrote this guest post about family holidays in Orlando and Dubai.
Destination is everything when it comes to family holidays.
We’ve definitely found it confusing, not to say mind-boggling trying to work out where we should go to try to give the kids experiences they will cherish, as well as making sure practical details like their beach clubs and our peace of mind are catered for!
Two of the best family destinations for us have been Orlando, which has something of a family reputation thanks to the awe-inspiring Disney attractions and a more surprising destination, Dubai.
Aquadventure at The Palm Dubai. Photo credit: The Palm Dubai.
If Dubai sounds like a romantic paradise and chic modern holiday resort more suited to couples, the waterways, towers, oasis-gardens and of course the long white sandy beaches seem like an Arabian Nights fairytale to kids.
Our kids were enchanted from the moment we arrived and were taken to our rooms (which were palatial to say the least) by boat! The kids can get henna or mendhi tattoos, and the hotel staff go out of their way to make them feel special.
Chilled fruit skewers and drinks are brought out onto the beaches – nothing is too much trouble. Eating in the restaurants is stress-free as children are catered for, and the ingredients are fresh and healthy. We tried out Lebanese and Thai, which the kids loved, as well as the usual favorites like pizza which the specialist restaurant in our hotel again made fresh.
If you’re after a beach holiday with the clear aqua sea, white sand, pools to die for, but also something a little different to introduce your kids to a more adventurous holiday, I have to recommend Dubai.
We tried camel riding all together, although 4×4 would have been an option for more of a day out, as well as snorkeling and shopping in the traditional souk where the kids got to pick out some of their very own Arabian ‘treasure’. The variety was wonderful.
For variety on family holidays, Orlando does give Dubai a run for its money, it has to be said, just because of the endless thrilling days out. We loved the Magic Kingdom for its cute rides, and the way the children interact with their favorite characters (above top), even stopping by their ‘houses’.
Epcot was something else with its regions of the world and breathtaking fireworks displays. Harry Potter World again makes the kids’ favorite films and stories come alive with them interacting in Hogwarts or finding out which wand is theirs!
As well as theme parks, rides and shows specifically geared to give your children the holiday of a lifetime, water is a major theme of Orlando so if your family holidays are defined by their splash action, you can do it in style at shady Typhoon Lagoon, Wet ‘n’ Wild, or even Sea World – where the dolphin and killer whale displays splash kids who choose to sit at the front.