I have so much to tell you about my amazing trip to Kissimmee with Norwegian – I can’t believe two weeks has flown past since I was there. I travelled with such a lovely bunch of people and we had great fun exploring – honestly, it was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. If you’re considering a holiday to Florida, whether it be to the theme parks, or to discover a bit more of the area, I highly recommend Kissimmee as a base. There’s so much fabulous accommodation, beautiful scenery, loads of fun things to do, and, it’s so close to all the parks too. Here are my recommendations for fun family holidays in Kissimmee.
If you follow me on Instagram stories, you’ll have seen our reactions when we first walked into our fabulous villa, booked with Jeeves Florida Rentals. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite so eye-popping: with eight suites, each decorated in luxurious creams and golds, each with marble bathrooms and dressing rooms, including one master suite with a bedroom opening directly onto the pool, plus the kitchen of my dreams, we were spoiled rotten. Of course, if there aren’t ten of you, there are smaller villas available, but for a big group, I’d highly consider doing this again – you could literally house your whole extended family: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends – and what a house party you could have by that gorgeous pool!
This picture was taken in the evening when the light wasn’t great, but I just wanted to show you the incredible luxury and attention to detail in all the rooms. Just gorgeous:
And oh my lord, the pool area. Complete with a water slide, hot tub, barbecue area, loungers, sofas, and of course, it came free with the most heavenly sunrises you could imagine…
If you prefer a hotel rather than a villa, we also visited the fabulously named Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center for breakfast one morning. I’ve driven past it loads of times and always wondered what it was like. Inside, it’s stunning, and HUGE, with something like 1400 guest rooms. Split into three distinct areas, all with different styling and all housed under a huge glass atrium with a lush central garden brimming with huge palms and rushing water. There’s even a restaurant on a 60′ sailing ship, so you can dine under the stars surrounded by water.
The great outdoors
From our base at the villa, we were well placed to enjoy some of the fantastic outdoor experiences that Kissimmee has to offer. The last time I went to Boggy Creek Airboat Rides, it was pouring with rain, and we all got absolutely drenched. This time, the sun was shining, and we spotted loads of wildlife, including some pretty big gators! The airboats are noisy and exhilarating – there’s nothing quite like whooshing across the Florida swamps at speed – it’s kid friendly and great fun.
One of my favourite places was Shingle Creek, where we visited The Paddling Center. It’s a really pretty spot, and we hopped into two-man kayaks for a serene, sun-dappled paddle. It was really, really hot, but slipping through the water, through shady spots created by the trees overhanging the water, was just so enjoyable. We spotted more gators, and stopped to watch turtles swim by, or sun themselves on upturned tree roots. Just gorgeous, and a great way to see another side of Kissimmee.
If you’re feeling even more adventurous, I can highly recommend challenging yourself to climb the high ropes course at Orlando Tree Trek. After we’d done the initial safety check and got our harnesses on, I was feeling really brave, but once up in the forest canopy, stepping across wobbly logs and side-stepping on rope bridges 50 ft in the air, it became clear that it’s not as easy as it looks. It’s hot, sweaty, scary and really challenging, but what a sense of achievement when you finally whizz down the zip line at the finish. I’ve got a feeling the boys would love this – we’ll definitely be back!
A dash of Disney magic
Of course, you can’t come to Kissimmee without visiting gorgeous Disney Springs. I’ve been dying to eat at Paddlefish, and it was even better than I’d heard. I’ve updated my guide to Disney Springs so do click over and have a read! We also got to visit Celebration, one of the places I’ve had on my bucket list for a long time – full post coming very soon.
As usual, I reserved meet and greet airport parking with APH Meet & Greet parking. Norwegian have just announced a new agreement with APH, which means that Norwegian Reward members can now earn cost savings on Norwegian flights when booking APH’s car parking facilities at select airports across the UK too (visit www.norwegianreward.com for more details).
Norwegian fly to Orlando all year round, with three flights per week in the summer (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) and a Saturday flight in the winter. Fares start from just £179 one way in economy and £499 one way in Premium (including taxes and charges). For more information and to book, visit Norwegian.com/uk
Huge thanks to everyone at Experience Kissimmee for hosting our wonderful adventure.