Tackling Orlando

Every parent knows they must plan a family vacation to this theme park mecca at some point. Our latest issue tells you how.


Just when you thought Orlando was about as theme-park oriented as you could imagine, the city ups the stakes and adds to its already impressive line-up of kid-friendly attractions and parks.

SeaWorld Orlando’s Aquatica water park opened its doors on March 1, becoming the first major theme park addition in Orlando in eight years. Even if you’re not an amusement park enthusiast, it’s hard not to be impressed with an attraction that boasts 36 water slides, thrill rides, six rivers and lagoons, more than 80,000 square feet of beaches, and a diverse group of animal and wildlife inhabitants. It’s sure to be a hit this summer with both new and returning family travelers to Central Florida’s Orlando.

In case you haven’t already guessed, this week’s issue feature is Orlando—one of the most popular U.S. destinations for individuals and family travelers alike. Orlando native Ed Schmidt Jr. has written our Orlando feature as well as articles on family dining and local sports facilities to keep athletic kids in practice while on vacation. He shares his favorite local haunts and gives tips for travelers looking to explore Orlando beyond the parks. His son Paul penned our first Teen Voice column, reprised here, for tips on the best coasters in Orlando.

Our Back Page columnist Amy Hatch interviewed a Disney mom who has visited Walt Disney World 54 times, and Anne Kazel-Wilcox shares her family’s Disney game plan for making the most out of a Disney family vacation. Regular contributor Kim Foley MacKinnon reviews two Walt Disney World and Orlando guidebooks in this issue’s book review column, as well as gives her budget tips for navigating Disney without going broke.

But not every kid loves amusement park rides. I was one of those kids who got nauseous if I swung too high or too fast on a swing, let alone could make it through a ride that spun or looped upside down without losing my cotton-candy lunch. My ride-loving father was terribly disappointed. Chicago mom Cindy Richards understands. She loves roller coasters and shares her method teaching her son how to overcome his coaster fears.

One of my favorite articles this issue is by Miranda Young, who wrote our Off-Beat column on the Las Fallas festival that takes place each March in Valencia, Spain. Elaborate sculptures, colorful costumes and a roaring fire in the night not so unlike the climax at Burning Man—all captured in pixilated beauty by her photographer husband Joshua Young.

Great images inspire, and we strive to find photos and photographers who capture the essence of destinations around the world. Just as blogs have become a priceless source for finding new voices, photo-sharing sites are a fantastic resource for finding new eyes. Many of the images you see on TravelMuse come from photographers who have graciously shared their work on Flickr, where we’ve created a TravelMuse Flickr group at www.flickr.com/groups/travelmuse. Anyone can join—or invite friends to join!—and upload their photos for us to consider for use on the site. Visit www.flickr.com/photos/travelmuse to learn more about how our group works. We’ll be transitioning to weekly issues soon, so there will be plenty of opportunities to have your photographs published.

Speaking of future issues, Lake Tahoe will be the focus of our March 21 issue, followed by a look at Seattle in early April.

As always, keep your feedback coming!

Donna M. Airoldi
Editorial Director

Destinations: Florida, Orlando, Valencia, Spain

Themes: Amusement Parks, Family Travel

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