For many, Florida conjures images of jaw-dropping rollercoasters, sweetie stores with every imaginable flavour, rubber ring rides at water parks, plus of course burgers at fast food restaurants. However, as a 20-something on a holiday to Orlando with friends last year, I realised that there’s much more to this sunshine destination than at first meets the eye, particularly when it comes to eating and drinking.
Here are some of the best experiences I had.
I know what you’re thinking, this is a chain restaurant found around America, what could be so special about it? However, the Accidental Fish & Shrimp dish – mahi mahi with jasmine rice and shrimp – was cooked to melt in the mouth, as well as being full of flavour. What’s more, my friends and I ordered fruity drinks that came in what can only be described as a disco in a glass, complete with flashing lights plus catchphrases from the Forrest Gump film on the outside. In true American style, our waiter was extremely friendly, testing us on our Forrest Gump knowledge after we’d finished eating to round off the experience.
Harry Potter fans will love the Islands of Adventure where Hogwarts Castle looms majestically into the skyline and the theme music from the Goblet of Fire’s Yule Ball sounds around the park. This is a truly magical place even if, like me, you’re just a big kid at heart. The flavour of butterbeer is difficult to describe, but it’s certainly sweet, almost like a cross between Scottish shortbread and Irn-bru. I would definitely recommend sampling a glass from the cart if you are heading inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Cocktails at Chili’s Bar & Grill
Located on International Drive, Chili’s is an excellent choice if you fancy something spicy such as tacos, fajitas or quesadillas, which felt surprisingly light compared with other Mexican dishes I’ve tried. We began the evening with a couple of cocktails and the selection of flavoured mojitos was great for a refreshing beverage after a long day in the sun!
It doesn’t seem to matter where you stay in Florida, breakfast is always exceptional. I remember going to Clearwater as a child with my parents and having everything from fish to cupcakes and doughnuts for breakfast before heading out to the private hotel beach. Last year my friends and I had a similar experience, choosing from tiny muffins, waffles, eggs, hash browns and of course cereal and fruit for a healthier option, all included within the price of the Orlando accommodation. And after that start to the day, who needs lunch!
Orlando is a paradise for theme park fans, but it also houses a surprising selection of dining experiences, even if all you want to do is enjoy breakfast with Mickey Mouse!
About today’s Guest Writer:
Jane Shelley is an Australian travel writer. She has visited countries in Asia, Europe, Britain and even taken an unforgettable road trip across the Midwest of the United States. One of her passions is writing about wine and wine tasting, and one day she plans to build a wine cellar underneath the stairs in her apartment.