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Florida WILDS


told us stories of the cow hunter’s life as our horses plunged through the meandering streams, cooling their riders with plumes of spray. We then cantered on through open pastures and woodlands, savouring an almost forgotten taste of Florida. For the more adventurous, Forever


Florida also off ers zip-lines and bus safaris, providing camping grounds for overnight stays in the wilds. Winter is a great time to go in order to beat the heat.


Making a splash SeaWorld also off ers a unique


experience to get closer to nature — of the kind to be found in the depths of the ocean. From encounters with sharks and stingrays to meeting dolphins, this theme park takes you into a real water world. One of the best-known attractions is the new One Ocean show, staged in the huge Shamu Stadium and featuring the amazing dives and leaps of the killer whales or Orcas. The show’s storyline is entertaining, but be prepared to be drenched in pool water — which certainly adds to the breathtaking spectacle of the event! A trip through a maze of clear tunnels sees you surrounded by prowling sharks, before shivering in the frozen wonderland of the Wild Arctic watching polar bears playing in their ice kingdom. Moving on to Key West, I was able to stroke stingrays in Stingray Lagoon and watch training sessions with the dolphins.


Camera, action! Universal Orlando Resort introduced a touch of magic to its fi lm theme parks last year with the opening of the highly — anticipated The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Overshadowing the re-created Hogsmeade Village, Harry Potter World’s Hogwarts Castle uses optical illusion to make it appear ominous and omnipresent. I sipped frothy Butterbeer while strolling through the quaint streets lined with buildings of snow-covered, crow-stepped gabled rooftops. After purchasing souvenirs from Filch’s Emporium of Confi scated Goods, I couldn’t resist a tantalising


Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition


treat at Honeydukes sweetshop. And then there were the rides. During Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey I soared over Hogwarts, confronting dragons and executing daring challenges, even getting pulled into a Quidditch match. Needless to say, it was magic!


Dazzling Walt Disney World®


Resort


It’s impossible to mention Orlando without including the leviathan Walt Disney World® Resort. Covering 760 miles2


, it has set the standard for


theme parks worldwide. I took in two of the more ‘adult-friendly’ parks. The fi rst,Epcot®, which means


‘Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow’, has crowd-pleasing attractions as well as futuristic and educational exhibits. Future World off ers Soarin’, a multi-sensory attraction that simulates the free-fl ying sensation of hang-gliding over the state of California, as well as the high tech attraction Mission: Space. I found the World Showcase to be


a highlight. Pavilions around the Showcase lagoon represent major countries of the world such as China, Mexico, Japan and England. IllumiNations: Refl ections of Earth is a show-stopping fi reworks display.


There are 83 RCI affi liated resorts in the Orlando area of Florida. Visit rci.com


Next I arrived at the Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, which is quite diff erent from the other parks. Kilimanjaro Safaris® Expedition off ers a wild animal game safari through the Serengeti, and afterwards, I went across to Asia and the imaginary village of Serka Zong for Expedition Everest — Legend of the Forbidden. I found myself on an old abandoned tea plantation railway station ready to board my ‘railway car’ and launch into the Himalayas to fi nd the mythical Yeti. Florida has so many new, exciting


and unique experiences to off er, it is a ‘must visit’ holiday destination — and always well worth another visit!


One for all


The One Pass is all you need to enjoy unlimited admission for 14 days to Walt Disney World®


,


Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld parks! This also gives you free admission to a number of additional attractions. From only £449 per adult and £409 per child.


Call 0845 60 86 265 Other ticket options available


There’s no better time - Book now


Click rci.com


Call 0845 60 86 102 See special offers www.rci-holiday.com www.rci.com HOLIDAY 39


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