Five Hidden Luxury Experiences in the Orlando Theme Parks
There is so much more to Orlando, Florida than Mickey Mouse and roller coasters. The city is simply teeming with some of the world’s most exclusive attractions. From a VIP safari with hissing crocodiles and majestic hippos to underwater adventures where guests can swim with the dolphins, Orlando is filled with secret, hidden treasures that are easily overlooked. And Orlando boasts some of the most magnificent resorts imaginable, from The Waldorf Astoria to The Four Seasons. When money is no object, consider these exclusive, luxury attractions.
1. Wild Africa Trek
This wonderful 3-hour safari takes place along the banks of the Safi River Valley where impressive wildebeests roam freely in their natural habitats. A team of expert tour guides will accompany safari guests, and at least one professionally trained wildlife photographer who will be snapping pictures throughout the entire journey. The trek will begin in a rugged safari vehicle which will travel alongside stately giraffes and families of adorably expressive monkeys. At one point, guests will be asked to travel across a rather shaky rope bridge, so this safari is not for the faint-of-heart. But safety is always a high priority at the Wild Africa Trek. An overhead safety harness is always part of the package. Depending on the season, ticket prices run from $189 to $249 per person, and guests enjoy succulent gourmet meals featuring African-inspired delicacies.
2. La Nouba – Cirque du Soleil
La Nouba is much more than just a visually stunning circus act. La Nouba – Cirque du Soleil is an acrobatic performance that sends the senses reeling. Ticket prices start at $99 per person, and a virtual feast of tasty foods is served during the show. But make sure to get your tickets well before arriving to Orlando, Florida. The luxurious La Nouba books up several months in advance.
3. Mama Dellas Ristorante Italiano
This fabulous eatery is such a well-kept secret that many of the locals are not even aware of its existence. Mama Dellas Ristorante Italiano is located in Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel, and no expense is spared in the architectural and interior design of this fine establishment. The restaurant overlooks a waterway dotted with gondola-inspired watercraft in vibrantly colored hues. The interior décor is just as impressive with walls splashed with ornate wallpaper and a mismatch of different styles of tables and chairs. Reservations are accepted and recommended because Mama Delles’ also offers “Le Bella Notte” each evening at 8 pm. Professional performers will step out onto the terraces above singing some of the most romantic melodies imaginable.
4. Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove is an impressive upgrade to the rather mundane Sea World. When the average Florida tourist first hears about the $269 entrance fee, many are simply outraged. But the high-priced water zoo is simply unmatched. The entrance fee allows for an entire day of adventure where guests can swim with their own personal dolphin for up to 30-minutes. For those who find dolphins a bit intimidating, perhaps a snorkel excursion with the wide array of beautiful tropical fish might be more enjoyable. And for those avid land-lovers, Discovery Cove also boasts one of the most magnificent aviaries on earth, filled with free-flying toucans, parrots and hundreds of other exotic birds.
5. Backstage Magic
For a behind-the-scenes look at how the Walt Disney World theme park truly operates, the Backstage Magic Tour is well worth the pricey fee. Most visitors have no idea that underneath such wonderful rides like the Pirates of the Caribbean and It’s a Small World lies a very elaborate system of tunnels and passageways. This is how Walt Disney employees travel from one area of the park to another. Guests will also enjoy a backstage journey to Epcot Center and numerous other areas both above and below ground. For a price of around $224 per ticket, the tour lasts a full six to eight hours in length.