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Everything Vancouver travellers need to know about visiting Orlando

Find out everything you need to know about planning your trip to Orlando, Florida from Vancouver.
Find out how to book the cheapest flights from Vancouver to Orlando in 2024, and get booking tips on accommodation, Universal Studios, Walt Disney World and more.

If you're a fan of theme parks, this might be your favourite place on earth. 

Orlando, Florida is home to the "Most Magical Place on Earth," Walt Disney World, which is Disney's largest amusement park, consisting of four separate "magical theme parks." 

Universal Studios Orlando is another massive attraction, consisting of three separate parks. 

But there are several other reasons to visit the "Beautiful City," including expansive parks, a variety of restaurants, neighbourhood shopping options, and much more.

From booking flights and securing travel documents to things to do for fun while you're there, find out everything you need to know about planning your trip to Orlando, Florida from Vancouver.

What airlines should I fly to Orlando?

From Vancouver International Airport (YVR), travellers can fly direct to Orlando International Airport (MCO) or via several connecting routes.

Airlines that fly to or partially to Orlando via one of their airline partners include:

  • Air Canada
  • Air Transat
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta
  • Emirates
  • Flair Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Porter Airlines
  • Qatar Airways
  • Sun Country Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • WestJet

When should I book my ticket to Orlando?

Tickets to Orlando cost a great deal more around school holidays than they do at any other time of the year. While other Florida destinations are more popular with adults, such as Miami, Orlando is the most popular destination for families. Many people flock to the theme park mecca over the winter and spring breaks.

Aside from the two major school breaks, tickets may be booked for the rest of the year at prices starting under $400 including all taxes and fees from YVR. Sadly, the ultra-low-cost, direct option for $143 round-rip offered by Lynx Air is no longer available since the carrier filed for bankruptcy. 

With Lynx out of commission, the best-priced options involve one-stop with Air Canada and United Airlines and cost around $376. These depart throughout the year and should be booked at least a month in advance.

For direct flights, WestJet has some options departing on Sundays in July for around $537 round-trip. Prices before that or flying on Saturdays exceed $1,000.

When is the best time of year to visit Orlando? 

Locals shouldn't plan to visit Orlando when the weather is nice in Vancouver. During the pleasant months at home, parts of the Atlantic and the Caribbean are experiencing their hurricane season. While there may be several warm, dry days, others may include torrential downpours or catastrophic weather. Avoid these areas from June through September. 

March through May is considered the best time to visit Orlando because temperatures are warm and pleasant. 

Is it safe to visit Orlando? 

The Canadian government gives travellers the green light to visit the United States, advising them to take "normal security precautions" south of the border. But as with any travel advisory, there are a few caveats. 

Petty crime, such as pick-pocketing and purse snatching, occurs in some places, including popular tourist spots. 

  • Don’t leave bags or valuables unattended in parked cars, especially rental vehicles, even in trunks
  • Ensure that your belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times

There is also an ongoing threat of terrorism in the U.S. but big cities are considered at a greater risk. Busy tourist centres, airports, and transportation networks are primarily targeted. Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. 

Many U.S. citizens possess firearms. There have been incidences of mass shootings and they often result in casualties. Familiarize yourself with how to respond to an active shooter situation.

Do I need to get any special travel vaccines ahead of visiting Orlando?

You don't need to get any special travel vaccines to visit Florida. But you should visit a travel medical clinic before you book a ticket.

The health-care professionals will inform you about what vaccinations you require and what you can expect on your trip. 

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally. There was the first case of measles since 2019 was reported in B.C. and officials urge residents to vaccinate their children against the highly contagious and potentially lethal virus. While it was eliminated in Canada, it can be brought back in by unvaccinated people who travel to countries that have cases. 

The World Health Organization reported a 79-per-cent increase in the number of global measles cases in 2023 compared with the previous year. 

In parts of the U.S., there are risks of contracting viruses spread by mosquitoes including dengue and zika virus. 

There is no vaccine for these mosquito-borne illnesses but there are ways that you can protect yourself, such as using repellent, protective clothing, or avoiding areas where they are more prone to be. 

What kind of activities can I enjoy in Orlando?

Orlando is home to over a dozen theme parks, as well as some animal-centric attractions like Seaworld and Gatorland. Visitors can also swim with manatees in the Homosassa State Wildlife Park or visit Legoland Orlando, which is home to three separate parks.

Looking for some free activities? There are free movies under the stars on the last Friday of the month from April through August in downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park, or you can watch the nightly lighting of The Wheel in the city's Icon Park. At 400 feet tall, the observation wheel offers a breathtaking perspective of the city on a 20-minute ride.

The 20-acre, open-air Icon Park is a free entertainment destination with more than 40 restaurants, bars, boutique shops, and "can't-miss attractions" to explore, according to Visit Orlando.

Visitors will also find several popular sports franchises, museums, an impressive space centre, and sprawling gardens. The downtown core is home to the 43-acre Lake Eola Park, which hosts several concerts and events and an outdoor yoga event on Sunday mornings.

Do I need a visa to visit Orlando?

Canadian passport holders do not require a visa to visit Orlando. Canadian visitors can typically stay in the United States for six months without a visa.

How much money will I spend on accommodation?

Prices range dramatically across Orlando based on the type of experience you are planning to have. If you plan to visit Walt Disney World, it is recommended that you stay at the resort. Since it is so big, it can be quite overwhelming to travel there and back.

Universal and Disney each have a range of on-site hotels and resorts, ranging from more modest to ultra-luxury accommodations. 

You can book many hotels across the city ranging between $80 and $100 a night but prices can cost significantly more if you are located in a nice resort hotel. For example, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, famed for having giraffes roam around its exterior, costs upwards of $400 nightly — but that's if you want to view the resort. A savannah view, complete with animals, costs over $500. 

Find more information about exciting destinations in B.C. and across the globe, as well as travel deals and tips, by signing up for V.I.A.'s weekly travel newsletter The Wanderer. Since travel deals can sell out, find out the day they are posted by signing up for our daily Travel Deals newsletter.

Want to learn more about a specific destination or simply have a travel concern or idea that you would like V.I.A. to write about? Email us at [email protected]. Send us stories about recent holidays that you've been on, or if you have any tips you think our readers should know about.