Kissimmee Mini Guide
Who Goes to Kissimmee?
These days it’s mostly people wishing to visit Walt Disney World but prior to 1971 it was a quiet backwater reliant on the citrus industry and ranching. At the time the population was static at around 4,000 and tourism was unheard of. Despite the proximity of resorts such as Orlando and Lake Buena Vista to Disney World, Kissimmee developed as a quieter and less commercialised dormitory for the visitors. There’s more to Kissimmee than Disney and the proximity of nature reserves such as Shingle Creek or water adventure parks such as Forever Florida make it an interesting destination for those who want to see natural Florida.
How do I get to Kissimmee?
Orlando International Airport
is the closest for flights from abroad although many people find the airport a chore because of long queues for security in both directions and for check in. The airport is about 15 miles from Kissimmee and there are many ways of making the journey including local bus, taxi, hotel shuttle and train.
What can I do or see in Kissimmee?
There’s the obvious answer – Disney World
with its attractions; Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and more. Beyond Disney there are still plenty of things to do and see. Many visitors go there to enjoy the wilds of the Florida swamps and take the iconic swamp buggy tours out over the waterways. Others visit Lake Tohopekaliga for the excellent fishing and water sports or tour Cypress Lake for a look at the unspoilt wildlife of this less frequently visited part of the area. Not far from Kissimmee, under ten miles away, are the twin resorts of Universal Studios with fabulous all-action film set adventures and Sea World, one of the world’s biggest and best sea life centres with daily shows and round the year exhibits.
What can I buy to Take Home With me?
There’s the memorabilia of Disney available at Disney World but aside from that there are products made from fake crocodile skin and passed off as souvenirs of the crocodile infested swamps. You can find anything from stuffed ‘crocodiles’ to notebooks, purses and wallets – just make sure that it is fake or from farms as the wild crocodile is protected An array of outdoor gear is also available for those who fancy a bit of survival experience.
What do you Recommend to eat in Kissimmee?
Despite not being on the coast, there’s a lot of freshwater fish on offer in the restaurants of Kissimmee including delicious bass. This is often steamed or baked then served with gumbo sauce. Another firm favourite there are the gumbo prawns served as a spicy stew with rice and bread.
What about Celebrations and Festivals?
You can always join in with the Disney parade on Main Street in Disney World. It’s a cheesy spectacle but one that will stay with you for years. For an interesting night out, try ‘Arabian Nights’ a dinner show where guests enjoy a fabulous meal and an after dinner show based on Scheherazade.
Kissimmee is a city near Orlando in Florida and Kissimmee car rentals can be a good way for tourists to get to excellent sites such as the Walt Disney World theme park. You should book in advance though as demand is high.
While this is a modest sized city of around 62,000 people, it is part of the larger Orlando Kissimmee Sanford area which has two million inhabitants. Enjoy driving on easy roads in fine weather and stop if you like to see sites of interest like the Osceola County Historical Society and Museum.