Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

August 20, 2017
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Orlando for the day

Entire guidebooks and websites are devoted to it. Nights are spent planning for it around the computer or kitchen table. The “it” is Orlando, home to kilometre after square kilometre of resounding kiddy cultural clout.

So what do you do if you’re in town just one day? Even a single Disney theme park is too big and requires too much planning. SeaWorld and Shamu? Full-day affairs.

Solution: Aquatica (http://aquaticabyseaworld.com). SeaWorld’s year-old water park is the perfect afternoon fix. There are big slides, little slides, rivers with gentle waves, rivers with choppy rapids, excellent water playgrounds for the smallest in your crew, plus lots of sand and beach chairs. Maybe best of all, there are a lot of thrills for pretty much every age, but nothing to induce cardiac arrest, so even squeamish parents will love the rides.

Aquatica’s main attraction is the Dolphin Plunge: 91-metre-long, clear tubes that zip you through a lagoon inhabited by four diminutive Commerson’s dolphins. The dolphins were born and raised in captivity, and they either don’t notice or are oblivious to the blurred passage of bodies in garish prints. For your part, gravity is such that you’ll love the ride but see nothing of these amazing creatures.

Make your brief visit more memorable by booking a room in the newly opened Westin Imagine Orlando (www.westinimagineorlando.com). Their suites come with kitchenettes and balconies, at a price you’d easily spend on a family dinner. Besides a civilized taste of home — fruit anyone? — you’ll be pampered in a bit of luxury: the Westin’s Heavenly Beds aren’t icons for nothing.

Add to this the proximity to theme parks, the airport and the Orange County Convention Centre, and it’s a no-brainer. Rates range from US$169 to US$359 (regular room) to US$249 to US$439 (suites). Visit the website for great deals in low season. Aquatica costs US$44.95 per adult, US$38.95 child, with multipark passes available.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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