Walt Disney World® helped put many Florida cities on the map—including Kissimmee. Once a sleepy ranching and citrus-packing area, Kissimmee is now a tourist mecca for its proximity to Walt Disney World®, as well as several other major theme parks. But the town has plenty to offer in its own right, including warm, sunny weather and a family-friendly historical downtown set on scenic Lake Tohopekaliga.
The Reason You’re (Probably) Here: Theme Parks
- Walt Disney World® Theme Parks: A paradise for kids and kids-at-heart, encompassing four theme parks full of enchantment, two water parks, five golf courses, and the Downtown Disney® Marketplace.
- Universal Orlando Resort: If you prefer a PG rating to Walt Disney World®’s G, consider Universal. In addition to riding its high-octane roller coasters, you can explore Hogsmeade at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or scarf down a Krusty Burger at Springfield, USA, modeled on the hometown of The Simpsons.
- Gatorland: Get up close and personal—within a safe distance, of course—with alligators and crocodiles, including four super-rare white alligators. Among the non-reptilian attractions, there’s a zipline and petting zoo.
Kissimmee Away from the Theme Parks
- Old Town: A giant ferris wheel marks the entrance to this area; spend the day playing games and riding bumper cars at an outdoor amusement park, dine at one of 10 restaurants, or check out the Friday night All-American Muscle Car Cruise.
- Osceola County Historical Society: See how early pioneers lived among the swamps around Kissimmee at this museum, which has an old blacksmith shop, citrus-packing house, horse stable, furnishings, and interactive displays. Free.
- Downtown Kissimmee: Shop for antiques and browse the many upscale boutique stores and galleries, or stop in at the Loop, a large outdoor mall with a 16-screen movie theater.
- Lake Tohopekaliga: Also known as Lake Toho. Native alligators and birds might be found on its scenic walking path.
- Championship golf courses: Nicklaus-, Palmer-, Norman-, and Miller-designed courses are highlights of the many championship courses in the Kissimmee–St. Cloud area; there are also mini-golf spots for the kids.
Where to Stay
- Suites at Old Town (Celebration Suites): 2 miles from Walt Disney World®, and right next door to rides, games, and the ferris wheel in Old Town. The all-suites hotel features two pools, and free shuttles to theme parks.
- Radisson Resort: Family-friendly hotel featuring a pool with a 42-foot waterslide and multiple restaurants; 1.5 miles from Walt Disney World®
- Westgate Town Center Resort: Luxury hotel just a few minutes from the main Walt Disney World® Resort entrance, with upscale suites, 14 swimming pools, and swan-shaped paddle boats