Last year 662 million days of vacation went unused. 662 million days that could have been spent soaking up warm Florida Sunshine instead of the glow of fluorescent lights hanging over a cubicle. How many vacation days a year do you get? How many of those days go unused? For those willing to admit, don’t worry you’re not alone. Research shows more than 54% of Americans don’t take their vacation time.
Too often people are afraid to take all of their vacation days thinking that: “I’ll return to too much work” or “it’ll show I’m not that dedicated and replaceable.”
The reality is those that taking those vacations days will not only help you feel better mentally & physically but have higher productivity & performance when you return to work. Leaving those vacation days unused could be killing your productivity, or worse – you! If you’re still on the fence, it’s 2018 and wifi is everywhere, and everyone has smartphones – don’t worry you’ll have access to emails 24/7. If you are really needed back at work you can digitally still put out fires, even though you should really just put your phone on silent.
Today (January 30th) is National Plan for Vacation Day, so to celebrate we are going to help you PLAN the perfect escape. Picking a destination is step number one. We’ll make that part easy and recommend sunny Kissimmee, Florida! We’ll show you how not only how easy it is to plan a vacation but why it’s actually healthy to take a vacation.
Planning your next trip to Kissimmee
The first step to taking a vacation is planning it, that’s where we come in. We recently spent one week in Kissimmee and it’s a great vacation spot for not only families but for couples too. Here are our recommendations on how to have an amazing trip to Kissimmee.
How to get to Kissimmee
Kissimmee is a quick 25-minutes away from Orlando International Airport (MCO), it’s 90 minutes to both sides of the coast in case you need a beach day, there’s plenty of sunshine, and there are a ton of things to do in Kissimmee. If you don’t have specific dates you have to take your vacation make sure you search a wide range of dates for the best flight prices.
Getting from the airport
Rent a Car: We always recommend renting a car in Florida. It’s a great way to get around and see some of the unique things to do in the area. Car rentals from the airport are generally pretty reasonably priced. One thing to be aware of is you will need to purchase a Toll Pass (Plate Pass or Sun Pass) which will add around $5 per day to your rental cost plus any tolls you drive through (and there are a lot in Florida).
Uber/Lyft: You can still hire an Uber/Lyft from the MCO airport to bring you to your Kissimmee area hotel. Prices will depend on how far your hotel is from the airport. We find on average this can be $25-$40 for a moderate distance hotel and medium-sized vehicle.
Taxi: Of course taxis are available from the airport. This will be one of the most expensive options, but straightforward. Taxi and Uber are good options if you want to stay on property at one of the theme parks and not leave as much.
Best time to visit Kissimmee, Florida
While there really isn’t a bad time to visit this part of the country, some times are better than others. We typically encourage people to try and avoid holiday weeks like Christmas and Easter. The parks and hotels will be at their maximum which means they are busy and can be expensive. Also, the summer can be quite hot, which shouldn’t stop you from visiting, but you might want to build extra days into visiting water parks. Lastly, weekends will always be a bit more busy than weekdays in the parks, but weekends are also a great way to stretch your vacation days as far as possible.
Our favorite times to visit:
Mid-January to End of February
Mid-September to mid-December
Summer School Break – Mid June to the end of August
Spring Break Season March to mid-April
Christmas to New Years week
Things To Do In Kissimmee Florida
The sheer amount of things there are to do in and around Kissimmee could easily burn up a full week of your vacation time or more. We have made a short list of some of our favorites to help you plan your next trip to Kissimmee.
1. Universal Orlando Resort
Kissimmee is known worldwide for its theme parks. A trip to Kissimmee wouldn’t be complete without visiting Universal Orlando Resort. There are 3 parks on site: Universal Orlando Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay waterpark. For those who are Harry Potter fans, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter cannot be missed.
2. Disney World
Say hello to Micky & Minnie at the Magic Kingdom! There are four parks on site: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Magic Kingdom. Plan on being at the park all day there is a lot of ground to cover, and lines can be long.
Soar across the sky for sunrise in a hot air balloon over Kissimmee is the perfect start to the morning. You’ll fly over Central Florida countryside (possibly wildlife sightings) and, depending on the day, see the theme parks in the background. After an hour’s flight with Orlando Balloon, we landed and popped a bottle of champagne for mimosas.
4. Boggy Creek Fan Boat Ride
Fan boat rides are not only full of adrenaline but also educational for the kids. Head off into the Central Florida Everglades in a fan boat with speeds up to 45 mph looking for alligators, birds, and other wildlife. On our fan boat ride, we saw several alligators with the largest being 11 feet long (according to the captain). It’s a fun and affordable activity for everyone – you can purchase tickets online here for only $27.
5. Kayaking in Shingle Creek
Once you hop in a kayak and head off down the Shingle Creek, you’ll feel transported to another world. Shingle Creek is the headwaters of the Everglades full of cypress trees covered in Spanish moss. Reconnect with nature with a peaceful morning paddle in this unique hidden gem near Kissimmee.
We suggest opting for the guided Eco tour, our guide was full of history and spotted a few alligators as we were paddling by. You can rent kayaks or canoes and go out on your own or on a guided tour of the creek and beyond. It’s best to book online here in advance.
6. Spa Day
A day of relaxation is a must on any good vacation itinerary. We spent a day at the Omni Hotel in Championsgate hanging out by the pool before heading into the Mokara Spa. We had an amazing hour-long massage followed by a facial. Make sure to treat yourself to a little pampering while on vacation.
7. Bike Around Historic Celebration
The town of Celebration was originally developed by Walt Disney as a residential community. One of the best ways to explore this unique city is to rent a bike and grab a bike trail map from bicycle rental Celebration. The town of Celebration is oddly perfect. You almost feel as if you’re on a movie set when pedaling through, every house is perfect and almost a little too quiet. It’s a must see when in Kissimmee.
Places To Stay In Kissimmee
There is something for everyone’s budget from 4-star luxury resorts to gorgeous affordable rental homes. The two best options in our opinion are to either rent a vacation home big enough for your whole group or stay right onsite at your favorite theme park.
Vacation Homes: If you’re traveling with children or your extended family vacation home rentals can be a great option. Renting an entire house will help save money on meals and gives you a ton more space. We stayed at The Fountains At Championsgate, we had a 3 bedroom townhouse which would be the perfect place to bring the whole family. We quickly ran prices for March 2018 and it’s $132 per night for a 3 bedroom townhouse.
Onsite Park Hotels: If you plan on visiting the theme parks you may want to spend a few nights at an onsite hotel as both Universal Orlando and Disney World offer perks for staying onsite. One of the biggest advantages you have when staying here is quick and easy access to the parks and not having to pay or deal with parking. You also have perks like early park entry at Universal Orlando Resorts and other special offers and discounts.
Best Places To Eat In Kissimmee
The food scene is Kissimmee has something for everyone. After our week in Kissimmee, our stomachs left full and happy. Here are some of our favorite restaurants in and around Kissimmee Florida:
Amazing that there’s THAT many people who don’t take their sick days in the USA! Totally agree though on holidays and time away from work allowing you to feel better mentally & physically and have a higher level of productivity & performance. We have 4 weeks of annual paid leave here in Australia, and I think our society acknowledges that it increases overall performance. I love the idea of National Plan for Vacation Day, and we used to live in Florida, so I don’t need any more convincing! Would be lovely to take a trip back to Kissimmee at some stage; between the theme parks and the everglades :)
Thursday 8th of February 2018
Kissimmee looks like an incredible place to get away for a holiday that includes all kinds of experiences! I want to visit Disney Park because I have never been to one until now and hence been on my list for long! Also, I would love to ride the bicycle, take the hot balloon ride and kayak! Woah, the list is getting big, but I want them all! Loved your pics! :)
Wednesday 7th of February 2018
looks like amazing place to spend weekend
Wednesday 7th of February 2018
I'm always so shocked to read statistics like that. I actually *buy* extra vacation day at my job. Florida is always the perfect destination for Canadians, specifically those from Ontario (where I am from) so this is such a helpful guide...especially when it comes to escaping the winter!
Tuesday 6th of February 2018
Sign me up for the airboat ride, the hot air balloon ride, and the kayaking through Shingle Creek! I was in Kissimmee as a kid for the Disney theme parks but would love to return to see the Everglades, spot some gators, and enjoy the natural landscape in Florida. It's such a big state with so many places to explore.