Orlando’s Wild Side

October 23, 2015

When you think Orlando, you probably picture its iconic theme parks, but there’s more to the area than Disney. We packed our days with outdoor adventures, relaxing excursions and exquisite meals.


Set on 500 acres of natural beauty, the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes offers kayaking and customizable eco-tours of Shingle Creek, the Headwaters and the Florida Everglades. We enjoyed a kayaking trip with an impressive guide through miles of canals that feed into the Everglades. We were also impressed with the resort’s extensive children’s program. It offers a wide variety of chaperoned activities and babysitting services that allow parents time to unwind—alone.


Not to be missed is the restaurant Highball and Harvest. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that one of our favorite chefs, Nathan Hardin, was the mastermind behind the spectacular Southern-inspired cuisine. He was previously the executive sous chef at Yardbird Southern Table and Bar in Miami, and we’re ardent admirers of his work. After an evening filled with delicious comfort foods and dazzling cocktails, we left looking forward to our next visit.


Highball & Harvest Dinner


Our last few days were booked solid with adventurous excursions. First we parasailed at Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre, which proved a surprisingly peaceful experience, once you got over the initial adrenaline rush. We glided over the pristine lake and took in the amazing views of Orlando, feeling serene as well as invigorated.



We took a relaxing boat tour before arriving at Discover Cove, where we enjoyed a VIP bottlenose dolphin experience. We were quickly escorted to a private cabana, equipped with welcome bags, robes, towels, even a mini bar—everything you need for a successful dolphin encounter. We suited up, jumped in and got up close and personal with the adorable creatures. It was both exhilarating and calming to touch their soft, rubbery skin. After they warmed up to our presence, we were able to snap some remarkable photos and even steal a few kisses. Our faces actually hurt from smiling. We left the water delighted and inspired. We were also impressed with how well cared-for and genuinely happy the animals were.




We had some free time after the dolphin swim, so some of us took to the Cove’s Grand Reef, a large, open space where you can snorkel with fish, stingrays, seahorses and coral. Others opted to relax on the lazy river, which winds its way under an impressive waterfall before opening into a lovely aviary where you can swim or lie out in the sun while you take in the colorful birds.


After all of this activity you might want to, as we did, enjoy a trigger point therapy massage at the resort before dining at Capa, a Spanish-influenced steakhouse.


Capa - Dinner at the Four Seasons


Just in case we hadn’t had enough excitement, we squeezed in a hot air balloon ride before our flights home. We arrived at the field early enough to see the sunrise and excitedly boarded one of North America’s largest hot air balloon. Much like parasailing, the experience is quieter and more serene than you might expect. We soared for 45 minutes, enjoying the one-of-a-kind views. When we landed, we shared a quick champagne toast and reflected on how Orlando had truly surpassed our expectations.


2400ft Selfie - Hot Air Balloon Ride


Whether you’re traveling alone, with friends, your partner or your family, the city offers a unique and customizable travel experience that can be geared towards refined relaxation, outdoor adventure or just plain fun.


Looking to plan an unforgettable travel experience? Contact The Accomplished Traveler today at 212.586.2020.




From Our Blog

Global luxury travel network Virtuoso® congratulates Blaine Horton of The Accomplished Traveler in New York, NY as the winner of this year’s sought-after Rising Star Award at the 30th annual… read more

  From New York to Bermuda in just 90 minutes, wheels up, wheels down.   From concrete jungle to cascades of greens and blues, pink sand horizons, curative sun, just… read more

There is no place like Los Angeles, and there are ways to experience the area’s signature glam without sacrificing repose. We travel to L.A. frequently, but we  always look forward to prioritizing relaxation… read more

Hermitage Bay redefines the all-inclusive experience with its 5-star cuisine, pristine views, and understated yet effective approach to high-end service.   Nestled amongst beachfront tropical gardens on a secluded hill… read more

The wedding day proves magnificent, and guests enjoy a series of post-wedding celebrations that highlight San Antonio culture.   Tucked away in the botanical courtyard under the setting sun, the… read more

An unforgettable five-day wedding celebration delights guests and encapsulates an extraordinary couple.   We were honored to help a beloved couple and their guests enjoy a unique wedding celebration in… read more

New year, new travel goals!   From wineries in New Zealand to beaches in Uruguay, here are some of our hot travel destinations to explore in 2016! If these spots… read more

Unspoiled Maya ruins encrusted with tangible artifacts transport us back in time.   Flourishing in the southern Yucatan Peninsula is a deep-rooted culture steeped in the legacy and lore of… read more

This sophisticated Central American experience feeds our adventurous spirit and rustic soul.   Nestled next to the small beach town of Placencia is The Family Coppola Resorts Turtle Inn, with… read more

When you think Orlando, you probably picture its iconic theme parks, but there’s more to the area than Disney. We packed our days with outdoor adventures, relaxing excursions and exquisite… read more

A VIP take on a classic vacation experience that will make you feel like a kid again.   We skipped the lines and slept in style to create a memorable… read more

This upscale travel destination off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, offers something for everyone—especially families.   Kiawah Island, a barrier island located 25 miles from Charleston, is known for… read more

Back to Top //