Friendship Force International has over 360 clubs in 60 countries. It provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level.
Visits to or from other Friendship Force clubs are called “Journeys”. Visiting members are “Journey Ambassadors” while the hosting club members are “Journey Hosts”. Journeys may last from 4 to 7 days.
Club members are not required to travel or home host. There are many other ways to participate when visitors come, such as dinner hosting, helping with social events or transportation, attending planned functions, or simply meeting our guests. Similarly, on an outgoing journey, members can decide whether to participate or not. Check out the FAQs for answers to many questions about traveling and hosting with us.
We love to host ambassadors from both international and domestic clubs so that we can show you the “real” Greater Orlando. Although Orlando is known for its world class theme parks, those of us who make this our home know that many visitors miss the unique characteristics of our area. Our goal when hosting is to show you those places in our community that we are very proud to showcase. We hope you will see this part of the world in a unique and special way.
In addition to a welcome and farewell celebration, here are some of the places where we may take our visiting ambassadors and we want to offer your club those visits that you find most interesting.
City Tours: Tours of downtown Orlando or nearby cities, such as Winter Park or Sanford.
Scenic Boat Tour Winter Park: Ride along the scenic canals of Winter Park and see plenty of swaying palms, towering cypress trees, lush ferns and a variety of flourishing sub-tropical flowers. Breathtaking views of opulent private homes and exquisite estates sprawling along the shores are also a key feature of the scenic cruise.
Leu Gardens/Mead Gardens: Many of our visiting ambassadors are naturalists and enjoy the array of flora and fauna that Orlando has to offer. Guided walks take visitor through our lush, tropical gardens. The gardens feature paved scenic walkways that take you through fifty acres of southern styled gardens.
Blue Spring State Park: Our Florida state parks give visitors a glimpse of the beautiful landscape and unique wildlife. This visit offer scenic and informative walks and narrated boat tours. For the more adventurous they have canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. If you are fortunate enough to visit us in the cool days of winter, you will likely see the manatees that make this area their home.
DeLeon Springs: This state park gives visitors a step back in Florida’s history. Surrounded by a beautiful setting, these springs reveal hidden treasures in their museum that showcases artifacts found in the springs from various native American tribes who inhabited this area. As a special treat, and old sugar mill is now home to a unique restaurant where visitors cook their own pancake breakfast over individual grills.
St. Johns River Eco Tours: The St. Johns River Nature Tour is considered the most popular nature oriented tour in Florida.
Morse Museum: The world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) is housed at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The Museum’s Tiffany collection includes jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass windows and lamps, and the chapel interior the artist designed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
In addition, Orlando is home to many other art, historical, and cultural museums. Based on the interests of our incoming ambassadors, we can include a visit to some of these, such as the Cornell Museum, the Orlando History Museum, and the Polasek Museum.
Orlando Wetlands Park: This scenic site is very popular with birders and wildlife viewers. It is the successful result of developing a wetlands where aquatic plants polish already treated wastewater before discharging it into the St. Johns River.
Fort Christmas Park: At this Orange County park, exhibits show what life was like when Florida was a frontier. You'll see a museum that is a replica of an 1837 fort from the Second Seminole War and restored “Florida Cracker” & pioneer homes.
Black Hammock Restaurant: Experience one of our areas unique restaurants on the banks of the St. Johns River. This natural setting guarantees alligator sightings in a unique fish camp setting home to a variety of wildlife – both animal and human. For a real close up look at nature, hop aboard an airboat ride.
Airboat Rides: An airboat is an ideal vessel for getting around lakes and wet lands. The air boat is a very stable craft, and it’s completely safe to be on one when searching for gators. This type of boat is unique because it has the ability to move into narrow creeks and shallow wetlands.
Nearby Famous Atlantic Beaches: Orlando is located only one hour away from beautiful and sunny beaches. We may visit one of our world famous beaches such as Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Cocoa Beach, etc. Each has unique sights that appeal to a wide range of preferences.
Gatorland: Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve in Orlando where you can (safely) experience up-close encounters with Florida alligators, birds, and other wildlife.
Kelly Park: Swim, float in a tube down one of Central Florida's spring-fed rivers, or bask in the sun (weather permitting) on the banks of a crystal clear stream, where water temperature is 68-70 degrees year round.
And more .... The following are not usually part of our planned activities because of cost and transportation, but ambassadors can make arrangements to visit these sites on their own:
Kennedy Space Center: See the history of space travel through informative displays and guided tours at this national landmark. At Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, you get the unique chance to tour – up close – NASA’s launch and landing facilities, experience interactive simulators, enjoy live shows and have jaw-dropping encounters with massive rockets. Plus, you can even meet a veteran NASA astronaut.
World Class Theme Parks: Visiting ambassadors may wish to include a visit to some of our local theme parks before or after their exchange. Arrangements to include a visit on the “flex day” can typically be made directly with your hosts, or through the exchange director. Admission fees vary and would be an additional charge if requested.
Walt Disney World http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/
Sea World http://www.seaworld.com/orlando/
Universal Studios https://www.universalorlando.com/
Shopping: We have a variety of shopping malls, including outlet malls for designer brands and unique boutiques. Arrangements can be made directly with your hosts for a day of shopping if this is your choice of activity on your free day.
Mall at Millennia
The Shops of Winter Park
Outstanding Professional Golf Courses: With our beautiful weather, golf is played during all four seasons. If you would like to include golf, we can make several recommendations that accommodate any level of play.