I have only a few memories of my first visit to Disney World in Florida:

1. The fact that when the park was closing after the light parade at midnight, I screamed like a banshee at the gate until the mouse himself eventually helped my parents coax me out…with the promise that we’d return the next day.

2. That I found plenty outside of the gates to get the smiles going again.

The biggest secret about Kissimmee, Florida is that people think it’s only a jumping off spot for a Disney vacation.Florida Castle

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been to Disney a few times and it remains among some of our family’s most memorable vacations, but the great thing about the area is that you can find something for everyone both inside and outside of the gates.

Shopper in your midst? Outlet malls there never disappoint.

Through with theme parks? House rentals outside the parks mean you can have a pool and room to stretch out in a vacation rental that gives you a chance to regather some energy before continuing on with your adventures.

Adventurous lot? With everything from Water Parks to indoor sky-diving options you’ll be right at home.

Want to explore the outdoors? Kissimmee’s natural environment means you get up close to Florida’s untapped wilderness. Think nature tours, zip lining and airboat rides!

Just keeping it low-key? Beaches and old-fashioned car rallys mean never having to hurry anywhere.

And if what’s holding you back is the funds to make it happen? Well, I have just the contest for you.

Kissimmee is about to launch a contest that will get you there and then some.

By either sharing  a favourite “Memory” about a trip to Kissimmee or sharing a long-held “Dream” about going there, you could be one of two winners of a vacation that will give you plenty to write home about.

The Kissimmee Memories and Dreams Contest accepts submissions beginning on September 10 and wraps up on September 30, 2013. (Don’t worry I’ll remind you.)

If you win, you’ll be one of two families who gets round-trip Economy Class airfare courtesy of Air Canada for yourself and FIVE guests, a six-night vacation home stay courtesy of All Star Vacation homes, and a seven day rental car courtesy of Dollar Rent A Car.

To enter the “Kissimmee Memories and Dreams Contest,” and for full Contest Rules, visit www.experiencekissimmee.com/memoriesanddreams  and select to submit an essay composed of 1,000 – 1,500 characters – approximately 250 – 375 words – in either the “Memory” or “Dream” category. Eligible participants must be legal residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) and be 21 years of age or older. One submission with the highest score from each category, as judged by a panel of Kissimmee destination experts, will be selected as the potential Grand Prize winner in that category.

 This post was sponsored by Experience Kissimmee but, as always, all opinions are my own. 

You can learn more about the destination  by visiting experiencekissimmee.com