Things to Look Forward to When Traveling To Orlando
Orlando, Florida is well known for the number of theme parks and amusement parks, but it’s easy to forget that this city has so much more to offer than hanging out with iconic Disney characters and travelling at hundreds of miles per hour on a roller coaster ride.
On top of great seafood, it’s also home to a vibrant culture, lovely nature centers and a great science center for kids to visit and learn from.
Here’s a list of things to look forward to in Orlando, Florida:
Be at one with nature
Orlando is home to the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve, which is a 440-acre nature preserve that showcases Florida’s natural scenery.
If the intense Florida heat is getting too much to bear, or the city crowds are becoming a bit overwhelming, taking a short stroll amongst the shades of the trees and the quiet paths this preserve has will surely be a relaxing treat. Aside from scenic strolls, the views of the lake will definitely be a great experience.
Enjoy the food
Orlando is also well-known for the great variety of food it has to offer. There are plenty of themed restaurants across the city, and each has a great selection of food to choose from, which offer a great experience without the need to visit an actual theme park.
Many of these themed restaurants can be found at Disney Springs and Universal CityWalk Orlando.
The city is also well known for its thriving seafood market, where plenty of people can enjoy the culinary bounties of the sea. There might be other best you’ve experienced before but the best seafood in Orlando can be found here and you’ll be happier for it.
Center One of Florida’s most popular attractions can be found in Orlando and can be found away from many of the city’s theme park attractions.
The Kennedy Space Center isn’t just a place for NASA to send people into space, it’s also a great facility to take your families to learn about space travel. Prospective astronauts will definitely love this.
Swim with the dolphins
If you’re geared towards exploring aquatic-themed parks, then Orlando also has a lot to offer. Sea World Orlando is a major attraction in the city and can provide hands-on experience with aquatic animals for the family.
If you want a more personalized approach to enjoying the aquatic beauties in the water, then Discovery Cove may have something to offer you. A great alternative to Sea World, Discovery Cove’s most popular attraction is the Dolphin Lagoon, where you are allowed to swim with and interact with the dolphins in their natural habitat.
Visit a theme park
Lastly, a visit to Orlando wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the many theme parks the city is quite known for. From Walt Disney World for the kids, to Universal Studios for older people, to Legoland to those in between, Orlando practically has a theme park for everybody to enjoy.
Although a visit to Orlando usually means that the theme parks take a huge portion of your itinerary, the city still has much to offer any visitor.
A quaint downtown quarter, vibrant night markets, lovely pieces of nature, there are many things that can surprise you in the city. It’s up to you to experience them all.
8 Things to Do in Orlando for $20 or Less
Millions, yes millions, of people head to Orlando each year to visit a mouse, to experience some Harry Potter and to see an orca jump high in the air. These millions of people spend thousands of dollars for a week long visit to the major theme parks in the area.
Did you know there are also lots of things to do in the Orlando area that are much less expensive?
Fun for $20 or Less
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games: Featuring multi-level indoor karting on International Drive, this venue also has bowling, a ropes course, laser tag, games, gourmet food, two bars and more. Adult races are $19.95 with membership ($21.95 for non-members), and other activities are well under $20.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Interactive exhibits and artifacts can be found at this International Drive attraction that celebrates oddities from around the world. Admission is $19.99 for adults and $12.99 for children 3-11 when purchased from Visit Orlando, with kids under 3 free.
Crayola Experience: Located at The Florida Mall, this two-story, 70,000-square-foot family attraction provides a full day of creative, colorful fun with 26 hands-on activities, including drip art and a color playground. When purchased from Visit Orlando, tickets are just $18.95 each. You can also find some discounts on tickets HERE.
I-Drive NASCAR: On International Drive, race state-of-the-art karts at this indoor attraction, which also boasts an arcade, bowling, pool tables, and a full bar and restaurant. When purchased online, races are $18.99 for adults and $16.99 for children under 16, who must be at least 55 inches tall, and a discounted combo package is available from Visit Orlando. Discount tickets are available HERE
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens: See more than 500 animals, including rare and endangered species, as well as 23 acres of gardens in Sanford, about 25 minutes from downtown Orlando. Admission is $19.50 for adults, $15.95 for seniors, $13.75 for children ages 3-12, and free for kids under 3.
Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour: The waterfront mansions you’ll see cost considerably more than the narrated tour itself, which is $13.15 for adults and $6.57 for children ages 2-11 when purchased from Visit Orlando. You’ll also witness the waterways and natural scenery of this charming city about 25 minutes from downtown Orlando. Discount tickets are available HERE.
Orlando Museum of Art: Besides showcasing local, national and international works of art, the museum has two discovery centers for children. Admission for adults is $15, $8 for seniors, and $5 for ages 4-17. Kids under 3 are free, as are active and retired military personnel.
Bronze Kingdom African Art Gallery: With more than 2,000 pieces, this gallery at Orlando Fashion Square Mall near downtown Orlando features the largest collection of rare African bronze sculptures in the world, plus beaded and wood sculptures. General admission is $5, and guided tours are available at a cost of $12 for adults, $9 for seniors, and $7 for children under 12 and students with proper ID.
New Theme Park Attractions – New Restaurants – New Resorts – What’s Coming to Orlando in 2019?
An estimated 75 million people visit Orlando each year. Some head to Walt Disney World. Some head to Universal Orlando. Some head to SeaWorld. Many stay for extended periods and visit all. Some just like the weather and mix up all the many attractions to visit or relax at any one of the many, many resorts.
It seems as if the Orlando theme parks and attractions have each been working endlessly to attract new visitors and in 2019 there will be a number of new additions – New attractions, new restaurants, new resorts, and more.
Below are the highlights of some of what you can expect:
Walt Disney World Resort
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: The famous galaxy far, far away comes to Orlando in fall 2019, courtesy of this immersive land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Introducing a brand-new planet to the Star Wars mythos – Batuu – Galaxy’s Edge will invite Jedi and Sith alike to explore Black Shire Outpost, which is set to include two attractions (including the chance to pilot the Millennium Falcon!), themed dining and shopping, and character meet-and-greets.
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway: Believe it or not, Mickey Mouse has never starred in a Disney ride. That all changes once this family-friendly journey debuts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2019! Using next-gen technology, the attraction will transport you to the world of Mickey’s classic cartoons.
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy: Set to open in early 2019, this live show at Sunset Showcase in Disney’s Hollywood Studios will star Cars characters Lightning McQueen, Mater and Cruz Ramirez.
New Live Experience: Although details are still under wraps, this live-action experience will be based on a high-energy Universal franchise and will replace Terminator 2: 3-D in 2019.
Sesame Street Land: Wondering how to get to Sesame Street? Starting in spring 2019, you’ll be able to find the iconic neighborhood at SeaWorld’s main Orlando theme park!
In addition to themed rides, this area will feature beloved characters, interactive experiences, wet and dry play areas, and SeaWorld Orlando’s first-ever parade.
KareKare Curl:This new family thrill ride at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, will offer a high-adrenaline, weightless adventure as you “climb” a vertical wave wall.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort
The LEGO Movie World: The LEGO Movie was a box-office smash, and the blockbuster is getting a land of its own in spring 2019. This area will include two new rides, as well as character meet-and-greets and a giant themed playscape.
The Quest for Chi: One of LEGOLAND Florida’s most popular attractions is getting a makeover before it becomes part of The LEGO Movie World in 2019.
Other Orlando Attractions
Boxi Park: Built with re-purposed shipping containers, this unique outdoor food hall and outdoor entertainment venue is coming to Lake Nona, about 15 minutes from Orlando International Airport.
The 30,000-square-foot family (and dog-friendly) outdoor district will feature restaurants, bars and a live music stage, plus a playground, fenced dog park and beach volleyball courts.
Dezerland Action Park: Coming to Orlando’s International Drive area in 2019, this indoor theme park will feature the Orlando Auto Museum, one of the world’s largest, privately owned collections of “automobilia.”
Spanning 250,000 square feet, the experience will boast dynamic displays of cars made famous by Hollywood, including those from James Bond and Batman movies.
The facility will also have specialty car lounges spanning decades of restored vintage, classic and international vehicles, including displays on the cars’ impact on automotive history. Guests can also look forward to Florida’s longest go-kart track, as well as unique event space.
Epic Axe Throwing: A first-of-its-kind for the area, this unique attraction is bringing axe-throwing to downtown Orlando. The rustic “sport” is open to anyone over the age of 13, and coaches will be on hand to teach the art in a safe environment.
Nona Adventure Park: A new water-sports park featuring an inflatable, floating obstacle course and cable-assisted wake-boarding, is scheduled to open in February in Lake Nona.
Wild Florida: Offering adventures in Central Florida’s gorgeous outdoors, this attraction will expand by more than six times its current, 13-acre size and add a 2-mile, drive-through safari that will provide nose-to-snout encounters with giraffes, wild boars and other exotic creatures.
A total of 75 additional acres will debut in summer 2019, and the safari section will include a zipline over a grazing area.
New Orlando Restaurants for 2019
With more than 5,000 restaurants throughout the area, you never have to worry about going hungry in Orlando. Here are a few more locations that will added to the line-up:
The NBA Experience: Coming to Disney Springs in 2019, this state-of-the-art venue will include interactive games and competitions, immersive experiences, and a retail store.
City Works Eatery and Pour House: Also opening at Disney Springs, this option will boast 80 beers on tap, shareable American favorites and live sporting events on HDTVs.
The Hampton Social: Themed after New York’s coastal resort region, this Chicago original is coming to Pointe Orlando in 2019. Specializing in seafood, pizza and brunch, the eatery is known for unique dishes like Chicken and Doughnuts, and a signature “Rosé All Day.”
The District Gastro Bar: This new upscale restaurant and bar in downtown Orlando will offer an eclectic mix of gastronomy, mixology, art and entertainment while drawing inspiration from the mid-20th century African-American music scene. The venue will feature an open-air patio, beer garden and menu with Caribbean flare.
Lotus Asia House: Offering creative cocktails and Pan-Asian cuisine inspired by street-food vendors, this vibrant, energetic eatery is coming to Pointe Orlando with a warm, spacious dining room designed to encourage mingling.
Proper & Wild: The operators of one of Orlando’s most popular vegetarian restaurants, Sanctum Café, are bringing this new concept to Winter Park, serving plant-based dishes that focus on modern food trends.
Sette: Offering pastas made from scratch, this rustic Italian kitchen is being developed by the owners of local favorite and nationally recognized bakery, Se7en Bites.
New Orlando Hotels & Resorts for 2019
Orlando currently has more than 122,000 rooms which means you can usually find the right room at the right price to visit. Once these new accommodations open for business in 2019, you’ll have even more options when you’re in town!
Disney’s Riviera Resort: Marking the 15th Disney Vacation Club property, this resort is expected to open in fall 2019 in Walt Disney World’s Epcot area.
Universal’s Surfside Inn and Suites: Universal Orlando Resort will open this hotel in summer 2019 as the first of two properties in Universal’s Endless Summer Resort. Surfside Inn and Suites will offer some of Universal Orlando Resort’s most affordable accommodations.
Margaritaville Resort Orlando: Parrotheads, get ready to party at a resort based on Jimmy Buffet’s signature brand! Coming in January 2019, this waterfront destination will feature 175 guestrooms, 1,000 Margaritaville-themed vacation homes and 300 timeshare units.
It will also boast a dining and entertainment district, a 12-acre water park, a wellness center, miles of fitness trails and a unique water taxi system.
Will you be visiting Orlando in 2019? I know I’m looking forward to some of these new experiences!
There’s More to Orlando Than Theme Parks ~ Best Family Vacation Spots Around Orlando
Orlando Florida is so much more than a famous mouse, wizardly worlds, and traffic jams. In fact, Orlando has so more to offer your vacationing family. Orlando has some of the most diverse vacationing spots in Florida. So, when planning Florida vacation, do not forget about these spots to make your Orlando family vacation happy for everyone. Now, let’s explore some of Orlando’s great vacation spots.
Best Orlando Family Vacation Spots
Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden
Although the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden are just outside of Orlando, it is worth the drive. At approximately 25 minutes outside of Orlando, the Central Florida Zoo has everything your family needs for a day of fun. Animals, zip lining, splash pad, and even a train ride are just a few things to keep you busy. When here my kids love watching the animals in the morning when they are active. As the animals start to settle down for the day, we enjoy the splash pad usually followed by the train ride. If your kids love thrill and adventure, make sure to sign them up for zip-lining through the zoo. It gives kids a whole new view as they are gliding over the animals in their enclosures.
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
Seahorses, jellyfish, and sharks are just a few of the sea life that you and your family will see when you visit the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium. Not only can kids have fun while they explore the Rockpools, but they will also love all the shows and feeding times. Before you go, I would suggest ordering your tickets online. I would also recommend upgrading your tickets to include the behind the scenes tour. Going behind the scenes will allow your family to have a 25-minute tour where kids can learn about the food preparations and life support system for the sea creatures.
Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center is perfect for all family members. Your family will be thrilled to spend hours here. Between the Theatre shows, and hands-on learning kids are sure to have fun. Throughout the day, there are many different shows for your family to watch. Shows run almost hourly, so there is always something to watch. The Orlando Science Center wants kids to learn science in innovative ways, that they will remember for forever. Also, the Orlando Science Center is big on the STEM learning process.
Orlando has made history yet again with the opening of the Starflyer. The Starflyer is the world’s tallest swing ride. You and your family will rise over 400 feet above Orlando and be swinging approximately 50 miles per hour. The Orlando Eye is right next door and offers riders a unique experience. The Orlando Eye is a gigantic Ferris Wheel. The Starflyer is not for small children though. Due to safety precautions, each rider has to be over 44 inches. Also, it is not recommended for other apparent medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or heart conditions.
Church Street Station and Sun Rail
Formerly called the Old Orlando Railroad Depot, Church Street Station is now a place for shopping for fun and unique souvenirs, restaurants and bars. It is also still used as a station for the newly built SunRail. Families can enjoy shopping or jump on the SunRail that runs from Sandlake Road in Orange County up to DeBary into Volusia County. At the end of July 2018, the SunRail is expected to be completed down to Poinciana in Lake and Polk County. What is more fun than a day of shopping and SunRail train rides?
I love SeaWorld; I don’t care what anyone says. Kids love SeaWorld, and they love learning about sea life. At SeaWorld, kids can watch the sea lion and otter show, or watch the dolphin show. They can also feed many of the sea life too. Some of the sea life that they can feed are the sea lions, stingrays and baby sharks. Kids can also interact and possibly touch the dolphins too. Kids will also learn about all of the rehabilitation that SeaWorld provides for animals, such as manatees and turtles.
See, an Orlando family vacation has so much to offer. From thrilling rides, to calm SunRail rides, Orlando has it all. Including a vast array of different animals for kids to learn about and be interested in too. It is safe to say; mom and dad may learn something new also.
Have you had an Orlando family vacation? If you had to name your favorite Orlando family vacation spot, what would it be?
Newest Disney on Ice – Mickey’s Search Party – Coming to Orlando in September!
Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party Brings the Magic Closer to Fans than Ever Before Through Unexpected, Never-Before-Seen Performances
Tickets for All-New Show Coming to Orlando September 7-9 On Sale
Disney On Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party brings the magic closer to fans than ever before through dynamic and immersive moments that take place on the ice, in the air and in the seats when the show comes to Amway Center in Orlando September 7-9, 2018 for six performances. Produced by Feld Entertainment Inc., the worldwide leader in live touring family entertainment, Disney On Ice is once again elevating the ice show experience with brand-new engaging elements that will fascinate both newcomers and seasoned guests, alike. Tickets are on sale now at DisneyOnIce.com.
Joined by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, live hosts will enliven the performance space by welcoming everyone into the magical world of Disney On Ice, setting the stage for a participatory adventure. Guests will embark on a search for clues to find Tinker Bell after Captain Hook tries to capture her magic. As each scene unfolds, compelling storytelling will be delivered through multi-level production numbers by skaters, performers and acrobats, alike.
As Miguel from Disney●Pixar’s Coco crosses the Marigold Bridge, he finds himself in the magnificent spirit realm painted with vibrant color, with skeletons atop sway poles oscillating back and forth over the audience in this culturally rich, heritage celebration. Through video projection, Arendelle builds from the ground up, and ice harvesters from Disney’s Frozen use extreme skating to launch themselves from the mountainous, wintry slopes delivering an athletically-driven performance as they chop their way through blocks of ice. The iconic chandelier seen in “Be Our Guest” comes to life as Belle and the enchanted objects from Beauty and the Beast become a rotating carousel using aerial silks and lift upward into the air, mesmerizing onlookers seated above and below.
“Our goal with any show, no matter where you are in the world, is to deliver transformative performances that captivate audiences time and time again. With this production of Disney On Ice, we have brought the magic closer to guests than ever before by having the audience become an integral part of advancing the narrative as each story unfolds,” said Nicole Feld, Executive Vice President and Producer. “We have pushed the action past the ice, expanding the stage beyond our traditional surface. The excitement will not only happen in front of fans, but all around them with characters emerging from the stands in unexpected places for one-on-one delightful moments.”
In a high-energy opening number, Club Mickey Mouse-inspired performers will hype up the crowd through cutting-edge figure skating choreography and hoverboard tricks on the ice. Air tracks will also allow the hilarious pirates aboard the Jolly Roger to flip, tumble and twist to greater heights as they attempt to showcase their talents for Captain Hook. Aerial straps combined with adagio pair skating will elevate Ariel’s transformation from mermaid to human creating a spell-bounding sequence high above the ice with Prince Eric to the classic song, “Kiss The Girl.” Creative costume design and fabrication will enhance the scenes as the ensemble imitate life “Under the Sea” from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and will also give the illusion the ice is enveloped in flames as Moana encounters Te Ka on her daring voyage to restore the heart of Te Fiti.
Mickey’s Search Party will feature a collection of Disney characters fans know and love portrayed by decorated performer-athletes who push the boundaries of what is possible. Their theatrical talent, combined with this innovative Disney On Ice production, elevates the live entertainment experience and will leave families with memories that will last a lifetime.
Ticket Prices: Starting from $18. For ticket information, visit DisneyOnIce.com.
Orlando Show Times: Friday, September 7, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 8, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, September 9, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.