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.
Visiting Orlando and Someone Gets Sick! Oh No! What Do You Do?
As much as we plan and prepare and worry and fret, one thing we all know about a family vacation – expect the unexpected. When you are planning your dream vacation to Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando, you never plan on a family member getting sick while you are there.
Many visitors travel from other parts of the country or other parts of the world that don’t normally experience the extreme heat and humidity that is common to the Orlando/Florida area during the summer months. This heat and humidity can cause all sorts of health concerns for even the healthiest of individuals. Even when visiting during other times of the year – stuff happens! Someone comes down with a cold, you trip into your resort room twisting your ankle, your child falls and breaks an arm (don’t laugh – this happened to me!) you eat something that just doesn’t agree with you.
We all know there are emergency medical facilities that we can drive to or taxi to. We all know that sometimes you just don’t feel good enough to leave your hotel room. Drum roll please . . . enter The Medical Concierge®
The Three P’s of Vacation Planning
When planning a trip to any of the Orlando theme parks, especially during the hot and humid summer months, it’s important to remember the three P’s:
Bring with you common over-the-counter medications in TSA-compliant packaging: pain relievers, decongestants, cough syrups, motion-sickness pills. All of these items are available for sale on the theme park properties but at a cost much higher than you will pay at home
Stay cool! Many people underestimate the power of the Florida sun. Drinking lots of water to stay hydrated, finding shade or wearing hats, and applying sunscreen regularly will keep you moving throughout the day
Most attraction areas in Orlando allow guests to bring snacks and other food with them. Healthy options, like watermelon, carrot sticks, and celery, can put back the nutrients lost during the day. Bring and drink lots of water.
Don’t wear new shoes. Blistered feet on a theme park vacation can ruin everything!
Theme Parks are exciting places, especially when it’s your time to ride the latest thrill ride or catch up with your favorite character. But too much hustle from place to place can drain you quickly.
One loop just around the walking perimeter of the Magic Kingdom, Universal Orlando or SeaWorld Orlando can be several miles. Take advantage of seating opportunities or take in a show experience to give everyone—especially little ones or senior citizens—a break from the exploration.
Parents and adult family members like to enjoy the specialty cocktails exclusive to the parks. But too many at a time can cause problems with digestion and other important functions of the body. Slow down and enjoy responsibly!
Should health issues arise, it doesn’t have to mean the end of the family fun for the trip
One convenient option available at the front desk of most hotels on and off the Theme Park sites is The Medical Concierge
Preferred Medical Provider for Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and over 123 hotels and various tour operators, travel assistance companies, and vacation homes
Minutes away from Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World Resort in the heart of Greater Orlando
Accepts domestic and international Insurance
Team of Board Certified, Florida-licensed pediatric and family practice physicians
Administers urgent care in the comfort of visitor’s hotel rooms, vacation homes, event venues.
About The Medical Concierge
Founded in 1980, The Medical Concierge gives guests 24/7 medical assistance directly in their hotel or at the company’s medical clinic steps away from Universal Orlando Resort. From high-grade equipment like in-room X-rays and ultrasounds, free transportation to the clinic, and quick access to medications and testing directly from the board-certified and licensed physicians, The Medical Concierge and specialist partners strive to take care of everything, so guests and their families can take care of getting better.
The Medical Concierge has established itself during the last four decades as the preferred medical provider for the most storied hospitality companies in the Orlando operating area, including Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, and nearly 123 other hotel and vacation home properties.
Domestic and international travelers across the nation and around the world have found comfort with The Medical Concierge, the preferred Medical Provider for over 123 hotels and various tour operators, travel assistance companies, and vacation homes. The Medical Concierge works closely with international travelers, providing translation services and direct insurance billing to keep their vacations stress-free. Healthcare assistance is available 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, with medically trained staff available to answer your call, address your concerns, and assist with selecting and scheduling the service best suited for your medical needs. Should circumstances present you with a need for urgent care services while in Central Florida simply look for the gold bell of The Medical Concierge.
After contacting The Medical Concierge, the medical personnel will assess your medical needs and assist with options that accommodate your medical concerns or requirements. You will be assessed by phone using your description of symptoms. The staff will then schedule one of their physicians to come out to see you at your hotel, resort, or vacation home any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Patients are typically seen within 2-2 1/2 hours of being scheduled.
After a doctor arrives on site, they perform tests, diagnose, and treat you. Medications are prescribed and dispensed within the room, eliminating the need to find a pharmacy. Follow-up visits are performed within 24 hours if deemed necessary.
Cost & Insurance
The Medical Concierge takes most insurance and if necessary will provide you with a medically coded receipt. Their self-pay prices are set with a traveler’s budget in mind as they strive to provide the most value for your dollar.
Typical services provided during a resort house call include:
Dermabond Wound Closure
Mobile X-Ray & Ultrasound
Medical equipment can be rented, scheduled in advance, and delivered to your hotel:
Bath Safety Equipment
If you would prefer to see a physician at one of their private urgent care clinics, you can schedule an appointment. They have clinics conveniently located throughout the greater Orlando area just minutes from major attractions.
Typical services provided at one of our clinics:
Getting sick while on vacation in Orlando doesn’t have to ruin your entire trip and have you traveling all over Orlando in a taxi – The Medical Concierge to the rescue! Hide this number away in your wallet on your next trip just in case: 855-932-5252