Top 10 Orlando Activities

By DynamicDenise | Oct 9, 2019
North America > United States > Florida > Orlando

Disney

Disney

Orlando has become a staple on our annual travel itinerary. But why?

Once a small town, Orlando is now a bustling city featuring multiple theme park attractions, popular convention centers for business travelers, and a multitude of entertainment venues for both kids and adults. There's so much for one family to see and do regardless of whatever it is you fancy.

Our visits to Orlando have been with groups from grand babies and their parents to my adult siblings. From extended family, to Papa Joe and I exploring the city alone. Sometimes it is our destination, other times it is a stop along our route. So it's just but fitting that I share with you some of the best activities to do in this sunshine city! With its good weather and warm and friendly people, Orlando should also be a must-visit for your family.

So what are our favorite Orlando activities?

Lets get the white elephant out of the way. Of course, everyone knows about the various theme parks - Disney, Universal, LegoLand, just to name a few. And I have to say they are #1 Orlando activity on the list. Not because theme parks are my favorite, but quite likely because it is yours. They are definitely one of Papa Joe's favorites.

Disney Magic

Disney Magic

Let's talk about Orlando's Theme Parks

As many times as I've seen it, nothing compares to the Disney Castle lit up at night by fireworks, Space Mountain, or hearing our grandson squeal the first time he discovered Thunder Mountain. He's 11 now, and has discovered he loves roller coasters, by the way. Those memories are more than worth the price of tickets. Even if you're not a theme park person, there's just something magical about that child-like feeling you get when you're there. Beyond the crowd and the heat, it'll always be worth a visit.

  • Universal Orlando Resort has ticket packages that start at $82 per person per day (4 day package). It's a theme park that'll have everything you're looking for. From wizards to Marvel superheroes, and even witches. Because it's great for families, it's worth considering staying in one of its hotels. That way, you'll have priority entries to the park.
  • Disney World offers multiple packages, the comparable 4 day pack starts at $87.50 per person. There's no other way to put it—Disney World is the happiest place on earth.
  • And the bargain of the day, GatorLand tickets start at $19.99. If you or any member of your family adores alligators, then this is a must-visit, too. Yes, you'll have an opportunity to wrestle with alligators, or feed their babies.

Sorry, no other theme park photos. I just won't post photos of my grandkids without their parents' permission, and somehow, they are so blessed and cute and they are always in the pictures!

Is planning a trip to a theme park overwhelming? Taking a family to theme parks in Orlando is expensive. However, when packages combine entry into several parks, or when a package is purchased that spans several days, the prices are more reasonable. The most expensive way to go is to purchase a single day ticket for a single park.

Theme parks should count for at least 3 of the top 10 activities, but I'm counting them as 1 activity. There's something different and new for you to experience in every theme park, which is why you should never miss out on them.

You can book your hotel stays at these theme parks and other rentals for your entire holiday through excellent providers such as Koala.

What else should you consider when visiting theme parks?

When you visit, make sure to download the park's app onto your smart phone, allowing you to see wait lines at popular rides, and consider buying a “Fast Pass” or comparable product that allows you the ability to access rides more quickly. Papa Joe and I also use the "Single Rider" option, which allows riders to get through lines faster without purchasing a "Fast Pass". Also, most parks offer bundled food packages, which can be a good deal if you are feeding a family.

People do purchase multi-day tickets and resell days that have not been used. There are several Kiosk shops and re-sale opportunities in the gift shops along Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway. Buyer beware. Most parks now use a fingerprint scanner that ties the ticket to the person that first used the ticket, so a ticket purchased through one of these shops MAY not gain access into a park. This is not an option I recommend.

What other Orlando activities are there besides theme parks?

We always visit the beach – Clearwater Beach is about 1 ½ hours away to the west, Cocoa Beach is around an hour away to the east. This is a must-do for both adults and kids. We have also spent considerable time exploring Daytona Beach, enjoying Daytona Bike Week and enjoying the incredible beach.

Did you know there are sections of Daytona Beach you can drive your car on? I think that's a pretty cool thing to do!

How is that for #2 on the list of Orlando activities!

The famous Cocoa Beach Pier

The famous Cocoa Beach Pier

How about things for adults to do in Orlando?

We loved out time mudding at Hummer Off-Road Experience (prices start at $175 according to their website). While a bit pricey, this was an absolute blast! My brother and Papa Joe each got to drive the Hummers, and my sis and I were covered in mud. Not for everyone, but a must-do if you like this kind of adult fun.

If you are into jet boat rides and the chance to view alligators and bald eagles in their natural habitat, our favorite is Airboat Rides at Midway-(less than $40 per person). We have visited Midway at least 3 times. Spring months afford the best gator and bald eagle viewing, but we have enjoyed trips in the summer too. Recently we tried a different airboat ride in the same area, and it just didn't compare to Midway.

These activities are both so much fun, I'm calling them #3 and #4.

If you want to see more nature, you can't miss the Orlando Wetlands Park

And... wait for it.... There is no admission charge.

This is a walking park, and is really a great idea. The park is part of Orlando's water reclamation project, and is full of alligators of all sizes, and birds of every local species. There are few trees, so an umbrella is recommended for those who are sensitive to the sun. This is highly recommended and worth the trip.

Another great way to view nature is the Black Point Wildlife Drive

There is a recommended $10 per vehicle entry fee. There are a few easy walking trails to get closer to nature, offering great vantage points to see over the water and view a wider variety of wildlife than is possible from the car. Drive slow - and keep your eyes peeled. My sis says to look for "what looks out of place", and that has been good advise for spotting wildlife in it's natural habitat.

The nature activities are all within an hour drive of Orlando, and all worth the drive to get there.

But my favorite adult activity...

You guessed it. Food.

I love the City Walk at Universal Studio. With a huge variety of restaurants, occasional street performers, and after-hours activities, there are plenty of choices for any palate. The after-hours activities range from formal shows like the Blue Man Group to dealing-piano bars. Parking can be a bit pricey, and considering adult activities enjoyed here, Uber or Lyft may be a better option for transportation.

How do you decide what to do IN Orlando?

Many of the “VacationLand Attractions” are found on Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, which is a main thoroughfare near Universal Studios and Disney. Irlo Bronson allows easy access to the theme parks, mini golf, theme supper shows, grocery stores, and other places to pick up necessary supplies. Numerous gift -themed shops are also located on Irlo Bronson, as well as a wide variety of restaurants offering any type of food a visitor could possibly want.

Checking out the multiple activities on Irlo Bronson is a huge #6 on this list - but it could be a top 10 all on its own.

What else is there for kids to do in Orlando?

If the kids like to see larger wildlife closer to them you can't miss the Showcase of Citrus with the 4x4 Monster Truck. Admission starts at $15, tour of orange grove at no cost. With an assortment of sauces, mixes, and snacks, this place has it all.

On our last trip, our 3 year old grandson drove the 4x4 (with help of course). The tour affords several opportunities to feed zebras, water buffalo and other wildlife kept at the site. All from a safe distance, but close enough the kids can really experience the animals.

Are there Orlando activities if you have a scientist-in-the making?

A visit to NASA at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must-do - (admission starts at $40 per person). This wasn't my cup of tea, but Papa Joe was seriously like a kid in a candy shop. With hands-on exhibits to historic aircraft, there is plenty here for kids and adults of all ages.

If you time it right, you may even watch a space shuttle launch.

I'm breaking my own rules.... and following my own rule. Confused yet?

I'm breaking my own rule by recommending something we haven't done yet.... so take part of this with a grain of salt. All puns intended. And following my own rule by including the recommendation for including a food tour. Little Vietnam Food & Art Walking Tour is available on TripAdvisor, and looks like a super-cool thing to do. My next update on this feature story will include an update on this for sure!

Whether a Vietnam Food tour is your first choice or not, I highly recommend finding a food tour that speaks to you. And just do it! Here are great reasons why:

  • Food tours in Orlando will give you that feel of what it's like to be a local! You could be taken to hidden gems or places the locals truly love.
  • You're sure to have delicious food. You don't have to worry about walking to a restaurant wondering if the food is great. If you've gotten tired of all that theme park food, dive into the delicious local cuisine through walking food tours.
  • You can take in the beauty of Orlando. Apart from getting a feel of its food, through a walking food tour, you're also walking around the place. This is one of the best ways for you to see and experience the city, rather than simply being in a car the entire time.

Orlando is fun to visit

Regardless of what your interests are, there are Orlando activities for you, or have something great within an hour drive or so. I love that the city is so versatile and I have tried to provide you some resources to help plan your trip and keep costs down. Lastly, Florida gets hot, and kids (me) tire more easily in the heat. Take plenty of water, wear comfortable (preferably close-toed) shoes, and have rain gear handy if there is any chance of rain. Good advice for any outdoor activity. There truly are Orlando activities for everyone. Now all that's left for you to do? Get ahead and start planning your Orlando holiday.

Things to do Theme Park Beach Wildlife

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Written by DynamicDenise
TravelAcrossTheWorld is a travel blog written for a few simple purposes. Encourage people to travel Provide tips designed to improve your travel experience Give ideas about travel destinations Share stories of our travel escapades Stimulate people to think more kindly about new places, different people, and unfamiliar things Make the world a better place - this magnificent world belongs to us all, and we want to encourage others to experience it in a loving, accepting manner. Want to learn more? Check out my travel blog at TravelAcrossTheWorld.com. Besides enjoying travel and travel blogging, I am an author, my latest book is a... Read more

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