How many times have you been to Orlando? And how many times has that included the amazing Disney World? Perhaps it’s time to look a little further. We’ve partnered with family travel expert Erin Bender of Travel With Bender for 5 things to do in Orlando, beside Disney.
Just over 50 years ago Orlando was put on the map thanks to Mr. Walt Disney and his world-renowned entertaining theme parks. But spending all day every day at a theme park that covers 40 square miles (yes, the size of San Francisco!) can quickly become overwhelming. So what about the down days? The days you are not at Disney, where do you go?
Here are 5 places to keep you and the kids entertained on those days you need a little break from the Happiest Place on Earth.
1. Artegon Marketplace – Shopping
You’ve probably had your fill of souvenir shopping already, so why not head to this hip artisan marketplace with more than 155 stores selling almost anything including clothes, jewelry, home décor and art for something a little different. Cycle to charge your phone, or perhaps create your very own scented candle, or just stroll and admire all the eye-catching abstract art. Finally, don’t forget to send a postcard back home free of charge.
Update: Unfortunately, Artegon Marketplace is no longer open.
2. Orlando Eye – Views
If you haven’t made it to London across the pond yet, then the Orlando Eye will give you a chance to soar into the sky just like the London Eye. It’s a 400-foot observation wheel that provides a great birds eye view of Orlando and if you pick the right timing you can even enjoy a nice glass of bubbly as you take the trip.
3. I-Drive 360 – Entertainment
The Orlando Eye is situated within I-Drive 360, a $250 million entertainment destination. A themed complex featuring restaurants, clubs, shops, the Eye and two other favourite attractions: Madam Tussaud’s and SEA LIFE Aquarium. Take happy snaps with your favourite movie star at Madam Tussaud’s or get the kids up close and personal with underwater life at SEA LIFE before dining at some of your favourite restaurants.
4. Gatorland – Nature
Perhaps you’ve had enough of shopping and rides, so it’s time to get back to nature. A walk through the beautiful Gatorland will satisfy that itch. And if you still have room for one more thrill ride then try the zip-line hanging over the gators… that’s sure to tickle your adrenaline bone! Bring along a handful of coins to stock up on gatorfood as you take a walk through the breeding marsh. You’ll never see as many gators as you do on that boardwalk, so get ready to face your fears. Smaller kids will also love the playground and splash pad during the warm summer months… and baby crocodile feeding.
5. Universal Studios – Fun, Food & A Show
Perhaps you aren’t tired of theme parks at all and just looking for a little variety. Universal Studios is a popular destination to spend a few days with its movie-centric theme park rides and adrenaline-packed roller coasters that will tame even the wildest daredevils. And did I mention Harry Potter World? Drink Butterbeer, learn magic and find yourself on the Hogwarts Express heading deep into the magical Wizarding World.
After a day enjoying Universal Studios take a walk through the City Walk for your choice of delicious and mouth-watering restaurants. Our favourite was the brand new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. You must order a shake… Although you may not eat your meal afterwards. This place combines the whimsy of Willy Wonka with high quality, delicious dining.
Top off your day with a visit to the famously entertaining Blue Man Group. They will have you in stitches with their artistic humour, while at the same time have your feet tapping to the beat of a paint-splashing drum.
Of course, a day relaxing by the pool at your resort is a fine option to rest those weary feet. So, what’s your day off going to look like next time you head to Orlando?
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