Orlando is one of the world’s most visited tourist destinations, with lots of great weather, a plethora of resorts and theme parks, beautiful hotels, and friendly locals. Nicknamed “The Theme Park Capital of the World”, Orlando is home to more than a dozen world-class theme parks, most famous of them being the Walt Disney World Resort and the Universal Orlando Resort.
If you are one of the 75 million visitors who are likely to visit Orlando, Florida in a year, you might be wondering where exactly you should visit first. While there are almost a hundred things you can do in Orlando, we have put together a list of eight of the best places to go to and things to do the next time you are visiting the city. Whether you are alone, with friends, or with your family, there is something for everyone, and you will definitely have a great time exploring all the city has to offer.
WHERE TO STAY IN ORLANDO FLORIDA
Here’s the thing- Orlando is huge and the parks are spread out all over the city and a bit outside of it. For example- DisneyWorld and Universal Studios are about 14 miles apart, and it can take anywhere between 25-50 minutes one way to get there.
That said, if you’re looking at only one of Orlando’s theme park resorts — Disney, or Universal, then just stay at the resort and call it a day. There are a ton of rental options close to each resort as well.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN ORLANDO
Orlando is as small or as big as you want it to be, and every time we’ve visited, we’ve either Uber/rideshare or had a rental car. Honestly, getting a car rental in Orlando is probably your easiest bet because you can explore the surrounding areas a bit better too.
As mentioned above, Universal and Disney are about 14 miles apart and it’s most likely cheaper to get a car rental. Also, note that the parking fee at most parks are $20/day.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA
1. Visit Walt Disney World Resort
Everyone who loves a good time that goes to Orlando should visit the Happiest Place on Earth. Located in the Bay Lake area, Walt Disney World is an entertainment complex of theme parks, water parks, resort hotels, regular hotels, golf courses, and other entertainment centers. Their fun facilities are based on popular characters from the Disney cartoons and movies that have captured the hearts of children and adults alike for decades. They provide immensely exciting experiences that have visitors coming back year after year.
2. Play Mini Golf at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf
If you happen to like pirates and golf, then blend both your interests and have a fun time playing mini-golf at Pirate’s Cove. Providing fun for all ages, Pirate’s Cove offers two mini-golf challenges – the Captain’s Course and Blackbeard’s Challenge. These two pirate-themed courses take players through trees, waterfalls, and challenging holes that friends and family members will have a blast navigating.
Tickets for the 18- and 36-hole course options can be purchased online. Pirate’s Cove is open from 9:00 AM – 11:30 PM every day.
3. Tour the World of Chocolate Museum
Chocolate is one of the best things this world has to offer us. But where does chocolate come from? Located near the intersection of International Drive and Central Florida Parkway, the World of Chocolate Museum is dedicated to all things confectionery. Each room depicts a piece of chocolate history from the rainforest room, which shows where cocoa trees grow, to the collection of classic and contemporary chocolate bar wrappers from across the globe. They give guided tours to chocolate lovers, teaching them about the origins of the treat and offering samples of various types of chocolate from around the world. The tour ends at the cafe and gift shop where guests can have some more delicious bonbon or buy gifts for friends and family.
4. Go To An Escape Room
Escape games are a perfect blend of video game challenges and real-life character interactions. Friends and family members can team up and call forth their inner Hardy Boys to a great adventure as they sift through clues in an enclosed room to find the ultimate prize – their freedom.
There are numerous escape houses around Orlando like The Escape Company, MindScape Escape Rooms, and Dare2Escape. Each house offers different mystery rooms with physical sets and props, and guests must solve puzzles and look for clues so they can find freedom before the time runs out.
5. Watch Aligator Wrestling at Gatorland
Gatorland is a 70-year old theme park and wildlife reserve that is dedicated to showcasing thousands of alligators and crocodiles. Visitors can observe alligators in their natural breeding marsh, watch them being fed, and witness the bravery of a trained gator handler as he wrestles down an eight-foot alligator.
There are other things to do at Gatorland, and the 110-acre theme park has different attractions and activities to engage gator lovers like rides on the Gator Express or on zip lines that take you over a pool of alligators, up close encounters with snakes, insects, exotic birds, and animals from around the world. They even have a petting zoo where little people can safely pet and feed smaller, less bite-happy animals.
6. Go ATV Racing at Revolution Off Road
If you have got a need for speed, as well as a valid driver’s license, then Revolution Off Road is one place you have to go when you are in Orlando. At Revolution Off Road, racers are first given a safety lesson on best practices when handling an ATV, then they’re set behind the wheels of a mucky duke or dune buggy and given two hours to conquer 230 acres of off-road tracks and trails around the property. It is a little bit out of the way so it’s probably best if you rent a car in Orlando.
The trails are suitable for beginners and more experienced drivers and are open in almost all weather conditions, barring extreme thunderstorms. Visitors should expect to get very dirty, so dress appropriately.
7. Visit the Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center is a hands-on science museum where children (and adults alike) can learn about science in a fun way. Constantly inspiring curiosity and inspiration for more than 60 years, the Orlando Science Center showcases the wonders of science in four floors of awe-inspiring exhibits and a humongous cinedome with 3D films and live programming. Children can have fun at KidsTown, learning about science through whole-body experiences and play-pretend, or walk with adults through DinoDigs as they explore fossil replicas of dinosaurs and prehistoric sea creatures. The Orlando Science Center is definitely a great place for a learning experience or to spend a rainy day.
8. Take Flight at iFly Orlando
Every one of us has wondered what it would be like to be a superhero. At iFly Orlando, visitors get the chance to fly just like one. The experience begins with a training session featuring a flight instructor, where aspiring superheroes will learn the basics of flight like hand signals and proper body positioning. Afterward, full flight gear including a helmet, flight suit, and goggles will be donned before stepping into the wind tunnel for 60 seconds of sheer exhilaration.
9. Find your adventure at Universal Studios
You can’t visit Orlando and not explore Universal Studios- the holy grail for any and all movie lovers. Universal Studios is where your childhood Harry Potter dreams can come true- between glimpses of dragons to exploring Diagon Alley and tasting butterbeer- everything that you saw on the screen and read in the books is right there at your fingertips. Obviously, our biggest tip here would be to get there early, and really lean into the experience- go ahead- get yourself a robe, too!
Orlando is full of experiences for the young and old (or the young at heart). It emphasises the diversity the state of Florida has to offer – from art in Miami, relaxation in Panama City Beach, to endless fun here in Orlando. We can’t recommend the city enough, and even though it feels like it’s full of amusement parks, there are a ton of really interesting things to do and explore while there.