Taking a family selfie with a theme park backdrop
Taking in views of the city at Lake Eola Park
A carefree moment after sharing a meal
Anytime is a good time to dance at Orlando’s theme parks
Laid-back resort life on a lazy river
Getting ready to ride the ICON Orlando 360 wheel
Making memories during a parade at one of the theme parks
Friends sharing a toast at a local restaurant
Meeting new friends and discovering different cultures
Dining with the stars at a character meet-and-greet
- Major Airports:
- Orlando (MCO)
The ultimate theme park destination
Adventures at the Theme Parks
Let’s start with the big one: Walt Disney World Resort. This massive theme park complex includes four individual parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), plus two water parks, dozens of restaurants and uniquely themed accommodations. Of course, you can’t overlook the area’s other world-famous attractions including LEGOLAND, SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort, home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
On warmer days (and most are here in Florida), pull out your bathing suit and hit the water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World; Aquatica and Discovery Cove at SeaWorld; Volcano Bay at Universal; and LEGOLAND Water Park.
When it comes time to plan your own theme park vacation, make sure to buy early, book early and save plenty of room on your camera for the unforgettable fun ahead.
Culture, History and More Beyond the Theme Parks
Get to know 12,000 years of local history at the Orange County Regional History Center. The Morse Museum in Winter Park holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (of Tiffany lamp and Tiffany & Co. fame). Take a stroll through the colorful flora at Harry P. Leu Gardens, a 20-hectare outdoor sanctuary nestled at the shore of Lake Rowena. Rent a bike to pedal your way around bustling downtown Orlando using Juice, the city’s bike-sharing program. Be sure to park at Lake Eola Park located in the city center for a stroll along the water and a ride on one of the park’s signature swan-shaped paddle boats. Lake Eola also hosts the Orlando Farmers Market every Sunday. The crystal-clear water of Rock Springs calls for a paddling trip in a transparent kayak; Get Up and Go Kayaking offers guided excursions at this and several nearby parks in these fun, see-through vessels.
Shopping and Dining Galore
Within a 20-minute drive of Disney World is the Florida Mall, Orlando International Premium Outlets and Mall at Millenia, boasting luxury shops such as Bulgari, Versace and Tiffany & Co. You can easily pass the time from lunch to late night at Disney Springs, which bursts with shopping, dining and entertainment options from casual to trendy to upscale. Universal CityWalk also packs in the good times; eat, shop, dance, catch a show by Blue Man Group or see a concert at the Hard Rock Café.
When hunger calls, you’ll have a tough time deciding where to go. You’ll find upscale dining (Orlando is home to 17 James Beard Award-nominated or -winning chefs), international flavors (about 40 ethnic cuisines are represented) and health-conscious (Orlando is ranked a top vegan- and vegetarian-friendly destination by Livability and WalletHub).
Walt Disney World Resort is so large that all of Manhattan island could fit inside it.
The Hogwarts Express train in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort is an exact replica of the one from the Harry Potter ﬁlms.