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What to Do in Orlando
Planning the Perfect Orlando Vacation
Because there are so many choices when visiting Orlando, you really should carefully plan your time. This page suggests how.
You find tips for a family with younger children and a sample schedule for adults only or for adults with teenagers. You'll have more fun in Orlando!
This guide to what to do in Orlando assumes you have 7 full days, which is typical, but you can easily modify.
Families with small kids
What to do in Orlando depends on your personal interests and the ages of children. However, we can speak in general terms.
For example, an active family with an 8-year-old child might enjoy (in this order):
- Universal Studios, although the "Back to the Future" ride may be too intense for younger children.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom in the morning, late lunch, and relaxing by your hotel pool in the afternoon.
- Sea World with the hotel pool in the late afternoon. Energetic? Substitute Wet 'n Wild for the pool.
- Universal Islands of Adventure with late afternoon or early evening dining at Universal CityWalk.
Currently, with a discounted two-day ticket, you do not have to visit Islands of Adventure the day after you enjoy Universal Studios Orlando.
- The first day of a nature tour drive, including a visit to Alexander Spring for swimming in a natural setting and and an optional visit to Silver Springs (slow to load) for the river cruises and wildlife exhibits, if you have time.
You can either return to Orlando, or overnight in Ormond Beach or New Smyrna Beach or even Daytona Beach, if it's not college spring break season.
- Kennedy Space Center, plus an Atlantic Ocean beach such those found at Cocoa Beach or the Canaveral National Seashore.
- Disney World
With small children, you should always save Disney World for last. Otherwise, everything else seems anticlimatic.
Many hotels arrange child care, which lets you enjoy places like the House of Blues Orlando in the evening.
Adults only or families with teenagers.
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Energetic adults or a family with an enthusiastic 15-year-old teenager might prefer
- Universal Studios with lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe (for the atmosphere, not for the food), just outside the entrance. When you leave the park for lunch, make sure that your hands are stamped, so that you return to Universal for free.
Ask, and if not too busy, one of the Hard Rock wait staff may give you a free tour of the private rooms, including a VIP room stuffed with furniture and a piano from John Lennon's and Yoko Ono's former New York apartment. Be sure to give a nice tip, if someone takes the time to do this.
- Sea World in the morning with Wet 'n Wild in the afternoon.
- Universal Islands of Adventure with dining at the adjacent Universal CityWalk in the evening.
- The nature tour day one, including perhaps the Alexander Spring canoe trip described in the scenic drive. (Be sure to call and confirm the canoe trip, as suggested.)
You can continue on to an overnight stay near the Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral (Ormond Beach, Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach, etc.) to enjoy the beach in the late afternoon, or return to Orlando.
- Kennedy Space Center and on to the Canaveral National Seashore or Cocca Beach, with a stop at Ron Jon's Surf Shop.
- Disney EPCOT Center (same link as Disney World).
- Disney World, staying into the evening to enjoy the fireworks display.
The entire nature tour takes three days. This itinerary includes parts of days one and two.
Day One (Alexander Spring in Ocala National Forest and Silver Spring)
Day Two (Salt Spring, St. Augustine, Palm Coast, and Ormond Beach)
Day Three (NASA Kennedy Space Center, Canaveral National Seashore, Cocoa Beach, Ron Jon’s Surf Shop).
What to do in Orlando? Have fun!
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