The MORlando Challenge
Win a Trip | Discount Tickets | E-Newsletter
Between world-famous theme parks, thrilling attractions, incredible outdoor adventures and other unforgettable things to do, you might be wondering: How long does it take to really experience Orlando? What’s the best way to plan your own trip? And if you’ve been here before, have you taken advantage of all the unique experiences waiting for you in the Theme Park Capital of the World?
When we put the first question to the test 10 years ago, the answer was 67 days — but a lot has changed since then. Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld® Orlando and LEGOLAND® Florida Resort have all rolled out expansions and updates to keep you coming back for more. We’ve also added new attractions like The Wheel at ICON Park™, Orlando StarFlyer, Madame Tussauds Orlando, and Crayola Experience, plus scores of other fresh ways to play indoors and outdoors. At the same time, our arts scene has grown by leaps and bounds thanks to downtown Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden and countless other venues, providing still more things to do in the Theme Park Capital of the World.
In other words, it was time to update that number … which has nearly doubled to 121 days!
“Our destination has grown from 67 days’ worth of activities to more than 121 days in a 10-year period,” said George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “This incredible growth in all areas of our region, from theme parks and attractions to arts, culture, sport and ecotourism, shows why Orlando continues to be the most visited destination in America — there is always something new to experience.”
Just because The MORlando Challenge is complete, it doesn’t mean you can’t still benefit from it. Read on for fun videos and valuable trip-planning advice that can help you build your own dream vacation the next time you visit Orlando!
Meet the MORlando Ambassadors
During “The MORlando Challenge,” three Visit Orlando Vacation Guides embarked on the ultimate Orlando vacation experience. Meet our ambassadors:
A Florida native of Cuban descent, Tiffany loves to experience the niches and neighborhoods of Orlando. She’s also a pin-designer, artist and occasional streamer. And yes, she still finds time to explore her favorite comic-book and video-game shops in Orlando.
An Orlando resident for the past five years, Kelley Jo grew up in Valencia, California, where she started her career in destination marketing. She enjoys live music, traveling, and visiting theme parks. Her favorite aspect of Orlando is the host of diverse attractions.
Originally from South Florida, Carly recently graduated from University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. She’s passionate about adventure, cats, coffee, exploring new places and living in Orlando — especially the city’s diverse districts.
Trip-Planning Tips From the MORlando Ambassadors
Planning a trip to Orlando? Looking for fresh reasons to come back? Check out the MORlando Ambassadors’ weekly tips, archived here for your reading and research pleasure!
A direct view of Cinderella Castle is the best place to be for the evening fireworks at Walt Disney World® Resort’s flagship theme park, so arrive early to stake out a spot. Of course, many attractions are less crowded while the fireworks are happening, making it a great time to ride them and even get an interesting perspective on the nightly show. Get discount tickets.
Adding the “Dine With an Astronaut” option is worth it! You get to hear about being in space from real astronauts, and can even ask questions and take a photo. For just $7, the interactive tour works throughout the premises. You’ll also want to start toward the back of the attractions and work your way forward to avoid crowds. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is on Florida’s east coast about an hour from downtown Orlando.
You can make an online reservation for golf lessons, including driving and putting, at this club’s academy, located at Waldorf Astoria® Orlando. Beginners and great golfers alike will walk out of there feeling like a pro! Go with friends for an even better time and to see who’s the best golfer.
You don’t have to stay at Waldorf Astoria Orlando to enjoy this beautiful spa. You even get access to the pool with the purchase of a spa treatment! Speaking of which, their salt therapy is brand-new and limited to very few spas.
You can use the lazy river as a form of transportation around this water park at Walt Disney World® Resort! Plus, the lazy river is heated and has special sitting tubes that other water parks don’t provide. You can also take advantage of surf lessons before the park opens. Get discount tickets.
Make sure to visit the back of the park so you can explore Cypress Gardens — a beautiful botanical garden that was part of LEGOLAND’s predecessor of the same name, which was Florida’s original theme park. LEGO® collectors, take note that you can trade LEGO Minifigures with any of the park’s team members! Get discount tickets.
Amorette’s Patisserie: Cake Decorating
Bring a jacket regardless of the outside weather, as it’s very cold in the bakery! You’ll get a special bonus treat in addition to the cake you decorate, and there are free refills on beverages.
This new attraction in downtown Orlando is a great place to bring friends and family for a little friendly competition. Don’t forget to grab a trophy for your group’s winner! For the most convenient parking, head to the nearby 55 West garage.
Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the rolling hills and breeze behind the signature carillon bell tower. If you didn’t bring food, you can take advantage of the great onsite cafe for a light lunch.
Located in Lake Nona, close to Orlando International Airport, this outdoor food and entertainment venue is built from repurposed shipping containers. Arrive early to get some food and grab a seat for the evening’s live music. They also have a shop with rotating stock, so there’s a different choice every time you visit.
When you visit this dueling piano bar on International Drive, bring some dollar bills for tips to encourage the performers to play your favorite songs. They’ll also share a message of your choice on the board behind them if you pay the right price! The venue also has a full-body photo booth that makes gifs of all your fun poses. However, don’t come hungry, as they only serve drinks.
JW Marriott, Grande Lakes: Afternoon Tea
This is a great place for a party or small group gathering. They have tons of traditional snacks, but don’t pass up the scones and honey. Also, dressing up adds to the experience!
JW Marriott, Grande Lakes: AquaCourse 360
This luxury resort’s unique water attraction is available as an upcharge. If you don’t want to participate on the actual course, you can still add to the fun by pulling on strings that release buckets of water onto participants. On the flip side, those who do participate have the chance to soak passersby who were too chicken to go in!
Nona Adventure Park
Grab your courage and jump (safely) off the top of the ropes course for an adrenaline rush when you visit this outdoor attraction in Lake Nona. Speaking of the ropes course, it’s best to do it before the water attractions if you plan on experiencing everything during your visit.
Part of Loch Haven Park near downtown Orlando, this is a great place to bring kids for a fun show and to learn about theater rules and etiquette. You can also pose in show-themed frames and backdrops in the lobby.
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes: Mountain Biking
Take note that this is an intermediate or even advanced course — it’s not for beginners! Wear comfy clothes and closed-toe shoes, and be prepared to get dirty.
Whether you come here for bowling or just to hang out, take time to walk around and check out all the walls around the venue — you might find some surprises! As to the food, their sushi is by far the best on the menu.
If you take tennis lessons here, you can download instant replays of your practices via their mobile app. Make sure to bring water with you, and wear comfortable shoes. They’ll make any beginner look like a professional!
This attraction’s surrounding community is a great, family-friendly place to hang out. After your flight, you’ll be able to enjoy a welcoming, home-cooked meal.
About 20 minutes north of Walt Disney World® Resort, this museum is worth a visit if you’ll be in the area. The citrus label exhibit is particularly elaborate.
Located in Christmas, Florida, about 45 minutes east of downtown Orlando, this airboat operator features a close encounter that you’ll get to experience at the end of the ride. Bring your cameras as you will see lots of wildlife.
This unique museum is located at Orlando Fashion Square, a mall about 10 minutes east of downtown Orlando. Ask for a tour with the docent, as the museum owners are all family and will enrich your experience with their knowledge of the art pieces. Keeping up with their social media accounts is also worthwhile, as the museum hosts unique events throughout the year.
Cabaret Dinner Show at Hamburger Mary’s
This restaurant in downtown Orlando’s Church Street district serves delicious hamburgers and similar fare with a heaping side of burlesque and drag shows. Seating begins promptly at 7:30 p.m., and you’ll have about an hour of eating time before the show begins. Bring lots of singles to tip the performers!
Eco-Tour and Fishing at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
If you take this tour, ask for Norm: He’s an amazing guide and stops at every wildlife sighting to take a closer look. If you live in the area, you might even be able to see your house during the journey! The resort also offers onsite fishing. Try not to lose the lure — or patience, because there are fish in The Ritz-Carlton’s waterways.
You may not expect to enjoy a show in a foreign tongue, but operas are incredibly entertaining with actions that speak across languages. You’re not allowed to bring snacks in the theater, so eat before you get there!
Officially known as the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, this venue is located at Loch Haven Park, about 10 minutes north of downtown Orlando. There’s free parking but the lot fills up fast, so arrive early. Also, while you can get a snack or drink during the intermission, enjoy it quickly because you won’t be able to bring it into the theater.
Orlando Solar Bears
Orlando’s minor-league hockey team plays at downtown Orlando’s Amway Center and offers games at many convenient times throughout the day. Get there early to enjoy the fun games and contests before the first puck drops.
Learn more: Live Sports in Orlando
Leave your phone at home and enjoy your time on the water at this attraction in Longwood, about 25 minutes north of downtown Orlando. In fact, it’s best to not bring any valuables, as you may lose them to the lake if you fall off your paddleboard.
Learn more: Orlando Ecotourism
Previously known as Revolution Off Road, this vehicle-centric adventure park is in Clermont, about 30 minutes west of Walt Disney World® Resort. Plan on wearing shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty, but if you forget, you can purchase shoe covers onsite. You’ll also want to leave most items in your vehicle and only bring your keys with you (or wear deep pockets). And if you’re riding the Mucky Duck — an eight-wheel amphibious vehicle — ask for eye covers to make sure you’ll be able to see where you’re going! Get discount tickets.
Located in Kenansville, about 45 minutes southwest of Walt Disney World® Resort, this attraction invites you to explore Florida’s natural beauty via airboat rides, a drive-thru safari, an alligator park, wild animal encounters and a petting zoo that you won’t want to miss. But if you have a scheduled airboat tour, don’t be late — it holds up the process for everyone on your boat! Get discount tickets
Get there when this Walt Disney World® Resort theme park opens to avoid long lines at Pandora — The World of Avatar. Expedition Everest — Legend of the Forbidden Mountain® is the best attraction to ride at night. Speaking of the evening, the second showing of Rivers of Light is less crowded. Finally, DinoLand U.S.A.® is full of fun activities not found at many of Walt Disney World’s other parks. Get discount tickets.
Bayou Brunch at House of Blues
Available at Disney Springs®, this is one of the best breakfast buffets in town! If you’re a vegan, speak with your server about your options — they’ll be happy to help you.
Don’t rush to eat as soon as you are checked in and seated — you’ll have plenty of time to go back for seconds. Bring your camera and get to know everyone at your table.
Learn more: Universal Orlando Resort Hotels
American Ghost Adventures
This company has must-do tours throughout the Orlando area. If you opt for the one downtown, head to Harry Buffalo for a drink or snack beforehand. They even have a gift shop at the end! However, be prepared to turn your phone on airplane mode.
You can get a great view of the musicians from the upstairs level of this Pointe Orlando venue. That area also has an additional bar that feels more intimate.
Learn more: Pointe Orlando
DRIP! Art Lounge
This paint-as-you-want lounge in Winter Park encourages you to bring your own snacks and wine. You’ll want to attend a fluid painting group session, as each creation is different and unique, resulting in an awesome addition to your home décor.
Learn more: Winter Park
This historic theater in Winter Garden is beautiful, and it has yummy popcorn. Every seat is a good one. They also host year-round classic movie nights for kids.
Learn more: Winter Garden
The Kitty Beautiful
At this new cat café in downtown Orlando, the cats are all available for adoption! Try to avoid wearing dark clothing, otherwise some fur will get stuck to you. (They do have lint rollers available to use if you need them, though.) Plus, the snacks here are vegan-friendly.
If you arrive early, you can get photos with characters from future or current shows in the lobby. The Orlando Ballet performs at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.
Keep your eyes peeled for the team’s mascot, Stuff the Magic Dragon, as he wanders around downtown Orlando’s Amway Center — he loves to pose for photos. You’ll also want to check out the fun exhibits on the lodge level, as well as the halftime entertainment. Get discount tickets.
SoBo Art Gallery at Winter Garden Art Association
This hidden gem in downtown Winter Garden is right next to the free parking garage. The collections change every month, so it’s always worth popping in to see what’s being featured.
Yoga at Lake Eola Park
Arrive 45 minutes early to find parking in downtown Orlando and get situated. You’ll also need to bring your own yoga mat, as they do not rent them out.
Coca-Cola Tasting Experience at Disney Springs®
Available at The Coca-Cola Store, this refreshing experience includes two full trays of Coke products from around the world, plus a free souvenir photo that makes it well worth the price. It gives you the chance to try some new flavors and even revisit old friends from Club Cool at Epcot®!
Learn more: Disney Springs
The Edison at Disney Springs®
This one-of-a-kind eatery and nightlife hotspot looks like it was built in a refurbished industrial powerplant — a must-visit for fans of steampunk! They also host nightly entertainment. Ask for a table near the stage if you want to see it all up close.
CITY Unseen: The [AR]t Experience
Located in downtown Orlando, this ongoing public art project has two versions: a self-guided walking tour and a gallery at Snap! Space. Both experiences open artistic borders with augmented reality (AR). They require a download of the free CITY Unseen mobile app, and the ARize and Artivive apps are also recommended. All three are available for Apple and Android devices; you’ll want to download them before you begin. Just make sure you have ample storage space on your device to load each AR art piece! Also, the walking tour pairs perfectly with downtown’s Lime bike-rental service.
The crown jewel of Orlando’s performing arts scene has a nice balcony where you can enjoy drinks and snacks (including delicious cookies) before the show, complete with beautiful views of downtown. Get there early to take advantage of it. You can also preorder concessions for intermission, so they’ll be waiting for you at the edge of the concession counter during the break.
During your stay at this resort, it’s worth it to set aside a full day just to enjoy the amenities. Just keep in mind you’ll need workout clothes to enjoy them all!
Improv Comedy Club & Fat Fish Blue
Open-mic night at this Pointe Orlando venue is free, and the best seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Get there before the show starts for the best seats, and to order food and drinks ahead of the fun.
Self-Guided Historic Walking Tour of Downtown Orlando
A companion to downtown’s guided tour, this version offers a printable pamphlet that makes it easy to navigate around the city on your own. Everything is very close together, and the map is very easy to follow. Plus, most of the historic buildings are also current eateries, so you are sure to find a great meal along the way. Park near Lake Eola Park before starting your tour.
Located about an hour northwest of downtown Orlando, this attraction gives you the chance to watch world-class polo competitions. What’s more, you’re welcome to tailgate ahead of the match. Wear shoes that you won’t mind getting dirty, though, because during halftime, everyone in the stands is invited to come onto the field.
Fans of Lucasfilm and Pixar will be glad to know that this park has opened an additional entrance between Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land, so you easily go back and forth between the immersive areas. Also, the animated show that’s projected onto the façade of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre happens right before the park’s fireworks, so grab a snack and keep your spot for all the new nighttime entertainment. Get discount tickets.
Carriage Rides at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
Available at Walt Disney World® Resort, this hidden gem gives you the chance to relax on a horse-drawn carriage ride along the scenic trails of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. If you go around the time of major holidays, you’ll be able to see the campers’ imaginative decorations for the resort’s decorating contest. However, be sure to bring cash or a MagicBand that can accept expenses, as this experience doesn’t accept credit or debit cards.
Chip & Dale’s Campfire Sing-Along
At the campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, you can roast s’mores, sing songs and have fun with two beloved Disney Characters. What’s more, you can bring your own s’mores ingredients or purchase a kit at the campground. Depending on the season, you’ll want to bring some kind of bug spray so you don’t turn into a tasty treat yourself!
Fort Wilderness Archery Experience
Offered at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground at Walt Disney World® Resort, this unique experience gives you the chance to follow in the footsteps of Merida, Robin Hood and other Disney Characters who are handy with a bow. It’s fun for guests ages 7 and up, but bring water with you and be prepared to work — archery isn’t something you can learn instantly! Speaking of which, you’ll also want to wear sporty clothes that you won’t mind sweating in.
Evoking turn-of-the-20th-century boardwalks in coastal communities like Coney Island and Atlantic City, this entertainment and dining district at Walt Disney World Resort is a great place to spend some time, just a short walk from Epcot® and a boat ride from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (And it has free admission!) The carnival games are easy to play and even easier to win. It’s also a great place to enjoy some ice cream from Ample Hills Creamery and watch Epcot’s nighttime fireworks with smaller crowds. Speaking of evenings, come back after 6 p.m. to check out sidewalk shows and fun family activities.
SeaWorld® Orlando’s water park hosts a dolphin encounter every few hours near the Dolphin Plunge attraction — making it a great time to get on that slide for a better view of the stars! And if you’re on vacation, don’t worry about bringing towels, because you can rent them for $5. If you are bringing stuff with you to the park, the onsite lockers are extremely convenient, especially if you’ll be there for five or more hours. Get discount tickets.
All Fired Up
At this paint-it-yourself pottery studio in Winter Park, the last sitting is 90 minutes before they close, and you have to come back a week later to pick up your creations. So, make sure to go early during your vacation. They also have seasonal pieces for you to decorate, and frequently offer discounts and special events on their website.
Bach Festival Society of Winter Park
This organization’s concerts take place on the beautiful campus of Rollins College in Winter Park, so take some time to walk around and enjoy the sights. However, this place fills up quickly, so make your way inside well ahead of the concert. Parking is free and easy to find.
Ravello’s Goofy & Pals Character Breakfast is a notch above the rest but very well priced, giving you the chance to enjoy a delicious meal while getting an intimate experience with some beloved Disney Characters. And the made-to-order egg station is unique. Just be sure to bring cash to tip the valet, as there is no self-parking.
Orlando Food Tours
Offering tours of foodie hotspots in Orlando and Winter Park, this is a truly unique experience! Leave your purse and just bring your phone for pictures, plus some cash to tip your tour guide. Everything is taken care of for you, so all there is to do is enjoy. Also, be sure to let your guide know if you have any dietary restrictions prior to your tour.
SEE ART Walking Tour
This downtown Orlando attraction consists of eight permanent contemporary public art sculptures inspired by various aspects of Orlando. It’s a fun way to tour downtown and can also open your eyes to the meaning of each piece and their artists. What’s more, each piece’s location is also a Pokémon Go stop!
This resort’s Kimonos restaurant and lounge hosts karaoke daily starting at 9:30 p.m. Come early to order food before the fun begins, and enjoy your time here. Be sure to stay awhile, too, because the dessert is worth it! Just keep in mind that kids aren’t allowed after 11 p.m., when things get a bit more adult.
Most of the indoor rides at this Universal Orlando Resort theme park stay open even if it’s raining. And speaking of rides, try to get in the front row on Revenge of the Mummy, and ask about the secret song list on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. Wizards and Muggles™ alike will also want to purchase a park-to-park ticket so they can ride The Hogwarts™ Express from Diagon Alley™ at Universal Studios to Hogsmeade™ at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Get discount tickets.
This hotel has a cool vibe and provides great views of Universal’s Volcano Bay. It has many unique dining options, and Galaxy Bowl is a must-do. From the atmosphere to the food, you are in for a good time when you book a stay here!
Learn more: Universal Orlando Resort Hotels
If you reserve the 8:15 p.m. show, you can see the view of Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom® Park as the sun goes down! And if you have a food allergy, let them know when you make your reservation. They’ll go above and beyond to work with you.
AMC Dine-In Disney Springs® 24
Thanks to reserved seating at this Disney Springs movie theater, you can arrive when you like and enjoy the convenience of waited service for your snacks and drinks — plus heated seats. But it’s recommended that you arrive about 30 minutes early if you want to look over the menu before the movie starts. Use the Orange Garage for the closest and most convenient parking. Speaking of which, parking is free. Disney Springs is also a great place to play Pokémon Go.
Learn more: Disney Springs
Audubon Center for Birds of Prey
Just 20 minutes north of downtown Orlando, this center features a bird garden and a historic home, and the windows at the latter provide a clearer view of the former. Chairs are also available, encouraging you to sit and watch. Plus, each visit is different thanks to a variety of birds being escorted around the pathways by gloved handlers.
This indoor/outdoor laser-tag and paintball facility is about 20 minutes northwest of downtown Orlando. For both activities, bring at least four to six people with an even number so you can play complex games of strategy against evenly numbered teams. If you want to play laser tag, call ahead and make a reservation. If you don’t have one and there are only two people in your party, you might be asked to switch your time.
If this escape room attraction on International Drive has you stumped, ask for your allowed hints early in the game — if you save them for later, you might find yourself scrambling! If you arrive with a small group, be prepared to be teamed with a new set of friends. Get the ice-breaking out of the way early so you can all work together. Get discount tickets.
Get Up and Go Kayaking
Although they’re headquartered in Apopka, about 35 minutes northwest of downtown Orlando, this operator offers kayaking tours all over the Central Florida area. And the kayaks are made of clear material for maximum visibility! The quieter you row as you coast downstream, the more likely you are to see more wildlife. Also, be prepared to get wet. Although it is very difficult to fall in, water will splash you and get into the boat as you paddle.
Hidden Palms Ranch
Located in Sanford, about 30 minutes northeast of downtown Orlando, this ranch offers horse-riding adventures. It’s also a great place to reconnect with nature — go in October to see wildflowers in full bloom. If you’re a first-time rider, don’t be anxious. Trust your horse, and you can have a calm and relaxing experience.
If you come for the spa, the out-of-this-world pool and its amenities are included in your experience. Check out the pool snacks, especially the giant pretzel — it’s a great way to refuel after swimming all day. You’ll also find a secluded hot tub in the back-right corner behind the resort’s Quiet Pool.
Learn more: Orlando’s Amenity-Packed Resorts
Kraft Azalea Park
The towering trees of this park in Winter Park, about 15 minutes north of downtown Orlando, block the sun enough to let you enjoy the outdoors even in the middle of summer. It also features several secluded sitting places where you can take in the ambience and enjoy the solitude.
Learn more: Winter Park
Lake Eola Park Swan Boats
You’ll find this fun activity in downtown Orlando. You don’t have to paddle furiously for the entire ride — take your time to stop and enjoy the stillness of the water near the wild swans. However, there are only a few boats available, so get on the list early in the day. While you’re waiting, sit on the nearby benches and enjoy the scenery and people-watching.
Learn more: Downtown Orlando
Orlando Farmers Market
Held at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando, this can be an all-day activity with the opportunity to purchase local produce, meals and goods. Accordingly, you’ll want to come hungry, as almost every stand has free samples. The surrounding area is beautiful, so rent a bike and hop around!
Outer Limitz Orlando
Minutes from Universal Orlando Resort, this fun attraction offers trampolines and rock-climbing activities, the latter of which gives you three tries with each wall getting harder. Don’t eat directly before arriving, as jumping on the trampolines can get intense!
Popcorn Flicks in the Park
Hosted by Maitland’s Enzian Theater, this free, outdoor movie series takes place in Winter Park’s Central Park. Arrive at least 45 minutes prior to showtime to secure a spot close to the screen. Pack a picnic or get takeout from one of the charming city’s exceptional restaurants and enjoy it before or even during the movie.
Timucua Arts Foundation
This downtown Orlando arts venue is inside a 3-story home, so you will not see a sign marking the building. Most of their events encourage you to bring snacks or food — not just for yourself, but other attendees! Join the fun and try all the different dishes everyone has to offer.
Tubing at Kelly Park
When tubing at this park in Apopka, wear water shoes and bring your own tube if possible to avoid the extra step of renting a tube from an outside vendor. You can also bring a picnic lunch to enjoy between rides down the natural spring.
This Universal Orlando Resort theme park has two of the best roller coasters in Florida! Check out the front left seat on The Incredible Hulk Coaster® and the back row of a full train on Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™. Speaking of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, Butterbeer™ is a must-get and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t seen the movies or read the books. Looking for a fun photo stop? Sit on Mayzie’s egg in the secluded garden near the exit of The Cat in the Hat™. Get discount tickets.
If you arrive before this Walt Disney World® Resort theme park opens, you’ll have time to do everything! Check out all the entertainment in each country’s pavilion in the World Showcase — you might even see some friends from your favorite movies while you’re at it. If you want a great spot for the new, limited-time Epcot Forever evening fireworks spectacular (or its upcoming, permanent replacement, HarmoniUS), grab something to eat and secure a space about an hour before showtime. Also, the park’s walkways and secluded paths are some of the best places to relax and take photos within the pavilions. Get discount tickets.
Plan to stay for the guided walking tour! It will take you into the former home of the museum’s namesake sculptor, giving you the chance to learn a lot about him and his art, which also includes sketches. The grounds have a unique chapel designed by Polasek, too, and it’s only accessible during the tour. The museum is in Winter Park, about 15 minutes north of downtown Orlando.
Learn more: Winter Park
This free art museum in downtown Orlando houses multiple galleries under one roof! The building’s layout and position also turn the city itself into art by giving you the chance to see many different perspectives through the windows. The galleries change their art every few months, ensuring you’ll see something different on each visit.
Learn more: Downtown Orlando
Hannibal Square Heritage Center
This hidden gem provides a unique way to learn about the Winter Park area. The upstairs section has art that changes every three months, ensuring you’ll always find something new. Most of the exhibits are also for sale, giving you the chance to take home a true piece of local art.
The Kerouac Project
Did you know that famous Beat author Jack Kerouac lived in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood when On the Road was published, and that he worked on Dharma Bums while living there? He did! Located just north of downtown Orlando, his former home still exists and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s maintained by The Kerouac Project, which invites up-and-coming writers to live and work in this famous setting. Speaking of which, while you’re welcome to see the home and its historic marker, please don’t knock on the door: You’ll risk disturbing the writers!
Learn more: College Park
Lukas Nursery & Butterfly Encounter
The butterflies are very active right after it rains so, if you can, time your visit to arrive just as the sun is peeling out from under clouds. It’s a beautiful time to explore the nursery and hang out with the butterflies. Also, once you’ve purchased your ticket, you can come and go as you please for the day — start in the morning, head out for lunch at a nearby eatery, then come back for the afternoon. Lukas Nursery is in Oviedo, about 30 minutes northeast of downtown Orlando.
Dedicated to the works of self-taught American artist Earl Cunningham, this museum is part of Loch Haven Park, about 10 minutes north of downtown Orlando. In addition to the indoor museum, there’s a walking garden where you can admire sculptures and scenic lake views. The garden is also dog-friendly, so bring your pooch on a fun adventure.
Learn more: Orlando’s Unique Public Parks
Orlando City Soccer Club at Exploria Stadium
The pre-game activities and block party start about an hour before game time, so get your purple on and arrive in time to participate in all the fun. The stadium is in downtown Orlando, so you can also secure parking early and take advantage of the area’s exceptional dining.
Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at Bob Carr Theater
Dressing in theme is encouraged for the Orlando Phil’s events, so look ahead to the concert schedule before you attend to join in the fun. Operated by the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the Bob Carr Theater has parking across the street.
Orlando Urban Trail
Running 2.6 miles from Magnolia Street in downtown Orlando to Dorchester Street in the nearby Mills 50 district, this beautiful, intercity trail is ideal for walking or biking. You can also rent electric Lime bikes using the company’s handy mobile app! Check the map at the start of the trail, as it provides options for crossing through traffic or staying on alternate routes. The map also shows the distance for each of the trail’s sections.
The MORlando Ambassadors stumbled onto a block party while visiting this downtown Orlando neighborhood and learned that such events are regular occurrences. It’s a beautiful area to drive, bike or walk around with plenty of unique eateries, including Soco Restaurant.
Learn more: Orlando Neighborhoods
Truffles & Trifles
At this fun cooking school in College Park, you’ll be able to take home your culinary creation — so be imaginative! It’s a great place to come with friends, spouses or as a family. If you can, arrive early so you can get situated before class begins.
Between attractions, dining and shopping, you can easily spend an entire day at Walt Disney World® Resort’s all-in-one entertainment district — and parking is free! Some of the most unique experiences include the Amphicar Tours at The Boathouse, The NBA Experience (just added in 2019), and The Void, an immersive virtual-reality experience. When visiting the latter, keep in mind that everything you see in the virtual world is interactive and reactive.
Learn more: Disney Springs
Available exclusively at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, this fun, family-friendly dinner show features an amazing, all-you-care-to-eat menu. Get ready to interact with the cast and have a loud, rowdy time! If you can, grab a seat on the bottom level, as the cast will come off stage and bring the show to you. Of course, the top level is also great, as it lets you see everything that’s happening at once.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Walt Disney World Resort
Buena Vista Watersports
During the Jet Ski adventure, keep in mind that going faster actually makes the watercraft easier to handle. Go fast and enjoy the fresh breeze and Florida’s natural beauty! This attraction also hosts special events and even weddings — one might take place during your visit!
Central Florida Animal Reserve Big Cat Encounter
Book online in advance to reserve a time, as the slots fill up fast for the small group tours that let you get up close to rescued big cats. You’ll want to bring water and wear walking shoes, as it’s a walking tour with little shade. It’s located about an hour southeast of Walt Disney World Resort.
Fort Christmas Historical Park
Located about 30 minutes east of downtown Orlando, this village of historical homes allows you to get immersed in history. It also features pavilions that are perfect for picnics, as well as a basketball court and playground. Take your time while exploring the homes, you never know what secrets they hold!
Enjoy high-speed, indoor kart racing at this smaller attraction in the heart of International Drive. Be sure to wear close-toed shoes and bring a hair tie!
Learn more: Discount Tickets for I-Drive NASCAR
You can buy discounted theme park and attraction tickets from the Visit Orlando representative at the concierge desk! You’ll also want to take advantage of their “Happy Returns” program, which gives you a $10 gift card just for using the service. Need to charge your mobile device? You’ll find a complimentary charging station down the hall from the first-floor bathrooms.
At this amusement park, you can walk on to most attractions without a wait. You can also enjoy the sights of International Drive from extreme heights, including the world’s tallest Slingshot ride. The latter is a great value for two people, especially because it includes your hilarious video and two T-shirts.
WinterClub Indoor Ski & Snowboard
Trust your skis and boots: If you direct your weight to your legs, you’ll ski much easier. Either way, don’t be scared to fall — your instructor can stop your slope at any time if you run into trouble.
Reservations are recommended here. When attending on live music nights, the earlier you arrive, the closer you’ll be able to sit to the performer and their accompanist. Enjoy the comfortable couches with a drink of your choice, but keep in mind you might wind up being seated with strangers. Don’t fret, it’s a very friendly atmosphere!
Learn more: Winter Park
One of the coolest aspects of SeaWorld is their tireless, ongoing Marine Animal Rescue & Rehabilitation efforts, which they’ll be happy to tell you about. Take the Rescue Experience tour to learn more about all the local animals that they help daily. You’ll also want to experience the Manatee Rehabilitation Area, where more of SeaWorld’s rescue efforts are on display. If you have the nerve to ride Mako, try to get the front row — but definitely experience all the roller coasters. Get discount tickets.
You’ll enjoy unlimited food and drinks at this beautiful, all-inclusive day resort, so get there in time to take advantage of the free breakfast — you’ll want the fuel! Arriving early will also give you more time to get situated with your wetsuit. Opt in for the SeaVenture package so you can bring your drinks and snacks into one of the freshwater pools. Also make time for the aviary filled with exotic birds; it can provide some hilarious photo ops.
Although it’s not the main reason to visit, make sure to attend the show at the onsite Native American Village, where you can learn about the natives who once lived there. For another unique experience, ask about their sunset rides. Get discount tickets.
Learn more: Orlando Ecotourism
Celebrating the Prohibition Era, this dinner show in Kissimmee offers a photo package that’s a great value and fun keepsake of your very own mugshot. You’ll want to get there early to spend some time at the upstairs bar. There is a one-drink minimum, but it’s worth it to relax and chat before you’re seated for the show. Plus, going with the early bar option lets you eat at the buffet before general admission.
Central Florida Railroad Museum
Operated by the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation in downtown Winter Garden, this hidden gem offers free admission. More importantly, it’s fun! They are starting to switch out their displays, too, so each visit will be unique.
Learn more: Orlando Trains
Be sure to listen for the announcement for a special movie, How Crayons Are Made. It will add a lot to your experience! Also, take time to try all the hands-on attractions, as several of them give you the opportunity to take home unique treasures that you create with your family or friends. Get discount tickets.
Come hungry, because there are a lot of unique food selections, including a ton of original Orlando eateries. You especially can’t go wrong with LemonShark Poke, which offers a healthy, friendly poke concept.
Old Town is a one-of-a-kind entertainment, dining and shopping district in Kissimmee. Horror-lovers won’t want to miss Mortem Manor, a haunted house that’s open year-round and literally places you into a dimension of horror all by yourself. And priced at just $7, the show at The Great Magic Hall is one of the best you’ll ever see!
Arrive early for easy access to free parking, and to avoid large foot traffic. Foodies will be surprised to find a nice food court inside!
No experience is required to enjoy this outdoor attraction, and no matter how tough the going might get, don’t give up! The guides are very helpful, and they’ll be happy to give you pointers as you go along. Arrive early in the morning if you want enough time to experience all the adventure courses. Get discount tickets.
Plant Street Market
In addition to food vendors and handmade goods, this market in Winter Garden has an onsite brewery, Crooked Can Brewing Co. The venue also hosts trivia nights and other fun events.
Learn more: Orlando Breweries
This is the best way to enjoy Winter Garden! Rent a bike and get ready for a full day of fun on the paved, 22-mile West Orange Trail — just be sure to bring water with you. While you’re in the area, check out Winter Garden’s historic Plant Street and enjoy the shops and dining.
Learn more: Winter Garden
Winter Garden Farmers Market
There are many different vendors to explore, including tasty food merchants, fresh produce, crafts and more — coffee-lovers, don’t skip Piccolo Coffee! You can also enjoy live music, and dogs are welcome.
There are numerous leisure activities, including lazy and winding rivers, where you can spend time between rides. You’ll be given a TapuTapu wearable when you enter the park and can use it to link up your locker rental and credit card, and even reserve spots in line for the attractions. Get discount tickets.
This entertainment district is a great place to spend a few hours. It has lots of restaurants, shopping and entertainment options, and parking is free if you arrive after 6 p.m. Play a round at Hollywood Drive-In Golf on your way in, and indulge in the dessert options at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen.
Grab some popcorn, sit back and relax! You’re not allowed to film or take photos during the show, so just enjoy. Afterward, you’ll have an opportunity to take photos with the stars. Get discount tickets.
Brad Brewer Golfing Academy
They have excellent technology to capture your swings and keep records of the progress you’ve made.
Go early in the day while the animals are hungry to participate in any of the giraffe or barnyard feeding times. Also add the Zoom Air Adventure Park to your ticket — you can do it before or after spending time in the zoo.
Check out this family-owned tour that’s fun for all ages, especially with entertaining, original characters to help children stay engaged with the content they’re learning. Add $6 at the end to make your own chocolate bar! Get discount tickets.
iOutdoor Fishing Adventures
Ask for Captain Brent — he’ll teach you the best ways to catch bass in no time flat, even if you’re a first-timer. While you’re there, check out the local bird life and all the beautiful mansions.
The most convenient part of this discount mall is the ability to park right in front of the store you want to visit. Speaking of parking, it’s free! They’ll also be adding a food court toward the end of 2019.
This downtown Orlando museum changes its second-floor exhibits throughout the year, so you’ll want to visit more than once. And every third Thursday, they have a special exhibit that is available to enjoy at no charge from 6-9 p.m.
This is an amazing place to preview and learn about all there is to do in Orlando — not to mention pick up discounted theme park and attraction tickets! They’re also an Amazon Locker affiliate, providing a safe and secure way to get things delivered while on vacation.
Since this is an improv show, every night is different and unpredictable, but always funny. It’s also appropriate for all ages. Come ready to participate and be called out by the live improv performers — you might end up being part of the joke!
From beginner to professional, the lessons and greens here are not to be missed. You can also rent or buy any gear if you didn’t bring it with you.
Arrive early to interact with the cast. Also make friends with other people at your table so you can work together to solve the case. Take notes on your program about any clue a suspect might mention early on — it will help you come up with investigative questions. Get discount tickets.
Wekiva Springs State Park
They stop allowing cars in once they reach their capacity, so arrive early — you don’t want to miss this local natural wonder.
Wells’Built Museum of African American History & Culture
The amount of history in this museum is mind-blowing — make sure you go upstairs, too. Take your time and ask questions of the docents, as they’re there to have wonderful discussion and conversation about the historical topics.
This is a blast for the whole family. Bring a group with you, because it’s a lot more fun when playing with two full teams. And make time for the laser tag upstairs!
Airforce Fun Helicopter Tours
Reservations aren’t required, so you can have a walk-in flight at any time. However, each flight requires at least two passengers, which means you’ll be teamed up with others if you arrive alone. Splurge for the longer trip to get a bird’s-eye view of Orlando.
The Alfond Inn
This cute boutique hotel in Winter Park is one of a kind. It also offers a free tour of its art collection, The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, which is provided by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at nearby Rollins College. (That institution runs this hotel and its onsite restaurant, Hamilton’s Kitchen, too.) It’s a rotating collection, so you can see new pieces approximately every four months.
Learn more: Winter Park
This cultural hub consists of three different museums located next to each other, and they’re all worth visiting. Absolutely ask to see the Telephone Museum — it has working historical phones that you can use to make calls. You’ll also find a beautiful garden to explore.
You can experience this historic Winter Park estate via a self-guided tour or with a docent. In the upstairs loft, you can watch a video of how they moved Casa Feliz from its original location to its current home. Grab a map and check out all the tiny details! They also host free, live music on Sundays from 12-3 p.m.
This free museum at Rollins College has an amazing collection that gets updates every semester. The fine art on display even includes famous names such as Dali and Kahlo.
The center is part of a larger resource hub if you’re interested in learning more information, as well as supporting the center in its new projects and exhibits. Take your time reading all the history.
Island H2O Live!
This new, social media-themed water park at Margaritaville Resort Orlando has selfie shacks and video rooms to share your personal media. Download the official app and go on all the slides to get points that can earn you free stuff. Check the app after you leave to save your slide photos and videos to your phone.
Get into the spirit and root for your section’s knight! Opt for an upgrade package if you want a better view of the horses, and let the staff know if you’re celebrating something special. Plan on getting into character and eating with your hands, because dinner doesn’t come with utensils! Get discount tickets.
This beautiful museum is a great place to go if you are staying in the Kissimmee area. It will help you plan and discover options for activities. (Whether you’re staying in Kissimmee or Orlando, you’ll also want to stop by our Official Visitor Center, which can do all that and more — plus provide exclusive discounted tickets!) The adjacent Pioneer Village will take you back in time. You can also enjoy a bike ride or family picnic, and you can bring your dog.
Park Avenue in Winter Park
This beautiful street is filled with shops and restaurants. There are hidden streets and houses worth seeing, so try to walk or drive around to explore. The sidewalk cafes are extremely popular and tend to fill up quick, so arrive early.
Pirate’s Dinner Adventure
This show is extremely interactive, so be prepared to put on your best pirate face and help your team to victory. Get there early to meet the pirates from your team!
The games and optical illusions spread throughout this fun attraction are Ripley’s classics. It’s a great location to bring the whole family with engaging, interactive exhibits. Get discount tickets.
This is a must-do! Go in the morning for the best views of the houses and best weather. Also, keep an eye out for naturally growing bananas along the canals. Get discount tickets.
Keep your ticket cards to use during return visits. Plus, tickets bought here can be used at other locations. They also have Luigi’s Mansion Arcade, which is a hard game to find at other local entertainment centers.
Downtown Winter Park
There are numerous cute stores, restaurants, museums and more to enjoy when you visit this upscale area.
East End Market
Plan to eat here but arrive early, because the legendary cookies from Gideon’s Bakehouse tend to sell out fast. There are also some shopping options. Special events like yoga and dog adoptions take place upstairs.
You can order food and drinks during the movie — just flip the bell on your table to let your waiter know that you need service. You can also arrive early, or stay later, to enjoy cocktails at the onsite Eden Bar.
These beautiful gardens, which also include a museum, are in a beautiful neighborhood. Check ahead of your visit to see if they have any upcoming special events or movie nights. Either way, this venue is great for all ages.
Arrive early to make sure you see all the acts. The Michael Jackson professional wanders the floor after his set, providing a perfect time to get a picture with the talent. Also check out the add-ons to the dinner menu for a more unique experience. Get discount tickets.
Mills 50 District
Don’t be hesitant to try new cuisine when you visit this dining and nightlife district near downtown. The food is unique and delicious. Every restaurant transports you to its home country and is a great local experience. Wander down the street and try any type of bubble tea that you see, and be sure to try Vietnamese coffee, too.
Learn more: Mills 50
Take advantage of seating areas throughout the galleries to take in the art and themed music. Also, look online for special events. This place is more than just paintings and sculptures, as they host a variety of art-related activities.
This STEM attraction is loads of fun for all ages! Be on the lookout for their special events, including evening programming for adults. The main exhibit is constantly changing, so there’s always reasons to come back and learn something new.
The most famous treat at this shop isn’t the chocolate — it’s the chocolate-covered popcorn! The gelato is also a great option on a hot day. Ask to hear about the history of the store when you go in to get your treats.
You can learn quite a bit of pirate history throughout the course, courtesy of signage at each hole. They also have a great rainy-day policy! Be sure to grab a scratch-off ticket at the end for the chance at some fun prizes. Get discount tickets.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
Read all the fun facts! At the end, you’ll get to touch a real piece of the Titanic. They also have a dinner show on select weekend nights. However, keep in mind that phones and photography are not allowed.
Wall Crawl Orlando
This is a great activity when you want to do something indoors. Make the most of your one-hour window and bring a change of clothes for the different walls. Speaking of the latter, the walls change throughout the year. They also plan on hosting special events in the near future.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®
Before you arrive, download the free Play Disney Parks app for Android and Apple to access the Star Wars: Datapad, which you can use to help the Resistance or the First Order take control of Black Spire Outpost. Haven’t seen all (or any) of the movies? No worries — this new land’s details are so amazing, anyone can appreciate them! Get discount tickets.
Learn more: Star Wars Galaxy's Edge
This location has lots of packages so you can mix and match which experience you want to try. Make sure to hit the XD Dark Ride, but everything is a must-do. Get discount tickets.
Chocolate Museum & Cafe
The tours start every hour, on the hour. Once you’re done, enjoy lunch and treats in the cafe and gift shop, including the fondue.
Dive in and get your hands dirty — don’t be afraid to touch everything in the room. Clues are hidden everywhere! And keep in mind that the game master is there to help you, so be sure to listen to what he or she has to say. Plus, once you finish the experience, save 20% off your next session by booking it before you leave.
Catch all the live shows! You’ll get to see many animals you won’t usually encounter in the wild while enjoying the staff’s quick and witty commentary. You also can’t go wrong purchasing a package and doing all of the add-on attractions, including the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line — an amazing experience that gives a bird’s-eye view of the park. Finally, try their original-recipe, deep-fried Gator Nuggets at Pearl’s. Get discount tickets.
There’s no cover for this venue’s Fire Lounge, and you can save 25% off entry into the ICEBAR when you arrive at opening time. Once you purchase ICEBAR entry, you’ll receive a wristband that can be used for unlimited re-entry that day. ICEBAR also offers free downloadable photos of your experience when you upgrade to the faux fur coats.
Wear clothing that can be easily layered, since a jumpsuit will be provided. You’ll also want to wear closed-toed shoes and take your jewelry off before you fly. Get discount tickets.
Arrive when they open so you can follow along with the story that they tell each day, as all shows are only available once daily. Take your time to explore each path, as they each lead to a picturesque garden or display. And it’s definitely worth it to upgrade your admission to the backstage, all-access package. Get discount tickets.
Arrive early to avoid waiting in line for photo ops. Facts about each featured celebrity are provided in both English and Spanish — take your time and read all the information to learn some new fun facts. Get discount tickets.
You could spend the whole day here, especially if you purchase a package and do all available attractions and games. For bowling, you can customize your screen backgrounds to fun selfies, cartoons or even your choice of television programming. Coupled with delicious, shareable food, it’s a wonderful experience for a family or group.
This is the tallest swing ride in the world! Enjoy flying over International Drive at 425 feet in the air, cruising at up to 60 mph. Take in all the sights and be sure to have a bystander catch your picture waving from up above.
Go to the concierge desk inside the food court and grab a book of coupons that are good at many of this discount shopping center’s stores. Coffee-lovers, start your experience at the Starbucks — or hit up the Foxtail Coffee (a local favorite) inside Tommy Hilfiger.
Salad and pizza are unlimited, as are beverages, and you can pay an upcharge for other options. Bring cash to tip your servers! Check in early so you can sit close to the stage and enjoy some close-up magic. Get discount tickets.
Come at night and plan to go to a restaurant and stay for an activity such as the Improv Comedy Club, Main Event Entertainment or Regal Cinemas Pointe Orlando — one of the best theaters in town.
This is a great attraction to bring your children and explore as a family — and a fun place to go rain or shine. Slow down and use the helpful touchscreens along each aquarium to identify the interesting marine life you’ll see. Get discount tickets.
SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology
Look for Suci the Rhino, and check out the flesh-eating beetles. Also, visit the touch table to feel authentic skulls and guess which animal each belongs to. When it’s available, add the private tour to your admission. There is so much to learn, and it adds a great value to the experience.
Come hungry, because this location has some of the best food in the area. On a clear day, you can see all the nearby attractions from your driving bay. And if you have long hair, bring a scrunchie or some bobby pins to tie it back.
If time allows, hit this once during the day and again at night to see the evening fireworks. (Get in line at about 8:55 p.m. for the latter.) When you look out toward the horizon, match what you see to the information on the courtesy iPads in each pod. Get discount tickets.
The Bubble Lab is a highlight for all ages — you can make a bubble the size of your body! And laser tag is a fun way to compete with new friends. Plan to arrive at the museum an hour or two before the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show starts. Get discount tickets.
Build Your Own Orlando Adventure
Want to start your own Orlando expedition? Before you embark, be sure to stop by our Official Visitor Center at 8102 International Drive, where you can also get trusted trip-planning resources, immersion into top attractions, and discounted tickets — including exclusive offers that aren’t even available online. While you’re there, mention promo code “InStore 10” to save an additional 10% on your ticket purchases. What a way to start your adventure!
After all: There’s always more to do in Orlando!