Families With Kids Guide to Orlando
Like no other destination on Earth, Orlando — Theme Park Capital of the World — was practically designed for kids … but the fun doesn’t stop at our theme parks. Throughout the destination, your family will discover attractions, dining, outdoor activities and feature-packed resorts that will turn your time in Orlando into memories that will last forever.
Learn more: Tips for Visiting With Small Kids
No matter the age of your children, you’ll find the perfect theme parks to enjoy together in Orlando. If you’re traveling with younger kids, including infants, toddlers and young school-aged children, you might consider Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park and Magic Kingdom® Park at Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal's Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld® Orlando’s main park, and LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, which includes LEGOLAND® Florida Theme Park and the world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park. They all have loads of features to keep little minds filled with wonder.
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Older kids, including tweens and teens, will also find much to love at those Orlando theme parks, but as they age, they’ll be ready for bigger thrills and refined pursuits. Accordingly, look into Disney’s Hollywood Studios® and EPCOT® at Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida at Universal Orlando, and Discovery Cove®, a unique day resort where you can enjoy a wide range of aquatic activities and animal encounters.
Learn more: Tips for the Best Orlando Theme Park Experience
For even more fun in the water, turn to Orlando’s water parks. These include Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park® and Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park® at Walt Disney World, Universal’s Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando, Aquatica® Orlando at SeaWorld, and LEGOLAND Water Park, entry to which is available as an optional upgrade with regular park admission. And that’s just the start of all the wet and wild ways to have fun in Orlando.
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While you’re enjoying Orlando’s theme parks and water parks, don’t lose sight of our indoor and outdoor attractions, including free things to do and many priced under $30. There are more than 100 of them in the area, including dozens of family-friendly options in and around International Drive, Orlando’s main tourism district.
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For starters, you can get an incredible view of Orlando from 400 feet in the sky at the The Wheel, located at the ICON Park® dining and entertainment complex. Other family attractions here include SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, In The Game ICON Park, and Madame Tussauds Orlando — home of DC Entertainment’s Justice League.
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Just down the street, Pointe Orlando — a walkable dining, shopping and attractions complex — has WonderWorks, an upside-down building described as an indoor amusement park for the mind. The whole family can also enjoy bowling, billiards, video games and other fun activities, not to mention some great food, at Pointe Orlando’s Main Event Entertainment.
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Less than a mile from Pointe Orlando, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!® has a host of wonderfully weird exhibits from around the world. If you’re more interested in action-oriented experiences, check out iFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving and Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. Don’t skip on family fun at I-Drive’s escape rooms, either, including The Escape Game Orlando (rated No. 1 in the destination by TripAdvisor) and Escapology.
Learn more: Top Orlando Escape Rooms
International Drive even features a classic amusement park: Fun Spot America, which has a second location near Walt Disney World. For more outdoor fun, the whole family can live the pirate’s life on two championship, 18-hole courses at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf. Or, discover a brand-new way to golf at Topgolf Orlando. And for hours of indoor entertainment, check out the affordably priced attractions at Dezerland Park.
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Even more attractions are waiting for you beyond International Drive, starting with Gatorland. In addition to its titular stars, this longtime Orlando landmark has fun for little kids in the form of its Gator Gully Splash Park, Allie’s Barnyard and Very Merry Aviary. Meanwhile, older children will have a blast at the park’s Screamin’ Gator Zip Line and Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure.
Learn more: Things to Do in Orlando Beyond Theme Parks
For a completely different type of reptile, head to Dinosaur World, a self-guided outdoor museum with more than 200 life-sized dinosaur exhibits. It’s about an hour from Walt Disney World. If your kids are more interested in space than dinos, take them to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, about an hour from tourism districts on Florida’s east coast.
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Orlando also has a lot of family-friendly outdoor adventures that are off the beaten track — literally. North of Orlando, Blue Spring State Park, De Leon Springs State Park, Kelly Park, Wekiwa Springs State Park and Ocala National Forest provide opportunities for swimming, fishing and picnicking, among other activities.
Learn more: Orlando’s Natural Springs
You can also hike or bike the West Orange Trail, a 21-mile paved path that starts in Winter Garden near Walt Disney World and runs north to Apopka. (Didn’t bring a bike? You can rent one from Winter Garden’s Bikes & Blades Co.) And in Lake Nona, about 20 minutes from Orlando International Airport, the whole family can play tennis together in a professional setting — and at no cost — at the United States Tennis Association National Campus’ Nemours Family Zone. (However, registration is required). Even more open-air family fun awaits at Lake Nona’s Boxi Park and Nona Adventure Park.
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For pulse-pounding excitement on land, take the wheel at Revolution Adventures. Or, fly through the trees at Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park. You can also get wild on the water at Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides and Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures.
Learn more: Orlando Ecotourism
Thanks to themed dining, mealtime in Orlando can be a family adventure. An original in that regard is Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, where you can dine like royalty while cheering on knights in a recently reimagined show that’s presided over by a queen instead of a king for the first time in the attraction’s history. Once your kids are a little older, they’ll appreciate Capone’s Dinner & Show, which boasts unlimited food and drink.
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Naturally, Orlando provides a wealth of opportunities to dine with beloved characters — and real-life living legends. (Please note: Character dining might not be available at the time of your visit. Check with your preferred theme parks for details.)
Hotels and resorts with connected suites are an ideal option if you’re traveling with younger children, allowing parents to enjoy some alone time while kids get some down time. Choices along this line include Caribe Royale Orlando, Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa, and Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort.
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Resorts with on-site water parks are always a hit with kids, and Orlando has several to choose from. They include The Grove Resort Orlando, Margaritaville Resort Orlando, Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld and Reunion Resort.
Naturally, hotels and resorts at theme parks have lots of extras that your children will appreciate. For instance, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is set in the middle of a 46-acre wildlife preserve, complete with hundreds of majestic animals. And Disney’s Art of Animation Resort has more than 1,100 family suites with designs influenced by The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and other cartoon classics.
Animated antics are also found at Universal Orlando’s Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, where kids can sleep with the Minions in Despicable Me-themed suites, while Jurassic World suites make every night an adventure at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. And at Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel®, the Future Rock Star suites have everything your budding musicians need to rock out while they’re in Orlando.
If you need babysitting services, several local companies can help. Top options include Destination Sitters LLC, Jovie of Orlando, and Tootles Event Sitters, all of which offer professional services for individual families and large groups such as weddings and reunions. Let them help you enjoy a night on the town the next time you’re in Orlando.
Ready to experience the ultimate family adventure? The knowledgeable Vacation Planners at Visit Orlando’s Vacation Planning Services can help you with every step of your planning, including answering your questions, providing trusted advice, and being your source for discounted theme park and attraction tickets from Visit Orlando powered by BestofOrlando.com. Then, make your reservations and prepare for the sort of wondrous family getaway you’ll only find in Orlando.