Orlando for Preschoolers & School-Aged Kids
Age range: 4 to 9
Good news: Your kids are ready for the adventure of a lifetime all over Orlando. Here are your best bets for an unforgettable family vacation with your preschoolers and school-aged children in the Theme Park Capital of the World.
Discover: First-Timer Guide to Orlando With Kids
At this age, some theme parks will be more fun for younger children than others. LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is definitely calling your name, especially with its latest addition: Peppa Pig Theme Park, designed especially for preschoolers. And at LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park, your kids will have a blast at the all-new Pirate River Quest, THE LEGO® MOVIE WORLD™ and other ways for little ones to play.
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Magic Kingdom® Park at Walt Disney World® Resort is another stellar choice, but Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park — which offers the chance to see real exotic animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris®, plus other kid-friendly shows and rides — will also entertain them. And if your little ones love Star Wars, they won’t want to miss Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®.
On a similar note, SeaWorld® Orlando is chock-full of magical animal encounters, including those at the Dolphin Nursery, that are sure to have your kids oohing and aahing in no time. Younger school-aged children are also going to love the park’s Sesame Street Land™.
Over at Universal Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort, have your camera ready for photo opportunities with The Cat in the Hat before the family enjoys rides based on him and other beloved Dr. Seuss characters at Seuss Landing. Children will love a visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, too.
This is also a great age to introduce your children to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Universal Volcano Bay, Aquatica® Orlando, and LEGOLAND® Water Park, all of which have special areas for younger guests. (Please note that water parks are subject to seasonal closings and might be unavailable at the time of your visit.)
For some indoor flights of fancy, head to WonderWorks at Pointe Orlando on International Drive. Here, science is fun thanks to a wealth of hands-on, interactive exhibits and other activities. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, also located on International Drive, is another source of unusual artifacts with proven appeal to kids, and don’t forget about the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium at ICON Park®.
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For a colorful experience artistic children will love, visit Crayola Experience at The Florida Mall®, just 20 minutes from ICON Park. More indoor — and affordably priced — attractions await at Dezerland Park in the I-Drive area.
If your gang prefers outdoor thrills, you can find classic amusement park rides at Fun Spot America in Orlando and Kissimmee. The latter is adjacent to the Old Town Entertainment District.
Discover: Things to Do Beyond Theme Parks
Every winter, endangered Florida manatees flock to the warm waters at Blue Springs State Park, about 50 minutes north of downtown Orlando. Park rangers keep track of them so well, they can tell children who’s who among these majestic creatures. The park also has numerous hiking and picnicking opportunities.
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About an hour north of downtown, DeLeon Springs State Park is home to the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill & Griddle House, built in a replica of a historic building. Here, children can make their own pancakes and add chocolate chips, nuts and fruit as toppings. Afterward, outdoor fun includes a dip in the natural spring, a canoe ride or a nature walk through a floodplain forest.
Discover: Orlando Natural Springs
More natural springs can be found at Rock Springs Run State Reserve at Kelly Park, plus Wekiwa Springs State Park, both within an hour of Orlando’s core. You might also consider any of the destination’s numerous hiking and biking trails. And for exhilarating fun on the water, airboat tour operators such as Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures, Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides, and Wild Florida can’t be beat.
Kids this age would love the chance to eat with some of their favorite characters. Look into the year-round character dining opportunities at our theme parks, when available. For example, Walt Disney World Resort offers a wide range of chances to eat with Disney princesses, classic and modern Disney animated characters, and other fun surprises.
Discover: Character Dining in Orlando
At Universal Orlando Resort, options include Marvel Super Heroes plus The Grinch at Christmas. Fantasy-minded children would also love to dine at The Leaky Cauldron™ or Three Broomsticks™ at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™. And at SeaWorld Orlando, you can dine with legendary denizens of the deep at Sharks Underwater Grill or learn about the park’s pilot whales at Dine With Orcas near Orca Encounter. (Please note that character dining experiences are subject to availability.)
Your family can also cheer on knights while feasting like kings at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament close to Walt Disney World. Another dinner entertainment option for kids is The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, hosted by WonderWorks on I-Drive.
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As with infants and toddlers, hotels with family suites are still a great idea at this age. If you’d like to enjoy a kid-free night on the town, several local companies can help with babysitting services. Top options include Destination Sitters LLC and Tootles Event Sitters, both of which offer professional services for individual families and large groups such as weddings and reunions.
Adjacent to Walt Disney World Resort, JW Marriott Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa has an out-of-this-world play area for kids on the sixth floor that’s complimentary for guests. Amenities include a nine-hole mini-golf course, a jungle gym, a rock-climbing wall, and a room stocked with toys and books.
At the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Camp Hyatt is available for bathroom-independent children ages 3 to 12. Here, kids can swim, enjoy craft activities and participate in outdoor fun.
Orlando World Center Marriott offers two full-service recreation programs for kids ages 4 to 12: Kid’s World (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and Kid’s Night Out (6 – 10 p.m.). Additionally, the resort’s Gaming Recreational Interactive Destination (G.R.I.D.) invites kids to play on the latest versions of Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, iPads and other devices from 3 – 9 p.m. daily.
At The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes,the Ritz Kids program offers daycare services for children ages 4 – 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Full day and half-day options are available.
Various WA Kids Club programs are available for children ages 5 to 12 at Waldorf Astoria® Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. The resorts also host complimentary daily poolside family fun each day at 3 p.m.
Plan the Perfect Family Getaway in Orlando
Endless family adventures await in Orlando — and Visit Orlando powered by BestofOrlando.com can help you save on admission to top theme parks, attractions and experiences. Take advantage of our free planning tools to discover more ways to save money in the Theme Park Capital of the World.