8 Best Activities in Orlando

Best Things to Do in Orlando

Whether you’re looking to explore the great outdoors, work up a sweat by getting active, take a day off in the spa, or just give in to the endless supply of family-friendly theme parks, you’ll never be short of fun activities in Orlando.

Naturally, Disney’s and Universal’s never-ending supply of rollercoasters, themed rides, shows, and parades make up most of the most popular activities in Orlando. However, if you can drag yourself (and perhaps more challengingly, the kids) away from the parks, the city and surrounding Central Florida region has plenty to see and do.

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    Standalone theme parks, theme parks within theme parks, theme parks next to other theme parks, water parks, nature parks… the list goes on and on (and on). With so many to choose from and a seemingly infinite amount of ticket combinations, getting your head around Orlando’s mega-line-up of theme parks can be a bit confusing. Let us give you a quick summary: the 2 main parks here are Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. Walt Disney World has 4 separate theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom) and 2 water parks. Similarly, Universal Orlando comprises 2 different parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. For both, you can either purchase individual park tickets or ‘park-hopper’ passes. Basic day passes cost around $100. Other parks in Orlando include SeaWorld and Gatorland, which generally work out to be a bit cheaper. Read More...

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    Hitting a waterpark is one of the most popular ways of escaping the heat during Orlando’s long, hot summers (May–October sees average daily temperatures of above 75°F). Just like the theme parks, the city and surrounding metropolitan area is in no short supply of places to cool off while sliding down flumes, riding the rapids, or taking a dip in the wave pools. The slightly more expensive Aquatica (next to SeaWorld) is more impressive with its Dolphin Plunge and oblivion-style drop slides, while Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach offer some less traditional waterpark experiences such as snorkelling with sharks and melted snow-capped mountains to surf down. Read More...

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    Go golfing

    Golfing in Orlando

    Golfing is a very popular activity in Orland, and guess what? Disney has 4 courses of their very own! Aside from the Mickey Mouse-shaped bunkers and branded flags, these are the real deal. You’ll find both 9- and 18-hole courses at Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, Palm, and Oak Trail. Away from Disney, other popular Orlando golf courses include Bay Hill Club & Lounge, Grand Cypress Resort, and the highly-rated Waldorf Astoria course, among dozens of others. A single round generally starts at the $50 mark per person, with equipment normally available for hire.

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    A hugely popular after-dark activity in Orlando is to catch some live theatre or music, with the city and surrounding metropolis promising dozens of state-of-the-art event venues and concert halls. On the music front, pretty much anybody who’s anyone comes to Orlando at some point in their career, from pop acts like Bieber and Gaga to international dance DJs selling out 10,000+ capacity venues. For rock music, keep an eye out for the ever-changing line-up at Hard Rock Live and House of Blues (both at Universal), while Downtown’s huge Amway Center hosts big-names every month across a broad spectrum of genres. For theatre, catch the Blue Man Group every night at Universal Orlando or the famous La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil nightly at Downtown Disney. Venture into the Downtown core to find a good selection of smaller, less touristy theatres and shows, such as the long-running SAK Comedy Lab on Orange Avenue. For kids, Fantasmic! At Disney’s Hollywood Studios is an absolute must, as is the evening firework display over the iconic Cinderella Castle. Read More...

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    With so many luxury hotels – plus the combined stress of running around theme parks with the kids all day long – it’s no wonder Orlando is home to a long list of spas for that much-needed ‘me time’. Many of the best places to ease away the aches, pains and tired limbs from sightseeing are in the city’s top hotels, such as at the Ritz Carlton, Hilton, Four Seasons, Waldorf and Orlando World Center Marriot. For dedicated, standalone spa complexes, our recommendations are The Spa LLC on Edgewater Drive, Woodhouse Day Spa on Via Dellagio Way and Spa Orlando on North Summerlin Avenue. Read More...

    One glance at a map of central/south Florida and it’s clear to see the region boasts a diverse terrain, including the vast, swampy and often reptile-infested Everglades. There’s no better way to experience what the locals claim to be ‘real Florida’ than by taking to the water on an exhilarating airboat ride. The Florida Everglades actually begin around the Orlando area at the Kissimmee River, with the extended watershed encompassing much of the southern tip of the state. For those staying in and around the Orlando region, top spots for airboat rides and Everglade safari tours are at Boggy Creek, Shingle Creek, Lake Kissimmee and Lake Toho. Thirty minutes of zipping across the water generally costs between $25 and $45. Read More...

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    Race in a NASCAR

    I-Drive NASCAR

    Ever wondered what it would be like to ride in a 600-horsepower NASCAR, going over 150 mph around a track? At Disney’s Richard Petty Driving Experience, you can do exactly that, strapping yourself into the front seat with an experienced driver for a ride along, or taking to the wheel yourself for 8–50 laps ($109–$1,299). The package includes all safety gear, insurance and an orientation. Riders must be at least 14 years old and drivers at least 18, carrying a full driving license. For some slightly more family-friendly driving fun, head to the popular I-Drive NASCAR – an indoor go-kart track just off International Drive. Races cost $25 a go, and there is also bowling facilities in the same building.

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    Hot air Balloon in Orlando

    Taking to the skies over Orlando is a memorable way of seeing the city from a different perspective. Companies like Orlando Balloon Rides operate out of the suburbs, with customisable flights taking you over the best of what Orlando has to offer in terms of natural scenery, as well as drifting past some of the big theme parks for a bird’s-eye-view. Flights normally depart in the early morning or evening when weather conditions are most suitable, with rates per person normally starting at around $150 up. Read More...

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