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10 Things to Know as a First-Time Orlando Visitor

Tips, Hints and Advice For Your First Orlando Trip

Orlando is renowned as a world-class destination favored by travelers all over the world. The City Beautiful offers a vast variety of entertainment, dining and lodging options, sometimes making it hard to narrow down the choices. As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world you will no doubt be stunned by the sheer variety of attractions and things to do in Orlando for a first timer. With this in mind, knowing a few tips in advance can often make your vacation run more smoothly and efficiently so here are the top 10 things to know as a first-time Orlando visitor.

This collection of tips and advice is intended to save you money, suggest ideas to make your trip go smoothly and give you the insider secrets that only residents and repeat visitors know.

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Buy theme park tickets online, ahead of time, in order to get the best deal. There are seven major theme parks in Orlando, and all offer various price packages. Both Walt Disney World and Universal’s websites offer discounts for buying tickets in advance as well as bundling days together. The more days you add on to your package, the more affordable each day becomes. There are also additional discounts to buying early, such as coupon books with over $150 in savings at the park themselves. Read More...

Visitors wanting to stay in the middle of the action should stay on International Drive. I-Drive offers everything from budget motels to luxury resorts, all within walking distance from hundreds of attractions. I-Drive is known as the tourist center of the city, featuring many restaurants, bars and sight-seeing activities. Here, you will find the famous Orlando Eye, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure and Madam Tussauds. Read More...

Not planning on renting a car? Make use of the many complimentary shuttles from the parks to the resorts and all over International Drive. Orlando resorts often partner with the theme parks in order to provide this to their guests, even if the resort is not on-site. Reservations for the shuttles are often required 24 hours in advance as they fill up quickly. Read More...

Dining with Disney Characters can book up months in advance – plan early if this is a must-do for your family! In this magical experience, classic Disney characters such as Mickey and Cinderella visit the table as you dine. Character Dining includes singing and dancing, as well as plenty of photo opportunities. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all available at over 15 different Disney restaurants and can be booked online or by calling +1 (407)-939-5277. Read More...

Skip the long theme park wait times by making use a quick-que pass. Walt Disney World’s Fastpass + allows you to choose up to 3 attractions free of charge. These choices are available to you 30 days before your park arrival. At Universal Studios, the Express Pass option is available for an extra cost. This is an unlimited pass to most attractions in both parks. Additionally, both parks offer single-rider lines. Here, the group is often split to fill-up single seats but the wait time is often a fraction of the time. Read More...

Need dining options? Head over to Orlando’s Restaurant Row. This one-mile stretch on International Drive offers all types of cuisines at various price ranges. Located just 5 minutes from International Drive, Restaurant Row features some of the best Greek, Mexican and American cuisine in Orlando. The city’s best voted seafood restaurant, Big Fin, is located here as well. Read More...

If you plan to visit a beach while in Orlando, be aware that the closest one is Cocoa Beach around 45 minutes away. It can only be accessed from anywhere in the city via Toll Road 528. Free parking for the beach is available near the boardwalk as well as at Lori Wilson Park. Expect to pay three separate tolls, totaling about $5 each way. Of course, there are plenty more beaches in Florida, each one with its own charms. Read More...

Have you always wanted to see a rocket launch? Make use of the private shuttles heading to Kennedy Space Center every day. The center is home to NASA, the primary launch center for human space travel. It is open year round so that visitors can experience the launch complex and astronaut hall of fame, even if there are no launches going on that day. The space center is located about 45 minutes from Orlando and costs $50 per person. Read More...

Shopping options in Orlando include The Florida Mall, the Mall at Millenia, and two different Premium Outlets. The Florida Mall features all the main brands, a food court and various department stores. The Mall at Millenia is a bit more upscale, offering various jewelry and electronic stores. The two outlet malls, Vineland Premium Outlets and International Premium Outlets, feature year-round discounts and promotions. Many hotels include free transportation to all of these as well. Read More...

For free entertainment, head over to Disney Springs or Citywalk Orlando. These popular destinations have everything from stores and restaurants to free concerts and numerous photo-ops. Disney Springs caters to families with younger kids while Universal Orlando is more suited for an adult night out. Both of these entertainment areas include a movie theater and mini-golfing. Read More...

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