Orlando is an idyllic vacation spot for both kids and those who are young at heart. As the mecca for all things Disney, there's a sense of magic here that is sure to bring out your inner child as you play and explore the city.
While images of theme parks galore may the the first thing that comes to mind, there's much more to this Florida city. While they are a big part of making Orlando a destination hotspot, there are also lovely tree-line neighborhoods to stroll through and plenty of history to learn about. Orlando also boasts a thriving performing arts scene so be sure to check out a live musical or theatrical performance during your stay. If the weather is nice, the city provides a variety of gardens and parks to enjoy where you can marvel at the beautiful flora and fauna as you dine on a picnic.
Many visitors head to Orlando between June and August, but it's great to visit year-round. If you live someplace that experiences all four seasons, trade in the dreary, cold days for ones filled with warmth and sunshine. It's lovely in the spring as well, when the flowers are in full bloom and the temperatures aren't climbing too high.
Orlando's Best Theme Parks
- Disney World: Orlando has become synonymous with Disney World - "the happiest place on earth." This is Walt Disney's flagship center of his worldwide theme park empire and the most popular on the globe. It's a magical place that all people no matter their age can enjoy as they experience the wonder, fantasy, excitement and fun of the park. Disney World itself is home to a variety of theme and water parks as well as shopping, entertainment, dining and more.
- Epcot: Travel all around the world without ever leaving Orlando at the Epcot Center. The World Showcase is reminiscent of a permanent world's fair containing 11 different countries including Mexico, China, Norway, Germany, Japan, Italy, America, Morocco, France, Canada and the United Kingdom. Epcot was the second park built at Disney World and spans 300 acres. Experience all sorts of unique cultures and heritages as you explore the park.
- Discovery Cove: If you've ever wanted to swim with dolphins, head to Discovery Cove, where you get the chance to interact with bottlenose dolphins swimming, doing tricks and playing. Afterward, grab some snorkeling equipment and check out the coral reef where you can see thousands of colorful tropical fish, then check out the stingrays and shark tank. The park also features a free-flight aviary with more than 250 tropical birds flying overhead that you can feed and interact with, such as parrots and toucans. The Grand Reef features a sandy white beach with palms lining an island where you'll find underwater grottos filled with moray eels, reef sharks and more tropical fish. Check out the Sea Venture, an underwater walk on the sea floor.
Things to Do in Orlando
- World of Orchids: If you have a green thumb or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, plan a trip to the World of Orchids. In an enclosed tropical rainforest you can see thousands of stunning blooms covering almost an acre. You'll feel as though you've been transported to the Amazon in this natural jungle-like setting featuring streams, waterfalls and even parrots. World of Orchids also boasts a 1,000 foot boardwalk by nearby wetlands.
- Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art: Art lovers and Tiffany enthusiasts will appreciate the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. It's home to the largest collection from Louis Comfort Tiffany, including art glass, lamps, leaded-glass windows, pottery, jewelry, paintings and the chapel interior from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The museum also boasts a huge collection of American art, pottery and representative collections of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century American graphics, decorative arts and paintings.
- The Orlando Museum of Art: Keeping with the art theme, make your way to the Orlando Museum of Art to see ongoing exhibitions and displays of American landscapes and portraits, ancient American works and American impressionist pieces. Throughout the year the museum presents 10 to 12 exhibitions and provides a variety of enrichment programs, gallery tours, lectures, classes and more.
- Mad Cow Theatre: Plan a fun night out at the Mad Cow Theatre, one of Orlando's professional theater companies presenting a variety of works for the stage, including contemporary plays and musicals. Performances like Sunday in the Park with George, Death of a Salesman, Hedda Gabler, Next to Normal, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Our Town, Cinderella and many more have graced the stage here. Enjoy a delicious meal at a local restaurant then head to the Mad Cow Theatre for a delightful evening filled with live entertainment.