The Best things to do in Orlando with your kids
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Things to do in Orlando with your kids
Orlando is America’s playground, and millions of people visit each year. Pre-pandemic, 75 million visitors a year went to Orlando. In 2021 that number grew even more.
People flock to Orlando to go to Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and more.
There are many things to do in Orlando with your kids. Here are some ideas:
The most popular destination in Orlando is Disney World. Disney World features four theme parks – Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.
There are also two water parks – Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. You could easily spend a week at Disney and never get bored.
Magic Kingdom is the oldest of all the parks and features classic Disney rides like It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain.
If your kids are into meeting Characters, this is the park you need to visit. Plus, the kiddie rides at Magic Kingdom are the best overall. This is Disney’s magic at its finest.
EPCOT is a park that celebrates world cultures and features rides like Soarin’ Around the World, Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, and Frozen Ever After. The World Showcase is also a great place to explore with kids. There are 11 pavilions representing different countries from around the world. My family found this park to be the least fun.
Hollywood Studios is the home of rides like Toy Story Mania!, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad (a massive hit with my kids), and Star Wars: Ride of the Resistance. This is an excellent park for families as there are things to do to entertain every age.
Last but not least is Animal Kingdom. This park has thrilling rides like Avatar Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, and DINOSAUR. You can also see live shows like Finding Nemo – The Musical.
Animal Kingdom is also home to Pandora – The World of Avatar, a must-see. This was the best park in my family’s opinion!
The Animal Kingdom Lodge is also one of the best Disney hotels in Orlando
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is a water park with slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers.
The main attraction is the Surf Pool, which generates 6-foot waves and seems to be the favorite place to be. You can also go snorkeling in the shark reef and see some real sharks.
There is a large-sized kiddie area that will keep little guys cool and entertained. Plus, there is a surf experience right nearby.
If you love waterparks, you may want to add this to your list!
Disney’s Blizzard Beach is a water park with slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers. The entire park is designed to look like winter and snow.
The main attraction is the Summit Plummet, a 12-story tall water slide that takes you splashing into the pool below. (This is a real scary one for only the toughest of the tough!)
Blizzard Beach is smaller than Typhoon Lagoon, but it makes up for it with bigger slides and better theming.
Be aware before you go that Disney is crowded and expensive. Four days in February cost us close to $1500 for tickets alone. On an average day, we could fit in 8-12 rides.
Universal Studios has two different parks. The first is Universal Studios Florida which features rides and attractions based on movies and tv shows. The second park is Islands of Adventure, which has more thrill rides and some newer rides.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Diagon Alley
Many people flock to Universal Studios to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Universal Studios Florida has Diagon Alley and the rides Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and Hogwarts Express.
The interactive park is a must for any Harry Potter fan. You can visit Ollivanders Wand Shop, get your wand chosen for you, and cast spells around the park.
You can also drink Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, and other wizarding drinks and food.
If your kids are not into Harry Potter, don’t worry. There are many other rides and attractions at Universal Studios Florida.
Other Experiences at Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios’ other rides and attractions include The Simpsons Ride, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Fast and the Furious – Supercharged, Men in Black Alien Attack, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D, Jurassic Park River Adventure, The Incredible Hulk Coaster, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster.
The park has areas made to look like The Simpsons, famous cities in the US, and Woody Woodpecker’s Kids Zone.
Islands of Adventure
Islands of Adventure is Universal’s second park, mostly made up of thrill rides. Here you can visit Jurassic Park, Marvel Superhero Island, P Seuss Landing, Skull Island, Lost Continent, Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Toon Lagoon. If you have older kids, they are likely to enjoy this park more than Universal Studios Florida.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Hogsmeade
At Islands of Adventure, you will find Hogsmeade Village and Hogwarts castle. The rides are Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
You can also visit Ollivanders Wand Shop and drink Butterbeer. It is slightly smaller than the Diagon Alley part of the park.
This part of the Harry Potter world is very similar to the park at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Other Experiences at Islands of Adventure
Some of Islands of Adventure’s other attractions are The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, Hulk Coaster, Dueling Dragons, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Poseidon’s Fury, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, Skull Island: Reign of Kong.
This park also has different “islands,” such as Toon Lagoon, Marvel Super Hero Island, The Lost Continent, Jurassic Park, and Seuss Landing.
Information about Universal Studios
Before going to Universal Studios, it is essential to know that only the dual park ticket allows you access to both parks.
Another thing to remember is that the wait times for the rides can be very long, especially during peak season. If you visited in February as we did, the lines were less than 10 minutes.
Our favorite parts of the park were Harry Potter, Jimmy Fallon’s Race Through New York, and the Bourne Stuntacular.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Universal Studios, Florida. It was not as crowded as Disney, and it felt more interactive.
It cost our family of 3 around $450 for a day at the park.
SeaWorld is a marine life-themed park with rides, shows, and attractions. The park’s main draw is the orcas, also known as killer whales.
The rides at SeaWorld are Mako, Manta, Journey to Atlantis, Kraken, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, and Infinity Falls.
The main shows at SeaWorld are Dolphin Adventures, Orca Encounters, Sea Lion, and Otter Spotlight.
There are also a few rides for small children, such as Big Bird’s Twirls N Whirl, Elmo’s ChooChoo, and more at Sesame Street Land.
SeaWorld is open year-round, but the hours vary by season.
It costs $89 per person for one day.
Dolphin Interaction Program at Discovery Cove
SeaWorld also offers a Dolphin Interaction Program where you can swim with dolphins.
This program is $300+ per person; you must be at least six years old to participate.
The Crayola Experience is an attraction where you can learn about the crayon-making process and then make your own crayon.
There are also several other hands-on activities, such as wax molds, painting, and more. This attraction is geared toward kids, but adults and teenagers will enjoy it as well. The whole place smells like crayons and is a nostalgic attraction for anyone who loves to color with crayons.
It costs $22.99 per person for a 1-day ticket.
Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center is a museum and launch site dedicated to space exploration. It is a short drive away from Orlando, but well worth the drive. If you have kids who love space or science, this should be on your shortlist.
You can tour the launch facilities, see rockets and spacecraft, and learn about the space program’s history.
There is also an IMAX theater and an astronaut training simulation that is worth the price of admission.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
The Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is a museum with artifacts and exhibits about the Titanic. There are over 300 artifacts on display, such as china, furniture, jewelry, and more.
There is also a replica of a section of the ship that you can tour, plus recreations of the grand staircase, 1st class cabins, and they even have a dinner gala in the recreated dining room.
Orlando Tree Trek
Orlando Tree Trek is an aerial adventure park with zip lines, rope courses, and more. There are exhilarating options for kids of all ages, which makes this a great place for families to visit.
There are different courses for different skill levels, and if you feel stuck, an employee will come and help you to the nearest exit.
Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center is a museum 3 floors tall with exhibits on space, dinosaurs, the human body, and more.
There is a hands-on preschool area, which encourages young children to learn through play, live reptiles you can touch, and tons of activities.
There are also several theaters showing educational films throughout the day. It is the perfect rainy day activity for the whole family.
There is an additional fee if you want to participate in hands-on activities.
Kelly Park is a county park with a playground, a natural lazy river, a spring-fed swimming pool, and hiking trails.
Admission to the park is $5 per car, and all you need to bring along are some bathing suits and a pool noodle or inner tube. There is a natural lazy river filled with clean, cool water, and you can float down it to a larger pool. There is a trail alongside the lazy river, so you can walk back and begin again.
Gatorland is a 110-acre Florida attraction that’s not just all about the gators. You’ll find thousands of them and an aviary with exotic birds and other creatures from around the world!
There’s also a nature walk where you can learn more about alligators and crocodiles, a petting zoo, and shows featuring all sorts of reptiles.
In addition to these amazing sights, there are several fun activities for visitors too – take either a train ride through “Gator territory” or head over to Gully splash park before heading back home again.
You are guaranteed to see tons of alligators every time you visit.
Plan on 2-3 hours.
Pirates Dinner Adventure
Pirates Dinner Adventure is a dinner theater show with acrobatics, pyrotechnics, and live animals. Part circus, part dinner, this amazing stunt show will keep you excited all dinner long.
The story is about a group of pirates looking for buried treasure, and over 100 audience members will have to help them.
Your entire family (young and old) will have fun as it is a very interactive experience.
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament is a dinner theater show with jousting, sword fighting, and horse riding.
The story follows a group of knights as they compete for the king’s favor. You will be cheering, booing, and generally having a wonderful time while eating some very decent food.
This dinner show is more appropriate for older kids (I recommend the Pirates Adventure for the younger crowd) and anyone who loves Ren Faires.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes
Splitsville Luxury Lanes is a bowling alley with upscale food and drinks, as well as great bowling.
It is a 2-story building with tons of lanes and plenty of seating. It is an excellent option for families after a day of fun because you can get a really great meal here as well as play a round or two!
The Boathouse Water Adventures
The Boathouse Water Adventures offers a captained ride on a vintage Amphibicar. The Amphibian Car is a unique mode of transportation that can drive on both land and water.
These vintage cars are a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience and, as such it is pricey.
If you eat at The Boathouse (one of the best restaurants in Disney Springs), you get a small discount on the Amphibicar.
ICON Park is an outdoor mall with shops, restaurants, and attractions. The main attraction is The Wheel, a 400-foot tall Ferris wheel that can be seen from miles away.
ICON Park is a great place for nightlife with kids as it is so family-friendly. There are arcades, the aquarium listed below, the wax museum, the mini-golf, the museum of illusions, and more.
This attraction is open year-round, but the hours vary by season.
Madame Tussauds’ is a wax museum with lifelike wax figures of celebrities, historical figures, and more. Over two hundred wax figures are on display at any given time.
You can also take photos with the wax figures. There are other Madame Tussauds, like the iconic ones in New York City and London. This is one of the larger locations.
Sealife Orlando Aquarium
The Sealife Orlando Aquarium is a smaller aquarium with several different habitats, such as Tropical Reef, Ray Bay, Shark Shallows, and more. It is located in ICON park.
There is a wall of JellyFish and a 360-degree Ocean Tunnel. You can also feed the stingrays and see a mermaid show.
Get a combo ticket for attractions at ICON park
Orlando is more than Just Disney
Orlando is an excellent destination for families because there are so many things to do. With so many options, you will find something that everyone in your family will enjoy. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance to plan your trip and make the most of your time in Orlando.
Where to stay in Orlando?
Why not stay at a Harry Potter Themed Airbnb?
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