Traveling with Children: Orlando Family Vacation Ideas
Orlando is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with over 37 million visitors a year. With beautiful weather and the most fantastic theme parks in the world, who wouldn't want to head there for a vacation? (Note the only theme park actually in Orlando is SeaWorld, while Disney, Universal and the others are located in nearby Kissimmee.) The best time to head off to Orlando is the off-season; then you can enjoy all of the fun, sun and great savings as well. According to Disney World statistics, the periods with the lowest attendance are from January (except New Year's Day) until just prior to Presidents' week in February, the week following Labor Day until just prior to Thanksgiving week, and the week following Thanksgiving until the week prior to Christmas. During these times you can find the best discounts and the shortest lines, so take a relaxing trip down to Orlando and enjoy one of the greatest trips of your life.
Of course you should visit one or all of the various theme parks while you are in Florida, but there are many more attractions to see as well, so take time to enjoy them all. We even have many Orlando Florida vacation packages that include theme park tickets.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY THEME PARKS IN ORLANDO
Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks. There are four Orlando theme parks as well as water parks, resorts, and entertainment complexes that fall within the Walt Disney World name. Within Disney World you will find:
- Epcot Center, where the world comes together in one place. Epcot is a celebration of the many cultures and wonders of the world, including the future.
- Disney MGM Studios is where the magic of movies comes to life with shows, movie sets, memorabilia and rides.
- Disney's Animal Kingdom celebrates the animals of the world with story telling, shows, rides and more animals than you can count.
- Magic Kingdom is the pinnacle of Disney World, where magic happens. Enter this awe-inspiring world through Cinderella's castle and let the magic overtake you.
- Disney's water parks are open year-round with water that is climate controlled to be the most comfortable temperature no matter what the weather.
- Pleasure Island is the home of some of the coolest nightlife. This is a grownup's playground, full of grownup shows and music where every night is a Saturday night.
- Disney's Wide World of Sports is a sports complex that is unrivaled anywhere.
- At Downtown Disney, you'll find shopping, entertainment, and restaurants galore. Here, you'll find Planet Hollywood, that tribute to Hollywood and California cuisine.
SeaWorld Orlando. SeaWorld is not just about dolphins jumping through hoops. SeaWorld is an adventure you won't soon forget with rides to rival those at any theme park and shows that bring animals up close and personal. SeaWorld offers many benefits not found anywhere else. SeaWorld offers extra activities that are available at extra cost such as the 'Trainer for the Day' program where you can work with the animals of SeaWorld or swim with a killer whale. Kids can enjoy various Adventure Camps.
Universal Studios and Island of Adventures.Universal Studios has a hit on its hands with this park. With rides that come straight from the movies and shows unlike any others, you can't go wrong with a visit here. See shows filming at Nickelodeon Studios and maybe even take part in a kid's favorite show - where parents or kids get slimed. Island of Adventure is where you can go to live the adventure of a lifetime. There are five 'islands' where you can do everything from riding the world's first inverted dueling roller coaster to defying death at the jaws of a T-Rex and defying gravity. The five islands are:
- Marvel Super Hero Island where the pages of comics come to life.
- Toon Lagoon is full of fun and zany water rides.
- Jurassic Park, named after the movie hit and just as full of dinosaurs.
- The Lost Continent is shrouded in the mists of time, where wizards and dragons rule.
- Seuss Landing is the home of the 'Cat in the Hat' and other favorites from the books of Dr. Seuss.
You may want to check out Universal's new addition, CityWalk. This is a hot and trendy shopping, dining and nightclub area. Dance to the thumping beat of all kinds of music and different types of clubs.
FAMILY FRIENDLY SHOWS IN ORLANDO
Orlando is full of opportunities to see some great shows:
- Open 365 days a year, the award-winning Arabian Nights Dinner Theater features a fairy-tale performance with over 60 horses. A recreation of the world's best horse acts in one show, Arabian Nights puts the spotlights on a Black Stallion act, trick riding by a band of gypsies, and Roman chariot races.
- One of the best is Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. This show opened in Branson, Missouri to rave reviews and is now being offered to the audiences in the Orlando area. The show features over 30 horses, a ton of very talented cast members and a patriotic theme. With humor, music, magic and much more, it is a show that will leave you talking about it for years to come. Add on an excellent meal and the stunning and visually appealing finale, and you'll find this is one show you'll be happy you didn't miss.
- Solve a mystery at Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Theater. This long-running performance lets you put on the detective hat and participate in the excitement. And the dinner can't be beat--your choice of prime rib, lasagna, or Cornish game hen for an entrees, and a 'mystery' dessert are just the tips of the iceberg.
- Pirate's Dinner Adventure. It's yo, ho, ho, and a whole lot of fun at this multi-million dollar production. You'll find yourself amid pirates and pyrotechnics during this thrilling, Broadway-quality show.
ROMANTIC ATTRACTIONS IN ORLANDO
Are you searching for the perfect romantic get away? Orlando has it all from the perfect place to hold a wedding, to the perfect place to rekindle the romance in your life. For a fun filled evening out you can visit Pleasure Island in Disney World or CityWalk at Universal Studio. Both offer a variety of clubs, music and fun. Or for a slower pace take a hot air balloon ride with Orange Blossom Balloons. Take an early morning flight and enjoy the sunrise in a world all your own.
For a romantic dinner and show, visit the Polynesian Luau at the Polynesian Hotel in Disney World. With an awesome array of foods, hula dancers and flame throwing it is an entertaining night that you will want to share with one you love. Disney World also has an entire staff devoted to fairy tale weddings. Get married or renew your wedding vows with Cinderella's Castle as your backdrop and feel like a Princess marrying your Prince Charming.
OUTDOOR RECREATION IN ORLANDO
- If you really want to see the real outdoors take a trip on the Boggy Creek Airboat Rides and see Florida wetlands' native wildlife.
- With some of the best golf courses in the world, Orlando is the destination of choice for golf enthusiasts. Disney World has five championship courses on its grounds and is now the home to the PGA Tour's Funai Classic.
- For the sports minded, there is the Orlando Magic basketball team or visit Disney's Wide World of Sports, where you can watch the Orlando Rays play ball. The Rays are an AA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Or why not attend one of the many camps for kids and grownups that feature sports icons teaching the sport they love?