Orlando is a world class destination that is very deserving of your valuable time. But, people often associate Orlando with the theme and water parks, especially these from Walt Disney World and its rival, Universal Studios. And that makes sense, seeing that their theme and water parks offers some of the most memorable experiences that anyone can have. There is no doubt about that.
But, is there more to Orlando than just the theme and water parks? The answer to this is a resounding yes. There is in fact more to Orlando than just the theme and water parks. Here are some compelling ideas for what fun things to do in Orlando. These can be done in addition to any theme and water parks that you may be planning on visiting.
ICON Park is a bustling entertainment district located in the southwestern part of Orlando on International Drive. This district is home to a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. These restaurants serve different cuisine ranging from Mexican to French to Japanese depending on which restaurant you choose to dine at. There are a variety of shops selling unique gifts and stylish vacation threads.
Best of all, ICON Park is home to a few notable attractions.
This ferris wheel is really hard to miss. In fact, this is the tallest ferris wheel in the East Coast region of the United States at about 400 feet high. That is equal to about 40 floors of a skyscraper. You will be housed in a clear capsule that will take about 23 minutes to circle its way around the ferris wheel. During your time on the ferris wheel, you will get stunning views including as far as downtown Orlando.
The prices of admission for the ferris wheel ride are $27.99 for adults and $22.99 for children aged 3 to 12. Free admission is granted to these aged under 3. You can buy your admission passes here.
SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology
SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology is a unique museum that you will want to keep on your radar. This museum is located under The Wheel which I just mentioned right above. You will learn about the skeletons of various animals at this museum. There are over 500 skeletons of the animals that were once alive. A few of the exhibits that are at the museum include African Safari, Marsupials, and Florida Wildlife.
The admission prices to this museum are $10 for adults and $8 for youth aged 3 to 11. Those aged under 3 get free admission. With admission to this museum, you will get complimentary scavenger hunts that anyone of all ages can participate in.
Madame Tussauds Orlando
Madame Tussauds is a one-of-a-kind wax museum that is rooted in pop culture. At this museum, you will find waxworks of various characters and celebrities in different poses. This is designed to make you feel immersed into pop culture ranging from movies to sports to history/leaders.
You will come across waxworks of Aquaman commanding the sea, Shaquille O’Neal doing his famous slam dunk, and Martin Luther King Jr. spearheading the American civil rights movement. These are just a few examples of the many waxworks you will explore at this museum. Admission to this museum is $39.95 per person and will also include a ride on The Wheel. You can buy the tickets here.
SEA LIFE Aquarium
Here at this aquarium, you will feel like you are underwater. There are over 5,000 sea creatures for you to meet during your time at this aquarium. These include, but is not limited to, sharks, seahorses, octopuses, and rays. SEA Life Aquarium is divided into breathtaking sea habitats. A few of them include Shoaling Ring, Ocean Caves, and Stingrays Cove.
All of the sea habitats are connect by the aquarium’s 360-degree Ocean Tunnel. This tunnel will offer you full fledged views of the depths of the ocean where you can watch the sea creatures swimming all around you. You will also be able to touch certain sea creatures, including the starfishes, at the Coastal Rockpool sea habitat.
The admission price is $39.95 per person for the aquarium. This pass will also get you a ride on The Wheel. You can order the passes by going here.
Disney Springs is located in the southwestern section of Orlando on Buena Vista Drive. Despite the fact that Disney Springs is a part of Walt Disney World, it is not a theme or water park. Disney Springs is a unique, fictional town that was meticulously designed by Walt Disney World itself. Disney Springs draws inspiration from charming coastal towns in Florida like St. Augustine and Coral Gables.
Disney Springs is divided into four area. Each of these areas offers a unique flavor. The areas are The Marketplace, The Landing, Town Center, and West Side.
The Marketplace is an area built in the American Craftsman architectural style of the 1930’s. There are many restaurants and shops located here. One such restaurant is the T-Rex Cafe which is a dinosaur themed restaurant. T-Rex Cafe houses animatronic dinosaurs. The Rainforest Cafe is another restaurant located in this area. This is a rainforest themed restaurant.
One store you should check out in The Marketplace area is the Lego Store. This is where you can find all kinds of stuff made with Legos.
The Landing is Disney Spring’s waterfront area on the shore of Lake Buena Vista. Overall, this area has a nautical feel to it. There are numerous restaurants, bars, and shops in this area. One restaurant is Paddlefish. This restaurant is located inside a paddle steamer riverboat that was once known as the Empress Lilly.
Another restaurant of note is The Boathouse. The Boathouse is home to a collection of vintage boats and amphicars. You can view these during your time there.
Town Center is considered the downtown area of Disney Springs. This area is beautifully designed in the Spanish Revival architectural style from the 1920’s. This is where the artificial springs is located. This is where Disney Springs got its name from. Stores are the focus here in this area, but you can also find some restaurant options too as well.
West Side is the exposition center area of Disney Springs. This area has a modern and bright color theme to it. Entertainment is the focus here in this area. One exciting entertainment option is Splitsville Luxury Lanes. This is where you can go bowling. In addition to the bowling lanes, Splitsville Luxury Lanes also offers live entertainment, billiards, indoor and outdoor dining, and more.
These are some compelling ideas for what fun things to do in Orlando that are outside of theme and water parks. You can visit these attractions in addition to whatever theme and water parks you may be planning on visiting during your time in Orlando.
Hotels to Stay At
Are you seeking a hotel to stay at during your Orlando visit? No problem, I am more than happy to help you out with this. My goal with the hotels is to locate you close to all of these attractions I mentioned so that you don’t have to travel too far to reach them.
Holiday Inn Orlando – Disney Springs Area
This hotel is located on Hotel Plaza Blvd in Lake Buena Vista. This hotel has two onsite restaurants. These are called Palm Breezes and Grab & Go. There is also a outdoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at this hotel. If you are looking to exercise, there is a fitness center available 24 hours per day for you to use.
There is also a shuttle service from this hotel to Disney Springs. If you are planning a visit to any of Walt Disney World’s theme and water parks, you can reach them via shuttle from this hotel also. The hotel rooms here are designed with contemporary decor in refreshing earth tones. WiFi, mini refrigerators, microwaves, and coffee makers are all available in all the hotel rooms.
The average rate for a standard room at this hotel range from $138 to $345. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.
Avanti International Resort
This resort hotel is located on International Drive in Orlando. There are three onsite restaurants at this hotel for you to dine at whenever you get hungry. These three restaurants are Lobby Barista, the Cafe & Marketplace, and the Avanti Pool Bar & Grille. Depending on which theme and water parks, if any, you are planning on visiting, you can ride a shuttle there from this hotel.
The shuttles travels from this hotel to all the Universal Studios theme and water parks along with Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park. There is a beautiful outdoor swimming pool with a waterfall and fountains. Along with the swimming pool, there is a hot tub. This hotel also has a fitness center for you to workout at. Beach volleyball and a full arcade game room are the other amenities at this hotel.
All of the hotel rooms and suites offer WiFi, coffee makers, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The hotel suites comes with a nice view of the pool area for you to enjoy. The average rate for a standard room range from $84 to $163. You can book your stay and/or view the photos by going here.
So, what are your thoughts? Are you planning a visit to any of the attractions mentioned here, during your visit to Orlando? Feel free to leave a comment below.