Best Things to Do in Orlando

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Many tourists have visited Orlando multiple times and yet never ventured away from Walt Disney World. But there are so many more incredible things to do in Orlando than just the Magic Kingdom and Mickey Mouse! Greater Orlando is home to gorgeous natural areas, smaller attractions, and more dining options than you can count. And I'm here to help you experience all of them! So I know the theme parks inside and out, but I also know that some of the best gems in Orlando, Florida are found when you venture away from the theme parks. This isn't your run-of-the-mill "fun things to do in Orlando" list. I am sharing some of my favorite Orlando destinations, places that even locals love. I couldn't make a list of Orlando attractions without mentioning Walt Disney World at the top. For many people, Walt Disney World is synonymous with Orlando, and for good reason. Disney has everything you need for a complete vacation - hotels, dining, theme parks, miniature golf courses, water parks, and more! Disney is constantly adding new lands and rides, like Rise of the Resistance at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Of course, you can also always experience the welcoming nostalgia of entering the Magic Kingdom. For years, Universal Studios was considered second fiddle to Walt Disney World. However, in recent years Universal has added new hotels, rides, dining, and a water park. Just like Disney, you can now enjoy a complete vacation without leaving Universal property. And there are perks to staying at one of Universal's hotels. You get a free express pass to skip the regular lines and early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Like Universal, SeaWorld Orlando has made some changes in recent years. In addition to their animal habitats and shows, they have added multiple thrilling roller coasters. My favorite roller coaster is Manta, where you ride face down through twists, turns, and nose-dives. For the animal lover in your family, SeaWorld offers affordable animal encounter options. You can even meet a walrus!Old Town is a recreation of a historical Florida town that features shops, dining, attractions, and an amusement park. Old Town is one of Florida’s retro destinations that has been open since 1986. This is a great place for a day trip or just dinner and a stroll. Check the event calendar before you go, because there is live entertainment or other fun events on most days. The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a historic staple in Orlando. It originally opened in 1923 but moved to its current location in 1975 (under the direction of famed zookeeper Jack Hanna). The zoo features a petting zoo where guests can feed and pet barnyard animals, extensive boardwalks for excellent animal viewing, and beautiful butterfly gardens throughout the grounds. Animal encounters, such as feeding a giraffe or meeting a greater one-horned rhino, are available for an additional fee.Discovery Cove is unlike any other amusement park. It is part aquarium, part all-inclusive resort, and part waterpark. The whole family can spend the day relaxing in the water and snorkeling with tropical fish. Discovery Cove has limited capacity and all food and drinks are included, so once you book your ticket, planning is a breeze. You can book add-on packages to have a one-of-a-kind experience with your favorite animal. International Drive is the main stretch of hotels, restaurants, and attractions in Orlando. It is the perfect central location to hit all the major theme parks when you visit Orlando. But, besides theme parks, here are some other great attractions and points of interest along International Drive.