We’ve been visiting Orlando for the last eight years and have become pretty well acquainted with the city and all that it has to offer. Don’t be fooled, it’s not just Disney – although it is a good idea to set aside time for plenty of that – there is tons to see and do in Orlando, the food is great and the shopping will have you totally, totally spoiled.
So, if you are already planning a trip or trying to pick a destination, here is a quick guide to Orlando…
Priorities, eh? This year was our first time visiting since we gave up eating meat – that changed things up considerably as the fall-back cheeseburger was (literally) off the table and it made grabbing quick eats at the theme parks a little more difficult.
For a quick bite, seek out Panera Bread – their sandwiches, salads and soups are great and pretty reasonably priced. For dinner, you really can’t go wrong with Bahama Breeze for some fresh Caribbean influence or House of Blues for a taste of the good ol’ Southern cooking.
Pro-Tip: If you have packed your stretchy waistband (and I definitely recommend doing so for a Florida vacation), Golden Corral is an all-you-can-eat goldmine – just prepare for a few hours of regret as your body struggles to decipher what just happened.
We normally spend around four or five days of our two-week trip at the theme parks but, if you are on a short vacation, or trying to save a little cash, make sure the one park you don’t miss is Disney’s Magic Kingdom; it has by far the best mix of attractions and experiences.
My personal favourite is EPCOT, I like to think of it as the connoisseurs choice! I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but there’s a great mix of fun and culture with some of the best food Disney has to offer (yup, I’m still thinking with my stomach…)
Pro-Tip: Avoid SeaWorld, it’s not worth the price of admission and, well, we’ve all seen Blackfish…
The main shopping attractions in Orlando are the outlet stores where you can pick up bargains (and I mean bargains with a capital B!) from the likes of Nike, Adidas, Levis and loads more.
If you are shopping for souvenirs, look out for the Disney store at the outlet mall where you can grab a selection of discounted merchandise including toys, pins, shirts and millions more.
Pro-Tip: To find something a little more fancy, head to Mall at Millenia – there, you will find one of the best food courts in Orlando alongside The Cheesecake Factory (I know, more food…)
The late-night destination of choice in Orlando is Disney Springs (it used to be called Downtown Disney but it is now MASSIVE and re-branded with a new name!) which houses all the shops and restaurants you could wish for.
This is where you will find some awesome places to eat, a cinema which generally has a good mix of new releases and classics (we caught Ferris Bueller’s Day Off this year), a retro-themed bowling alley and boat transportation to most of the Disney resorts if you decide to go exploring.
So, that’s my quick guide to Orlando! Have you been before? What are your must-do’s and what should I check out on my next visit??