A trip to Orlando, Florida takes you and your family to theme park heaven, especially since the city is home to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Legoland, and many more. Whether you prefer to visit museums filled with fascinations, relax in a beautiful park, or enjoy shopping and dining, Orlando has it all. Your Orlando vacation rental puts you at the heart of all the fun. Use your accommodation as a home base to easily check out these top 10 things to do in and around Orlando.

1. Attend a Special Event or Festival at Disney’s Epcot Center

epcot orlando
Source: Flickr/Celsim Junior

Epcot Theme Park is unlike any other in the world because of its emphasis on bringing the countries of the world together. As you explore the World Showcase section of the park, you can take mini visits to countries such as Mexico, Japan, Norway, and the United Kingdom, or head to Future World, where you can participate in an upbeat vision of what lies ahead. If you visit during the right times of the year, go to Epcot to participate in the special festivals held there. The Flower and Garden Festival each spring features floral displays and gardening experts, while the Food and Wine Festival brings in celebrity chefs. Holidays Around the World features national holiday traditions in the World Showcase, and the Festival of the Arts has visual and performing arts.

2. Relax on a Boat Tour of Winter Park

scenic water park orlando
Source: Flickr/Stephen Weppler

When Orlando locals want to relax in a beautiful outdoor environment, they don’t go to a theme park — they go to Winter Park, one of the most lovely small towns in the country. Take a narrated boat tour hosted by the Winter Park Chain of Lakes to enjoy incredible views of waterfront mansions and scenic beauty.

3. Universal’s Islands of Adventure

harry potter at universal orlando
Source: Flickr/Sarah_Ackerman

Visit everyone from your favorite Marvel superhero to Harry Potter when you spend a day at Islands of Adventure. Arrive before the park opens to make the most out of your day, and start by rushing straight to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts for your Harry Potter fix. The roller coaster fans in your family will want to get in line for the Incredible Hulk and the Flight of the Hippogriff (probably several times!), and the younger members of the family can find Seuss Landing, featuring the whimsical characters of Dr. Seuss – deliciously delightful.

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4. Take a Voyage With Pirates

pirate adventure
Source: Flickr/Ashley Rehnblom

Delight your kids with a trip on a real pirate ship. Pirate’s Dinner Adventure takes place on a replica of a Spanish galleon in an indoor lagoon. While you dine, your ship gets attacked, pirates fight, cannons go off, and a princess gets kidnapped – it’s like being in the middle of a movie! If your kids are lucky, they’ll even be pulled into the action.

5. Dine and Have Fun at Universal City Walk

hard rock cafe at universal orlando city walk
Source: Flickr/Martin Lewison

Enjoy a theme park vibe without having to buy theme park tickets at Universal City Walk, just outside Universal Studios. Themed restaurants galore await you here, including Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and the Hard Rock Cafe, and you can also catch a show by the Blue Man Group, play mini golf, or see a movie. If your family members love to sing and show off, head to Rising Star, where you can sing karaoke with a live band.

6. Admire Beautiful Tiffany Lamps

tiffany lamp
Source: Flickr/JENIFER MARY!!!

Louis Comfort Tiffany made some of the most beautiful lamps and art glass in the world back in the late 1800s, and the largest collection of his work is just outside Orlando. Visit the Charles Homer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park to take in this stunning collection.

7. Interact With Sea Animals at Discovery Cove

kissing a dolphin at discovery cove orlando
Source: Flickr/Carter Brown

At Discovery Cove, which is part of Sea World, you can swim and play with dolphins in the water, an exciting experience for everyone in your family. Go underwater by snorkeling or using a dive helmet to explore the Grand Reef and be surrounded by tropical fish. Discovery Cove is also home to frolicking sea otters, and inside the aviary, you get the chance to feed exotic birds.

8. Have a Magical Day at the Magic Kingdom

magic kingdom parade float
Source: Flickr/Derek Hatfield

Of course, you’re planning on a vacation in Orlando, you must have a visit to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on the agenda. You’ll find a wide variety of vacation rentals all around Disney World, putting you nearby so you can arrive at the park early, which is a must. Use apps like Ridemax or Touring Plans’ Lines app to get real-time information about the wait times at various attractions. Get an autograph book for your kids to use when they meet their favorite Disney characters, and don’t miss the Festival of Fantasy parade or the fireworks at the end of the evening. Your kids will have their best day ever here, so take lots of photos to preserve the memories forever.

9. Explore Downtown Disney

dining at downtown disney orlando
Source: Flickr/Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos

Similar to Universal City Walk, Downtown Disney is an entertainment and dining site that’s part of Walt Disney World but doesn’t require tickets to the theme park. Visit themed restaurants like Rainforest Cafe and House of Blues, each of which is like a mini theme park all on its own. Travel up in the air on a tethered hot air balloon, or pick up a spectacular show by Cirque du Soleil. The shops here also provide a great place for your kids to choose special souvenirs to treasure once the vacation is over.

10. Build Something Cool out of Lego

legoland florida
Source: Flickr/VisitCentralFL

If you have kids under the age of 12, Legoland Florida is a must-visit attraction. It’s the largest Legoland in the world, and it includes a water park, which is a great place to cool off if you’re visiting during a warmer season. Your older kids will be fascinated by Miniland USA, where the United States is recreated in Lego, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to build your own cars or boats with Lego, then see how well they really work. Stop at the shops around the park to pick up some building sets that you can complete back at your vacation rental.

 
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