Disneyworld, Epcot, Universal...and we're only just begun to scratch the surface of the many fun things to do with kids in Orlando! One of the most visited cities in the entire USA, Orlando thrives on families having those once in a lifetime experiences they will never forget.
Yes, theme park experiences make up a large part of what draws families to Orlando, but there is so much more to experience. Orlando is home to stunning nature, and amazing wildlife (yes, gaters too!) and plenty of adventures waiting for families.
It's because of Orlando's ability to surprise is why we're excited to share with you our Orlando City Guide featuring our "Top 9 Family Attractions" , all of which are just the tip of the iceberg in what you can find out about this exciting Florida destination!
There are so many fun things to do with kids in Orlando, so make sure check out our entire Orlando City Guide that we've lovingly and carefully put together just for you, so you know exactly how to plan your exciting family day out in this theme park capital of the USA!
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Image Credit: Simon Malls
In this Orlando City Guide, we share with you our top 9 things to do with kids, alongside some VERY fun experiences that will surely bring out the child in everyone!
We know that budgets are always a factor when you travel as a family, so also in this Orlando City Guide we list some great FREE things to do with kids that won't break that bank account!
Whilst most people travel to Orlando with a car, there are other options to get around so we also offer up some tips to help you navigate around town, and we also share some really fun facts about Orlando that might just surprise you!
If you want to explore a bit further out for the day, our Orlando City Guide also shares one of our favorite a day trips, and we let you know some famous faces who were both in this sunny Florida favorite. We hope all of this will make your family time in Orlando the best it can be!
So whether this is your first trip saying "Yes, take me to Orlando"! or maybe you have lived in Orlando all of your life but never took the time to see what the area has to offer and you wonder "What is there is to do near me in Orlando?", then keep reading because we have the top 9 things to do in Orlando with kids...and so much more!
Image Credit: Visit Florida
Orlando is a relatively new city when you consider the wider history of the USA. The history of Orlando as we know it today starts around 1838 during the peak of the Seminole Wars. Fort Gatlin was built to protect the settlers, and that region soon grew in community.
This community named the settlement Jernigan, and by 1850 Jernigan had it's own post office. By 1857, the settlement and the Post Office accepted a name change to Orlando - and Orlando it stayed! (To this day, no-one really knows how the name "Orlando" was chosen! Scroll for more fun facts!)
Nicknamed "The City Beautiful", Orlando became a popular resort after the 1898's Spanish-American War and really built up in popularity until World War I. After the Great Depression and the aftermath of a number of hurricanes, the influx of residents and tourists to Orlando plateaued until 1965 when a very special man named Walt Disney (you might have heard of him!) announced plans to build a theme park in the area.
Walt Disney World opened, and today Orlando is one of the most visited cities in the entire country. It's renowned for it's incredibly family friendly attractions and style, and welcomes families from all over the world with open arms.
Orlando is magical, after all!
Image Credit: Walt Disney World
You're in Orlando, which is the theme park capital of the USA so visits to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida are of course a must! Within those parks you can enjoy amazing experiences at Universal's Volcano Bay and Islands of Adventures!
Don't miss travelling around the world at the famous Epcot, or spend some time enjoying the shops and dining at Disney Springs or Disney's Boardwalk!
Of course, Orlando isn't all Disney and Universal, so make sure you check out some of the other super fun attractions such as Crayola Experience, or the iconic Madame Tussauds Orlando!
Orlando has a super fun farmers market you can visit, or close the day at the family friends ICON Park!
With so many fun things to do in Orlando with the family, that it's the perfect place to extend that family day out into a week...or two...or longer!
Image Credit and Transporation Source: Orlando How To
Orlando is an incredibly car friendly city, and it really is the best way to get around. If you're visiting all the major theme parks (of course you are), the I-4 runs East and West allowing access for all the theme parks as well as the Florida Turnpike and nearly all of the toll roads in the city.
However, if you don't have a car or don't feel comfortable driving, there are other options for you!
First, if you're arriving at the airport, you can pick up one of the Orlando Shuttle Vans operated by off-airport companies. These are a popular and convenient way to travel from Orlando Airport to your hotel.
LYNX is Central Florida's bus system, and offers a great public transportation in and around the Greater Orlando area. You will spot the LYNX bus stops as they are marked with a pink "paw" print of a Lynx cat!
The I-Ride Trolleys is great to travel around the popular International Drive Resort Area year-round. It operated 7 days a week from 8am to 10:30am, and stops every 20 minutes so you will never have to wait too long.
If you plan to stay around the Walt Disney World area (which is a great way to make your time at the parks even more stress free), there are several free shuttle buses to various area of the Walt Disney World property.
Then, you have the LYMMO which is a FREE circulator bus in downtown Orlando with 21 stops on the route, and also you have the SunRail Train which is Central Florida's newest and first passenger rail system! This 61.5 mile commuter rail line connects four counties as well as the City of Orlando.
One great way to explore Orlando is with a Sightseeing Pass! Not only can you explore the city with their Hop-on Hop-off Trolley, but you can also gain access to your favourite attractions ahead of time - and without any hassle! You can also book tours through the app, which you can just download on your phone.
With every pass you not only get the Hop-on Hop-off service included, but you can also 2 i-Ride Trolley Tours too! Also on the app are handy maps and features that will make your time in Orlando smooth sailing!
Source & Image Credit: Sightseeing Pass
Our Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Orlando
1Universal Studios Florida
The wonderful thing about Universal Studios is you KNOW that it's made for kids and families which means nothing but FUN all day long! Universal Studios Florida allows you to experience the workings of a real film set AND take on some thrills and spills at the same time!
Kids can enjoy the Minion Mayhem, or get lost in the magic of Harry Potter. If it's Transformers you love, you're in luck too! Rides, dining, shopping, and plenty of classic family Florida fun waiting for all ages at Universal Studios Florida.
Image Credit: Universal Studios Florida
It's time to make waves in Orlando at Universal's Volcano Bay! Volcano Bay is a water theme park, which really mean it's a theme park with a whole lotta water! Where did the name come from? Well, the big volcano right in the middle! (Don't worry kids, it's not real!)
Volcano Bay offers water fun for everyone, whether you want to challenge friends to the most thrilling water slides, or just go-with-the-flow and chill like a winding river, o float around in the wave pool. Doesn’t get chiller than that! Remember, it’s a South Seas oasis (and nothing says oasis like a volcano)!
Image Credit: Universal Orlando
You can't have a Top 9 things to do in Orlando list without mentioning the Magic Kingdom! Walt Disney World is one of, if not THE reason families from all over the world travel to the city - and rightly so! It's the most magical place on Earth, and it's waiting for YOU!
The Walt Disney World is HUGE, so make sure you allow a few days to see all the lands - Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, and Blizzard Beach. There are rides galore, plenty of entertainment, delicious food and all your favorite characters!
Image Credit: Spark via Visit Florida
Kids can discover the magic of color at Crayola Experience Orlando! Here, they can explore dozens of hands-on activities that will get those creative juices flowing - located at the Florida Mall and perfect for the whole family!
This fun Orlando day out mains to be bigger, brighter and bolder than other family fun attractions, and it's the colorful adventures of Crayola Experience that help kids and adults alike explore the amazing worlds of art and technology, as well as allowing them to express their creativity as they experience color in a whole new way.
Image Credit: Crayola Experience
Get up close to some of the most beautiful creatures that call our oceans home AND enjoy a fun filled day of rides and coasters at SeaWorld! Kids can watch bottlenose dolphins play, and charming penguins shuffle through the ice in their Antarctica themed habitat, before learning about the rescue and rehabilitation of creatures such as the grand manatee!
Also at SeaWorld Orlando are a host of rides and attractions for kids of all ages, including the brand new Ice Breaker which features FOUR airtime filled launches, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in the entire state!
Image Credit: SeaWorld
Part of the Universal family, Islands of Adventure is a definite must visit when in Orlando! Superheroes, magical creatures, schools of witchcraft and wizardry, and yes - dinosaurs...it's all there are Universal's Islands of Adventures!
You can enjoy the park, challenge yourself on multiple rides....some might drench you, some might just mess up that hair! Some might make your head spin (figuratively speaking, of course!). All of them will say: Every island is a new reality!
Image Credit: Universal
Fancy an amazing theme park in Orlando outside of the Disney and Universal families? Fun Spot America should be your next...well, fun spot! At this fun family attraction, you can enjoy a variety of rides and games for kids AND adults alike!
Here, you can enjoy the classics that we all know and love such as Bumper Kars, as well as a unique multi-level go-kart tracks. Perhaps you want to challenge yourselves on the thrills of the ONLY wooden coaster in Orlando! Get ready to make some memories, it's Fun Spot America time!
Image Credit: Fun Spot America
Welcome to the World's Greatest Wax Museum! Yes, it's Madame Tussauds. With locations all around the world, there's a very good chance you have already experienced this unique and iconic attraction, but when in Orlando make sure you stop by this location as there is so much more to see!
Come face to face with your favorite music stars, movie stars, sports stars and A-Listers. Have you ever wondered what Ariana Grande looks like in person? Have you wanted to sit next to Audrey Hepburn? Perhaps hold hands with The Rock? Madame Tussauds is THE place to make it happen!
Image Credit: Madame Tussauds
Get creative, use those imaginations and learn at WonderWorks! This incredible fun amusement park for the mind offers 28,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” for kids and adults alike!
WonderWorks combines education and entertainment throughout their 100 plus hands-on exhibits that challenge the mind and spark the imagination. Kids can make their way through the six Wonder Zones focusing on extreme weather, physical challenges, space discovery, light & sound, art, and of course imagination!
Image Credit: WonderWorks
Famous Folk From Orlando!
Wesley Snipes is an American film actor, producer and also martial artist. His most notable films include "Demolition Man", "White Men Can't Jump" and "Rising Sun"
He also famously starred in the "Blade" Trilogy films, which further secured his Hollywood status.
Image Credit: Nicolas Genin
Howie Dorough is an American singer best known as Howie D, one fifth of popular group The Backstreet Boys.
The groups biggest hits include "As Long As You Love Me" and "Backstreet's Back" and were one of the biggest pop groups of the 90s and 2000s.
Image Credit: Laura
5 Fun Orlando Facts
Impress your friends with your amazing Orlando knowledge!
- Still to this day, no-one knows exactly how Orlando got its name! (It actually used to be called Jernigan after its first permanent settler...)
- Lake Eola is not actually a lake - it's a giant sinkhole (and reaches depths of 80ft!)
- A number of iconic movies have been filmed right in Orlando, including "My Girl", "Parenthood" and "D.A.R.Y.L"
- Orlando has not just one but THREE City Hall buildings!
- The first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a gas balloon was from Orlando! His name was Joe Kittinger. His achieved this record in 1978.
Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids In Orlando
If the budget doesn't stretch to Walt Disney World, then Disney Springs is a great way to still feel that Disney magic. Here your day can be spent dining at one of thier 65 eateries, or browsing in one of their 100 plus retail stores and don't be surprised if a musical act or two stop you in your tracks!
It's worth staying into the evening too, as there are 25 various shows, attractions and events waiting for you! Some of these might have a fee, but you'll certainly find ones that don't or that can fit to your budget!
Image Credit: Walt Disney World Resort
Much like Disney Springs, Disney's Boardwalk can transport you to other world and it won't cost a dollar to visit. Here you can experience vibes of turn-of-the-century boardwalks such as Coney Island or Atlantic City as you stroll a quarter-mile promenade of dining, shopping and energetic nightlife.
Strolling along the water's edge with the family is always fun, or kids might like the play the afternoon midway games or uncover some fun evening street performers! Disney’s BoardWalk is also a short stroll to Epcot and a breezy and fun boat ride to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Image Credit: Walt Disney World Resort / Charlie Champagne
Orlando Farmers Market
Orlando Farmers Market has been operating for 35 years and is a great way to spend a day with the family! Held in Lake Eola Park from 10am - 3pm every Sunday, the market is filled with local vendors offering some incredible flavors and fresh produce!
Not only that, the market is very kid AND dog-friendly and it's always expanding, including recently adding a brand new wine and beer garden, adding new and fun entertainment, plus there's an outdoor dining area where you can enjoy a lunch together!
Image Credit: Orlando Farmers Market
Rollins Museum of Art
North of Central Orlando is Rollins Museum of Art, located on the campus of Rollins College in Winter Park and is a wonderful museum of rotating exhibits, programs and an incredibly permanent art collection that spans centuries - all free to the public.
The collection will introduce children to all forms of art, from ancient art and artifacts to striking and thought provoking contemporary art. Open to the public year-round, the museum is also home to the only European Old Master paintings in the Orlando area!
Image Credit: Rollins Museum of Art
Whilst there are charges to ride the iconic wheel and visit the attractions such as SEA LIFE Aquarium and Madame Tussads, ICON Park is a great way to spend the evening just strolling around, taking it all in and feeling the magic!
ICON Park is a 20-acre, open-air, entertainment experience with plenty of fun adventures for the whole family - no matter what the budget. It's the perfect place to explore, picnic, enjoy delicious food, relax and if you wanted, splurge on that iconic wheel to take in the impressive views.
Image Credit: ICON Park
Orlando: Things To Do in 4K!
Your time in Orlando might be filled with thrilling rides, movie magic and family sized spills, but a fun day trip from Orlando can see you add soft white beaches, sparking blue water and even more sunshine to that list. Yes, we're talking about Daytona Beach!
At only 50 minutes by car from Orlando, Daytona Beach is not just for the beach lovers in the family. For those who love the excitement of racing, the Daytona International Speedway is ready and waiting for you!
Image Credit: Daytona Beach Area CVB
The area that we know now as Daytona Beach was once inhabited by the indigenous Timucuan Indians, who lived in fortified villages. After Europeans arrived in the area, the Seminole Indians frequented the area.
Between 1763 and 1783 when Florida was under British rule, the King's Road passed through the region, before the Spanish took over after the American Revolutionary War. It was then in 1804 that land was given to a man named Samuel Williams which was the very land that was to become modern-day Daytona Beach.
In 1884, the region opened up after the introduction of the St Johns and Halifax River Railroad, with Daytona Beach becoming part of the Florida East Coast Railway.
In 1902, long after a successful period of citrus and sugar cane production, it was the beaches at Daytona that became a draw card for pioneers of the motor industry. The compact and smooth sand made for the perfect spot to test their latest innovations, hosting land speed records from 1904.
By the 1920s, Daytona Beach was considered "The World's Most Famous Beach"
In 1936, the first stock car race was held at the Daytona Beach Race Course and for the century after, Daytona Beach has become synonmous for incredible racing and amazing beaches that draw families and kids from all around the world.
So grab those towels, buckets and spades, and sense of adventure because Daytona Beach is waiting for you!
Here’s our top 4 Daytona Beach things to do:
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Let's get the family adventure started!