Many people who visit Orlando find themselves getting so caught up in all the amusement park hoopla, that they forget that there is an entire city waiting for them to explore! While Disney, Universal, and Sea World are great entertainment venues, visitors can also spend time at art galleries, museums, nature preserves, and more. Oh, and the food is pretty delectable as well!
Since millions of people travel to Orlando each year, it is no surprise that there are more hotels than a person can count there! However, many people will want to stay at the ones that offer all the amenities that they desire, as it makes vacationing away from home even more enjoyable.
Here are the best hotels that we have found in the Orlando area:
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando
This five-star hotel can be found on four hundred and eighty-two spectacular acres of land in Bonnet Creek and it offers elegance and luxury to every guest. The guestrooms have been lavishly decorated, the cuisine in the on-site restaurants is amazing, and there are plenty of activities for each guest to enjoy.
Villas of Grand Cypress Orlando
This resort may be near all the popular attractions, but it has been tucked back away from the hustle and bustle to ensure that every guest experiences tranquility during their stay. The rooms are spacious and each one has a breathtaking view of either the fairways or waterways from either the private patio or deck. Golfers will love the on-site golf course that was designed by renowned golf legend, Jack Nicklaus. Families of all sizes will love the pools, tennis courts, rock climbing wall, and the miniature golf course.
Hilton Grand Vacation Sea World
This prominently located resort is right across the street from Sea World, although no one would know it from the quietness that is found in abundance. There are three pools, along with two wading pools, and every guest will fall in love with the waterfall feature. The free shuttle will take guests to many of the nearby parks and in between outings, everyone will enjoy a rousing game of shuffleboard or tennis.
There are so many restaurants within the city of Orlando, so no one needs to venture too far to find an amazing meal. However, with so many choices, a few travelers may have a hard time deciding exactly what they want to eat.
Here are a couple of the best restaurants in the area:
Victoria & Albert’s
Victoria & Albert’s is a fine dining destination for those who are looking for a romantic and luxurious dining experience when they are in the city. Everyone will need to prepare in advance for this meal, as reservations are required and often need to be made weeks or even months in advance. Every guest must be dressed appropriately, including dinner jackets for the men. This dinner takes quite some time from start to finish, thanks to the six or more courses that are normally served. The cuisine is French American, and the price of the meal is definitely going to cost more than anything else anyone does in the area.
This dinosaur themed restaurant can be found within Disney Springs, and while people may think that it caters to the children of families, there is no reason why an adult cannot have just as much fun. The burgers are monstrous, the St. Louis style ribs are sticky and filling, and the erupting desserts are the perfect way to finish off any meal. Due to the popularity, a reservation is often required.
Raglan Road Irish Pub
This authentic Irish Pub can be found in Disney Springs too, although it is the only one that has hired chefs directly from Dublin, Ireland. Burgers and other pub fare are available, but everyone will want to try one of the traditional Irish dishes the first time around. Whether it is the fish and chips, the shepherd’s pie, or something else, every guest will find themselves falling in love with Irish cuisine. While everyone is dining, they can enjoy a pint of ale and listen to the live entertainment that performs each night.
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium
No one is going to eat a full-fledged meal at the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium on City Walk at Universal Studios, but they will want to go there to grab a snack or some dessert. The servers are all dressed in Victorian costume and they serve everything from decadent desserts to extraordinary milkshakes. The options are only as endless as the size of a person’s stomach!
Amazing Things to Do
There is so much to do in this massive, yet small city in Florida!
Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World
As mentioned above, Orlando has a plethora of theme parks! There are four at Disney World, two at Universal Studios, and then one at Sea World. Of course, that doesn’t include the water parks or special features either! It is easy for a person to spend days or weeks at them all, which is why they are included in this list. However, it is always recommended that visitors branch out a little to some of the other attractions within the city!
Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve
There are four hundred and forty acres to explore within this preserve and there are six trails of different lengths to get people where they want to go. The shortest trail is half a mile, while the longest is several miles in length. There is plenty of wildlife inside the preserve, although the animals hide very well most of the time. However, it is possible for people to see bald eagles flying high or sitting in their nest, as well as bobcats and gopher tortoises.
Charles Homer Morse Museum
Lovers of all things Tiffany glass are going to want to wander through this museum, as it contains the largest collection by Louis Tiffany. This 19th century designer has created an impressive collection of jewelry, paintings, pottery, and infamous lamps.
There are mini golf courses, and then there are the two mini golf courses at Pirate’s Cove. Both courses have plenty of shade, so no one needs to worry about the afternoon heat as they attempt yet another hole in one amongst all the pirate features that includes a pirate ship. There are even waterfalls and tropical flowers to keep everyone remembering that they are still in sunny Florida and not out in the middle of the ocean fighting off the nearby pirates.
Search for Alligators on an Airboat Tour
There are plenty of airboat tour companies that will take you out in the water to search for alligators, but in the Orlando area, none are better than Wild Willy’s. They are located on Lake Tohopekaliga and offer one-hour airboat rides at reasonable prices. The captains of the boats know where all the alligators hide, as well as where the snail kites, blue herons, and bald eagles can be spotted. No one will want to leave before they hold one of the gators and have their picture taken!
Free Things to Do
Orlando may be expensive, but there are plenty of free things to do for those who take the time to do a little research! Here are a few favorites:
Yes, it does cost money to go shopping or eat at a restaurant in Disney Springs, but it doesn’t cost a dime to walk around or build Lego displays at the Lego store. Everyone can also hop onto one of the ferries to travel to the parks and back again.
City Walk at Universal Studios
The parking at Universal is free after six in the evening, which makes it the perfect time for an evening stroll along the City Walk. There are live DJs to dance the night away to, a splashing area for children, and plenty of people watching to do.
Old Town is a family favorite of what this area used to be like and it features historic architecture, as well as storefronts of years past. There are eighteen acres filled with shops, restaurants, attractions, and rides. There are dance parties on Wednesdays, and car shows on Saturdays, and no one should leave before grabbing on old-fashioned bottle of Coca Cola.
Big Tree Park
There is no charge to enter Big Tree Park, and while the mascot, The Senator, is no longer standing, it is still a fantastic destination. The Senator was a massive bald cypress tree that was three thousand five hundred years old, and it was burned down back in 2012. There is a memorial there in its place, and its sister tree, Lady Liberty, is still there. Lady Liberty isn’t quite as old as The Senator, as she is only approximately two thousand years of age, but she is just as remarkable!
Cheap Things to Do
There are also plenty of reasonably priced things to do in Orlando and they include the following:
Wineries are popping up all over the country, which is why some people never seem to add them to their vacation itinerary. However, everyone will want to stop at Lakeridge Winery when they are in Orlando, because they offer live music, vendors, crafts, and food in addition to wine tastings. Everyone is guaranteed to find a new favorite wine while they are there, so this stop will only be as cheap as a person’s self-control!
Harry P. Leu Gardens
These gardens are perfect for taking walks outside and enjoying time away from the crowds. There are three miles of paved walkways that people can stroll along before or after wandering through the museum. There is also a butterfly garden and a bamboo garden for those who want to see everything that is available.
Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour
Winter Park is a historic attraction, but the best way for visitors to see it is via a boat tour. The boats travel through the lakes and canals in the area and there is a tour guide that narrates each one. Those who ride along will see numerous mansions, as well as the native wildlife.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium
No one knows exactly what they will see each time they enter this Odditorium, as it has sixteen galleries filled with unique, weird, and mind-blowing objects! The best part is that many areas are interactive, so everyone will have a hands-on experience that they will remember forever.
Unique Things to Do
It should not be a surprise that there are a few unique things to do in a city as fascinating as Orlando! Here are a couple favorites:
Ice bars are becoming quite popular and this one in Orlando happens to be the largest one in the world. There is more than seventy tons of hand-carved ice inside, so every guest is given thermal coats and gloves prior to entering. The sculptures change regularly, so there is always something new to see and do as a person is drinking one of the specialty cocktails.
The Tupperware Confidence Center
This is a museum that showcases the history of this durable container. There is vintage machinery, vintage products, touchscreen displays, and even the infamous Wonderbowl. There are even rumors that there is a Tupperware casket somewhere, but no one has seen it out on the floor! Everyone can stop inside the Tupperware Gallery before leaving to grab a few more of these phenomenal containers, in case they don’t already have enough at home.
Carmine Oddities Boutique
There are quite a few unusual boutiques in Orlando, but none of them are as odd as Carmine Oddities. This boutique can be found on Orange Blossom Trail and they sell everything from antique polio leg braces to dentures used as a terrarium to a goat that has gone through taxidermy and then repurposed into an intriguing rocking chair. This is a store that everyone needs to see to believe, which is why it should be on every visitor’s must-see list!
Orlando is so much more than theme parks and this list will have everyone reorganizing their schedule, so that they can see some of the other attractions within the city. Although, a few people may need to add a couple days to their trip, so that they don’t leave anything out!