It comes as no surprise that Walt Disney World is the top destination among families in the United States. There have been a number of additions to the park over the years, most recently including Toy Story Land which transports you into Andy’s backyard. Fans of Avatar can explore Pandora and take a ride on Flight of Passage which is quite possibly the BEST ride in the entire park.
Although the magic of Disney is sure to be on your list, there are a number of other activities and adventures worth experiencing while visiting the sunshine state. We’ve rounded up our top picks so you can get planning your trip today!
What To Do
Go gator gazing
The Florida Everglades, the only place where crocodiles and alligators coexist in the wild. Spirit of the Swamp is located on the tip of the Everglades and will have you zipping over alligator infested waters on a small private airboat. Candid guides share knowledge about the lake’s inhabitants through large headsets. Don’t expect the Crocodile Hunter experience, the guides are cautious to not disturb the gators in their natural habitat. My guide, Chris, explained that there were over 4,200 gators in this particular lake. If you’re lucky you will spot some babies, after all, they lay 20-60 eggs at once!
Swing like Tarzan
Try your hand as a circus trapeze performer and let your inner child run wild at Orlando Tree Top Adventure Park. There is a lot to experience beyond ziplining. This adventure park is perched 50-feet atop a pine tree forest. Zip, swing and climb your way through the 97 aerial challenges offered.
Drive into the lake in a convertible
Formerly Downtown Disney, Disney Springs now caters to children as well. Your entire extended family can now enjoy the night together instead of segregating the kids and adults. There are a number of restaurants and shops to keep you busy. Hop in a convertible car-boat to enjoy a 360 view of the area from the water. Dining at The Boathouse is family favourite, offering steak, seafood and kid-friendly meals. Everything is tasty but the S’mores Baked Alaska dessert is sure to draw a crowd to your table, in the best way possible.
Experience a view from the clouds
Who knew that the largest hot air balloon in the US is located right in Orlando! Set the alarm clock early (4:30 am early), but it’s worth it as you sail up into the clouds right after catching a sunrise. Orlando Balloon Rides does a great job at making you feel calm and at ease while you are floating hundreds of feet above the ground.
Bike through a modern day Pleasantville
Celebration Town is quite simply the cutest neighbourhood in Kissimmee, FL. This development was almost called, Any Town USA, but that would have been a shame since it’s certainly anything but ordinary. The town was created years ago by the Walt Disney Company so you can imagine everything is pristine. Over 5,000 people entered ballots to purchase homes here. Everything from the paint colour to the flowers planted in your garden must be approved by the resort board. Rent bikes, or book an antique car tour with Celebration Bike Rentals and Tours.
Where To Stay
There are no shortages of hotels and properties in Orlando and Kissimmee. While typical vacation rentals are banned in Orlando, Kissimmee offers large-scale vacation properties rentals big enough to hold the whole family.
Magic Village is a large vacation home complex which offers a 24-hour concierge, onsite restaurants and a beautiful pool area. Amenities such as babysitting, grocery delivery and even arranging a private chef to cook for you are among their offerings. The best part is, the Disney parks are so close you can even catch the fireworks show from the pool deck, as seen below!
Jeeves is another vacation rental option offering homes up to 20 bedrooms per house. Each of the bedrooms are decked out in iconic Disney themes. Harry Potter, Ariel and Toy Story themed rooms are among the top requested.
No matter where you go or stay, you are bound to have a magical time!