Orlando is known for being the home of Disney World, but families will be thrilled to hear that there are lots of great things to do in Orlando with kids beyond the Happiest Place on Earth. As a matter of fact, there is so much to do, that it might be hard to decide where to start.
Here are our picks for the most fun things to do in Orlando with kids. Use this guide to plan your ultimate Orlando family vacation.
Tips for Visiting Orlando with Kids
Planning a trip to Orlando with kids can be overwhelming at first. Take a deep breath and start by talking to the kids about what Orlando has to offer. Make a list based on what they might really want to experience from the top Orlando attractions.
Don’t try to see everything; not even those who live in Orlando have seen everything. Select your top activities to see and do, so you’ll be able to plan a stay at the perfect hotel close by. Summer vacations, winter and spring breaks, long weekends… let’s face it, it’s ALWAYS a perfect time to visit sunny Central Florida. You might just have to come back because a new adventure always awaits…once upon Orlando.
10 Fun Things to do in Orlando with Kids
1. Explore Downtown on Your Orlando Family Vacation
Pop into downtown Orlando where you can take a romantic and family-friendly swan boat ride on Lake Eola. Explore the bustling urban corridor where you’ll find plenty of nightlife, dining, and shopping. Take in an Orlando Magic basketball game at the Amway Center.
Just minutes from downtown Orlando is the historic Winter Park and the South’s Park Avenue. Park Avenue is famous for its brick streets lined with beautiful live oaks and a mix of modern and historic homes. Each weekend, you’ll be able to dine, shop, and visit a festival or a farmers market. Sadly, many visitors often miss this side of the city, the first of the top Orlando attractions, so be sure to catch the real Orlando downtown.
2. Make a Splash at SeaWorld Orlando with Kids
Experience the world of the sea like never before. Kids who love the water just might want to investigate all that SeaWorld Parks has to offer. Go on a once-in-a-lifetime underwater journey to learn about killer whales, dolphins, beluga whales, manatees, penguins, sharks, and manta rays to name a few.
Interactive experiences, shows, thrilling (and chilling) adventures, and even more up-close animal encounters happen every day. SeaWorld’s commitment to animal care, conservation, rescue, and research are evident all over the park.
There are private tours you can book to get up close with dolphins, beluga whales, orcas, penguins, sea lions, sharks, and even a walrus.
In addition to the sea life, SeaWorld also has several rides to entertain the whole family. There is everything from kiddie rides for the younger members of the family in Sesame Street Land to thrilling roller coasters.
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Ready to save big on your SeaWorld Orlando experience? Trekaroo is an Undercover Tourist affiliate and thrilled to be able to offer discount SeaWorld Orlando tickets to its readers. Choose from everything from single day, single park tickets to great park bundles filled with savings and unlimited dining. Plus, you get to skip the ticket lines at the gate!
3. Enjoy All the Fun Attractions at ICON Park
ICON Park is an entertainment complex with so much to do in an afternoon or evening when you’re taking a break from the theme parks. The Wheel at ICON Park gives you the most amazing views of the city! It’s air-conditioned and will take you upwards of 400 feet in the sky! On a clear day, you’ll be able to see all the way to Kennedy Space Center.
Reserve your admission tickets for the Wheel at ICON Park.
If you’re a real creature for thrills, you might want to try the Orlando StarFlyer for feet-dangling squeels at 450 feet in the air. It is known to be the world’s tallest swing ride.
Book your tickets for the Orlando StarFlyer. As a Trip Advisor affiliate Trekaroo receives a small commission to help fund our small business and you get the lowest rates guaranteed.
Below The Wheel, you’ll find the SeaLIFE Aquarium which houses 5,000 sea creatures and the coolest 360-degree ocean tunnel!
Reserve your tickets for SeaLife Aquarium.
Want to hang out with celebrities? Madame Tussauds, you can hang with the likes of Jimmy Fallon, Taylor Swift or Pitbull- well, at least their wax doubles will be there! Take a selfie and let everyone know you visited the coolest wax museum in Orlando!
Reserve your tickets for Madame Tussauds Orlando.
Top off the night at the Sugar Factory and treat your sweet tooth to some amazing sugar concoctions! You won’t know what to eat first, but you won’t forget this place either!
Check out this article if you are visiting Orlando with teens.
4. See and Touch Alligators
Yes, it is true that you might see an alligator at a local golf course or along the shores of Disney’s Lake Buena Vista, but most people prefer to have their alligator encounters happen in a more controlled environment.
Gatorland is a fun place to see lots of lots of gators, feed alligators, and even hold a gator yourself! If a photo with the allligators is what your future Crocodile Hunter is dreaming about, purchase your ticket before the alligator show where the pros show off their skill.
Trekaroo tip: When the show is coming to a close, have your ticket in hand and make your way down to the corner of the arena by the gate and stand off to the side. You’ll be first in line ahead of dozens of others when the rookie wrangling starts.
If you are looking for more thrills, definitely try the zip. Where else can you zipline over a bunch of alligators? Hungry? Yes, they sell deep fried alligator here, just don’t tell the others gators.
Prefer to see alligators in the wild? Book a Florida Everglades Airboat Tour from Orlando.
5. Everything is Awesome at LEGOLAND
Southwest of Orlando in Winter Haven is LEGOLAND Florida. As the largest LEGOLAND Park in the world, it has more than 50 rides, its own water park, and even a LEGOLAND Hotel.
This park is a must visit for any Lego enthusiast from age 1 to 99, however it is geared towards kids ages 2-12. Kids of all ages will enjoy the Miniland USA, LEGO City where kids can drive their own Lego car, or the LEGO World of Chima with their family interactive water ride! Bring your walking shoes as this park, along with the water park, sprawls across 150 acres.
Trekaroo has a full guide to LEGOLAND Florida that you will definitely want to read before you go. It is filled with great tips.
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Save lots of your money on your LEGOLAND Florida tickets! Trekaroo is an Undercover Tourist affiliate and thrilled to be able to offer discount LEGOLAND Florida tickets to its readers with great savings! You can purchase single day tickets, tickets that include waterpark admission, and two-day passes as well.
6. Take Time to Cool Down at a Waterpark
Let’s face it. Florida is hot. Our tropical climate is perfect for an all-day water adventure! Venture to one of Orlando’s top-rated water parks to cool down amidst lagoons, beaches, rides and slides, or lazy rivers.
At Aquatica, brave the watery free-fall on the drop slide Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, the tallest, steepest, and only multi-drop tower of its kind in Orlando. Race down two side-by-side enclosed tube slides that send riders racing through an underwater world home to a playful pod of beautiful black-and-white Commerson’s Dolphins.
Head over to Disney’s Blizzard Beach to see snow-capped mountains and ski lifts while you wade in warm waters. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is awesome as well. It is filled with a wide variety of water slides, a lazy river, and a surf pool.
At Universal, check out Universal’s Volcano Bay. It replaced the old Wet ‘n Wild water park past Orlando visitors might remember. There are lots of great water slides, a wave pool, lazy river, and even an aqua coaster.
You can also pack swimsuits and cool down at Universal Studios at Fievel’s Playland, Shamu’s Happy Harbour inside SeaWorld, and the Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Don’t forget the sunblock!
Looking for a hotel with an awesome water park? Have no fear, there are plenty! The Gaylord Palms Resort, Holiday Inn Resort Orlando, and CoCo Key Resort all have awesome water parks on site, so you just might not leave that hotel for a few days!
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As an Undercover Tourist affiliate, Trekaroo is happy to offer discount Aquatica tickets as well as tickets for Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. We even have discount Universal’s Volcano Bay tickets! Save money and skip the lines!
7. Hang out at Disney Springs
Hold on to your Mouse Ears… Disney Springs is an exciting destination all on its own, no theme park admission required! For more than 40 years, Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) has been a fun place for families to go experience magic outside of a Disney theme park.
Disney Springs currently has 99 shops, 64 distinctive dining experiences, and 22 attractions, shows, and events. Bowl at the hip and fun Splitsville Luxury Lanes. Watch Drawn to Life– the new Cirque du Soleil show which is a the result of the collaboration between the world-famous acrobatic troupe and Disney Imagineers. How about a ride around Lake Buena Vista in a vintage Amphicar, a real car that be driven on the road and in the lake?
Want more kid-friendly fun in Florida? Check out our top ten things for families to do in Florida.
8. Have a Once-in-a-Lifetime Day at Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove is an unforgettable experience. A much quieter and less crowded park, Discovery Cove offers an unbelievably intimate animal experience in an all-inclusive atmosphere.
Up-close and personal encounters with dolphins, otters, sting rays, sharks, birds, and sea turtles will have families talking long after the vacation ends. Take advantage of snorkeling in the freshwater or play hide-and-seek with thousands of beautiful fish via the SeaVenture. Unlimited food and beverage is included in this special day you won’t forget. As are towels, sunscreen, lockers, wetsuits, and snorkeling gear.
If this type of water adventure is on your bucket list, book this day in advance, and mark it on your vacation schedule, because admission is limited and does sell out. Children must be age six or older to swim with the dolphins.
Trekaroo Tip: You can book unlimited admission to SeaWorld and Aquatica during your Orlando family vacation alongside your Discovery Cove experience for just $30 more! Pricing for your experience at Discovery Cove varies depending on date selected, so offseason experiences are significantly less expensive than those at peak times but it is easy to save hundred of dollars!
9. Embrace Your Inner Harry Potter Fan at Universal Orlando
Think that Universal Orlando is only for grown-ups and big kids? Think again! With two separate parks- Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, Universal CityWalk Orlando, and six amazing on-site hotels: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort and Universal’s Adventura Hotel, families will have no trouble finding something fun for everyone.
Book your Universal Orlando hotel with Trekaroo. As a Booking.com affiliate Trekaroo can guarantee the lowest rates.
Younger kids will adore Seuss Landing in Islands of Adventure and the whimsical rides including The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride, Cat in the Hat, and the fun Caro-Seuss-El.
Universal Studios Florida has fun, kid-friendly rides including E.T., Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem, and the kid-sized thrill ride Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster inside the Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone, an area dedicated to wee ones. Purchase Universal’s Superstar Character Breakfast to get access to a special parade viewing area so you won’t miss a thing!
Do we have any Harry Potter fans out there? Families have TWO options at Universal Orlando Resort to get their fill: Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade and the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley.
Hogwarts Express will carry you to both parks via Platform 9 3/4. Families that love thrill rides will adore Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Harry Potter and The Escape From Gringotts, and Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure where each ride’s queue is almost as fun as the ride itself.
Stick around for a fabulous dinner at one of the many fun, themed restaurants that immerse you in the world of movies, music and sports, or catch the Blue Man Group! Afterwards, play miniature golf with the kids at Hollywood Drive-In Mini Golf. So much to do…so little time on one vacation.
Discount Universal Orlando Tickets
Ready to save big on your Universal Orlando experience? Trekaroo is an Undercover Tourist affiliate and thrilled to be able to offer discount Universal Orlando tickets to its readers. They offer everything from basic single day tickets to huge savings on multi-day, multi-park tickets. Plus, you get to skip the ticket lines at the gate!
10. Fulfill Those Disney Dreams at Walt Disney World
It’s a destination like no other. An article highlighting the best things to do in Orlando with kids couldn’t be complete without Walt Disney World!
When Walt Disney World in Florida opened in October of 1971, “The Happiest Place on Earth” was born. There’s a reason why Walt Disney World’s four major theme parks, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom, have more than 50 million visitors annually. While current ticket prices are far above the original price of $3.50 on opening day, tens of thousands of visitors still flock to see what Walt Disney dreamed and imagined in real life. Every park, every resort, and every detail has been carefully thought out with your best experience in mind.
Trekaroo loves Disney and has the inside scoop for the first time visitor and the veteran to help plan your dream vacation! Everything from ‘where should I stay with my family’ to ‘how can I dine with Elsa’ is covered in our Ultimate Disney World Vacation Planning Guide for Families. This comprehensive collection of articles will help you plan the perfect Disney World vacation for your family.
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That’s right. Undercover Tourist has discount Disney World tickets as well. A Disney vacation can be an undertaking so why not save up to $70 on your Disney tickets? There are park hoppers, multi-day tickets, and even special discounts for Florida residents. Book your discount Disney World tickets and save big!
Where to Stay in Orlando with Kids
With over 450 hotels to choose from in Orlando, families will surely have their choice of places to stay! Hotels in Orlando are nearly as fun as the theme parks for kids as there are hotels with a wide variety of amenities such as character dining (not just Disney characters either), water parks, lazy rivers, and more!
There are 25 Disney Resorts at Walt Disney World. Disney hotels come in varied price points and varied experiences. Multi-generational families will appreciate the Art of Animation Resort where themed suites are built large for big families. A Disney deluxe resort such as the Animal Kingdom Lodge is nestled on a 46-acre savanna complete with up-close encounters of giraffes and zebras!
Here are the best Disney World Resort hotels for large families or groups.
Of course, staying at any Disney resort allows you a few perks like extra magic hours at the parks, FastPass + selections, and complimentary airport transportation along with the legendary Disney service (AKA Fairy Godmother and Pixie Dust) to help accommodate guests every need.
Then there are all amazing resorts off Disney campus. Some have waterparks while others give you special perks at the Universal theme parks. In other words, there is so much to unpack when it comes to where to stay in Orlando. Luckily, Trekaroo has a full article which breaks it all down.
Where to Eat in Orlando with Kids
Just like Orlando hotels, a meal can be just as meaningful as a theme park experience, and Orlando boasts hundreds of great dining options for families. The more popular dining options will require advance reservations because there are folks who plan their vacations down to the hour (possibly the minute).
Disney Character Dining
A few of the most popular Disney character dining places are Chef Mickey at the Contemporary Resort to see the classic characters, princess dining at Akershuh Royal Banquet Hall in Norway at EPCOT, or Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom in Fantasyland. Guests of Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show will dine on Polynesian cuisine while watching an elaborately choreographed show on the coast of the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Don’t know where to start with character dining? We do! Read our comprehensive guide to character dining at Walt Disney World.
More Fun Places to Eat in Orlando with Kids
If you’re in town on a Sunday, head over to the House of Blues for Gospel Brunch. Inspiring and soulful gospel performances fill the house while your plate runneth over with delicious food from the soul food brunch buffet.
Make it a night on the town at Universal CityWalk and check out VIVO Italian, where everything is hand-made with love. Emeril’s Tchoup Chop located inside Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando has a beautiful atmosphere and delicious food.
Locals might send you over to Winter Park for dinner at the 4 Rivers Smokehouse, the Ravenous Pig, or Luma on Park. Quaint, yet popular, these three foodie destinations will have you glad that you chose to explore the Orlando as a local.
Day Trips from Orlando with Kids
Kissimmee, located just south of Orlando and billed as the “gateway to fun,” offers families spacious hotels, many attractions, and beautiful resorts all within close proximity to Walt Disney World!
Experience a different side of the traditional Orlando and jump into a “real Florida” vacation with an air boat ride or a hot air balloon ride where guests soar above the treetops above Kissimmee’s wilderness.
Take a trip back to Medieval Times for an incredible jousting tournament along with a four-course meal fit for royalty. You can reserve your tickets for Medieval Times through TripAdvisor which has a low price guarantee.
Ride coasters, go-karts, and carnival rides galore at Fun Spot America or stroll through the brick-lined streets of quaint town of Celebration. Dreamed by Disney, Celebration Town Center hearkens back to simpler times from small town America. There’s much, much more to do here than you can imagine and it’s so close to the theme parks, you might not even realize your hotel is in Kissimmee!
Enjoy a Beach Day
Yes, there are beautiful (man-made) beaches in Orlando if you happen to visit Discovery Cove, but if you want the real deal, you’ll have to travel a little farther east or west to reach another kind of paradise.
Visit the Gulf of Mexico via St. Petersburg and Clearwater Beaches, a 26-mile stretch of pristine, sugar sand beaches with the most beautiful sunsets. We have guides to visiting St. Pete Beach as well as Clearwater filled with things to do and great beach spots for families.
On the way, visitors will pass right through the vibrant city of Tampa, too, so take a break and catch a safari at Busch Gardens or Lowry Park Zoo, one of the top zoos in the nation. Here are the best things to do in Tampa Bay with kids.
Head 35 miles east of Orlando to the Space Coast. Surf the waves on Coco Beach or visit the Kennedy Space Center to see outer space like you’ve never seen before. Driving on the iconic Daytona Beach is always a fun experience too!
Swim With the Manatees
Swimming with the Manatees it the Crystal River is something you do not want to miss out on! It is one of the few places in North America where you can legally swim with these endangered species.
Swimming with the gentle giants, touching them, and experiencing their water play is truly amazing. Crystal River is about 90 minutes from Orlando, so go for it! We have a complete guide to swimming with the manatees in the Crystal River.