A Starter Guide to Visiting Orlando, Florida

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More than 59,000 people visit Orlando annually to explore its expansive theme parks, luxurious resorts, and natural attractions. If you have never traveled to this diverse city before, you might be unsure about the best things to see, places to stay, or restaurants to visit on your first trip. 

Avoid looking back on the vacation with one or more regrets. Read this starter’s guide to visiting Orlando, Florida. It could turn a fun break into an unforgettable getaway.

Source: Instagram, posted on August 10th, 2022, Universal Orlando Resort’s official profile.

Plan Your Itinerary First

Choose accommodation that matches your itinerary, not the other way around, to ensure you are a short distance from many attractions on your bucket list.

Many first-time visitors make the mistake of booking their Orlando accommodation first. Yet, doing so might restrict your itinerary, increase your inconvenience, and stop you from maximizing every second of your trip. Instead, you must identify the best things to do in or around Orlando for you and your loved ones’ needs. 

After creating a full itinerary of activities, you can find accommodation closest to many attractions on your list. For example, if you have your heart set on visiting Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort, a Kissimmee hotel or resort will provide a convenient base to reach both attractions within minutes via car or shuttle.

Source: Instagram, posted on February 9th, 2022, Westgate Reservations’ official profile.

Book the Best Accommodation

Orlando has many accommodation options to suit every budget and preference, including sweeping resorts, charming hotels, and luxurious glamping sites.

Once you have fleshed out your itinerary, turn your attention to finding the best hotel, resort, vacation home, or glamping site for your needs. Orlando isn’t short of budget-friendly, mid-range, and luxury accommodations to match each tourist’s needs. 

A resort is a smart choice for those who want to embrace constant fun, sun, and relaxation on vacation. The top resorts provide rooms, suites, or villas and are often a short distance from the likes of Magic Kingdom, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and SeaWorld Orlando. Also, you can pick either a Disney, Universal, or off-property hotel, and it is wise to review each option to select the best accommodation for your desires, loved ones, and price range. 

If the fun of the theme parks doesn’t appeal to you or you are visiting Orlando to embrace its many outdoor activities, don’t be afraid to venture to a glamping site that is a little off the beaten path. It will provide a luxurious base for plenty of pursuits, such as horseback riding, fishing, and hiking.

Source: Instagram, posted on April 15th, 2022, LEGOLAND Florida’s official profile.

Find Ways to Save Money

A little research could help you slash the cost of an exciting vacation in Florida, from buying tickets to theme parks in advance to using more affordable transportation. 

Florida is fun but can quickly drain your bank balance without careful planning. It is a smart idea to find ways to slash the cost of attractions, restaurants, and transportation before you step one foot inside the city.

It pays to purchase theme park tickets in advance, as you will pay an expensive sum for entry at the gate. Research the market to find the best-discounted ticket deals from a reputable provider, which could help you save hundreds of dollars or more.

Also, as delicious as the theme park food is, you could save a significant sum by bringing food to the attractions. The likes of Walt Disney World, LEGOLAND Florida, and Universal Orlando Resort allow visitors to bring outside food and drink, but you are not allowed to carry alcohol. Bear in mind some theme parks have strict rules for outside food. For example, SeaWorld Orlando only permits baby formula, baby food, and food for those with special diets.

Don’t forget to factor transportation across Orlando into your budget, as its many attractions are spread out across the city. Some hotels provide a complimentary or low-cost shuttle service to or from the biggest theme parks. Alternatively, you could rent a car or hop onto an affordable I-Ride Trolley to visit many attractions.

Source: Instagram, posted on September 22nd, 2022, Universal Orlando Resort’s official profile.

Say Goodbye to Long Wait Times

The most popular theme parks in Orlando provide passes to help visitors skip the queues and enjoy many more rollercoasters, rides, and attractions.

Expect long lines to form for many rollercoasters and attractions at the most popular theme parks. As you will not want to return home without riding Space Mountain or Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, you might want to treat yourself and your loved ones to a pass to reduce wait times.

For example, you can upgrade to the Lightning Lane at Walt Disney World Resort, buy an Express Pass for Universal Orlando Resort, or cut the crowd with the Quick Queue at SeaWorld Orlando. It is one expense you will not regret.

Source: Instagram, posted on September 21st, 2016, Sony Images’ official profile.

Go on at Least One Day Trip

Set a day aside to enjoy a fun outdoor activity in or near Orlando, such as hiking through Lake Louisa State Park or lounging on Cocoa Beach.

Orlando is so much more than a theme park hub. The vibrant city is home to stunning parks, scenic preserves, tranquil lakes, animal experiences, educational museums, and much more. For this reason, you must set aside at least one day in your itinerary to enjoy an activity away from rollercoasters, rides, and movie attractions.

For example, you could visit Cocoa Beach, which is the closest beach to Orlando, offering white sand, refreshing water, and a picturesque boardwalk. Alternatively, you could go kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding at Shingle Creek, an unspoiled cypress swamp that is a short drive from Walt Disney World Resort.

Source: Instagram, posted on September 1st, 2022, Ocean Prime Orlando’s official profile.

Walk Down Restaurant Row

From fine dining to street food dishes, you will find the perfect spot to match your budget and tastebuds along Restaurant Row.

Restaurant Row offers exceptional restaurants for a mile long. Five minutes from International Drive, you will find a spot to match your craving and price range. It has every cuisine you can think of, such as authentic American, Mexican, Greek, or Chinese. Take a walk down Restaurant Row when hunger strikes to discover an impressive venue that matches everyone’s appetites and needs.

Source: Instagram, posted on September 24th, 2022, Four Seasons Orlando’s official profile.

Book Disney Character Experiences in Advance

Disney character dining experiences are popular with tourists, which is why you must book before traveling to avoid disappointment.

Many children will feel excited to sit down for breakfast or dinner with their favorite Disney character. Avoid disappointment by booking the magical experience many months before a visit, as slots can fill quickly due to popular demand.

You and your children can then enjoy a delicious meal with Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, Pluto, or another character. Plus, you can expect singing, dancing, and many photo opportunities during the Disney dining experience. More than 15 restaurants currently provide breakfast, lunch, or dinner with one or more characters, which you can reserve online or by phone.

Source: Instagram, posted on September 26th, 2022, Orlando Intl PO’s official profile.

Don’t Miss Out on the Malls and Outlets

Shop until your heart is content at the many malls and outlets across Orlando, such as the high-end Mall of Millenia or value-for-money International Premium Outlets.

Every store imaginable is available in Orlando, which offers many extensive malls and outlets. Those looking for designer brands, luxury jewelry stores, and electronics should visit The Mall of Millenia. However, you can receive year-round discounts and promotions at Vineland Premium Outlets and International Premium Outlets, which could help you save a large amount on clothing, footwear, and accessories.

Source: Instagram, posted on August 21st, 2022, Ole Red’s official profile.

Find the Best Live Entertainment Spots

After a fun day at theme parks, relax, laugh, or dance at one of the live entertainment venues in Florida. There is something for everyone, such as live music, sports, comedy, and theater.

Music fans will be happy to discover Orlando has many live entertainment options across the city. Don’t miss a visit to Hard Rock Life at Universal CityWalk, House of Blues at Disney Springs, or Blake Shelton’s Ole Red Springs at ICON Park for cool music and a laidback atmosphere.

Also, you would be wise to browse the calendar to ensure you don’t miss an exciting concert, sporting event, or production at Amway Center, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, or Camping World Stadium. However, if you love to laugh, grab a table at SAK Comedy Lab in Downtown Orlando or Improv Comedy Club at Pointe Orlando.

If you follow the above top tips during your first Orlando vacation, you are more likely to create many happy memories and less likely to return home with regrets.

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