It’s vacation time! Last year, 72 million tourists visited Orlando, Florida. While the city is known as the “theme park capital of the world”, there are so many things to do in Orlando besides theme parks and I’m going to share some of my favorites.

You can find out more about all of these places and experiences by clicking or tapping on the linked headline.

Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

But first, let’s talk about where to stay because there is a lot to do at these hotels and resorts. These are my top places to stay that offer so much at the hotels for couples and families.

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

While this is very close to Disney World, it’s not a Disney hotel. You get the perks of proximity, but still feel like you can be entertained without leaving the property.

My kid’s favorite part with the lazy river and waterslide. There are also tons of things for kids to do live dive-i movies and scavenger hunts. There are also restaurants on-site as well as a golf course.

Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

JW Marriott Grande Lakes

Here, there is so much for kids. Not only is the lazy river amazing, but there is a garden and little farm situation where kids can see small animals like bunnies and chickens. Because it’s connected to the Ritz Carlton, you get to use their amazing kid’s club and splash pad too.

places to stay in Orlando, Florida
places to stay in orlando

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

I didn’t actually stay the night at this hotel, but I did play around outside while I was shooting with Visit Orlando for the Balancing Act. Click here to watch the segment on Lifetime TV.

The huge pool with waterfalls and bridges is so much fun.

Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks
Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

Hilton Orlando

I partnered with Hilton Orlando in 2021 and get into a lot more detail about the fun we had in this blog post. This also has all the things that make for a great stay – a lazy river, a great slide, onsite restaurants, a fire pit for smores, and even a fun escape room game.

Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks
Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

So, what are some of those attractions? Let’s get to it! First, we will start with some great non-theme park attractions that are a stone’s throw away from all of the above-mentioned hotels.

Icon Orlando 360

As an ICON Orlando 360 partner hotel, Wyndham Orlando Resort guests get exclusive rates for the East Coast’s largest observation wheel. I’m not a fan of heights, so when I was covering this amazing attraction for Lifetime TV, I decided to stay on the ground and send up my husband and daughter. They loved it. 

This is at Icon Park where you can do a lot more, like visit Madame Tussauds, ride the Orlando StarFlyer, hop on the Pearl Express Train, and tour the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium.

Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks
Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium

This is at the base of the observation wheel, so again, location! My kids had so much fun here. 

The best part? In the many tanks throughout the aquarium, there are holes or bubbles, that little ones can sneak in and make them feel like they are actually in the tank with the amazing sea creatures.

We were able to see staff feeding turtles and stingrays, touch some creatures in a pool, and my kids had a blast making their rounds to the different dive stations to collect stamps on what is like a scavenger hunt to receive a prize at the end of our trip. 

Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

WonderWorks

You will not see a cooler, more interesting building than this one. That’s because it’s upside down. I first visited years ago and had to come back after having a couple of kids because learning does not get more fun than this.

The Bubble Lab was a hit with the kids (and the adults if I’m being honest.) We got to lay down on a bed of nails, then find out why it didn’t hurt by Professor Wonder in his interactive art gallery. 

The kids had a blast with Dig-It (an interactive sandbox), WonderBrite (a HUGE LiteBrite), and so much more art, music, and science fun!

We wrapped up the night by attending the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show. This was so much fun because you can never go wrong with a funny guy performing magic tricks, but what made it even cooler was the involvement of everyone in the audience. My husband got on stage to participate in a magic trick. 6-year-old Julianna did. I even did! 

Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks
Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks
Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

The Sugar Factory

The milkshakes. That’s it. A picture says a million words… but let me say more.

It’s a good thing I’m not incredibly close to a Sugar Factory on a regular basis because I would be in trouble. Not only is the food amazing, but the milkshakes and other desserts?! Oh. My. Goodness!

Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks
Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

The Crayola Experience

Because Julianna is obsessed with anything and everything art, we had to swing by The Crayola Experience to see what it was all about… and we almost never made it past the first exhibit where we made our own crayons.

Then, we learned how Crayola makes their crayons. (Yes, there is a reason why they’re the best.)

After lots more fun art exhibits and projects, we couldn’t pass up getting a thing or two in the gift shop.

Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks
Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

Disney Springs

Whenever we’re in Orlando, we go to Disney Springs. Here, there are tons of options for eating and shopping. You can also go on a boat ride in a car, up in a hot air balloon, see a movie in a huge theater, and go bowling at a fancy-schmancy bowling alley. This is also where I had my very first Coke float.

Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

Universal CityWalk

No, I don’t mean Universal Studios. Before you enter the actual theme park, you can pay to enter the section that is like Disney Springs, but a bit smaller. Here, we’ve been to the Chocolate Emporium. It was fabulous!

Personally, I prefer Disney Springs, but this is another option.

chocolate emporium in orlando

Wild Florida

This is another place we visited in our segment on The Balancing Act. My kids loved the airboat ride. Afterward, we took a walk around the park, fed a Lemar, and took a selfie with a sloth, also known as a slothie.

The only downside to visiting from Orlando is that it’s a bit outside the area, so be prepared for some travel.

airboat in wild florida
wild florida airboat
sloth at wild florida

There are tons more you can do in Orlando. For more, visit Visit Orlando by clicking here. It’s the perfect place to find everything in Orlando… including the theme parks like Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios.

For more, try visiting International Drive where there are tons of things to do (it’s one of the best places in the city), Winter Park for a unique experience, The Orlando Science Center, and downtown Orlando if you want to hear live music or enjoy live entertainment.

Finally, if you want to travel a bit, don’t miss Cape Canaveral!

Now, if you do want to stop by one of the many theme parks in the theme park capital of the world, you know we are a Disney-loving family, right? I have attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration a time or two before and have written a few Disney blogs right here on Christina All Day. To see a few, click here.

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