We went to Florida last summer and I still haven’t gotten around to writing all the posts I planned to! I’ve written about Disney and Universal, the obvious ones, but there are plenty of other things to do in Orlando that aren’t Disney or theme parks.
If you’re heading to Orlando and don’t want to get too overloaded with Disney here are some things you could do…
Shopping in Orlando
There are loads of great places to shop in Orlando. Firstly you have to visit The Florida Mall, the biggest mall in Orlando and defintiely the biggest mall I’ve ever been in, I have never seen a shopping centre like this in my life! You could probably spend 2 weeks here alone!
The mall has every shop you can think of, including the ones you’ve seen on TV and in magazines like Macy’s and Sears. There’s also loads of restaurants, M&Ms World, and a few soft play areas with sofas where Dad and kids can sit while you shop!
If you’re looking for bargains the Orlando shopping outlets are a must visit. The outlets are great if you like designer clothes and accessories – I’m still kicking myself for not buying a Michael Kors handbag that was “only” £200!
Eating out in Orlando
When you’re not eating at the theme parks there are so many places to eat in Orlando that you’ll be spoilt for choice. We enjoyed pancakes for breakfast in Dennys and iHop on International Drive, and ate enough shrimp to feed a small town at Red Lobster.
The retaurants in Disney and Universal are not surprisingly very pricey, but there are plenty of cheap places to eat in Orlando. Your best bet is to head for International Drive as it’s home to every kind of restaurant you can restaurants.
As well as pancaked we also had pizza, pasta, steak, Mexican, Chinese and so much more – there’s nothing you can’t get in Orlando! Of course, it’d be rude not to try Taco Bell, Wendys, Baskin Robins and all those other famous American chains.
They’re open really late (Hollywood Drive-in Golf doesn’t close until 2am!) so it’s a great way to pass some time after dinner if the kids still aren’t tired.
The Crayola Experience Orlando
One of the most fun things to do in Orlando with kids besides Disney is The Crayola Experience. Located inside The Florida Mall, it’s a really fun attraction with loads of hands-on activities for kids. As well as typical colouring fun there’s also digital colouring, soft play and modelling. I’ve seen lots of Crayola Experience coupons and vouchers online so it’s worth doing a search before you buy your tickets.
The Crayola Store is amazing by itself, everything is laid out in colours and you could spend hours just in there!
Ok so technically this is a theme park, but it’s not Disney so thought I’d include it! If you’re looking for things to do in Orlando for free, you can park at Universal CityWalk for free after 6:00pm and have a wander around. There are lots of things to see from DJs to dance parties to splash parks for the kids. You can eat and drink there too of course, but if you’ve had dinner at your hotel or villa, Universal CityWalk can be fun to go for a walk around without costing you a penny.
When in America you have to see a film in a proper American cinema! We went to the AMC Movies cinema in Disney Springs to see The Secret Life Of Pets which was great fun. The cinema was huge and the seats were as comfy as a sofa – you can even eat dinner while you watch the film! There’s also a cinema in Universal, the Real Pointe cinema on International Drive and I’m sure there are plenty of others around Orlando.
We drove past a few times but didn’t get time to go on the ICON Orlando, it looks fab though and worth a visit if you do have time.
The ICON Orlando (previously the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye) is a 400 ft tall giant observation wheel – the sixth tallest in the world. Ticket prices start from $18 and riders have amazing views of the Central Florida landscape.
From the top you can see views of downtown Orlando and the theme parks, it’s a great way to see the whole of Orlando.
As you can see there are loads of things to do in Orlando besides theme parks – really you need at least a month there to see and do everything!
Have you been to Orlando? What else did you get up to apart from the theme parks? If you’re thinking about going to Orlando on holiday what are you looking forward to? What’s at the top of your list of places to go in Orlando?