Your Florida Vacation Guide Central Florida – Orlando

April 1, 2021

Your Florida Vacation Guide Central Florida – Orlando

Central Florida is like one big amusement park for children of all ages. It is the perfect destination for a family vacation. Orlando, nicknamed “The City Beautiful,” is one of the most visited cities in the world. In 2018, the city drew over 75 million visitors. With 10 months of warm weather, restaurants on every corner (and between), friendly service, beaches, natural adventures, Orlando has plenty of family-oriented attractions and entertainment.

With the exception of the theme parks, most major cultural sites like the Orlando Museum of Art and Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and world-renowned nightlife, bars and clubs are located in Downtown Orlando while most attractions are located along International Drive.

It won’t be easy to narrow down this list to just 10, but here are some of the must-see places to visit while you and your family vacation in sunny Central Florida.

1.)Let’s go straight to the most magical place on earth, Walt Disney World. If you can swing it, this is a destination where you’ll want to enjoy at least 5 days. That gives you one full day per park (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, and more). One day is not enough to see everything, but it will be enough to make you want to come back again and again. The summer is a popular time to visit, but mid-January to mid-February will give you the opportunity see more at the parks since they will be less crowded.

There is so much to do and see that we decided to give you a list within a list of reasons why Disney World should be on your bucket list of family vacations.

  • Disney is great for kids of all ages. As you stroll the park, you’ll see tiny tots visiting the famed mouse for the first time, couple’s sporting bride and groom Mickey hats, and 80-year-olds celebrating their birthdays with family. It’s one of the few places in the world where babies and grandparents can vacation together and not have to compromise their enjoyment.
  • Go around the world…in a day. EPCOT’s World Showcase represents 11 different countries. Each pavilion is staffed with representatives from each respective country as well as food and beverages, signature products, and a showcase of the country – either in the form of a ride, movie, live show, or boutique. Because of the attention to detail and its authenticity, it really does feel like a mini-world tour.
  • Meet and dine with your favorite characters. Hanging out with Mickey and his friends might feel so much like a dream come to life that you will have to pinch yourself. Thank goodness you’ll have a photo and autograph to prove to your friends that Ariel complimented you on your “dinglehopper” aka fork.
  • Sleep in comfort and luxury. The Walt Disney World resorts are an experience within themselves. Your stay includes free transportation to all four parks, and on certain dates early access to the park. From lazy rivers and sand pools to smores and movies by a firepit, a Disney resort a is a great place to lay your head and dream about all the memories you are making on your Disney vacation.

2.)The Wizarding World at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Come let the fun take over at the acclaimed amusement parks within Universal Orlando Resort. Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida appeal to movie lovers and the more adventurous. Simply a must is taking an enchanting trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure where you’ll enjoy multi-dimensional thrill rides, magical experiences, and more!

If you have a dual park pass you can start your journey into wizardry in Diagon Alley, which is lined with shops, restaurants and a marquee ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Just like in the books, you can travel aboard the Hogwarts Express from London to Hogsmeade, where you disembark at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Don’t leave Diagon Alley without trying the butter beer at the Fountain of Fair Fortune. It tastes like a butterscotch cream soda topped with a toasted marshmallow froth…Delicious!

3.)Fun Spot America attracts as many Orlando residents as it does tourists with its array of activities for visitors of all ages. There is no cost for parking and admission making it a great value for parents and grandparents that just want to watch their kids enjoy the rides.

The 10,000-ft arcade is a great way to get out of sun for a little while. You can play games from 25 cents to $2 each.

A day pass includes unlimited rides on their multi-level go-kart tracks, and one ride on Skycoaster, which at 250 feet is the world’s second tallest sky coaster. If you have little ones, Fun Spot will thrill them with rides like the Frog Hopper.

4.)Weekly Old Town Classic Car Show. Old Town is a lot more than just shops. It boasts year-round family-friendly attractions such as the interactive spooky Haunting at Old Town and Rootin & Tootin’s Shootin’ Alley. There are many dining options – although when the weather is beautiful, one of the outdoor eateries makes for a lovely experience.

Every Saturday night in the charming walking district, Old Town hosts the Saturday Nite Classic Car Cruise where the sidewalks are lined with pre-1975 classic vehicles. Live bands play oldies that set the tone for car enthusiasts. This trip down memory lane has been a local tradition for over 30 years. There is no parking fee for the weekly event, which is free to the public. However, it is recommended you arrive early – this is an extremely popular attraction.

5.)For nature lovers, Wekiwa Springs State Park is the perfect choice when you are traveling with family, friends, and even pets. Choose between over 700 vacation rentals. Cabins and houses with swimming pools are popular choices that start at just $70 a night.

Wekiva Springs is known for its azure waters and is has been Orange County’s longest running tourist attraction. There are miles of trails to be explored by foot, bike, or horseback. Canoes and kayaks are available on site as well. There are so many opportunities so see Central Florida’s wildlife.

Just minutes away from the traffic and crowds of Orlando is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets that lets you choose your own adventure.

6.)Vacations are about creating unforgettable memories and experiencing new things. Blioluminescent Clear Tours is a distinctive experience that is sure to be the highlight of your vacation. Choose between a glass-like kayak or a raft for those bringing smaller children or those that will feel more comfortable in a bigger boat. Paddle rafts are sturdy for people of all ages and abilities. They are steered by professional rafting guides.

On this evening tour, you will experience the magnificence of Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. It is especially breath-taking in the summer when the dinoflagellates (plankton) light up with a bright iridescent blue. The more you paddle, the more these neon sea creatures light up your kayak or raft from all sides!

The tour launches from Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge near Kennedy Space Center. June through October are the best months for this must-do Orlando adventure.

7.)If you are one of those families that did yearly visits to Florida for your summer vacation, then Gatorland probably holds a special place in your heart. Gatorland has been a family favorite attraction since 1949, making it the first theme park in Orlando. There isn’t a better place to see alligators and crocodiles than in the alligator capital of the world. They even have the largest collection of the rare white leucistic alligators.

On this 110-acre park, you’ll have the opportunity to get up close and personal to these amazing creatures at the Meet-A-Gator after show or by touring the Breeding Marsh where you might catch sight of a 14-foot gator! During the Gator Night Shine, and armed with only a flashlight, the sounds of the night will come alive around you! If you hear a splash in the nearby water, you know you are not alone.

Don’t leave without zip lining over the alligator breeding marsh on the thrilling Screamin’ Gator Zip or the Gator Gauntlet Accessible Zip Line for those with mobility challenges.

Hold on extra tight! This is about as real as Florida gets!

8.)Watch a live rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center. Central Floridians will tell you that it takes some getting used to the sonic boom that comes from a launch as far as away 40 miles from the site. Even so, they typically get as excited as tourists to step outside their homes to watch. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex provides the closest view (and feel) as the mighty rocket engines lift off from just a few miles away.

If you go during the Visitor’s Complex operating hours, you can walk among NASA’s Gemini, Mercury, and Apollo rockets in the Rocket Garden. Experience the wonder of the Apollo Moon landings through various interactive exhibits and displays. See the actual Lunar Module 9 with a life-sized scene from the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

For a fun family night experience, you can purchase a “Launch and a Movie” ticket to watch a launch and a space-themed film from the comfort and safety of your vehicle. You will never forget this unique experience.

9.)For those mystified by the metaphysical, Cassadaga (just 45 minutes from Orlando) bears the title of the World’s Psychic Capital. This quaint little 57-acre community while open to the public, is actually residence to psychics and mediums that live there year-round. Most residents in Cassadaga are trained mediums, spiritualists, and healers who share their gift with spiritual seekers and curious visitors alike. The camp offers various workshops and classes designed to help you get in touch with your spiritual side. You can even get your very own psychic reading!

Special events like Spirit Encounters Night Photography Tours, Healing Classes, Reiki Healing Circles, Sunday Church Services are scheduled weekly.

To fully immerse yourself in and embrace the energy of many spirits, book yourself a room in the enchanting Cassadaga Hotel. This enchanted inn has preserved the traditional charm of the small intimate hotels of the 1920’s. While exploring the mysterious corners of the inn, you might just run into one of the friendly spirits that are said to roam the hotel.

Cassadaga’s lifestyle is slow and laid back. Your visit should be a restorative experience. It is a wonderful place to let your stresses “float away”.

10.)Let’s end this list with a math problem. Approximately 1,000 people move to Orlando each week….and the area has been welcoming that many residents each week for the last 60 years. It’s a little mind-blowing. Vacationers often wonder what it would be like to live somewhere where you feel like you are on vacation year-round.

If you want a little taste of Orlando living, make a quick stop in Celebration – a live, work, play community designed by the Walt Disney Company. The community was designed to capture an old-fashioned America small town – yet it is about 10 minutes from all the theme parks!

For a fun family night experience, you can purchase a “Launch and a Movie” ticket to watch a launch and a space-themed film from the comfort and safety of your vehicle. You will never forget this unique experience.

The family-oriented community has homes with large porches, where kids can play when they come home from school. Within the property, there are educational facilities from pre-school to high school. The community’s “downtown” is lined with restaurants and shops. Amenities like parks and trails encourage people to get out and stay active. It’s not unusual to see neighbors chatting with neighbors throughout the bustling community’s center.

Once you’ve driven around a bit in this quaint and picturesque town, you’ll see why so many people come to visit and decide to stay. If that’s you and you fell in love with all that Orlando has to offer…welcome home.

As you are planning your time in Central Florida, it’s also great to keep in mind that many of the amusement parks and attractions let you ride practically straight to the entrance gates if arriving by transportation service – so head to to access the best rates on a complete range of limo service options, luxury SUVs, executive cars, and more! Let a professional driver take care of mapping your routes and dealing with traffic to make your time in Orlando the very best!