What to do in Orlando for a week?

I did search and couldn’t find any vacation tips for Orlando.

We are going there for a week in May, is there anything we shouldn’t miss while we’re there?

We’ll definitely want to see Disney World. What’s up with Epcot Center? Is it worth going? We want to go to a water park while we’re there too. Is there more than one water park? Which one is the best?

I’m not sure how I feel about Sea World - I might resist going there depending on how badly my beau wants to go.

Can we tour the Everglades there?

I also would be interested in hearing about good restaurants or things to see/do a short drive from Orlando.

Thank you in advance!

I personally love Epcot and think it’s the best of the four Disney World parks. Since it’s not all rides and involves a lot more walking/looking around, I find I have a lot more stamina and can stay there until close. I usually get too tired to stay around the others (or run out of things to do).

If you want to find out more about what’s what around Disney World, I suggest you check out Intercot.com. It has information about all of the different activities and parks on Disney property, including summaries of their water parks. I’ve never actually gone to any of their water parks, so I can’t really vouch for which one is the best or if there are better ones elsewhere in Orlando. There is also a pretty active forum to ask about those types of things.

Have fun down there! I always do.

For my money, Discovery Cove is a don’t miss day. It’s expensice as hell, it was like $189 for a day when I went in 2004 , but that included swimming with a dolphin, a 7 day pass to Sea World, a pass to Busch Gardens, and the full day at Discovery Cove, which includes your food, snorkle gear, etc. It is like spending a day in a tropical paradise.

Medieval Times dinner theatre in Kissimmee (right next to Orlando) is another really neat place; jousting tournaments, a medieval village, and a torture chamber, plus dinner for around $50.

Gator Land is very cool, a cheesy tourist attraction, but I love it. You can walk along a boardwalk right thru the gator breeding grounds! It is actually very beautiful and peaceful.

The everglades are nowhere near Orlando, unfortunately. They are down at the far tip of the state.

If you go to www.flausa.com , and search on Orlando, you should find a lot of great ideas.

Show some Doper Class, & go visit Cape Canaveral. They have hellava Space Museum, & you can tour the original launch platforms. I walked through the Mercury Command Center, now in sad decay. :frowning:

I went to Orlando this past summer, and I have to second Discovery Cove. It was the most well-spent vacation money I have ever spent. The entire day was fabulous.

We also went to the Kennedy Space Center. Awe-inspiring! Watch out for the black birds - they will steal your food.

Cirque du Soliel at Downtown Disney was wonderful.

If you are a flea market fan, there are lots of huge ones in the area.

If you don’t have everything planned out before you go, stop at the Visitor’s Center at the Ga/Fla state line. They have racks and racks of brochures.

We live just north of Orlando and here are a few of the places we enjoy.

St. Augustine’s Old Town


Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa is about an hour SW of Orlando and near the Everglades and Busch Gardens.

Church Street Station used to be a lot of fun but I haven’t been in a few years.

I second Kennedy Space Center as a must see and Medieval Times that was already mentioned

Plus the beaches! Daytona, New Smyrna and Cocoa (near Kennedy) are all very nice.


Epcot is my favorite WDW park. Great for a pub crawl too.

If you’re going to be in Orlando for a week, be advised that Disney World can eat up as much of that week as you want it to. We were in Orlando for six days, four of them in WDW, and missed a ton. (Web diary here if you want to read it.)

As for Epcot: Definitely worth going. You could easily spend two full days there. The park is divided into two sections: Future World, which is the science/technology section, and World Showcase, which is the “permanent World’s Fair” area most people have heard about. Future World has most of the rides and lots of exhibits. Spaceship Earth (a.k.a. “The Big Golf Ball”) is corny but impressive. Elder Son rode Mission:Space, a simulated space flight, and definitely recommends it, although he said it was a good thing I skipped it because I probably would have barfed all over the capsule :frowning: The Living Seas is beautiful and the Turtle Talk with Crush exhibits wins our “How Did They Do That?” award hands-down. If you want to rest in Future World, try to find a place where you can watch the big fountain in the middle. If you’re lucky it will start up a musical program that is just utterly amazing to watch.

Right, World Showcase. This area is even less of your typical theme park than Future World. “Just” a couple of rides and a handful of shows to provide passive entertainment. But, if you put a little effort in, you will be richly rewarded. Every pavillion has live entertainment - grab a schedule and be on hand to watch whatever sounds interesting. Wander around, see what you come across, watch what people are doing. You can nibble your way around the world at the food stands or make a reservation for supper at some very nice table-service restaurants. (Fella bilong missus flodnak recommends the Moroccan restaurant with the belly-dancer :wink: )

I didn’t try any of the water parks; I took Younger Son to the hotel pool while Older Son and fbmf tried out one of the Disney water parks (Blizzard Beach). They liked it, but be advised it sounds like mostly slides and similar attractions, not much for just plain swimming. OS hit the slides and fbmf enjoyed the sun and watched the bikinis.

Definitely go to Kennedy Space Center. Do I need to say more? How about “Can I come too?” :smiley:

Be advised that Disney World is about 15,000 hotel rooms, four major theme parks, 99 holes of golf, a few hundred restaurants, 2 waterparks, shopping, nightclubs.

Magic Kingdom is the theme park most people refer to as “DisneyWorld,” the other three are Disney-MGM studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom.

Not part of Walt Disney World, but in the Orlando area are SeaWorld, Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure.

I’ve been to both Disney waterparks - Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon - Typhoon Lagoon has a huge wavepool and a saltwater snorkel tank (filled with fish and harmless sharks). Blizzard Beach has a better tot area, a better area for the preteen set, and scarier waterslides. I prefer Typhoon Lagoon, but both are a lot of fun (the big pool at Blizzard Beach is a “bob pool.”)

It sounds like it’s just you and your SO; no kids. When the wife and I did Orlando last Memorial Day, we picked up a book with a title something like “Disney Without Kids.” You local bookseller should have it.

Epcot is our favorite park. I can see how it might boring for kids (especially compared to the other parks), but it’s the only one where you can get a nice cold beer or a glass of wine. The laser/fireworks show at dusk is fantastic. The rides are good, and because of the World Showcase, there is a wide variety of food to choose from.

There are many restaurant choices near the Disney Village hotels, and at DownTown Disney.

We didn’t do any of the water parks, but drove up to Daytona for a day at the beach.

You might search Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree forum for other Orlando ideas:

Have fun!

Agreed - it’s called Illuminations and is amazing. I also recommend Fantasmic over in MGM. It’s got a great effect where they project movies on water vapor in the air.

Believe it or not, Orlando has a walkable downtown area with lots of fun bars, nightclubs, shops and restaurants. Look for Orange Avenue.

You guys, I am so glad to hear you enjoyed it! Discovery Cove is one of my newest (and favorite) clients and we’ve been overhauling their photography, style guide, advertising and are currently redoing their rack brochures. I was lucky enough to have a Discovery Cove day free of charge :smiley: courtesy of our client and I can definitely say I’m definitely going back on my own buck. It is the exact opposite of a Disney World and Universal Studios, and I mean that in the best possible sense. Given what I know, I highly recommend arriving early and spending the entire day. Feel free to take a look at some shots from my recent photo shoot.

Okay, granted: I’m biased. But please know I don’t make any additional coin no matter how many guests they get. I just really believe in the experience.

(And don’t be too quick to dismiss SeaWorld. It might surprise you…)