I thought I’d share some other things I like to do in the Orlando area when we visit that isn’t necessarily in the parks – because there are tons of other things you can see and do!
Let’s start with Restaurants. Some of our favourite places to eat are outside of the parks. Now most of them can be found on various complexes near villas you may be renting, but they can all be found on International Drive.
When we stayed in a villa we generally knew which restaurants we wanted to visit so we just popped the name in the sat nav and went to the closest one. However if you’re staying on or near International Drive, you will have access to so many restaurants, and hopefully some will be within walking distance to your hotel which is always nice.
Ok here’s a list of some we always try and visit:
- Long Horn
- Olive Garden
- Sugar Factory
- Red Robin
Long Horn and Outback are both steak houses, Olive Garden is Italian, Millers is a sports bar with some great food, plus the atmosphere is always good, Red Robin is a burger place and Sugar Factory is known for its huge cocktails filled with sweets! They also have some really good food, and the atmosphere is awesome, especially if you have a birthday to celebrate!
Now I also love Cold Stone. Which is desserts, of course. I have a mega sweet tooth. Mainly ice cream sundaes, but you can build you own, with loads of flavours to choose from, and they mix the toppings into the ice cream. A M A Z I N G. My personal favourite is vanilla ice cream with twix and chocolate m&ms. Delicious.
S H O P P I N G… Should always be on your list of things to do whilst you’re visiting Orlando! There are two great outlet complexes on International Drive, as well as Florida Mall only being a short drive away. We don’t always visit Florida Mall, unless I really fancy something from Carlos Bakery or if I’ve saved some extra money for a new pair of trainers, but it is a lovely mall to visit if you want certain shops or restaurants.
However, the outlets are always a must for us, well at least one of them. You have the International Premium Outlets or the Vineland Premium Outlets. They are very similar, but the difference will be a few shops. So if you don’t have the time to visit both, I would suggest checking the store lists and seeing which one is best for you. The outlets have good opening times, being open morning to late evening most days, so you can always fit a trip in around all your other plans. We’ve been to the outlets late evening after we’d spent a day at a park, which was nice because it was quiet and also not too hot. We’ve also gone first thing in the morning when it opens which was also lovely and quiet, and we were done before it got busy!
If you’re planning a big shop, and don’t like carrying a lot of carrier bags (especially if you’re like my husband who cries about his hands hurting if they’re paper handles LOL) either park in a place easy to get back to so you can make trips to the car, or bring a suitcase and just chuck your bags in there! We also normally go to the outlets near the beginning of our trip so we can wear things we buy if we fancy it, or we don’t pack too much and just wear our new stuff 🙂
We did a fair bit of shopping at the outlets!
I-Drive… We are big fans of International Drive. We have stayed in a villa closer to Disney, and we’ve also stayed in hotels on International Drive, and we much prefer the hotels there. We haven’t stayed on Disney property yet, so my list may change once I get to experience that, but I love the atmosphere of being on International Drive. The restaurants, bars, etc make it so busy and fun. Plus I love all the souvenir shops, I could get lost in those big ones for hours. And we always make a trip to Pirates Adventure Crazy Golf. If you’re big fans of crazy golf, like us, there are also two courses on Disney property too (there are extra costs for these) and also Universal have one I believe.
Other Orlando Attractions… you may wanna check out on your visit to Orlando:
- Icon Orlando 360
- Kennedy Space Centre
- Airboat ride
- Andretti indoor karting and games
- Escape Rooms
We haven’t visited all of these places however I do want to. A vlog I watched recently by Tim Tracker (you need to follow him if you don’t already) about Gatorland has really made me want to visit there, it looks awesome. I’ve heard good things about Kennedy Space Centre, and I’m sure it’s super interesting however we’ve just never found the time to go yet, but if you have a kid that’s super into space then I’m sure they’ll find it amazing. Icon Orlando 360 is the equivalent and similar to the London Eye, again something we haven’t done but it would probably be nice if you had a spare hour or so, maybe after dinner on International Drive one evening. We also haven’t done Topgolf over there but I’m assuming it’s similar to here, probably a little better like everything seems to be lol, and we always enjoy a trip to Topgolf so if we have some spare time on our next trip that might be something we do.
Now we have done an airboat tour! And it’s so much fun, we had the best day. We booked our trip through Attraction Tickets Direct, (I’ll attach a link below to something similar), and it included a trip to Crystal River to Swim with Manatees, to a little animal sanctuary with all kinds of animals, and then to our airboat tour. It was a great extra day out, all travel was included and it didn’t cost much at all. There are all different kinds you can do, a lot of them are linked up with a visit to another type of animal park.
We got to hold a little alligator after our trip on the airboat!
We did also visit Andretti Indoor Karting and Games on our last trip as we had a spare day and there was a big group of us. It was so much fun. Ideal if you have a rainy day on your trip. We did the indoor go karting which was awesome, and we all got to race each other, plus we did some arcade games and had a game of bowling. We’ve also done quite a few Escape Rooms in Orlando now, which are so much fun, and again if you have a spare hour or so on a rainy day it’s definitely something worth doing, especially if there is a group of you!
One of the Escape Rooms we actually managed to complete 😂
So there are a ton of things to do in Orlando outside of all the theme parks, it’s such a beautiful place. Obviously there are also Florida beaches you can drive to which aren’t too far away if you fancy a very chilled beach day. But if you have any things that you like doing on your trip to Orlando that isn’t theme park related then please comment below!
Speak soon, Rachel xo