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Exploring Orlando: A Comprehensive Travel Guide

There’s no city in the US or even in the World that enjoys the child spirit pretty much like Orlando, Florida. The feeling you get as you catch the light from Spaceship Earth of EPCOT, located in, of course, Walt Disney World Resort; or from your first drink of Butterbeer in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade inside Universal Orlando Resort, or when your eyes witness the ascending Shamu’s aerobatics heights between the Orca Encounter water show at none other than SeaWorld Orlando—all of that manifests that being a kid is more about your state of mind than your age. Orlando boasts a little of everything to fascinate all ages and there’s more to enjoy than visiting theme parks. Orlando's warm climate is great for golf, and its attractive downtown area is worth exploring. Here’s a simple guide to make your visit to Orlando easy and enjoyable!

How To Get Around?

The best way to travel around Orlando is via car, but the best way to explore each theme park is through foot. Let’s explore the various ways to get around the city:

  • On Foot

Visitors jog, walk, and even push strollers all across Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and Universal Orlando Resort. Make sure to carry a few maps with you because you never know when you will get lost or your map ruined by an afternoon water ride. Remember to keep a good walking shoe pair with you.

  • Car

While your car will stay parked at the theme park, using it to explore Orlando is practical because attractions are spread throughout the city. Try to avoid driving during rush hour, usually from 5 to 6 p.m., when roads like Interstate 4 can become very congested, psst!

  • Taxi

Taxis can be found in downtown and airport Orlando, but it is almost impossible to find them elsewhere. If you don’t want to rent a vehicle, you can call your hotel to arrange a cab for you. The ride-hailing Uber and Lyft services also run in Orlando.

  • Bus

Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World offer free bus services within their resorts and between their affiliated theme parks. You can also change buses to get to your desired park or hotel. Most often, the routes operate every 20 minutes to 30 minutes and depart from the entry of Universal and Disney property. For Orlando bus service, the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority provides LYNX.

  • Trolley

While checking out Orlando’s Major Boulevard or International Drive areas, using the I-Ride Trolley is your exclusive way to go.  I-RIDE Trolley runs from 8 A.M. to 10:30 PM daily with a stop close to must-visit attractions such as SeaWorld Orlando and the Orlando International Premium Outlets.

  • Monorail

One of the fastest ways to travel around Walt Disney World is the monorail. It features exclusive 3 lines, and coverage is not expansive. The Express Monorail takes passengers to and from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and the Magic Kingdom, while the EPCOT Monorail runs between EPCOT and TTC. To get to and from the amazing Magic Kingdom, Disney's Contemporary Resort, Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and the TTC, Disney's Contemporary Resort, visitors can opt for Resort Monorail. This monorail runs 30 minutes before the park opening times and exits an hour or two after the park closes.

  • Ferries and Water Taxis

The Ferries might be the slowest mode of transportation, but they are most often the most direct way to travel from point A to B in Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World. Moreover, these transportation option offers excellent opportunities to capture photos of the park and its surroundings as well as entrances, allowing you to give some break to your feet. You will find them at docks located around the lakes close to the main ticket centers. Water taxi services on the grounds of Universal Orlando Resort are complimentary for guests. Several water taxis and ferries leave in 15-minute to 30-minute intervals.

Best Places to Stay in Orlando

Orlando offers a variety of accommodations to suit every visitor's preferences. Whether you wish to stay near all the fun theme parks or stay in one of the neighborhoods, there’s something for everyone. Below is the list of the three Orlando places to stay!

  • Hilton Grand Vacations At SeaWorld

Hilton Grand Vacation, located at Seaworld in Orlando, features an on-site restaurant, a children's pool, three outdoor pools, and a gym. This property offers 24-hour front-deck service, a bilingual front-deck staff, baggage storage, laundry service, and dry cleaning services. This one of the best-rated hotels in Orlando Florida also provides a shuttle service to the theme park, a free parking area, 3 spa tubs, a business center, and a kids' club. All 787 rooms come with furnished patios or balconies, iPod docks, and a microwave. The rooms also feature a split-screen TV with cable channels, DVD players, a coffeemaker, laptop-compatible safe, toiletries and hair dryers, and pillow-top beds with linen and down comforters.

  • The Hyatt Regency Orlando

Hyatt Regency Orlando features a water slide, a full-service salon, 7 dining options, and two pools. The rooms of Hyatt Regency Orlando are well-equipped with a free Wi-Fi service, a single-cup coffee maker, a small refrigerator, a built-in bathroom mirror TV, an iPod alarm clock, and a radio. Other amenities also include chairs and a workstation for business travelers. Moreover, the property also offers a complete breakfast every morning, a coffee shop, and an on-site bar.

  • Home2 Suites by Hilton Orlando Downtown FL – Orlando

Home2 Suites by Hilton Orlando Downtown FL – Orlando is a 3-star hotel, featuring an outdoor swimming pool, a shared lounge, a bar, and a restaurant. This one of the best Orlando hotels also provides a 24-hour front desk service, an ATM, and a private parking area. The rooms come with a bathroom, bed linen, towels, a wardrobe, and a TV. Moreover, an American breakfast is served every morning.

Best Things to Do in Orlando

Entertainment looms large in this beautiful city due to its universally loved and globally famous theme parks, it’s a world leader when it comes to welcoming families.  Wondering how much you are missing out on? Here we have curated a short list of must things to do in Orlando Florida

  • Church Street District

Church Streer district is home to an eclectic mix of top-class dining, night spots, live entertainment, theaters, and professional sports. Relish a play at an award-winning theater, Mad Cow Theater, or dance the night away at Skylounge located atop the Kia Center.

  • I-Drive

The International Drive is Orlando’s most sundry region to hit. Situated within 10 miles of Downtown Orlando southwest, I-Drive boasts various dining, entertainment, and shopping venues that include Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!, Pirate’s Cove Adventure miniature golf course, and 2 outlet malls. For the nocturnal, this drive features a Howl at the Moon dueling pianos venue, a Cuban-styled Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar, the world’s colossal permeant ice bar, a Señor Frog's restaurant and bar, and much more.

  • Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden

If you love to spend time in nature, Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden is a place to be. Sprawling to 116 acres, this zoo houses 350 plus animals with a range of family-friendly attractions. Here adventurers can catch sight of hundreds of species that range from slithering snakes to grazing giraffes. Moreover, you can also make your way to the Seminole Aerial Adventures for some adrenaline-rush activities that are completed with rope bridges, swings, zip lines, and a lot more.

Best Theme Parks in Orlando

If you are with your kids, look no further than dazzling Orlando theme parks. Choose from various parks that fit everyone’s taste, from flicking a wand of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Florida to sipping Butterbeer at Hogsmeade. Read on to explore the best three theme parks

  • Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort is truly magical. It includes four theme parks, more than twenty hotels, the Disney Springs area, and two water parks. This expansive location features amazing attractions like the Tree of Life, Spaceship Earth, It's a Small World, and Toy Story Land.

  • Universal Orlando Resort

Step into the limelight at Universal Studios Florida, where you can encounter attractions based on TV shows, Hollywood icons, and movies. Probably the most famous park section, of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Diagon Alley, which allows fans of the popular film series and books to experience the outstanding otherworldly setting of Harry Potter. Parkgoers can enjoy a ride on Hogwarts Express, or they can get on Harry Potter and Escape from Gringotts exhilarating ride, and even choose their own wand at Ollivander's wand shop. Apart from Harry Potter-themed attractions, visitors can also relish the Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem Simulator, as well as The Simpsons ride. This one of Orlando parks is famous for its Halloween Horror Nights event every fall, featuring detailed spooky characters and haunted houses.

  • Universal Islands of Adventure Park

Universal Islands of Adventure Park is one of the best places to go for fantastical adventures through themed places such as Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing, and Marvel's Super Hero Island. At Seuss Landing, you can step into the fanciful world of Dr. Seuss along with his countless characters and stories. At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can enjoy a Butterbeer at Hogsmeade while waiting in a queue for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey within Hogwarts Castle. There are thrill rides within the park premises from Hagrid's Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure to Doctor Doom's Fearfall to Jurassic World's VelociCoaster to the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride.

  • Magic Kingdom Park

Probably the best Orlando theme park, Magic Kingdom Park was opened in 1971 as the first park at Walt Disney World Resort. It awakens the imagination of adults and kids alike. Magic Kingdom houses boundless nostalgic classical rides such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and Peter’s Pan Flight. Rides are segregated into 6 themed places – embracing Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Adventureland - with Cinderella’s Castle standing as a centerpiece in the park’s center.

Best Places to Eat in Orlando

Orlando's vibrant and diverse dining scene has certainly made it a global destination for food lovers. To indulge your appetite and please your inner gourmet, here are some of the best-known restaurants in the area

  • Domu

Domu is located in East End Market, a modern, chic area with cheerful murals, edgy fixtures, and whitewashed brick walls. Slow-cooked broths and chef-prepared noodles are just a fraction of what makes ramen here stand out. Further than that, it has a pan-Asian menu that features lobster buns paired with bonito flakes, grilled octopus with yuzu, and rice bowls. Top it off with an ice cream that comes in different flavors such as Vietnamese coffee, taro, and horchata.

Address: East End Market, 3201 Corrine Dr Suite 100, Orlando, FL 32803

  • Reyes Mezcaleria

Reyes Mezcaleria is a Downtown best-loved place for Oaxacan meals. Kick-start with a blend of citrus-cured snapper and shrimp ceviche or a queso fundido coupled with Oaxaca cheese. Carry on with shared plates-like tamales, fish tacos, or elotes- or instead simply go for a biggest platos fuerte. For the latter option, anything featuring mole sauce is a perfect option, as is the hook-caught Veracruz snapper—filleted or complete. Try churros for dessert or instead finish it with mezcal.

821 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801

  • Pizza Bruno

Pizza Bruno, originally the birthplace of a food cart, is a brick-and-mortar pizzeria located in the Conway place of Downtown West. It serves pizzas that are of a small size, sufficient for a person, prepared on a wood fire. Try out their newer versions like New Haven Clam Pie with bacon, cream, and clams, and the restaurant favorite Crimson Ghost with soppressata, Fresh mozzarella, Mike’s Hot Honey, and basil.

3990 Curry Ford Rd, Orlando, FL 32806

Best Bars in Orlando

If you are looking around to make your night in Orlando a package of fun and zest, you’ve landed in a perfect place. Let’s read on to find the best bars in Orlando:

  • World of Beer at Lake Eola

World of Beer is a contemporary beer bar adjacent the Orlando's central lake at Eola Park, in the beating heart of the downtown. This one of the Downtown Orlando bars features hundreds of bottles that are imported from everywhere throughout the world, with an emphasis on European pale ales and US craft ales. The setting is just as remarkable specifically if you get a table outside among the leafy surroundings of the park with the Lake Eola water just a few meters away from you and your chilled beer glass. This bar also offers a hearty menu that includes tacos, sandwiches, wings, burgers, and other mains.

431 E Central Blvd ste b, Orlando, FL 32801, United States

  • Rocos Tacos and Tequila Bar

Rocos Tacos and Tequila Bar are located just away from International Drive, not too far-flung from Disney. You can visit in daylight hours and you will come across a pretty standard Mexican joint with all the daily tacos, tortillas, and enchilada offerings. This hugely popular bar comes alive at night when people crowd into the spacious area and move away from the quieter booths at the back. Moreover, this one of Orlando's bars boasts 425 different varieties of tequila.

7468 W Sand Lake Rd, Orlando, FL 32819, United States

  • Hanson's Shoe Repair

Hanon's Shoe Repair stands out as one of Orlando's most unique cocktail spots. This former cobbler's shop has been transformed into a speakeasy-style rooftop bar accommodating about 20 people. You can reserve your spot at the dilapidated main bar, or you can head outside to the less-modern-but-compact rooftop terrace to enjoy the live band or catch a flick on a movie screen.

27 E Pine St, Orlando, FL 32801, United States

Best Places To Go For Shopping in Orlando

Imagine walking through Orlando's shops, and you'll likely think of the city's favorite outlet stores first. These outlets frequently offer substantial discounts on well-known designer brands. Several huge malls are peppered around the city, and the largest of them is the Florida Mall, covering 250 fashions, homeware, stores, and electronics while pulling in almost 20 million visitors. Following are the 3 best shopping malls in Orlando as well as places:

  • Orlando Premium Outlets at International Drive

Both tourists and locals in Orlando adore the complete outlet scene, and the large shopping area on International Drive is among the best in the city. People often travel from nearby states just to find deals at Orlando Premium Outlets. This popular shopping destination offers significant discounts on a wide array of brands, including Hugo Boss, Nike, Quicksilver, Ralph Lauren, Victoria's Secret, Levi’s, Diesel, Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, and about 100 more.

4951 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819, United States

  • The Mall At Millenia

If you are looking for a top-scale shopping mall in Orlando, then the Mall at Millennia is surely your place. The indoor stores in this multi-level mall include the favorites of Jimmy Choo, Parada, Cartier, Gucci, Tiffany & Co., Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry, of course, a lot more. The building features commodious walkways, a glass roof, and bright atriums, making it more of a contemporary and up-to-date mall than some of the other Orlando malls.

4200 Conroy Rd, Orlando, FL 32839, United States

  • The Florida Mall

The Florida Mall is a major shopping destination, boasting over 250 stores and attracting about 20 million visitors each year. Spread across more than 2 million square feet, it offers a diverse range of shopping options, from luxury designer brands to popular mid-range fashion chains, electronics, health and beauty products, accessories, and homeware. Dining options are plentiful with eateries like California Pizza Kitchen, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Taco Bell, and Subway located in a 105,000-square-foot dining pavilion. Additional amenities at the mall include valet parking, an on-site car lot, an indoor playground for children, a seasonal shuttle service, and foreign currency exchange services.

8001 S Orange Blossom Trl, Orlando, FL 32809, United States

In a nutshell, there’s a reason that Orlando is the best family travel destination. Whether you are a die-hard fan of roller coasters, Star Wars, or Harry Potter fiend, or you just love Minnie and Mickey Mouse, there’s no lack of magical moments to be found here. In this Orlando travel guide, we have included everything so that you can have a blast here!

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  • Keirsten Bartley

    Keirsten left her career in engineering to travel the world. She is a 28 years old girl with some tremendous girl power; she has been traveling for five years now and has been producing awesome content based on her experience. 

Sonesta ES Suites Orlando - International Drive

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