View Full Version : Looking for non-Disney World outings

Johnnie Fedora
07-23-2011, 11:14 PM
We decided to add a few extra days to our family road-trip vacation. We will be in Lake Buena Vista for 5 nights, but will not be visiting Disney parks. We have pretty much ruled out US/IOA, but may cave into the kids desire for a SW/Aquatica visit. We also are considering Busch Gardens. We are just not sure if the big theme parks will be worth the money for us this year. We usually buy Disney APs for and enjoy coming and going to the parks over multiple days, and over multiple trips during an AP year. This vacation, money is tight and we have little desire to be theme park commandos in the FL August heat just to get out money's worth. Plus, DD has autism and sometimes too much fun can end up being too much...period...LOL.

What outings, day trips, etc. (in the Orlando area) have you done and found to be fun. We are especially are looking for lower cost options. Children's ages are 13, 12, 8.


07-24-2011, 01:05 AM
Resort hopping and playing in the arcades, exploring the gift shops, architectural features and special snacks from the food courts. Many of the resorts have great walking trails/jogging paths and playground areas.

Renting a pontoon boat for an hour or two as early in the day as WDW opens it's marinas...preferably the GF marina.

A hotel with a great pool can take up a lot of your time...

Mini golf

Renting bikes from FW and riding all over and even over to WL property. This also must be done at the earliest possible time in August...you would have to find out when the bike barn opens.

FW Chip and Dale campfire/movie at night...find the schedule on the camping board.

The Boardwalk has entertainment like magicians on certain nights (Thursday, Friday and Saturday, perhaps? You would have to check the schedule) Ice cream from Seashore Sweets or Beaches N Cream would be a plus.

A day or two spent at a water park.

Load up the kids in the car at 4 am and drive to a beach near Clearwater (I think we have gone to Honeymoon Island in years past, but there are several you could look into should this pique your interest) You could play on the beach from 7 am -11 or so and head back to Orlando for naps.

Beth D
07-24-2011, 07:03 AM
Just relax by the pool at your resort!

I second clearwater beach! Go early, but you don't have to get up quite as early as 4 am. Its a 90 minute drive without traffic.

If you get there early you can rent a little wind hut for the day with chairs. Spread a couple quilts and bunk the kids down for naps right there!

07-24-2011, 08:46 AM
What about Coco Beach. We live here, it's only about an hour from Disney. Downtown Disney is free and great for strolling around. :goodvibes

07-24-2011, 09:37 AM
1. Gatorland:


2. Kennedy Space Center:


07-24-2011, 10:14 AM
celebration minutes from disney renowned for its restaurants and entertainment, residents and visitors enjoy the many dining choices

Explore Old Town Kissimmee Orlando Florida...Join our family to explore great nightlife, weekly car cruisers, rides, dining, shops & much more

Fantasy Surf - The premier flowrider / indoor surfing facility in Orlando and Kissimmee

pointe orlando offers over forty unique stores, delicious restaurants and exciting nightlife near Orlando's entertainment center, International Drive

07-24-2011, 10:34 AM
Can I ask why Orlando if no Theme parks are in the plan? Honestly to be anywhere on Disney grounds without visiting a park would be akin to torturing my DD15. Heck it would be torture for me.

Have you considered shifting the trip to Destin or some other beach community?

Kennedy Space Center and then on to the beach maybe.

07-24-2011, 12:18 PM
How about Silver Springs (about two hours north in Ocala).


They describe themselves as "Florida's Original Theme park." However, the pace is much slower than WDW or Universal. Your kids will love the Glass Bottom Boats (I sure did when I first road them 45 years ago, and I loved it again when I road them about ten years ago).

The website also contains a 2 for 1 coupon.

07-24-2011, 12:21 PM
A great evening activity is attending one of the outdoor movies at the resorts. The one at Fort Wilderness has a campfire and Chip and Dale also. Yacht/Beach Club, Polynesian and the Contemporary show films on large outdoor screens on their beaches. Grab a light dinner at the resorts and bring snacks for the movies. Lots of fun!

07-24-2011, 12:23 PM
One of our favorite activities is playing mini-golf at the many courses around town. We like Pirates the best and it's a blast to do this in the evenings.

07-24-2011, 12:49 PM
Go visit the large orange shaped store:) We are doing that one more before we go to the beach.

07-24-2011, 12:56 PM
We used to make fun of Gatorland all the time - until we went there in March. It's really great- we will definitely return.

We also went to Dinosaur World, which was a little bit of a drive out in Plant City; but your kids might be a little old to enjoy it as much as our 3 year old dino-phile.

If you have baseball fans, what about checking out a minor league game?

07-24-2011, 05:35 PM
We always make a point of going to Old Town on a Saturday night to see the Cruise. It's free, and a really happening place.

07-25-2011, 09:00 AM
OP, do any of the ideas sound like they will work for you?

Johnnie Fedora
07-25-2011, 10:30 AM
Yes, thank you. A number of the ideas are possibilities. My wife was exploring Indianhead? beach on the Golf side, and we may explore some of the recreation options around Baylake including boating and maybe even one of those disaster-waiting-to-happen surrys. The kids are old enough to pedal now...LOL. Like the idea about the movie at FW too. Oldtown sound interesting and we were also thinking about gatorland.

We finally wrapped up our plans for the stay aftoer scoring Sheraton Vistana villages for $98/night in a 2-BR. We've never stayed there, but it looks nice. We were going to stay at HI (formerly Sunspree) in a family suite for about the same price. Due to a hotwire error, we were able to cancel that ressie and look for a truly last minute option, and we found this.:cool1:

I plan on reviewing all the links everyone has provided and referencing this thread shile we are traveling, so keep the ideas coming.

07-25-2011, 10:45 AM
We finally wrapped up our plans for the stay aftoer scoring Sheraton Vistana villages for $98/night in a 2-BR.

I think you're going to have a GREAT vacation! Vistana Villages is lovely and you will all enjoy the grounds and pool (wayyyy better than Sunspree...have stayed at both)!