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Old 07-09-2013, 05:21 PM   #1
jensta
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Non-DW things to do in Orlando

Hi,
Our family is visiting the USA for 2 months over December 2013 and January 2014 from Australia. We have three children 9,8,6. We will be visiting family and close friends (as Dad was in the Navy), and the easiest place to meet everyone was Orlando. We will have 8 nights in Orlando and would love some tips on things to do with children. Our friends children are younger than ours.

I know that WDW and Universal are popular choices , I am just looking for some other options.

Thanks so much for reading!
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Old 07-09-2013, 06:34 PM   #2
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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My best suggestion would be Discovery Cove.

SeaWorld is a fabulous park, and well worth a visit.

Ditto to Aquatica (if you are into waterparks).

(and its worth noting that a day at Discovery Cove would include 14 days of free admission to both SeaWorld and Aquatica too).

Gatorland is great for a half-day, and there's nothing more "Florida" than alligators.

You could pair Gatorland with an airboat ride through the swamp (we like Wild Willy's in St. Cloud).

Since you are visiting during the Christmas season, you could do ICE! at Gaylord Palms. There are lots of other neat activities at Gaylord Palms during the holidays (you don't need to be a guest at the hotel to enjoy them, tickets are available to the general public) such as decorating gingerbread cookies with Gingy the Gingerbread Man.

If the kids are old enough to enjoy mini golf, there are lots of great courses in the area. Our favourites are Congo River and Pirates Cove, but we have also had fun at Hawaiian Rumble, Gator Golf on International Drive, and Volcano Island.

What about visiting an orange grove? Showcase of Citrus has a monster truck tour that's good for the whole family (check out Groupon for a great deal on tickets).

The Outta Control Dinner Show is good for all ages, and is a great value (about $24 per person and that includes the all-you-can-eat meal and the show).

Also, maybe a beach day?
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Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 07-09-2013, 06:58 PM   #3
jensta
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Brilliant suggestions, thanks so much for taking the time to respond Gina .

I was seriously considering Discovery Cove, just a little worried that DD who is just 6 wouldn't be strong enough to enjoy the dolphin swim, and it may frighten her. I know the older 2 are desperate to do it. Do you think it would be ok to do the dolphin swim as a family, and then decline on behalf of the 6yo that she would rather not be dragged by a dolphin?

How cold is the water in Discovery Cove for swimming?

A ticketing problem I have with Discovery Cove is I can only book a Friday the week we are there, and we leave the next day. Do you get issued free passes to seaworld upon entering Discovery Cove? If so, I wont have the time to go to SeaWorld/Aquatica before leaving.

Sorry for my rambling. First World problems I know!
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jensta View Post
Brilliant suggestions, thanks so much for taking the time to respond Gina .

I was seriously considering Discovery Cove, just a little worried that DD who is just 6 wouldn't be strong enough to enjoy the dolphin swim, and it may frighten her. I know the older 2 are desperate to do it. Do you think it would be ok to do the dolphin swim as a family, and then decline on behalf of the 6yo that she would rather not be dragged by a dolphin?

How cold is the water in Discovery Cove for swimming?

A ticketing problem I have with Discovery Cove is I can only book a Friday the week we are there, and we leave the next day. Do you get issued free passes to seaworld upon entering Discovery Cove? If so, I wont have the time to go to SeaWorld/Aquatica before leaving.

Sorry for my rambling. First World problems I know!
Your 6 y.o. could wear a life jacket for the dolphin swim, if that would help her (and you) feel better about it . I am sure that she could decline the "swim" portion (where you hold the back and the fin of the dolphin and let it pull you through the water) but still do the feeding, the petting, give it a kiss, etc. The DC staff are great and very accommodating . There is a trainer that works directly with each small group, so just speak with her before you enter the water and let her know your concerns. There will be time for you to do so after your little "info session" that they do in a covered cabana before you make your way to the beach.

Water temps vary depending on what feature of the park you are enjoying. The water in the dolphin pool is really quite cool.........but the wetsuits help keep you comfortable. The Grand Reef is warmer than the dolphin pool but still on the cooler side (not really uncomfortable.....you get used to it quite quickly). The Freshwater Oasis is wonderfully warm, and the lazy river is REALLY warm (think bath water ).

Your free admission to SW and Aquatica can be used before or after your DC visit (or both). So you could enjoy SW and Aquatica in the days before your DC visit, then end your vacation with an amazing day at Discovery Cove.

Let me know if you have any other questions .
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 07-09-2013, 07:24 PM   #5
jensta
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Hi Gina,
Thanks for answering my questions (hugs). I really appreciate it!
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:47 PM   #6
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Stop at the visitors center on I DRIVE last time we were there they was an advertisment for a place where you can go with your family and make chocolates. I cannot rememeber the name of it but we did not have time to do it.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:04 PM   #7
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jensta View Post
Hi Gina,
Thanks for answering my questions (hugs). I really appreciate it!
You're welcome .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bella the Ball 360 View Post
Stop at the visitors center on I DRIVE last time we were there they was an advertisment for a place where you can go with your family and make chocolates. I cannot rememeber the name of it but we did not have time to do it.
Could it be Farris and Fosters?

http://www.farrisandfosters.com/
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Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 07-10-2013, 05:05 PM   #8
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great info Thanks!!!
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:54 PM   #9
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Good question. Glad you are trying to break out of the Disney bubble. Here are some ideas:

Wekiwa Springs State park
http://www.floridastateparks.org/wek...gs/default.cfm
http://www.canoewekiva.com/
http://wekivaisland.com/

Blue Spring State Park
http://www.floridastateparks.org/bluespring/default.cfm

Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour
http://www.scenicboattours.com/
http://www.clickorlando.com/entertai...z/-/index.html

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum Of American Art
http://www.morsemuseum.org/home.html

Leu Gardens in Orlando
http//:www.leugardens.org

Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden
http://www.polasek.org/

Bok Tower Gardens
http://boktowergardens.org/

The Orange County Regional History Center
http://www.thehistorycenter.org/

Orlando Museum of Art
http://www.omart.org/

Mennello Museum of American Art
http://www.mennellomuseum.com/

Orlando Science Center
http://www.osc.org/

Gatorland
http://www.gatorland.com/

Orlando Premium Outlets (2 locations)
http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=17

More shopping: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/trave...0,201112.story

Boggy Creek Airboat Rides
www.bcairboats.com
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:25 AM   #10
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Arabian nights is a great dinner show! If you love horses, it's the best show in the city.
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Old 08-05-2013, 12:26 PM   #11
Miumiu4me
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bella the Ball 360 View Post
Stop at the visitors center on I DRIVE last time we were there they was an advertisment for a place where you can go with your family and make chocolates. I cannot rememeber the name of it but we did not have time to do it.
The Chocolate Factory - it's in Baldwin Park
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Old 08-07-2013, 04:30 PM   #12
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here is a list
http://www.visitorlando.com/things-to-do/

also to the side is a list of FREE things to do
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Old 08-10-2013, 07:38 AM   #13
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My family has enjoyed Ripley's Believe it or Not museum and the Titanic Experience. We also did an airboat ride one year that the kids loved.

As others have mentioned SeaWorld is a lot of fun and a family favorite for us.

While not in Orlando, my kids love Busch Gardens in Tampa. It took us about an hour and a half to get there, but we thought it was worth it.
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