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Non-DW things to do in Orlando

Discussion in 'Orlando Hotels and Attractions' started by jensta, Jul 9, 2013.

  1. jensta

    jensta Earning My Ears

    Jul 8, 2013
    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 pixiedust:, I am just looking for some other options.

    Thanks so much for reading!
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  3. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

    Sep 12, 2008
    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?
  4. jensta

    jensta Earning My Ears

    Jul 8, 2013
    Brilliant suggestions, thanks so much for taking the time to respond Gina :thumbsup2.

    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!:rolleyes1
  5. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

    Sep 12, 2008
    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 :thumbsup2 . 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 :thumbsup2).

    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 :) .
  6. jensta

    jensta Earning My Ears

    Jul 8, 2013
    Hi Gina,
    Thanks for answering my questions (hugs). I really appreciate it!
  7. Bella the Ball 360

    Bella the Ball 360 Keyboarding is not my thing excuse typos.<br><font

    Jun 30, 2003
    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.
  8. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

    Sep 12, 2008
    You're welcome :goodvibes .

    Could it be Farris and Fosters?

  9. ptmmg

    ptmmg DIS Veteran

    Feb 14, 2002
    great info Thanks!!!
  10. Orlando Vic

    Orlando Vic Mouseketeer

    Jan 28, 2009
    Good question. Glad you are trying to break out of the Disney bubble. Here are some ideas:

    Wekiwa Springs State park

    Blue Spring State Park

    Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour

    The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum Of American Art

    Leu Gardens in Orlando

    Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden

    Bok Tower Gardens

    The Orange County Regional History Center

    Orlando Museum of Art

    Mennello Museum of American Art

    Orlando Science Center


    Orlando Premium Outlets (2 locations)

    More shopping: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/trav...orida-shopping-orlando-profile,0,201112.story

    Boggy Creek Airboat Rides
  11. dolphinrescuegirl

    dolphinrescuegirl <marquee><font color=deeppink>I rather be swimming

    Feb 17, 2006
    Arabian nights is a great dinner show! If you love horses, it's the best show in the city.
  12. Miumiu4me

    Miumiu4me Mouseketeer

    Jun 24, 2012
    The Chocolate Factory - it's in Baldwin Park
  13. spiceycat

    spiceycat <font color=blue>Own at BWV, VWL and BLT<br><font

    Oct 26, 2000
  14. Darcy03231

    Darcy03231 DIS Veteran

    Nov 1, 2006
    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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