Florida 10 MINS READ

The Ultimate Guide To Holidays In Orlando, Florida

The Ultimate Guide To Holidays In Orlando, Florida

Florida 10 MINS READ
The Dudley Do-Right Ripsaw Falls ride at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure theme park

Orlando has plenty to offer for anyone who makes the trek. Known around the world as a first-rate destination, the city has carved out an enviable reputation thanks to its not-to-be-missed experiences and tourist attractions.

Whether you’re dreaming of meeting Mickey Mouse and your favorite Harry Potter characters, exploring treasured art collections, visiting some of Florida’s best beaches, or indulging in some retail therapy, Orlando offers fun and excitement for all ages.

To help you plan a one-of-a-kind Orlando holiday, we’ve created a comprehensive guide with everything you need to know before visiting the city. Read on to discover when to visit, where to stay, the top attractions you absolutely can’t miss, and more!

When To Visit Orlando

Young couple kayaking at sunset.

Spring is one of the best times to visit Orlando. From March to May, temperatures reliably hover around a pleasant 27°C, making it a joy to indulge in a variety of activities — from visiting the local theme parks to exploring the nearby beaches. During these months, you’ll also find more affordable rates for flights and accommodation compared to the summertime, as well as fewer crowds (except for Easter and Spring Break). 

Here’s a thorough guide breaking down all you need to know about the best time to visit Orlando when it comes to weather, prices, events, and attractions.

Where To Stay In Orlando

The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, Orlando, Florida.

Orlando has a dazzling wealth of accommodation options that are suitable for every budget, mood, and moment. 

First-timers seeking to explore all the sights and attractions, for instance, should consider basing themselves close to the bustling International Drive, Orlando’s main thoroughfare and commercial stretch. This guide with the best Orlando hotels near International Drive will give you an overview of what are the top accommodation options around this vibrant area.

Business travelers, on the other hand, will benefit from staying at one of the best hotels near Orlando Airport. They’re not only located close to Orlando’s International Airport but also treat guests to an array of stellar amenities like complimentary 24-hour shuttle service.

Downtown Orlando hotels are a great bet for travelers seeking to stay in a compact area filled with great restaurants, cafes, museums, and farmers’ markets.

Visiting Orlando with the little ones? Say no more! There is a collection of top-notch accommodations that’ll provide you with easy access to Orlando’s thrilling theme parks, from Disney to Universal Studios Florida. Here’s a selection of the best hotels near Disney World, and the best hotels near SeaWorld.

Pet-owners will be equally happy with Orlando’s unrivaled selection of cozy stays. The city also happens to boast a range of hotels that are well-supplied with stellar amenities such as pet-friendly rooms, dog-walking routes, and even pet room service menus. Here are the best pet-friendly hotels in Orlando.

Find Places To Stay in Orlando, Florida

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The Best Hotels In Orlando, Florida

Where To Eat In Orlando

A plate of oysters over ice at Lukes Kitchen and Bar.

When it comes to food, Orlando does not fool around. With culinary offerings ranging from lip-smacking seafood restaurants to Insta-worthy brunch spots and eateries conveying international flavors, the city treats visitors to a range of unforgettable gastronomic experiences.

Among Orlando’s burgeoning restaurant scene, every type of cuisine is represented, from Mexican to Ethiopian. 

Not to mention that a new generation of chefs has returned from abroad, and opened, in Orlando, a string of sleek modern eateries that are turning the city into a culinary powerhouse.

With such a glorious array of options, it might be hard to narrow down where to eat. To help you take your pick, here’s a guide to the best restaurants in Orlando.

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How To Get To Orlando

Airplane silhouette landing in Orlando, Florida, USA.

If you’re coming from outside of Florida, or simply short on time, the easiest and most convenient way of getting to Orlando is by flight. Travers flying into the city will likely land at the Orlando International Airport (MCO), which is centrally located about 10 miles southeast of downtown Orlando. 

A great option to go from the airport to the city center is to rent a car. Driving will provide you with not only a comfortable journey to your accommodation of choice but also with the possibility of freely exploring the city on your own terms without having to rely on public transportation. Renting a car is also a great fit for big families seeking to visit Orlando’s theme parks, and going on day trips to nearby destinations. 

If you’re on a budget, you can also reach the city center by taking the Lynx bus 11 that is found outside Terminal “A”. The bus departs from the airport every 40 minutes and reaches downtown Orlando ( International Drive and the Florida Mall/SeaWorld area) in around 45 to 65 minutes. 

There’s also the option of reaching Orlando by road. Travelers can get to the city via the Interstate Highway system — those traveling from the east of Orlando take I-95 to I-4, while those traveling from the west of the city take I-75 to I-4.

The Top Things To Do In Orlando, FL

Have a Fun-Filled Time At The Theme Parks

The Hulk Coaster, in the Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida.

If you’re dreaming of enjoying the quintessential Orlando experience, don’t pass up the opportunity to visit the city’s world-famous theme parks. Some of the best are located within the Walt Disney World, a massive resort complex where you’ll find big-name destinations like Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

Each of them has its unique rides and experiences. In Magic Kingdom, for instance, you’ll find a variety of themed attractions, like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan’s Flight, which are perfect for children. Epcot is famous for its “World Showcase” that takes visitors on a 5-hour tour through 11 countries, and 4000 years of history. 

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of the best for adults thanks to its wealth of attractions that draw inspiration from film, television, music, and theatre, while Animal Kingdom is a must for those dreaming of going on a fascinating safari tour.

Thrill-seekers visiting the theme park capital of the world can’t pass up the chance to spend an adventure-packed day in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Regarded as one of the best theme parks in the USA, this fun-filled destination plays host to some of the country’s most daring roller coasters.

Are you a proud Potterhead? Then be sure to visit Universal Studios Florida. The park is home to “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”, a state-of-the-art attraction where visitors get the chance to hop on the Hogwarts Express to get face to face with characters and creatures from the Harry Potter™ books and films.

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The Best Theme Parks in Orlando

Visit Orlando’s Worldclass Museums

The first stage engines of the Saturn 5 rocket which is exhibited at the visitor complex of Kennedy Space Center, United States

Little known fact: Orlando also boasts a great collection of museums that are guaranteed to keep the culture-vultures happy. Not-to-be-missed cultural treasures include the iconic Orlando Museum of Art, which is home to a permanent collection of over 2,000 artworks, and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum, which harbors the world’s largest collection of pieces by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Orlando also flaunts an array of museums that’ll are suitable for children. The award-winning Orlando Science Center, for instance, displays a series of interactive exhibits and hands-on experiences that the little ones will love, like marveling at giant fossil replicas of ancient sea creatures and becoming TV meteorologists for a day.

Here’s the complete selection of the best museums in Orlando.

Shop Until You Drop

Two young women happily shopping together.

From luxury malls to outlets, from boutiques to pop-up stores, there are plenty of great places to go shopping in Orlando. One of the city’s most prestigious destinations for the ultimate retail therapy is The Florida Mall, Central Florida’s largest shopping center. Spanning 1.8 million square feet, the mall boasts an unrivaled collection of 250 stores, including Macy’s, Dillard’s, Apple, H&M, Zara, and more. 

For an indulgent shopping session, the Mall at Millenia is the place to go. There, expect to come across Versace, Chanel, Saint Laurent, Hermès, and more high-end brands.

In case you’re looking for luxury items at bargain prices, Orlando Premium Outlets is the perfect match for you.

Want to pamper the kids after a day full of shopping? Then Pointe Orlando, a massive retail complex that also boasts an arcade with more than 1000 games, is the spot for you.

The city also has an array of malls filled with mid-range and fast-fashion stores for those who don’t want to dig deep in their pockets when shopping. Read the ultimate guide to shopping in Downtown Orlando to find out which places suit your taste and budget better.

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Enjoy The City’s Water Parks

Unlike Miami, Orlando is not home to a glittering coastline dotted with idyllic beaches. But the city still flaunts a plethora of thrilling water parks — some of the best in the world — where you can go cool off Florida’s sweat-inducing weather while enjoying some family fun.

A bucket list water theme park in Orlando is Volcano Bay, which is located at Universal Orlando Resort and features more than 20 rides, including the tallest body slide in the United States.

Another must-visit is Aquatica Orlando, home to a myriad of exciting slides that are perfect for adrenaline-seekers. The most daring ones? Ihu’s Breakaway Falls® – the steepest multi-drop tower of its kind in the city, and the staggeringly steep 300ft slide of the Taumata Racer. Not by chance, Aquatica is considered one of the best water parks in Orlando

There are gentler options, too. For a serene day among colorful marine creatures, head over to the Discovery Cove, the sister park of SeaWorld Orlando. There, you’ll get the chance to swim with dolphins in crystal clear areas, go snorkeling in a striking coral reef habitat and get face to face with otters and marmosets.

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Go On A Daytrip

Wekiwa Springs aerial drone photography

Whether you need a quick break from the theme parks or a sweet escape with your loved one, there are several wonderful places that are located just a short drive from Orlando.

Take advantage of Florida’s welcoming weather and go visit the best beaches near Orlando, or flock to the Everglades National Park to catch a glimpse of fascinating wild creatures.

If you’re traveling with kids, be sure to drive all the way to Florida’s Space Coast, where you’ll be able to see the real space shuttle Atlantis while visiting the Kennedy Space Center.

In case you’re seeking to experience nature like never before during your Orlando holidays, we recommend that you visit Crystal River, which is located along central Florida’s Nature Coast. Named one of the best natural springs near Orlando, this alluring destination is dotted with azure spring-fed rivers where you’ll get the opportunity to swim with manatees.

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Explore The Hidden Gems

Little boy marveling sharks and fishes at an aquarium.

While spending your entire vacation enjoying Orlando’s theme parks does sound fun, there’s a whole heap of lesser-known places begging to be discovered in the city.

If you’re a thrill-seeker, for instance, you’ll love riding the Orlando StarFlyer, one of the city’s most daring attractions. Located at ICON Park, in Downtown Orlando, this is the world’s tallest swing ride, standing at 450 feet!

Nature lovers will gravitate towards the SEA Life Orlando Aquarium, home to Florida’s only 360° ocean tunnel, as well as visiting Gatorland, a 110-acre park that harbors the world’s largest collection of extremely rare white leucistic alligators.

Couples seeking romantic things to do in Orlando must add a hot air balloon ride to their travel itinerary. While soaring high in the sky during sunrise, they’ll be able to take in the most stunning views of Orange, Osceola, Lake, and Polk Counties.

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Unique Things To Do In Orlando

Discover Orlando’s Teeming Nightlife Scene

Mixologist making a hand-crafted coctail

Orlando proudly flaunts the title of the most family-friendly destination in the U.S. However, the city also has a vibrant nightlife scene that keeps tourists and locals on their toes all year round.

One of the city’s most popular destinations for nightlife is the Universal CityWalk, an entertainment complex that houses some of the best nightclubs in Orlando, including The Groove, Rising Star, and Red Coconut Club.

Orlando also boasts a dazzling range of live music venues, such as Howl at the Moon, praised for its signature cocktails, and top-caliber gay-friendly bars featuring drag shows, and state-of-the-art parties.

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Tips For Visiting Orlando

  • Buy tickets for theme parks ahead of time;
  • Bring comfortable walking shoes;
  • Arrive early at the theme parks to avoid crowds;
  • Plan your itinerary in advance;
  • Dine outside the theme parks if you want to save money;
  • Consider wearing a money belt when visiting the theme parks (some rides don’t allowed bags).

FAQs

What is the cheapest month to go to Orlando, FL?

January and early February are the cheapest times to visit Orlando.

Is it better to stay at Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando Resort?

Each resort has its unique charm, perks, and benefits, so when it comes to the best place to stay, it all depends on your budget and the experience you’re looking for.

What should I not miss in Orlando?

The 10 Best Places To Visit in Orlando:

  • Walt Disney World Resort;
  • Universal Studios Orlando;
  • Gatorland;
  • Orlando Science Center;
  • Leu Gardens;
  • Kennedy Space Center;
  • Lake Eola Park;
  • ICON Park;
  • Pointe Orlando;
  • Sea Life Orlando Aquarium.

What is there to do in Orlando with no money?

5 Free things to do in Orlando:

  • Kraft Azalea Garden;
  • Lake Eola Park;
  • Cornell Fine Arts Museum;
  • University of Central Florida Arboretum;
  • The Galleries at CityArts Factory;

How many days are enough in Orlando?

Five days gives travelers enough time to enjoy Orlando’s theme parks, and explore some of the city’s local attractions.

Browse. Book. Stay.

CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at the best price. Find unlimited travel inspiration on our blogs and our social media channels FacebookInstagramPinterest

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