Swim with dolphins, take in the views from the top of a speeding roller coaster, and make lifelong memories
Pack your bags, and get ready to enjoy quality family time in Orlando, Florida. This sunshine and fun-filled town is the perfect getaway for families who love amusement parks, hidden gems, and delicious food. So whether you are road-tripping down south or taking a day trip from St Augustine, Daytona Beach, or Fort Lauderdale, Orlando is a bucket list town full of must-see places and family-friendly activities everyone in your crew will love. So, keep reading to plan your perfect family vacation in Orlando.
Best Things to Do in Orlando with Kids
Orlando is famous for everything Disney, but your crew can enjoy a week without visiting that famous mouse. Of course, you can find many things to do with kids in Orlando, including visiting Discovery Cove to swim with dolphins, riding a thrilling roller coaster at LEGOLAND, or exploring the Orlando Science Center. But there’s so much more this town has to offer, and we rounded up our favorites for a family vacation in Orlando.
Peppa Pig Theme Park
Visit the world’s first-ever theme park dedicated to Peppa Pig and all her friends and family. At this family-first theme park, you can ride behind Daddy Pig on a kid-friendly rollercoaster, hug Peppa at the meet-and-greet, and enjoy an affordable and kid-friendly dining experience complete with free refill stations. Almost everything on-site is included with the price of admission, and it’s the perfect place to celebrate a preschool birthday or enjoy a fun day on your family vacation in Orlando.
Buy a 3-park ticket, and you’ll hang out at Peppa Pig Theme Park, LEGOLAND, and the LEGOLAND Waterpark without moving your car. The LEGO-lover in your crew will go nuts over this brick-themed park. With rides for all ages, building opportunities around every corner, and minifigure trading with Model Citizens throughout the park, you can build an epic family day full of LEGO fun.
Go swimming with dolphins and stay to enjoy the all-inclusive tropical experience, complete with animal encounters, delicious food, and unlimited slushies around every corner. Snorkel an artificial reef with colorful tropical fish and rays all around. Whether you’re looking to nap on a sun-drenched beach chair or float around the lazy river, you’ll head back to your resort with unforgettable memories, full stomachs, and a family vacation in Orlando experience you won’t soon forget.
Insider Tip: Feel free to leave your beach gear at home. Discovery Cove provides animal-safe sunscreen, towels, life jackets, snorkel gear, wet suits, and all food/non-alcoholic beverages.
Head to this animal-lovers paradise filled with unique animal encounters such as capybara, bird and alligator feedings, tortoise meet and greets, and jumping gator shows. Learn from the incredibly knowledgeable staff as you view the impressive animal collection, many rescued after injury or relocation. Gatorland provides animals for zoos across the country and works to breed endangered animals for future generations. Also, the shows and performers are hysterical.
Fun Spot America
Think old-school carnival complete with a kid-friendly funhouse and many rides even the littlest kids will enjoy, and you’re ready for an evening of fun at Fun Spot America. Whether you want to bump around on the bumper boats and cars, speed around the go-kart track, or throw your hands up on the wooden rollercoaster, you’ll quickly fill your time with fun. The shaded tables provide the perfect vantage point for worn-out parents to watch their little ones go from kiddie ride to kiddie ride.
Explore the sweetest fairytale-themed tour during your family vacation in Orlando. Follow the prince and his fire-breathing dragon as they embark on an adventure to create chocolate shoes for the princess. Learn about the history of chocolate and the chocolate-making process and recipes. Taste delicious samples as you tour the factory, and take home a custom chocolate bar for your crew.
Orlando Science Center
If you’re stuck with a rainy day in the sunshine state, this science-filled museum is the perfect spot when you need to head inside. Test your STEM skills with four levels of interactive exhibits, shows, and displays. Check the daily schedule for unique group activities and tours throughout the museum. The cafe on the lower level offers pre-ordering, so you don’t have to wait in line when everyone is hangry.
You can’t miss this fun-filled town center because The Wheel is visible almost everywhere. Hop on this luxurious Ferris Wheel with a full bar on the way in and a Bluetooth-enabled playlist inside the climate-controlled cabin. Wait for sunset, and you’ll enjoy the best views in town.
Museum of Illusions
Give your social media followers something to talk about after you create and post some of the most astounding optical illusion photos. The photographer stands on the camera logo, and everyone else picks their spot in a themed space designed to trick the eye and the mind.
Insider Tip: Don’t hesitate to ask the friendly staff for help. They’ll help you get the best angles for each illusion.
Take a stroll through history, superhero row, and celebrity sightings. Take realistic photos with Abraham Lincoln, Batman, and JLo. The lifelike figures make for some of the best photo ops in town, and you might even fool your friends into believing you got to hang out with Angelina Jolie or Beyonce during your family vacation in Orlando.
Touch a real sea star, walk under Florida’s only 360-degree Ocean Tunnel, or meet a mermaid at Orlando’s premier aquarium. This family-friendly attraction offers a great way to engage with nature in a fun, educational setting. Learn about how ecosystems work and how animals are protected in the wild.
Where to Eat with Kids in Orlando
Get ready for a poolside breakfast at Hilton Orlando’s FastBreak. With everything from an omelet station to all-you-can-eat chocolate muffins, even the pickiest eater in your traveling crew will find a way to fuel up for the adventurous day ahead.
Arrive hungry because you’ll need room for one of the epic milkshakes at Jojo’s ShakeBAR. The eclectic menu offers something for everyone, but the milkshakes could be a meal alone. The Health Nut salad is a must-try at this funky restaurant.
Get hooked on flavor at Gordon Ramsay’s Icon Park fish and chips restaurant. The multi-Michelin-starred chef raises the family-friendly restaurant experience to a new level, offering diners his signature take on the classic British dish.
Where to Stay with Kids in Orlando
Known for the adjoining family-friendly rooms, this centrally located resort is a great home away from home. With gourmet-level restaurants, a massive lazy river, a rushing waterslide, and comfortable accommodations, you’ll want for nothing during your stay. Stop by Scratch Market for the ‘Breakfast Before the Parks’ special package, which includes breakfast for two guests each day while children five and under eat for free. It’s a great way to fuel up and save time.
Orlando World Center Marriott
You know you’ve found the perfect resort when your kids say the glass elevator feels like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. With suites to accommodate large families and an on-site waterpark, you only need to leave if you want to. The grab-and-go food options make it easy to eat with kids and get back to all the fun.
Insider Tip: Skip the early bedtime and let everyone stay up to watch the nightly laser show over the pool. Even better, head to the pool for the best seat in the house.
Hyatt Place Lake Mary/Orlando-North
If one of the bigger resorts doesn’t fit your budget, don’t worry. This budget-friendly hotel has family-friendly rooms with two beds and a pull-out sofa bed. Also, the daily breakfast buffet, complete with French toast, is complimentary. And, if you need a day to relax, the outdoor pool is a great spot to hang out.
Want to see more of Orlando with Kids? Check this out.
Discover More Details about Orlando
Orlando, Florida, is the ideal family destination with the perfect balance of relaxation and tons of family fun. Check out the Visit Orlando website for more ideas on what to do on your next family vacation in Orlando.
—photos by the author except where noted
Make sure to capture all the vacation fun—and share them with your family and friends near and far—with the Tinybeans app. The secure platform puts parents in total control of who sees and interacts with photos and videos of their kids.
Note: This trip was paid for by Visit Orlando, but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.