Best Things to Do in Orlando Besides Disney
If you're heading to Florida for your next vacation and are wondering what to do in Orlando besides Disney, you're in the right place! From the Kennedy Space Center to Everglades National Park, the Orlando region boasts hundreds of great things to do besides Disney.Disney brings the magic like no other company in the world, but if you’re looking for something different, you're in luck. Orlando is a destination that can serve up lots more than Disney. For starters, there are world-class theme parks, museums and galleries, fantastic shopping, a rich culinary scene, nature and wildlife, and world-class live entertainment. A short road trip will even get you to Central Florida’s top attractions, including gorgeous sugar sand beaches and the Florida Everglades. Read on to discover 30-plus things to do in Orlando besides Disney.
Don't Overlook the Other Theme Parks
Disney may be big, but it’s not the only show in town—not by a long shot! There are tons of other theme parks in Orlando to explore. Some boast impressive roller coasters, rides, and water features, while others put more emphasis on creative and explorative activities. Either way, there’s something for every family.
Universal Orlando - Adrenaline junkies who want to ride the mega-coasters will definitely want to book some time at Universal Orlando Resort, home to some of the world's top roller coasters.
If “beyond extreme” is your kind of ride, head to Universal Islands of Adventure to experience the fastest, tallest coaster in Florida, the Jurassic World VelociCoaster. Blasting through a tangled track at a top speed of 70 mph, this is a true beast of a ride—fast and furious, just like its name-sake velociraptors.
Islands of Adventure is also home to the popular Incredible Hulk Coaster, Doctor Doom's Fearfall, and Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw Falls. And for all those fans of Hogwarts, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an adventure in itself.
If you’re looking for more of a wet-and-wild adventure, Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park is an excellent option. Come for the day and split your time between relaxing by the wave pool and screaming your head off on some of the state’s most exciting water slides. Must-try rides for thrill-seekers include the Krakatau Aqua Coaster, the Ohya and Ohno Drop Slides, and the Ko'okini Body Plunge.
If you want to get a look behind the scenes at the movies, head to Universal Studios Florida, where all your favorite movies and TV shows come to life in spectacular rides, shows, attractions, and entertainment. Escape from Gringotts with Harry Potter; flee from the evil Mummy Imhotep; race through New York with Jimmy Fallon; and battle Megatron with Optimus Prime.
To experience the flavor and excitement of Universal without visiting a theme park, check out Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando. This exciting, open-air complex features a tempting collection of excellent dining venues, plenty of entertainment, and epic shopping.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort - The kids will make unforgettable memories with a visit to LEGOLAND, which offers thrilling rides, a water park, super creative play areas, and lots of fun. The park is comprised of 14 distinct lands with over 50 attractions. Real LEGO fans will not want to miss MINILAND, USA, where more than 32 million LEGO bricks recreate famous cities.
Favorite rides include the Great LEGO Race, a virtual reality-enhanced roller coaster, and LEGO NINJAGO The Ride, which allows you to blast fireballs and lightning at your friends and family. The family-friendly waterpark is packed with fun, including tube slides, body slides, a wave pool and a lazy river. It’s a fun way to beat the heat and get some thrills—and one of the best things to do in Orlando besides Disney World.
SeaWorld Orlando - Established over 50 years ago, SeaWorld offers something for everyone. Not only will you get the chance to learn about the ocean and its creatures up close, you can also enjoy world-class roller coasters and other unique rides. The Kraken Roller Coaster takes you on a trip through the jungle to a lost civilization, while The Mako hyper-coaster and The Manta take you on a journey to Atlantis—get ready to get wet!
Book "Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin” for a crazy ride and a visit with the penguins, or head to the top of the 400-foot Sky Tower for a fantastic view of Orlando. If you’re traveling with little ones, Sesame Street Land offers fun-filled attractions and an adorable parade. Dolphin Cove, Shark Encounters, the Sea Aquarium, and more await. SeaWorld brings tons of fun and is different from any other theme park in Orlando.
Discovery Cove — This all-inclusive day resort offers guests the chance to swim with dolphins, snorkel with thousands of tropical fish and rays, feed exotic birds, and hang out on a beautiful sand beach. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and beverages are included. Add a cabana for a quiet and peaceful day, or create your own adventure in the park.
Exciting and Affordable Attractions
Need ideas on what to do in Orlando besides Disney theme parks? There are endless other attractions to appreciate. Orlando and Central Florida offer an amazingly wide range of both indoor and outdoor attractions. Popular outdoor options include:
Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures — Zip across the Florida Everglades in a six-passenger airboat to view a wide range of wildlife with Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures. To seriously amp up the thrills, reserve a night expedition.
Fun Spot America Theme Parks — With a location on International Drive and another near Walt Disney World, Fun Spot America offers hours of fun, including a multi-level go-kart experience, Orlando's only wooden roller coaster, and an indoor arcade with plenty of lights and sound.
Gatorland — One of Orlando's oldest attractions, Gatorland brings plenty of affordable family fun. View alligators, crocodiles, and the Florida panther; stroll through the petting zoo; and let the little ones cool off in a fun splash pad.
Winter Park Scenic Boat Tours — Just 15 minutes north of downtown Orlando, Winter Park is a lovely historic neighborhood with plenty of charming restaurants, cafes, art galleries, and boutiques. Winter Park Scenic Boat Tours offers one of the best ways to explore the area with their narrated, one-hour tour through the beautiful Winter Park Waterways. Along the way, you'll see multi-million dollar mansions, Rollins College, Kraft Azalea Gardens, and a variety of birds and wildlife.
Lake Eola Swan Boat Rentals — Lake Eola is located in the middle of downtown Orlando and is home to five separate species of swans. View these birds up close as you paddle around the lake in a unique Swan Boat, which can hold up to five people. Or, opt for a walk around the lake trail and enjoy a picnic under a tree.
If the weather has you looking for indoor attractions and amusements, here are a few favorites:
Andretti Indoor Karting and Games — This exciting 15,000-square-foot facility features multi-level indoor karting, 12 lanes of boutique bowling, over 120 arcade games, laser tag, six virtual reality racing simulators, and an extreme ropes course with a curved zip-line.
The Crayola Experience — Enjoy a full day of creative play with dozens of hands-on activities at this colorful 2-story attraction. Kids get to learn how crayons are made, name and wrap their own crayon, bring digital art to life on a massive interactive wall, and sculpt their own creations at the Crayola Model Magic compound.
Escapology — One of Orlando's top escape rooms, Escapology challenges you to find clues and solve puzzles so you and your party can escape within 60 minutes. Some of the scenarios you may encounter include Budapest Express, Cuban Crisis, Mansion Murder, and 7 Deadly Sins. Good luck!
Kings Dining & Entertainment — A popular spot offering great fun for the entire family (or you and your best buds), Kings is a great option for indoor fun. Located on International Drive, it boasts an upscale atmosphere and features 22 bowling lanes, ping pong, bocce ball, and lots more. Two premium bars offer exciting cocktails, while dining options include a chef-designed American menu.
The Sunshine State is renowned as a hub for sports and outdoor adventures—and Orlando is no different. There are plenty of ways to stay active during your visit to Orlando.
Orlando Balloon Rides — Up, up and away! Soar above the city and parks with Orlando Balloon Rides for a ride and a view you won't soon forget.
Orlando Tree Trek Adventures — Take to the tree tops at this exciting adventure center in nearby Kissimmee. The 97 different challenges here include rock climbing for all skill levels, rope swings, nets, and trapezes. Just put on your safety cable, and the trained instructors will help with the rest. This is a great activity for the entire family.
Tibet-Butler Nature Park — Located just minutes from Disney, this country park has a nature center, butterfly garden, picnic area, and 3.4 miles of trails and spurs for excellent family exploration. Get away from the crowds, see some nature and stretch your legs.
Orlando Watersports Complex — Learn how to wakeboard at one of the largest cable wakeboard parks in the country. The cable hangs overhead, and the park offers private one-on-one lessons on how to get up and riding— they even offer a Get Up Guarantee.
Florida Bioluminescent Kayak Tour at BK Adventures — You haven't kayaked until you've taken this tour. Paddle the warm waters of the Indian River Lagoon, and watch as the water lights up with luminous sea life. It’s a magical experience available year-round: In warmer weather, you'll see glowing plankton, and in colder months, you'll see comb jellies. You may even see both!
Orlando After Dark
Orlando boasts a vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and clubs to explore. To experience the best of the local scene, head to Downtown Orlando where you’ll find dance clubs, wine bars, live entertainment, and an eclectic collection of speakeasies.
If you’re interested in checking out the local craft beer scene, grab an Ale Trail passport (available from most breweries) and explore Orlando Brewing, Rockpit Brewing, Dead Lizard Brewing, Ten10 Brewing, and many more.
If comedy sounds like a perfect night, head to Sak Comedy Lab, or check out Mama's Comedy Show at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show every Friday night. If stand-up is your thing, you'll want to visit Bonkerz Comedy Club for some great acts.
Orlando is also renowned for its excellent dinner shows. Visit Capone's Dinner and Show, where you'll knock three times to enter the era of mobsters and prohibition. Try Mango's Tropical Cafe on International Drive for a lavish dinner and spectacular Vegas-style review. For vintage Orlando, visit Medieval Times, which is housed in a castle and will take you back to the time of knights and sword fights.
For one of the best views in Orlando, head over to ICON Park Orlando and take your special someone—or the entire family—for a ride on the iconic Wheel at ICON Park. You'll soar 400 feet above the city in your private capsule on this unique observation tower, which is lit with thousands of LEDs. This is a fantastic way to view the dazzling lights of Orlando and its many theme parks as they twinkle far below you.
Orlando is centrally located with excellent air service and makes a great jumping-off point or home base for your Florida vacation.
Take a ride east and spend a day at Kennedy Space Center to explore the past, present, and future of space travel. View the Space Shuttle Atlantis and Saturn V moon rocket, and learn about how astronauts live in space.
Head south from there to Cocoa Beach for a look at one of Florida's most famous beaches. Be sure to visit the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop for fantastic shopping and a great look at the world of surfing. You can even grab a surf lesson while you're there.
Head west to visit the sugar sand beaches lining the Gulf of Mexico, including Clearwater Beach, St Pete, and Sonesta Key. Or, if you’re interested in history, head north to St. Augustine to explore early US history, the time of pirates, and an iconic lighthouse.
What are your top things to do in Orlando besides Disney World?
When you’re ready to hit Orlando, think beyond the theme parks. They are unique and shouldn’t be missed, but there are hundreds of other things to do in this exciting destination! This list of the top things to do in Orlando besides Disney has only scratched the surface.
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Don’t be fooled by the many family experiences Orlando is known for. When it comes to romance, there is plenty to go around.
Vacationing at Walt Disney World in Orlando can be overwhelming and a little bit intimidating, even for the return visitor. There are so many attractions and thousands of things to see and do.