1. Fun Spot
This attraction is fairly affordable if you can find passes on Groupon but if your whole family is tall enough to be on the rides and you want to take a few hours to make a day of it, the price could still be worth your while. Not only are their race carts but also water bumper cars, arcades, and rollercoasters. Bring the kids for some family competition! Just don’t get too competitive with kids you don’t know–my husband and his friend were almost kicked out for racing fiercely with a kid last time. It just proves how fun the tracks are though!
As a native of Orlando, one of my favorite pastimes was always taking a weekend trip to the beach with my siblings and parents. Even if we only went for the afternoon and drove back that evening with sand between our toes and in our hair, enjoying the salty water and playing under the sun was a staple of my childhood. As an adult, I prefer certain beaches to others since I hate seaweed but you take your pick! There are many beaches within driving distance of Orlando: Cocoa Beach (closest but dirtiest), Daytona Beach, Clearwater Beach (my favorite but 2 hours away), Ana Maria, and more.
If you’re a tourist, maybe you’re trying to save money and not head straight for the stores but everything about Orlando is catered to attract the visitors! Waterford Lakes shopping center has everything from furniture shopping to Target, Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Old Navy, Pier 1 Imports, Marshall’s and more. It is convenient for the residents in the nearby neighborhoods or for the people staying in town who want a one-stop shop for dining, shopping, entertainment (Chuck E. Cheese & Regal Cinemas), nail salons, and even home improvement (Home Depot). Not just Waterford Lakes, but there is also the Florida Mall, Mall of Millennia, Fashion Square Mall and the infamous outlets where you can knock yourself out buying tons of items from popular, brand name stores.
4. Lake Eola
5. Pointe Orlando
6. Disney World
Disney World is still as expensive as ever but if it’s one of the experiences you must check off your bucket list, shop around for coupons. Sometimes they have packages available for discounts at little stands. Disney World has four theme parks (Animal Kingdom, MGM, Epcot, and Magic Kingdom) and yes, you need to pay for them separately. It was never a disappointment when I went as a child or even as I got older when my school went for field trips. I think these theme parks are more enjoyable the older you get. I’m still scared to take my kids though because I know the second my kids start whining about the heat or the extensively long lines for the rides, I’ll regret the hundreds of dollars I spent on their tickets. I would wait until your kids are about 9 or 10 so they can enjoy more of the parks, as there are few “baby rides”.
7. Islands of Adventure
8. Wonder Works
9. Sea World