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Weekend Getaway Guide to Orlando For Families

Planning a family trip to Orlando? Chances are, you’re there to visit a theme park. Home to Disney World and Universal Studios, as well as a number of smaller parks, this city is a popular vacation destination among families looking to make memories. 

However, don’t be fooled – it’s not just a spot for families to appreciate. While the area’s theme parks are Orlando’s biggest draw, there are plenty of other reasons to enjoy a weekend in this Central Florida city. From delicious eats and easy accommodations to plenty of activities to keep the family busy, you’ll be hard-pressed to have a bad time here. 

Gearing up for a quick trip to Orlando? This weekend getaway guide has you covered. Here are some of my top recommendations around places to stay, restaurants to try, and things to do while you’re in Orlando, Florida:

STAY:

If you’re there for the theme parks, you’ll want to consider an on-property hotel. At Disney World, hotels like the Contemporary Resort and the Wilderness Lodge Resort offer easy access to the parks and let you truly embrace the atmosphere throughout your vacation experience. Stay on Universal property at a hotel like the Hard Rock Hotel and the Loews Portofino Bay, you’ll be treated to complimentary Express Passes and other perks to make your experience much more enjoyable.

Not only there for the parks, or splitting your time between them all? Check out The Grove Resort And Spa. With suites that feel more like apartment-style accommodations, plenty of pools to cool off in during the warm afternoons, and a greater sense of peace and quiet than you can find on Disney or Universal property, it’s a wonderful alternative.

EAT:

As one of the greatest family-friendly vacation destinations out there, there are tons of restaurants in Orlando that will let you make dinner more of an experience than a meal. Even if you aren’t in town to visit the Disney parks, you should head over to Disney Springs for dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another world the moment you step into this majestic restaurant, where you’ll dine among towering trees and animatronic critters. If you’d rather dine among dinos, the T-REX Restaurant nearby offers a similar atmosphere.

In the mood for pizza? NYPD Pizzeria is home to some of the best pies south of the Mason-Dixon line. Boasting quick service and delicious slices, your family will leave with full bellies without making too much of a dent on your wallet! 

DO:

As long as your weekend getaway doesn’t coincide with Christmas, July 4th, or another major holiday, you can probably rationalize a day in one of the area’s theme parks. The weekends are prime time for park attendance, so you’ll probably spend more time waiting in line than doing anything else. Still, you’ll definitely be able to enjoy a few rides, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the atmosphere. 

Not visiting for the theme parks? Fortunately, there’s plenty of other stuff to keep you and your family busy in Orlando if Disney World isn’t on your agenda. As a prime family vacation destination, you can find plenty of events, shows, activities, and attractions to enjoy without paying astronomical admission fees.

If your family is down for a round of mini-golf, check out Pirate’s Cove, one of the best mini-golf parks around. The course really embraces the theme, and the scenery alone is well worth the price of admission. Choose from one of two courses, or play them both! 

Looking for a thrill without actually entering a theme park? Check out ICON Orlando, the massive Ferris wheel that towers 400 feet above the ground. It’s the tallest observation wheel on the east coast, and the spectacular views you’ll glimpse from the top on a clear day are well worth the price of admission. 

Speaking of thrills, Florida is known for its fearsome population of alligators, and the best way to get close to one while you’re on vacation is to sign up for an airboat ride. You won’t find one of these in Orlando proper, but you’ll find local shops like Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides just south of the city. You’ll enjoy a taste of Florida not many tourists get to experience as you glide through swamps and marshes.

Whether you’re heading to Orlando to enjoy the city’s theme parks or you’re simply out to have fun with family and friends, you’re sure to have a good time here. Orlando locals, leave a comment and let me know what I left out! 

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Robyn Good
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Erin
2 years ago

I really enjoyed reading this guide. One of the mistakes I made at the Disney is not to stay at the on-site hotel and that caused me lots of time to travel between my hotel and the parks. I will definitely remember this handy tips when visit Disney the next time.

Stacie
2 years ago

I have always thought it would be great to live in Orlando just for this reason. I can’t imagine how wonderful it would be to be able to just take a weekend as a staycation.

Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

I haven’t been to Florida yet, not sure how that happened as I have done a travel including International, but haven’t yet visited Florida. I have to to remedy this for 2019 that’s for sure! 🙂

Danielle
2 years ago

I think a trip to Orlando with the family is a great idea! Your lists of places to go and places to eat will come in handy, should we make the move to go there for a mini-vacation.

Kristine Nicole Alessandra
Kristine Nicole Alessandra
2 years ago

Oh wow. This is an awesome guide for traveling to Orlando. Thank you for your recommendations. If we do get a chance to travel there, we would be with a toddler so this post is a good resource for us to plan a trip there.

Sara
2 years ago

I would love to take my family to Orlando and hit up Disney World and Universal Studios. I’ll have to keep your hotel recommendations in mind!

Bill Sweeney
2 years ago

Love a big NYC style pizza! I’d have to try NYPD Pizzeria for myself! So much to do in Orlando. My family would love it.

Brianne Tursi Manz
2 years ago

We love Orlando! It’s such a wonderful city. We need go back again and get in to some of these attractions.

Cherri Megasko
2 years ago

Oh my goodness – this brings back memories. We took our daughters to Orlando many years ago when they were still young. I’m sure everything has changed so much I wouldn’t even recognize it now. But it was (and probably still is) a great place for families.

Ricci
2 years ago

I have been to Florida a lot but never to Florida! I need to remedy that soon!!

Elizabeth O
Elizabeth O
2 years ago

your recommendation is really amazing. this is an awesome guide which is helpful for travelling.

Lynndee
2 years ago

We’ve never been to Orlando, but we would love to go one day and visit some relatives there too. Thank you for this guide.

Monidipa Dutta
Monidipa Dutta
2 years ago

The place looks so great and fun. Such great captures I must say that and your description is lovely.

Garf
2 years ago

Sounds like a fun weekend getaway. I have yet to visit Orlando. Thanks for sharing the tips.

Stacie
2 years ago

Orlando is my favorite city to visit with kids. There is just so much to do. This is a great guide.

Jeanette
2 years ago

I LOVE this post! I have bot been to Orlando since I was a kid and I want to bring my kiddo there now! I am totally saving this post!

Felissa
2 years ago

Orlando has really grown up around Disney since I was a little girl and stayed at the Wilderness Resort which was a bit different back then. There is so much to see and do now besides the parks though you will want to visit those as well. I haven’t been to the parks in a number of years but I am there every year for a business event and our nights are always jam-packed with things to do and places to go. The food is great and there are so many options whether you have a family in tow or not. From magical to down-home to trendy and super fancy there are places to eat that cater to every whim. I am looking forward to another fantastic visit to Orlando very soon.

Liz Mays
2 years ago

This is helpful advice! I’d definitely want to stay somewhere close so we could get to the rides faster. That’s usually the priority for my family!

Amy
Amy
2 years ago

I am probably the only person who has never been to Florida! I would love to go someday soon with my family but I hate flying.

Jennifer Prince
Jennifer Prince
2 years ago

That is such a fun place to go! Our family hasn’t been in a while, and I need to set up a date for us to go.

Kristi
Kristi
2 years ago

This is making me want to go back! We’ve taken our kids to Orlando twice and each time had a blast.

Elicit Folio
Elicit Folio
2 years ago

This was such a great article! i love all of your tips, and our family would love to try the ferris wheel one day!

Cat
Cat
2 years ago

Orlando is always such a great vacation spot! You’ve got plenty of awesome family travel ideas, too! Thanks for the tips!

Fatima Torres
2 years ago

We love traveling to Orlando with the family. They genuinely enjoy all the attractions that the area has to provide.

Catalina
Catalina
2 years ago

My kid will be so happy to visit Orlando. Thank you for the awesome tips you shared with us!

Becca Wilson
Becca Wilson
2 years ago

I have always wanted to take my family to Orlando. This is such a great guide on what to be able to do.

Claudia Krusch
2 years ago

Love your tips! We love doing weekend getaways specially in the winter!

Rachel
Rachel
2 years ago

We went to Orlando for our honeymoon and actually didn’t go to Disney. We still had plenty to do.

Cătălina-Iuliana Nini

I am sure Orlando has some hidden gems and it`s not all about Disney World and Universal Studios. I would love to go one day.

Emmanuel Damian
2 years ago

Thank you for your tips! I would definitely love to take my niece and nephews to Orlando and experience Disney! Pirate’s Cove is also a nice option. This is a great Orlando guide!

Christopher Mitchell
2 years ago

I love Orlando and all things Disney! When I have a family, I’m THERE!

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