The hubby and I were stoked to be given the opportunity to VISIT ORLANDO, FLORIDA and I’m excited to share with you my fun travel guide from where to stay, to theme parks, unique attractions and good eats. You will find Orlando is a magical place where memories are made and forever cherished. Keep scrolling for all the pretty and yummy pics!
WHERE TO STAY
THE CASTLE HOTEL is a beautiful Bavarian style hotel right in the heart of the action. Close to all the major theme parks, ICON Orlando, and great restaurants, it is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of taking in the city. Take a pic with this gorgeous poolside view of the magnificent castle!
Cozy little corner in their beautiful lobby.
The rooftop is the perfect set up for private events that overlook the ICON Orlando and also provide views of the fireworks displays from Disney’s parks.
THE FOUR SEASONS RESORT ORLANDO is located near Walt Disney World and is an AAA Five Diamond Resort. If you are looking to be pampered and spend your Disney experience in luxury, this is the place for you.
From the moment you enter their complex, you feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. Everything is beautiful and there is someone to take care of your every request.
The rooms are unbelievably comfortable and have great views to watch the nightly fireworks displays from the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
The amenities are incredible. Spas, golfing, and delicious dining options are only the start. I loved the lazy river, adult only pools, rock climbing, basketball and volleyball courts, and dual water slides.
This makes it hard to leave the property. Luckily if you choose to, they offer complimentary transportation to Disney World, exclusive perks, and the best park rates. In fact, they have an entire front desk dedicated to only Disney World requests.
Lastly, for the kid in all of us, they have Disney characters on-site!
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT has an amazing City Walk and 3 theme parks for days of fun (Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida, and the new Universal Volcano Bay water park).
Being huge Harry Potter fans we had to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Hogsmeade is located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure featuring sights of Hogwarts castle, Hagrid’s Hut, sweets at Honeydukes, and a mug of Butter Beer at the Three Broomsticks.
Then off to Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. Each park requires a separate admission so if you are doing both parks I recommend getting the Park-to-Park ticket so you can jump back and forth at your leisure. This is the fun part as you don’t need to leave the park, instead you get to ride the Hogwarts Express train from Hogsmeade Station to King’s Cross Station. Did I mention you also walk through platform 9 ¾ wall?
Diagon Alley is the shopping mecca for Happy Potter fans. From choosing a wand at Ollivanders, making a withdrawl at Gringotts bank, purchasing magic tricks at Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes emporium, getting dressed up at Madam Malkin’s Robes for all Occasions, and finally capping the experience with another butter beer at the Leaky Cauldron. This experience is absolutely unbelievable.
That’s not all. Universal Islands of Adventure also has Marvel Super Hero Island, Jurassic Park, and Seuss Landing. Seuss Landing is such a charming, unreal, child-like wonderland that leaves everyone in awe.
Universal Studios Florida also offers the recreated streets of old-time Hollywood, New York and San Francisco for endless picture opportunities. Head over to movie rides like Transformers, Revenge of the Mummy, Fast & Furious, and Men in Black, all sure to thrill!
And finally a stroll through the Simpsons Springfield to grab a drink at Duffs Brewery and scarf down this massive donut at Lard Lad.
WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT is probably the most famous set of theme parks in the world. The iconic Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom is the start of what makes this the most magical place on earth. Walt Disney World Resort is made up of 4 theme parks and 2 water parks. Again, like Universal Orlando Resort, getting a Park Hopper to visit any theme park would be recommended. We chose to visit 2 parks in one day; Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.
Side note: Disney World is in Florida, Disneyland is in California and is the original Disney park.
Even the start to Magic Kingdom is magical. You get to choose to arrive by boat or by monorail which offers different views of the park upon approach.
You enter the park by Main Street USA to parades and Disney characters. This all creates a tunnel into a direct view of Cinderella Castle. And if you ask nicely, the balloon gods will let you take a pic with their stack of balloons!
If its your first time to Magic Kingdom, this walk down main street USA may take a long time as you will want to stop every 15 seconds to take another picture of the castle while Mickey and his gang are around to say hi to you.
There is a lot to do in Magic Kingdom, but to be honest, the moments you spend taking in Cinderella Castle and watching the parades and the happily ever after fireworks are unforgettable.
We start with one word – Pandora. Opened in 2017, this is truly a fantasy world.
The finest details in plant life and surrounding sounds totally immerse you in this fictitious world of floating mountains.
Animal Kingdom is set up with each section of the park representing animals and cultures from different continents.
The main icon of the park is the 145 foot Tree of Life.
We loved the Kilimanjaro Safaris. We didn’t know what to expect, to be honest, I thought it was going to be some sort of animatronic animals simulating life in the Savannah. But they are all real. It was amazing to experience a simulated safari so close to home with real animals. There are several programs Disney sponsors and funds to protect animals and their homes. One thing I did notice is how large their living space is during the safari.
DISCOVERY COVE is a truly magical experience and one that took my breath away! Their admission is for an all-inclusive (food, snack, drinks – including alcohol) day of fun at their park.
You can also upgrade to a private Cabana, and/or a swim with dolphins.
There is a lot of education that the staff take you through so all participants understand that this is a privilege and that we must respect our water friends.
During the whole experience I truly felt that they were having a great time with us and they had a great staff to take care of them round the clock.
Discovery Cove also has an amazing lazy river that includes a grotto.
There is a bird sanctuary, a gigantic snorkeling pool and a Grand Reef where you can frolic with the stingrays.
We also got to meet the adorable little locals that inhabit the cove!
OTHER COOL THINGS TO DO IN ORLANDO
If you’re looking for top down all around breath taking views of Orlando, then you need to hustle over to ICON ORLANDO 360.
The ride is approximately 20 minutes and after you can stroll through their one of a kind shops or dine at one of their many restaurants located on the property.
Let me just say, MADAME TUSSAUDS ORLANDO is freaking fun! Located in the Icon Orlando complex, I didn’t think I was going to think much of it, but I was in awe of the artistry and the life-like nature of the celebrities in the museum. It actually felt like I was standing beside Wonder Woman. You will love the endless selfies, it’s way too much fun!
SEA LIFE ORLANDO AQUARIUM is located in the same building as ICON Orlando and is a great walk through if you love looking at the ocean’s wondrous creatures. I especially love when aquariums have underwater tunnels – makes for great picture perfect moments!
If you’re looking to do a little shopping PARK AVENUE has got your covered. You can find many unique little upscale boutiques as well as brand name retail stores in this quaint and charming street.
How cute is this little gelato place?!
BETTER THAN SEX DESSERTS is a very unique and delicious dessert place for adults. Their desserts and signature drinks are kinky in name and nature – it’s best to leave the kids at home and take your significant other for date night here. And look out, they’re opening up multiple franchises in different cities, like Savannah, Georgia! This is one sweet destination you want to make sure to stop by!
If you are a steak or seafood lover, make sure to reserve a table at CAPA AT THE FOUR SEASONS for some tasty american style cuisine also serving Spanish influenced style tapas.
As pescetarian’s, the hubby and I ordered up some fresh whole lobsters and lots of yummy side dishes for the table. The service was friendly and efficient and I loved how they asked if we were going to view the fire works from the terrace so they can execute our dishes in a timely manner.
If you ask me, dessert is always the best part of the meal and the Guindilla is a chocolate lovers dream!
KING CAJUN CRAWFISH is freaking delish! We don’t often get the opportunity to visit many southern states, but when we do, we make the effort to head to a crawfish joint. With some research we ended up at King Cajun Crawfish. Their portions come in wooden bowls and the only plastic is for your hands (if that’s your style). The crawfish was all fresh and with plenty of portion sizes and seasoning choices to satisfy everyone.
And that’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed this travel guide and you were able to grab some ideas for your next travels to Orlando. Thank you so much to VISIT ORLANDO for hosting us! We had an absolute epic time and we cannot wait to come back!