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Fun Things to Do in Orlando: Exploring Theme Parks

Disney World vacation in Orlando

There are a number of fun things to do in Orlando. One of them is visiting the theme parks. Walt Disney World is one that many families visit. For one, it is bigger than the one in California. Here, there are more attractions to see and more rides to try. There are also more shops to visit in Walt Disney World.

Shopping in theme parks, particularly in Walt Disney World is fun. In their souvenir shops, one can buy Mickey Mouse ear-shaped headbands and hats. Some of them may even have ribbons like that of Minnie Mouse’s. Key chains, bookmarks, pencil cases and T-shirts which are exclusively designed by Walt Disney can also be bought there. Buying souvenirs and such that kids and adults in your home can use can be considered as one of the many fun things to do in Orlando.

Aside from Walt Disney World, Orlando also has Sea World. If the kids are fond of marine life, this is where they can find dolphins, stingrays and other marine inhabitants. The marine life is another list of things to see and experience in Orlando, Florida. In Sea World, you can have the kids experience various activities like feeding dolphins. You can also allow them to pet stingrays in Sea World. Shows are also held in Sea World like the Cirque de la Mer. Families will surely be amazed by the acrobatic tricks and such that are performed in this show which resembles acrobatic shows in circuses.

You should not forget to visit Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida as well. This theme park boasts of 40 rides, movie sets and various attractions. There are also shows families can attend. Dining and shopping can also be done at the Universal Studios CityWalk. Families can be entertained as there are shows held there every now and then. It is a fun experience and can be done in the evening without an entrance fee.

If you want to see Steven Spielberg’s works come to life, another of the many fun things to do in Orlando is to visit the Islands of Adventure theme park. While you go shopping for various souvenirs for your family and friends, the kids can try different attractions and rides found there. Many adults love these rides too.

There are other theme parks to go to when one is in Orlando, Florida. But aside from those, there are other things that should be put in your list of fun things to do in Orlando like shopping. Shopping is, of course, imminent as there are so many stores to go to while there. The next time you plan to go on a family vacation, Orlando has lots of theme parks, nature parks and more where both adults and kids can have fun.

Orlando Theme Park – Fantasyland Expansion Update

Little Mermaid Orlando attraction

Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World recently expanded the “New Fantasyland” with many features now open. We last covered this topic  in March of last year. Since then more Disney characters and themed areas have opened to guests at this Orlando theme park.

The Enchanted Forest features some of our favorite Disney characters from The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. Feast in the castles and taverns and enjoy meeting characters, getting autographs and having your picture taken with Ariel. Relive her tale of finding true love as well as legs! The undersea journey and beyond will expose you to all of the characters – Ariel, Prince Eric, Sebastian, Flounder, Scuttle, King Triton, as well as Ursula, the sea witch who stands at 7.5 feet tall and 12 feet wide!

The other Fantasyland area that is opened is Storybook Circus. It transports guests to another era where the colorful big-top tents feature characters performing astonishing stunts and majestic animals are just part of the spectacular entertainment. The Dumbo ride is now complete and with 2 rides, so there is twice the fun. If you like trains, this is the Orlando theme park for you! The Walt Disney World Railroad and the Fantasyland Train Station provide stops throughout the attraction.

Another train that will be coming around the bend in the future at this Orlando theme park is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. This attraction and the Princess Fairytale Hall are scheduled to open in 2013. If you cannot wait that long to experience Fanstasyland, check out the interactive online experience from your own home! If you can break the curse, you’ll be able to experience mermaids singing, beauties telling tales, beasts that roar and elephants that can fly.

Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom is a few miles from Capone’s Dinner & Show. With so many theme parks and Orlando dinner shows to choose from, a perfect vacation combination would be to experience them both! Multi-day park passes permit visitors to enjoy many days and evenings at the attractions. Pick one evening, skip the theme parks and enjoy Capone’s. Online tickets are half price, and the fun is no fantasy. Your entire gang will enjoy this one!

Orlando Theme Park Walt Disney – New Features / Policies

Osceola County and Orange County public schools will be out next week on Spring Break. This is a time for many families to take advantage of the nearby Orlando theme parks for something fun to do. Neither parents or children want to sit around and be bored! There are many Florida resident specials and multi-day passes that make going to Walt Disney World more affordable.

Epcot at Walt Disney World

If you are an Annual Passholder, you can now replace your old paper passes for the new plastic swipe cards on your first visit back to this Orlando theme park. Head over to the Odyssey Center at Epcot on a weekday afternoon with your annual pass and exchange it for your new one. These new cards let you enter faster at the gate by simply swiping it in front of the Mickey Mouse sensor at the gate. Quickly you are in and ready to have fun.

While these new cards are not the future MagicBand, a wristband that guests will eventually have for their park ticket, they do get you one step closer to the new MyMagic+ system that Walt Disney World will be putting into place, possibly later this year. Once the wristbands are in place, you will not need tickets, room keys, FastPasses or even your credit card! Talk about magic!

If you are planning to visit this Orlando theme park over Spring Break, there is a new policy effective Saturday, March 23. Anyone under the age of 14 will not be allowed into the park without someone older than 14 accompanying them. A child trying to enter the park that is underage may be stopped by the cast, and their parent or guardian will be contacted.

This new policy is to help protect children and brings consistency to Disney’s age limit rules for all of their parks. Whether it will effect the Spring Break local crowd is doubtful, however, parents should be aware of this new policy. No more dropping off at the gate and returning later to pick up your young Spring Breaker.

One thing is for sure, during Spring Break the Orlando theme parks will be filling up fast. Use the Florida discount and multiple day discounts and enjoy all of the new features the attractions have to offer. We are lucky to have such a great vacation destination right in our own backyard. Enjoy!

Obama to Visit the Magic Kingdom

It is nice to know that President Obama will be visiting and has a plan to boost U.S. tourism. It may not be so nice for the thousands of tourists visiting Magic Kingdom on Thursday, January 19, 2012. Disney has quickly adjusted to the many demands of such a high profile guest with security measures like none other. Some of the adjustments will affect their guests, however, Disney has made sure it will not lessen their experience. While mid-January is one of the slowest periods of the year for Orlando’s theme parks, there are still likely to be tens of thousands of tourists in the Magic Kingdom when Obama delivers his speech. Here are the changes for that day:

  • The Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade will be scheduled for later in the day at 3:30 p.m.
  • Main Street, U.S.A. will be closed to guest traffic for part of the day. Guests will have to take an alternate route to get to other areas of the Magic Kingdom Park.
  • Extra hours for guests staying in the resorts hotels have been canceled, however, at the other parks Disney has extended operating hours and have added entertainment hoping to steer guests away from the Magic Kingdom.
  • Baby Care Center and the First Aid location have been moved to the right of the entrance of Space Mountain.
  • Main Street, U.S.A.’s Photo Pass will not be available in from of Cinderella Castle until later in the day.
  • All transportation will be running as usual, however congestion and delays are expected.
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort, which will be used as a staging area for news media, will not have its normal parking arrangements for guests.
  • Park guests will not be able to attend this special event without an invitation, therefore many guests will elect to visit other parks during this time.

It is Obama’s plan to unveil a new program called Global Entry which will make it easier for “preapproved, low-risk travelers” to clear U.S. customs. There is also a plan to make it easier for visitors from Brazil, India, China and other countries to obtain a visa to travel to the U.S. In doing so, the number of visas processed annually in each country could be boosted to as many as 1 million. Orlando would greatly benefit from such a plan. With more than 45 million visitors a year to just the four Disney theme parks already, this area’s tourism would certainly increase.

Be prepared for delays near the airport, along the roads heading towards Disney mid-morning and then again in the mid-afternoon. President Obama will only be in the Orlando area for about 3 hours. Let’s hope it is time well spent and not just another campaign stop.

Spotlight: Fantasy of Flight

This attraction is now closed to the public. However, private events, weddings and other special events can be booked. Read more about its closing on this post.

About 35 miles from the Orlando area, located in Polk City is “an attraction of a higher plane.”  Fantasy of Flight is a tribute to aviation that the entire family can enjoy.  What makes this different than some aviation museums is that there are over 40 rare and vintage air crafts, and most of them are restored to the point that they can actually fly.  The interactive Fun with Flight area has a variety of unique experiences such as a state-of-the-art hang gliding simulator.  You can also climb aboard an authentic B-17 Flying Fortress and check out P51 Mustangs, a B-24 Liberator, B-26 Marauder and more!   There is also an inspiring multi-media exhibit based on the courage of the Tuskegee Airmen, African American pilots who fought during World War II.  Another multi-media tribute honors Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP); these courageous women left their homes and families at the height of World War II to serve as the first women to fly for the U.S. military.  Another unique feature is the real restoration tour, where you can get an insider’s view of what it takes to restore these priceless air crafts.

The passionate founder of this attraction, Kermit Weeks, is an expert pilot.  He actually learned to fly as a teenager and started building his first aircraft at 17.  He earned his aeronautical engineering degree and built his own aerobatic airplane and qualified for the U.S. Aerobatics team.  He has won many flying competitions and has earned 20 medals in World Aerobatics Championship competitions.  He has always been fascinated by flight and wants to share his love of aviation with the entire world.  You may even be lucky enough to see this world-renowned pilot fly during your visit!  There are aerial demonstrations (when weather permits) and Kermit often performs these demonstrations himself.

Check the website for the many events that are held at Fantasy of Flight.  Just to mention a few, there’s the annual Roar N’ Soar, which showcases the world’s best classic air, land and sea racing machines ever built.  Also held here are the World Cup Paintball Tournament, aviation camps, and Triumph over Tragedy, Airmen in Captivity: The POW Experience.  And, you can explore the unexplained on the nightFlight, an active, professional paranormal investigation led by Apollo Paranormal Investigations.  There is something interesting for everyone, and if you’re not an aviation enthusiast before visiting Fantasy of Flight, you may just be one once you’ve visited!

For more information about Fantasy of Flight, visit their web site. Feel free to leave a response below about your visit to the Fantasy of Flight and share your tips and experience!