ULTIMATE ORLANDO BUCKET LIST: Top 10 things to do in Orlando, Florida 

This post is sponsored by Economy Bookings. But as always, all opinions are my own and I would only recommend services and products I would use myself and know you’ll love! 

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ULTIMATE ORLANDO BUCKET LIST: Top 10 things to do in Orlando, Florida 

Orlando, Florida is one of the world’s most visited family destinations. With a vibrant city centre, theme parks galore, incredible nature spots and fantastic sunny weather – it has all year-round appeal! So, whether you’re a sun seeker, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or foodie, Orlando has got something for you. Here are my top 10 things to do in Orlando, Florida – the ultimate Orlando bucket list for first-time visitors! 

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1) Go on an Orlando City Sightseeing Tour 

Get to know the city of Orlando and its surrounding region with an Orlando City Sightseeing Day Tour. This includes exploring the city by bus and taking a scenic boat ride on the canals of Winter Park.  

Learn about Orlando’s 145-year history from the Timucua and Seminole people who first settled here, up to present day. As well as the pre- and post-Civil War era, aerospace heritage and its theme park capital evolution.  

You can also explore the city at your own pace by renting a car whilst you’re visiting – which I highly recommend because Orlando is a bit of a pain to get around on public transport! 

Car rentals in Orlando are the best option if you’re looking for an easier way of getting around the city. But especially when you’re travelling to the theme parks, as there is no need to wait for buses, shuttles or taxis when you’re tired at the end of the day. 

There are rental car places at Orlando Airport too if you want to make a booking when you get there.  

Enjoy driving through the commercial heart of the city. Passing by City Hall, the historic Church Street, the Court House, the sport stadiums and Lake Eola. As well as see some of downtown Orlando’s highlights around Lake Eola whilst browsing the boutiques and specialty stores on Park Avenue. 

Eola Lake in Orlando, Florida with palm trees and buildings in the background

2) Visit Disney World Resort 

If you have been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am a HUGE Disney fan and have written extensively about Disneyland Paris.

However, Disney World in Florida is officially taking things up a notch and considered ‘Disney Mecca’ to its biggest fans!  

It’s one of the top things to do in Orlando and is a MUST for your Orlando bucket list! 

The Disney World Resort incorporates several different parks, including: 

  • Magic Kingdom – classic Disneyland as we know it with its usual themed lands: Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland and Liberty Square. 
  • Epcot – this park is dedicated to the celebration of human accomplishment in technological innovation and worldwide culture. It’s separated into different lands just like Disney World with themes covering, world discovery, celebration and nature. 
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Disney Studios celebrates and showcases everything Tinseltown! Think lots of film-themed rollercoasters and shows as well as an animation courtyard to see behind the scenes of the magic. 
  • Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – this park is a dedicated Star Wars land, which makes you feel like you are stepping right onto a movie set! There are rides, interactive experiences as well as bars and restaurants – all themed (of course!) Star Wars. 
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom – known as a zoological theme park due to the hundreds of animal species it exhibits. The park spans 580 acres, making it one of the largest theme parks in the world. It’s entirely themed around the natural environment and animal conservation. Although I must say this park won’t be for everyone. Being a vegan travel blogger, I prefer to observe animals in the wild. However, this is down to personal belief, so I’ll leave you to make your own mind up. 😊

You could spend days just in one park as you can imagine. There’s lots to get through! But no matter how many days you get in each of the parks, I guarantee you’ll have the time of your life!

There is literally a land for whatever takes your fancy.  

Disney World sleeping beauty's castle in Orlando  at night with fireworks going off behind it

3) Enjoy a day at Legoland 

Legoland is the ultimate theme park for thrill-seekers and Lego fans alike!  

With over 50 rides, attractions and shows, all inspired by Lego and the Lego movies, you’ll love how this immersive world is brought to life.

Enjoy the Unikitty-themed drop tower, grab lunch at ‘Taco Everyday’ and meet Emmet and Wyldstyle all under one awesome roof. 

The best part about Legoland Florida though is that you don’t need to have kids in order to go like many other Legolands across the world. Big kids of all ages can enjoy the magic of Lego! 😉

Legoland is located about 45 minutes’ drive away from Orlando but is well-worth the trip! Especially if you’re a self-proclaimed Lego nerd (like me!). 

Get your tickets here

Entrance to Legoland in Florida with a Happy Brickday lego figurine and birthday cake in the foreground

4) Visit Universal Orlando Resort  

Whilst not as big as Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort is one of the fastest growing theme park resorts in Florida. With several new attractions and hotels open in recent years and many more in the works. 

It’s a fantastic theme park that movie-lovers and adrenaline junkies alike will love! Which is always on the top of “things to do in Orlando” bucket lists! 

The Universal Orlando Resort incorporates two main parks (and a waterpark which we’ll talk more about later!): 

  • Universal Studios Florida – this park is made to look just like a film set with most attractions set in sound stages. It’s separated into different themed lands and features rides from popular movies such as Shrek, Despicable Me, Men in Black, E.T, The Mummy and The Terminator. 
  • Islands of Adventure – this park’s overall theme is exploration and adventure! It’s split into eight distinctly themed areas, each with its own mix of attractions. These include: Port of Entry, Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Skull Island: Reign of Kong, Jurassic Park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Seuss Landing and the Lost Continent. 
Diagon Alley in Universal Studios with Harry Potter themed shops either side and the dragon on top of Gringotts Bank

5) Visit one of Orlando’s many waterparks! 

Orlando has got a whole host of different waterparks for you to choose from, including: 

  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon – the main feature of this waterpark is its massive wave pool. It’s the largest in North America, pumping out six-foot waves every 90 seconds! There’s also, ‘Mount Mayday’ which gives you fantastic views of the whole park, as well as a wide range of raft and body water slides. 
  • Volcano Bay – this tropical-themed waterpark sets itself apart from the rest by having some of the best water rides in Orlando! With a wide range of slides and experiences that adrenaline junkies will love!  
  • Legoland Waterpark – this waterpark is the most child-friendly with more interactive Lego experiences designed for kids. However, they have several raft and body slides for older children and adults as well as a wave pool and lazy river. 

You won’t have time to visit them all. But I recommend putting at least one waterpark on your itinerary to get the full Orlando theme park experience! 

Man and woman in a rubber dingy laughing coming down a yellow waterslide

6) Check out the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex 

The Kennedy Space Center is one of NASA’s 10 field centres and is located on the Eastern Coast of Florida, just an hour’s drive from downtown Orlando. 

It’s one of the most popular attractions in Orlando – becoming so much more than a launching pad for NASA’s astronauts!  

You can get up close with the original Apollo Saturn V Rocket, see the huge Atlantis Space Shuttle and take a trip outside the ozone in a simulator. You can even arrange to have lunch with a veteran astronaut too!  

You’ll also be able to explore the ‘Astronaut Hall of Fame’, rocket garden and the Gateway. This is a new addition to Kennedy Space Center which explores the future of space travel and highlights what is happening in the space programme right now. 

It’s one of the top things to in Orlando so make sure to add this to your Orlando bucket list! 

Get your tickets here

Rocket launching at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida

7) Go kayaking with manatees 

How could anyone resist going kayaking alongside a troupe of adorable wild manatees? It’s possibly one of the most magical and authentic animal encounters you can have in Orlando! 

Kayaking tours are based at Blue Springs State Park, which is the manatees’ winter home.

On the tour you’ll be taken through the park at a leisurely and quiet pace so you can see these beautiful “sea cows” in their natural habitat.  

After visiting the manatees you’ll continue kayaking up the Snake River, through a creek that shelters an abundance of wildlife.

You’ll also get chance to see otters, alligators, eagles, osprey, hawks and wild hogs too! 

Get your tickets here

Manatee floating through clear water in Florida

8) Take an airboat ride over the Everglades  

Venture beyond the theme parks by taking a wild ride in an airboat to discover the headwaters to the Florida Everglades. 

Look out for alligators as you zip through the area’s waterways and learn more about the unique sub-tropical ecosystem. 

I recommend taking an airboat ride as part of a day tour as you’ll get more bang for your buck! The tour includes a visit to the Native American Living History Museum, an interactive gem-mining experience and a barbeque lunch.  

Get your tickets here

Airboat taking off over the Everglades in Florida at sunset

9) Explore Old Town in Kissimmee  

Old Town Kissimee is a retro landmark and recreation of a classic Florida town that offers souvenir shops, rides and lots of great food spots! 

Relax as you stroll through 18 acres of beautiful, tree-lined bricked streets and discover over 70 unique, affordable shops and restaurants. 

There is also free weekly live entertainment and events going on which makes it a great place to visit for a taste of Orlando nightlife! 

Old Town in Orlando, Florida at night with a fun fair rides and ferris wheel lit up in the background
Photo credit

10) Orlando Museum of Illusion

The Orlando Museum of Illusion is a great option if you need a break from theme parks and outdoor excursions. It was also a TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Winner in 2022 – so you know it’s good before you’ve even been! 

Dubbed an ‘edutainment’ centre, Orlando’s Museum of Illusion will trick and amaze your senses – where nothing is what it seems! Run free, defy the laws of gravity and shrink into the size of a borrower – all in one place!

It’s one of the quirkiest and fun things to do in Orlando and makes for some awesome souvenir pics! 

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What’s at the top of your Orlando bucket list? What would be your favourite things to do in Orlando? 

Quick FYI guys – this post contains affiliate links to various tours I recommend. I will receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support! 

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