Meandering In: Orlando, Florida

Syndication: USA TODAY

Home to a dozen different theme parks, Orlando is the destination for all ages to explore places like SeaWorld, Universal Studios, or Disney World itself. Located in the center of the Sunshine State, you can stay in the city or drive to other locations scattered across Florida. 

Best Time to Visit

Mid-September to early November as the temperatures drop from the nineties down to the seventies, and the crowds are smaller

Places to Go and See


Credit: Rithika Gopal

Home to both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, you will never run out of attractions to visit. Take a trip to Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley, or escape Jurassic Park dinosaurs by the skin of your teeth. With a variety of rides, you can find something just for you whether it is a roller coaster or virtual ride. 

  • Hours: 9-9
  • Best Time: Sunny day, but try to avoid peak visitor seasons over the summer
  • Price: Universal Studios $109 / Islands of Adventure $109

Disney World

Meandering In: Orlando, Florida
Credit: Kitera Dent

Pulling in millions of visitors each year, Disney World is one of the most popular attractions in the entire state of Florida. Boasting multiple types of theme parks like Epcot and Animal Kingdom, you can get lost in the worlds of Pandora or Disney Princesses as you walk around this famous amusement park. 

  • Hours: ~8-9 (check individual parks for more precise times)
  • Best Time: Cooler off-season months to avoid long lines and huge crowds
  • Price: $109/day (Visit one park per day 1-10 days)

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Sea World

Meandering In: Orlando, Florida
Credit: Kenny Eliason

In addition to being one of the largest marine animal rescue organizations in the world, SeaWorld also has shows and thrill rides that highlight the different animals they save. Other events include a summer concert series, volunteer opportunities, or tours. 

  • Hours: 9-9 or 10
  • Best Time: Sunny day, but possibly during the cooler months to avoid lines
  • Price: $69.99

Disney Springs

Meandering In: Orlando, Florida
Credit: Colin Lloyd

Filled with a plethora of different shops and eateries, Disney Springs is the place to go and spend a day finding unique gifts, eat delicious food, and go on some exciting attractions scattered throughout the space. 

  • Hours: 10-11
  • Best Time: Sunny day to walk around, possibly early summer or in the fall
  • Price: Free parking, price depends on shop you enter

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Boasting five different sections of animals – amphibians, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, and mammals – there is plenty to see at the Central Florida Zoo. If you’re looking for other entertainment, check out their seasonal events or find an internship/volunteer opportunity and come up close and personal with the animals that populate our Earth. 

  • Hours: 9-4
  • Best Time: Warm sunny day, all year
  • Price: $22.95-24.95

Ripley’s Believe it or Not

Do you believe it? No matter how weird or crazy the facts are at Ripley’s, they are all true. Walk around and view various artifacts, or explore the interactive exhibits on display at this mind-boggling museum. 

  • Hours: Sun-Thur 10-11, Fri & Sat 10-12
  • Best Time: Any time of year since the attractions are indoors
  • Price: $27.99

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Hidden Gems

Catboat Escapes

Captain your own catamaran on the Clermont Chain of lakes, which are some of the cleanest waterways in Florida. Choose either the Tour of Lakes or Sunset Tour, and have some of the best views on the water. 

  • Hours: Tours at 9/11:30/5 
  • Best Time: Nicer weather days, during the spring through fall
  • Price: $135

The Showcase of Citrus

Meandering In: Orlando, Florida
Credit: Brooke Lark

2,500 acres of family owned and operated fun, The Showcase of Citrus is not just a U-pick location. Take a monster truck through the ranch and explore all the types of citrus grown, or head over to the gem mining station and use a real sluice box to find treasure.

  • Hours: 9-7
  • Best Time: Year round, but especially during U-Pick season Nov-May
  • Price: Depends on what you are doing at the farm

The Escape Game

Meandering In: Orlando, Florida
Credit: Mitchell Luo

Presenting seven rooms of varying difficulty, come to the Escape Game and try to beat their highly rated puzzles. Uncover a lost scientist’s experiments in The Depths, or find your relatives gold stash in Gold Rush. Whatever room you decide to book, you will surely have a great time trying to get out. 

  • Hours: 8-12
  • Best Time: Anytime as it is indoors
  • Price: $39.99

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American Space Museum & Walk of Fame

Meandering In: Orlando, Florida
Credit: Bubba73

In an effort to preserve the history of space exploration and honor those who were trailblazers in the race for space, the American Space Museum & Walk of Fame was created. Either take a walk through the exhibits at your own pace, or schedule a tour and listen as an expert brings through the Age of Exploration. 

  • Hours: Mon-Sat 10-5 (Self-guided tour)
  • Best Time: Anytime as it is indoors
  • Price: $10

Top Restaurants

House of Blues

“Eat. Drink. Rock.” is the mantra of the House of Blues restaurant in Orlando. Fill up on delectable food before listening to a variety of artists perform music, and enjoy the atmosphere of blues at night. 

  • Hours: 11:30-12
  • Featured Food: VooDoo Shrimp / Hob Smash Burger
  • Featured Drink: Rock Me Hurricane / Hound Dog Mule

Four Flamingos

 Also known as a Richard Blais Florida Kitchen, Four Flamingos has a range of seafood options that will tickle you pink, just like the mascot of this restaurant. 

  • Hours: 5-10 daily
  • Featured Food: Swordfish Prime Rib “Neptune’s Cut” / Wagyu Picanha
  • Featured Drink: Key Lime in the Coconut / The Filthy Flamingo

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Buttermilk Bakery

Presenting quality pastries in small batches, Buttermilk Bakery should definitely be on your list to visit in the morning and grab a delicious breakfast. Either walk in and choose what to order, or go online and schedule a pick up time with all your favorites.

  • Hours: Wed-Fri 8-2, Sat & Sun 9-2
  • Featured Food: Buttermilk Pie / Chocolate Caramel Tart
  • Featured Drink: Hibiscus Iced Tea / Passion Fruit Iced Tea

The Monroe

Comprising 8,000 square feet of dining and entertainment space, The Monroe aims to bring nostalgia to any who decide to dine or spend time there. The rich history of Orlando shines through both menu and decor, and you will leave feeling relaxed and content. 

  • Hours: Tues-Thurs 5-10, Fri & Sat 5-11 (Dinner)
  • Featured Food: The Monroe’s Famous Fried Chicken / Royal Trumpet Mushrooms
  • Featured Drink: You Go Glen Coco! / Funky Town


Taking Japanese techniques and putting a modern spin on them, Domu aims to become a “dream come true” for customers. Making their own noodles, try various types of dishes at this quaint restaurant that has three separate locations. 

  • Hours: Sun-Thurs 5-10, Fri & Sat 5-11
  • Featured Food: Richie Rich / Krabby Patty
  • Featured Drink: Lychee Martini / Bees Knees

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Se7en Bites

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Featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives, Se7en Bites is located in the heart of Orlando’s milk district. Whether you want savory desserts or the viral pot pie, there are lots of choices at this quaint restaurant. Make sure you come early though, as they do sell out quickly!

  • Hours: Closed Mon-Wed, Thurs-Fri 8-3:30, Sat & Sun 9-3
  • Featured Food: 7th Trimester / Chicken Pot Pie (featured on Diners, Drive Ins & Dives)
  • Featured Drink: House Tropical Sangria / Signature Orange Blossom Mimosa

Top Hotels

Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive

  • ~$100/night
  • Featured Amenities: Free WiFi, Outdoor Pool, Hot Tub, Fitness Center, Pet-friendly (extra charge), In-house Restaurant
  • Hotel Information: Check in 4pm, Check out 11am, Free Parking

Hilton Grand Vacations Club Las Palmeras Orlando

  • ~$150/night
  • Featured Amenities: Extra Charge WiFi, Indoor Pool, Waterslide, Hot Tub, Fitness Center, In-house Bar
  • Hotel Information: Check in 4pm, Check out 10am, Extra charge parking

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando

  • ~$300/night
  • Featured Amenities: Free WiFi, Game Room, Outdoor Pool, Hot Tub, Fitness Center, Pet-friendly
  • Hotel Information: Check in 4pm, Check out 11am, Extra charge parking

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

  • ~$400/night
  • Featured Amenities: Free WiFi, Game Room, Outdoor Pool, Hot Tub, Fitness Center, Kitchen
  • Hotel Information: Check in 3pm, Check out 11am, Free Parking

Home to Disney World where all dreams come true, Orlando has a lot to offer. Whether that be amusement parks, museums, boat rides, or just enjoying the warm weather, the Magic City will entrance you to stay as long as possible.

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