Must-see sights for Orlando

Aug 12th, 2005, 03:19 PM
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Must-see sights for Orlando

Would appreciate input regarding must-see sights/attractions for Orlando, aside from Disneyworld. Planning to go with two little kids. Will not do Universal Studios or Magic Kingdom as we have that here in California. But want to know where else to go. Thank you.
anneofingleside is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 04:43 PM
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Well, having just moved out of Orlando after 18 years there, I can't think of any reason to go there other than the attractions. Sea World was always my favorite, plus the kids liked the water parks. But Orlando is not by any means a pretty place, and I'm convinced there won't be a tree left in about five years!
Postal is offline  
Aug 12th, 2005, 05:09 PM
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Actually, we have Sea World in California, too, as well as water parks. Hmmmnnn...
anneofingleside is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 04:06 AM
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Take a day to go to Cocoa Beach and the Kennedy Space Center. It is a short drive.

You might investigate Discovery Cove, a dolphin experience attraction.

If you can afford it, Animal Kingdom Lodge has a special sunrise safari for its concierge guests that goes out early and you can see the animals feeding before the park opens.

I'd do early morning visit to the parks, back to the hotel for a swim or quiet time and back to the parks in the evenings for the fireworks and night parades.

Sharper Image has little personal coolers that actually work.

Winter Park is a pretty little suburb as is Mount Dora but I don't know it they would have any appeal for a young family. LMF
LilMsFoodie is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 04:11 AM
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Why are you going to Orlando, then. While we have been there a number of times, it is not exactly the cultural and historical center of the world - if you don't do those attractions with little kids, while you can fill your time, I am not sure it is the best choice for a vacation. I would reconsider and go to a beach instead - but you also have those in California.
gail is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 04:31 AM
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No need to got Disney, Univeral, and Sea World...WHY are you going ot Orlando. Drops off pretty quick elimiating those three. Bush Gardens in Tampa, watch out for traffic on I-4. Coco and Kennedy Space Center is a good bet. Daytona has the beach you can drive your car on, the race track has a very nice set up that takes a 1/2 day to go through, and a light house to climb. Charter a fishing boat. Kissimmie has a roadeo.
moose21222 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 04:35 AM
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How about Gatorland in Kissimmee. You'll get a chance to see loads of alligators, large and small, plus other critters that don't hang out in California.
sludick is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 04:58 AM
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Forgot about Gatorland - that place is a hoot. But not sure it is worth a whole trip to Orlando.
gail is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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LOL, perhaps I should reconsider. We're thinking of Orlando mainly for Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney MGM. Those we don't have in California. At least the kids can have memories of that while they're young enough to appreciate them. The frequent flyer miles we've accumulated for the next trip limit us to the mainland U.S. so that rules out another Hawaii trip. As far as other mainland U.S. locations, I'm thinking of saving for when the kids are old enough to appreciate the culture and history (like New York, Washington D.C.), etc. Decisions, decisions...
anneofingleside is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 09:15 AM
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What about Cypress Gradens (in-between Orlando and Tampa), it looks like a nice place for kids with rides and animals. I went to Gatorland last December and was really looking forward to it. I was very disappointed, it needs updating and remodeling really bad and the show was too cheesy.
vegasnative is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 09:22 AM
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With 2 little kids, what about going to Tampa area. Much more to do non-theme park in that area, could do a day at Busch Gardens - which has plenty of animals, and you get the beach as well.
gail is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 10:12 AM
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"We're thinking of Orlando mainly for Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney MGM...."

Epcot is something you won't see in one place in CA, sure. But Animal Kingdom? We have San Diego Wild Animal Park, and not far away the world-famous SD Zoo. And Disney MGM. In CA you can go to that glorified theme park Universal Studios, as well as tours at Warner Brothers and Sony and NBC. You can go see real shows being taped at multiple studios. Everything that others have recommended is OUTSIDE of Orlando. It's a fun place because all the theme parks are in one geographic location, but other than that, there's no There there.

I think you should reconsider this trip. Kids will be happy as long as they're with their parents. Boston and the Cape would be so much fun in the summer, to mention one place adults and kids enjoy.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Aug 13th, 2005, 06:35 PM
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How old are the kids? And, while you have DisneyLand and Universal in CA, the actual parks are different I have read from other WDW focused boards. Remember, the whole reason Walk Disney picked Fl for WDW was to have PLENTY of LAND to do all he wanted to do! Discovery Cove is terrific, search fodors for posts on it, but if your children are too young you will not be able to do dolphin swim. We have been to Discovery Cove with younger kids and had great time non-dolphin swimming, also it is much less expensive, but a consideration. Do some research on disboards or for attractions that may interest you.
JoyinVirginia is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 07:23 AM
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You are going to have a blast with your kids. I disagree with most on this board. I am 25, and lived in Orlando for about two years. As a kid, I fell in love with Epcot. I still enjoy it just as much today. I think the kids will love Epcot, MGM, and Animal Kingdom. I've been to Animal Kingdom only once, seemed a little small, but the safari blew me away. I've never seen anything like it.

I would break those 3 parks up into two days, maybe three days if you want to be able to relax for some of the day, since this is your vacation. In addition to the three parks, Downtown Disney is an exciting place, and you can spend an entire day there. Disney Quest is an indoor interactive theme park - Cirque du Soleil is also at Downtown Disney. I think California has a Downtown Disney, so this may not be very helpful.

Someone had commented on going to Winter Park or Mount Dora. Definitely don't do that. There is nothing there for the kids. I love Winter Park; however, it's just a small, upscale area outside of Orlando. You mentioned that your kids have done the water park thing before, but remember Wet 'n Wild is often known as the best water park in the world. You may want to visit the website and compare to the places you have been.

IDrive is one of the top tourist areas in Orlando, with lots and lots to do, especially for kids. Places such as Wonderworks and Ripley's Believe It Or Not are awesome - this website has all the dirt on International Drive: I love Wonder Works:

I agree with some on here that Orlando lacks culture and history. Unfortunately, commercialization and suburbia have taken over. However, this has nothing to do with your interests or kids. You'll have a great time, I'm sure.

Have fun,

rocklit is offline  
Aug 16th, 2005, 10:08 AM
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I don't know what you've decided to do but be sure to include DeSoto Springs State Park for a day trip that is unlike anything you will find in California. You can make your breakfast on the grill-tables at the old mill and tube in the spring. Bring some masks for the kids to dive to look at the spring boil.

If you go in the winter then take a trip to Blue Spring to see the manatees in the shallow areas. Or go to Crystal Springs or Homosassa to dive with the manatees. Your ability to do this will depend on the time of year that you go. If it's cold the manatees are inland. If it's warm then DeSoto Springs will be perfect, but not if it's cold. Spring water is 78 all year round.
Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Aug 18th, 2005, 03:23 AM
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TG, where is the Desoto Springs park. I googled it and could find nothing. I went to the Florida state park site and it wasn't there either. I'm interested, thanks. LMF
LilMsFoodie is offline  
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