Your favorite non-Disney Orlando things to do

May 17th, 2006, 08:54 PM
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Your favorite non-Disney Orlando things to do

We'll be spending next week in the Orlando area and are looking for adult activities that are "hidden gems." We will of course visit a couple of the theme parks, but would like suggestions of alternative things to do on non-park days.

xrae is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 03:54 AM
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I don't know how "hidden" this is , but here is an interesting and fun activity that is uniquely Florida - an airboat ride. The closest one to the I-Drive/Disney/Lake Buena Vista area is Boggy Creek Airboat Rides <>. This is where I take many of our out-of-state and foreign friends and relatives. It also offers a chance to see some of the "real" Florida. Try to go close to dusk to improve your chances of seeing a gator.
Orlando_Vic is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 04:02 AM
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I would head to Winter Park which is an exceedingly beautiful suburb of Orlando. See the Mediterranean-style campus of Rollins College. Rent canoes or do the guided boat tour of the 3 connected lakes. Shop and eat on Park Avenue. Just drive around and look at the lovely old homes. That's what I'd do.
Guy18 is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 04:16 AM
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When in Winter Park, don't miss the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum - They have an unbelievably comprehensive collection of Tiffany glass and pottery.
dsquared is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 04:24 AM
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We were in Winter Park a few weeks ago and ate at several excellent restaurants. Many feature a Sunday brunch, and the local Catholic church on one of the main drags is a very "happening" place on Sundays, with multiple services and very nice and interesting priests. Shopping is pretty good, and the Tiffany museum across the street from Rollins is a small jewel of a museum though modest in size. I am not a big afficionado of stained glass but Tiffany's work, history, and some of the decorative arts of the period are very nicely curated at the Morse.
kswl is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 05:31 AM
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Blue Springs and mantee viewing etc. is very close to the above also. Well worth a visit and catch the tour via boat if possible. Absolutely great bird viewing if nothing else (you may miss manatees at certain times of the year) and lovely area as stated overall.
JJ5 is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 05:49 AM
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We enjoy strolling around Mt. Dora and taking a sunset boat cruise or having dinner at one of its better restaurants, like Pisces Rising

We're also fond of Bok Tower park area
BTilke is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 06:27 AM
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If you have a rental car, you can drive to the coast and visit the NASA exhibits. We did this and the kids liked it. We spent a little time at Cocoa Beach(It was not the nicest beach).
Orlando is pretty much Disney town. When I read your title, I thought, is there anything non Disney in Orlando? I doubt it. You will enjoy it.
We did do the NASA thing and it was definitely educational and different.
girlonthego is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 07:51 AM
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I second the votes for Winter Park. The downtown area is very cute to walk around and the boat ride around the lakes that goes through the locks between the lakes is wonderful if it is still there. It has been severals years since I've done it.
cab5s is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 07:59 AM
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A third vote for Winter Park and the Morse Museum.

La Nouba--a permanent Cirque du Soleil show is expensive but well worth the cost.
Malesherbes is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 09:11 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions and keep 'em coming! I was going to ask if anyone had done the Winter Park boat tour as I'd seen it advertised in brochures and online. I'm glad to see the unsolicited good reviews. I will do some research on Blue Springs, I'm not familiar with it, and I'm all about nature and birding. We have done an airboat ride before at Loxahatchee and it was very exciting.

girlonthego, hubby and I love the Space Center and have been there many times. It's definitely the best non-Disney thing to do in Fla!
xrae is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 10:14 AM
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We rented kayaks on the Wekiwa River about a half hour north of Orlando. Beautiful place. Even a short kayak is nice there. We go for several hours but any amount is great. Can rent at the state park, but I think there is another place nearby that may have kayaks and canoes, too. sue
sueoz is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 11:35 AM
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Here's the website for the state park sueoz refers to:
dsquared is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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There is a place near Deland which is off I-4 northeast of Orlando called Hontoon Landing You can rent a pontoon boat there for the day. Spend the day cruising up and down the St. Johns river and you will see the real Florida. Every one that has been on this trip has loved it.
gmoney is online now  
May 19th, 2006, 05:30 AM
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If you're interested in Cirque de Soleil, get your tickets EARLY. I looked about two months before we went to Orlando over Easter and couldn't find three decent tickets together---even for the 9pm show on a weeknight for tickets that were $90.
kswl is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 05:49 AM
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My fiance loves Disney (yes, truly)--but he always makes time to have brunch at Chalet Suzanne in Lake Wales, about an hour north of Orlando. His dad went there 50 years ago. Food is really great, and the "resort" is like a fading 30s movie star--shabby elegance. It's a destination for us, but other than touring their soup factory and walking around, there's not much else to do. The dinner there is also quite good.
coolbluewater is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 10:12 PM
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I have never done this but it was recommended by in another thread and I have put it in my "must do" file for our next trip to Orlando:

"Wekiva Springs State Park.

For something you will really enjoy and remember forever, go to Wekiva Springs SP (northern part of Orlando - Altamonte Springs area.

Google for more information but...

Wekiwa Springs State Park comprises approximately 7,000 acres of wild scenery that offers an opportunity to see how areas of central Florida looked when the Timucuan Indians speared fish in the spring-fed creeks and stalked the uplands. They left a number of mounds that are still visible today. The main spring pumps approximately 42 million gallons of water each day.

I'd rent canoes or take a canoe guided trip. It is truly an amazing experience. You feel like you are canoeing through "Old Florida".

There's an official website and here's the website of the canoe company working in the park. They also have horseback riding.

For a low key experience (and much less expensive!) but one you will enjoy and remember forever, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a quieter alternative - and much more real.
ajcolorado is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 04:16 AM
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The car show in Old Town Kissimmee on Saturday night. Amazing cars from the 50s and 60s. The cars drive down a pedestrian-lined street.
emd is offline  
May 23rd, 2006, 07:55 AM
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I'd consider getting the Go Orlando Card and enjoy some of the attractions inside and outside of Orlando that are less like theme parks. It includes a Dolphin Sail in St. Pete as well as some Miami attractions, too.
FLtagfootball is offline  
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