Looking for things to do in Orlando with kids? The Scary Mommy Travel Guide was created because there is nobody better to help you survive traveling to a unfamiliar destination than a mom who lives there. Read the ever growing guide here, or submit your own hometown!
1. In Orlando, always choose Magic Kingdom! You can’t go wrong with it and there are enough attractions to keep all ages in your party happy. (Plus, if you don’t go, every single one of your friends and family will want to know how you could possibly be in Orlando, and not go to Magic Kingdom!) There is so much to do that you will be busy from morning to night, and you will definitely want to get at least a bite or two.
For a Quick Service (which means you order at a counter, and then take your food and sit down,) my top pick is Pinnochio Village Haus. It has something for everyone from BBQ Chicken pizza (my fave) to chicken nuggets (my daughter’s pick). The most popular tables overlook the ride It’s A Small World. Trust me, these tables will keep the kids entertained waving to everyone on the ride while you get to eat, and catch your breath.
For table service, my family’s favorite is Liberty Tree Tavern. If you go for lunch it’s patriotic/New England themed a la carte choices. For dinner, it is family style which includes such favorites as roasted turkey, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and carved beef. Plenty of coloring sheets with crayons will keep the kids happy.
2. In Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure, choose Islands of Adventure. Between The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Seuss Landing there is something for all ages in your party. You and your children will get a kick out of all being able to drink “beer”- Butter Beer! Alcohol free, super sweet, and impossible to resist! Julia-my 4.5 year old would still be in Seuss Landing if I hadn’t absolutely insisted on leaving. Also, do not skip Pteranodon Flyers in the Jurassic Park area. Adults can only go on this ride if they are with a a child 36” to 56.” No ifs, ands or buts. Trust me, for years when I had no child I tried. But finally I had my 38” golden ticket to ride the Pteranodon Flyers. So fun, we went twice. Would have gone three times had the line not been over 1/2 an hour!
3. Celebration: The Town that Disney Built! Well Disney no longer owns it, but it is still worth a visit. Once you enter Celebration you feel as if you have been transported to a time and place where neighbors all knew each other, and life was easy and simple. There are a number of really great restaurants, and my personal favorite is Columbia. The delicious Sangria will erase any memories of anything that has possibly gone wrong during your travels/vacation. It’s yummy food, but kid friendly. Great combination!
If the weather is warm make sure you have bathing suits and towels for the kids as the town sprinkler always has children squealing with laughter no matter the time of day.
No visit to Celebration would be complete without a visit to Kilwins Ice Cream Shop. On hot days you will be cooling off with ice cream, and on cooler days you and the kids will be loving their rich hot chocolate. A perfect place to enjoy your ice cream or hot chocolate is by the lake front in one of the rocking chairs. Keep the kids entertained by asking if they can spot the alligator that is said to live in the Lake.
4. Right next to Celebration you will find Old Town which is reminiscent of old school carnivals complete with Go Karts, Tilt-a-Whirl, Ferris Wheel and so much more. Definitely a place you can spend a few hours, between the rides and a number of places to grab a bite.
5. Are your children fascinated by alligators and crocodiles? Head over to Gatorland! In addition to alligators and crocodiles they also have a petting zoo, nature walk, a splash park, a variety of shows, and so much more. Gatorland is a safe way to get up close and personal safely with creatures that would very much like to eat you!
6. Who hasn’t heard of the beloved whale Shamu? In the past few years Sea World has upped their game-besides fascinating shows they have also added rides that are geared towards little ones, as well as thrill rides for older kids and adults . Sea World also has two sister parks: Discovery Cove and Aquatica. Do you have children like my daughter Julia-begging to swim with Dolphins then you definitely want to check out Discovery Cove if they are 6 or older. Want to spend a day in a fun water park with rides and animals throughout the park? Head over to Aquatica.
7. Downtown Disney is a a shopping, dining, entertainment mecca. From movie theaters to Planet Hollywood to a 50,000 square foot Disney merchandise store, there is so much to see and do it can be overwhelming. Once Upon A Toy is a fantasy toy store for children and adults. Between the toys and decorations your children may never want to leave. If you like bowling, you will love bowling in the Happiest Place on Earth: Splitsville Luxury Lanes. Want to sit back and relax? Catch a movie in the AMC Dine-In Theatre. You reserve your seats, and then get to sit back. A waiter will bring you everything from popcorn to steak!
8. Legoland is located in Tampa-about an hour’s drive from Disney World. Legoland is fantasy world created built completely out of Legos. Rides, shows, and in the spring through early fall, a water park too!
9. The aquarium is home to Winter the Dolphin star of the movie Dolphin Tale. The movie tells the tale of Winter who lost his tail, forms an incredible bond with a young boy who believes a prosthetic tail can be be created. You will get to meet Winter, as well as many other animals including sea turtles, otters and much more. There is much to see and do, including, but not limited to animal interactions and a safari boat tour.
10. Children are fascinated with space and the moon. About 40 minutes from Disney World you can visit NASA which means you will see rockets, launch pads, meet astronauts, and get a chance to see what it is like to train in a spaceflight simulator. It is definitely a unique experience. There is a space themed food court to grab a bite to eat, but if your children are really into space travel they might want to have Lunch with an Astronaut. You will enjoy a delicious meal, a short talk by an astronaut, and get a chance to take a photo with the astronaut. You may not get a chance to actually go to the moon, but your children will be over the moon by the whole experience of the Kennedy Space Center.
Read more about Disney with Kids here!