15 Things You Simply Have to do in Orlando, Florida

Planning a trip to Orlando? Check out my list of 15 things to do in Florida which will make your holiday the best one ever!

It’s now been a full week since Adam and I got back from Florida and I’m suffering from a serious case of the holiday blues. We had such an amazing time and I could probably go on about it forever so in an attempt to keep it brief I thought I’d round up my 15 favourite moments and the things you simply have to do if you take a trip to Florida.

Florida_iHop_pancakes

Go to iHop

So iHop was our first port of call on our first full day in Florida, I’d been looking forward to it since the day I last left America five years ago! For a lover of pancakes this place is my idea of heaven, the choice is ridiculous and it took me a good half an hour to choose which flavour I was going to go for. In the end I went pretty simple and picked banana and raspberry with cream and maple syrup but they were delicious! Four pancakes seemed like a mountain and as much as I struggled through I wasn’t able to finish them which was pretty sad. It set us up seriously well for a day wandering around the parks!

Florida Butterbeer

Drink butterbeer in Diagon Alley

Since I last visited Florida The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been extended and Universal Studios is now home to Diagon Alley. This was the park I was most excited to visit and it certainly didn’t disappoint! We wandered around mooching in all the various shops attempting to not buy everything, picked up a butterbeer which I think is delicious (Adam wasn’t so sure) and finished off the experience by going on the Escape from Gringotts ride which was amazing!

Florida Rock n Roller Coaster

Ride front row on the Rock n Roller coaster

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is one of my absolute favourite rides, so good that we must have gone on it at least four times throughout the trip. One of those times we got put front row and I have to say it just made the experience 10x better!

Florida Typhoon Lagoon

Get hit by the waves at Typhoon Lagoon

We managed to pick a day that wasn’t plagued with thunderstorms and head to Disney’s waterpark Typhoon Lagoon which is my favouriteeee. With a 6ft wave pool, lazy river and various water slides it’s the perfect place to cool down on a humid day in Florida. I must admit I’m not the best swimmer but even I love the wave pool! Whilst we were there we also took a dip in ‘Shark Reef’, a salt water pool filled with sharks, rays and fish. We even spotted a Dory!

FloridaDisney Boardwalk

Watch the fireworks at Disney Boardwalk

One of my favourite evenings has to be the one we spent at Disney Boardwalk. We weren’t really sure what to expect as I hadn’t heard a lot about it but once we got there I was so glad we made the trip. Located around a lake with various restaurants, bars and attractions it faces the absolutely stunning Yacht Club hotel which is my dream to stay in one day, I’ll have to keep dreaming for now though at $400 a night…We fancied a more casual evening so we picked up some takeaway pizza and sat by the lake whilst the sun set to enjoy it. Afterwards we grabbed some ice cream at the cutest little parlour and I can safely say that it was the most incredible ice cream I’ve EVER eaten, Ben and Jerry’s just isn’t going to cut it anymore. We went for a stroll around the lake and the evening was rounded off pretty perfectly with the fireworks from Epcot.

Florida The Cheesecake Factory

Go for dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (Bonus points if you make it to dessert!)

I’d heard a LOT about The Cheesecake Factory so I knew we had to take a trip there whilst we had the chance! We headed over to The Mall at Millenia for a spot of shopping and decided to pop in for some lunch. With some insider knowledge that the portion sizes were extremely generous we decided to be a little cautious and pick from the lunch menu, we both went for pasta and it really was delicious. There was absolutely no room for dessert though which was a real shame so we didn’t get to try any of that famous cheesecake, sad face!

Dress up as your favourite character from Harry Potter

The shops in Universal are packed full of amazing Harry Potter merchandise so it’s only right to choose your house, don a robe, grab a wand and cast some spells!

Florida -Soarin

Travel around the world on Soarin’

Epcot isn’t the most ride centred park so we didn’t have the highest hopes as we queued up for Soarin’ that it was going to be full of thrills but we were definitely proved wrong! This is hands down the most amazing motion simulator ride I’ve ever been on and there’s a heck of a lot of competition in Florida. Soarin’ takes you on a journey around the world and immerses you in stunning scenery not only by sight but by sound and even smell too! A MUST visit!

Florida Sci-Fi Diner

Grab a movie and dinner at The Sci-Fi Diner

One of the Disney restaurants that was on my must visit list was The Sci-Fi Diner at Hollywood Studios, although the wait for a table was over an hour I was willing to wait as it’s definitely more of an experience than just dinner. Set in a drive in cinema, your waiter shows you to your table, or should I say car…where you are able to enjoy your meal in front of the big screen. It was a really fun themed evening that I’m glad we got to experience.

Florida - Baymax

Meet your favourite characters

I’m not really one to take the time out of my day to queue up to meet characters but when I saw that one of my favourite Disney characters Baymax was doing a meet and greet I just had to go along! It was pretty fun and I got some great pictures from it! We also  couldn’t help but meet Russell from Up! at Animal Kingdom too as he’s such a cutie!

Check out the idyllic water at Disney Springs

On my last visit to Florida I’d been to Downtown Disney but since then it’s been transformed into Disney Springs, with some really cool places to eat, amazing shopping and lively entertainment it really is one of the best places to spend your evenings. One of the most picturesque parts are the amazing pools, with the bluest water and complete with pretty lanterns.

Florida Animal Kingdom

Go on safari at Animal Kingdom

On the day we were visiting Animal Kingdom we made sure we were up early and and at the park when it opened. We headed straight for the Kilimanjaro Safari as we heard it got extremely busy later on in the day and the animals tended to be easier to spot in the morning when it was cooler. It was a really amazing experience and we got to see elephants, giraffes, zebras and various other wildlife up close!

Florida Thunderstorms

Embrace the inevitable thunderstorms

There were definite pros and cons to choosing to head to Florida in September; the parks were quieter than I’d ever seen them so queues were short but it was thunderstorm season so most afternoons the heavens would open and you’d be forced to take cover. After the initial disappointment of this we learnt to embrace the rain and picked up some Disney ponchos so we could still carry on with our day without getting soaked!

Make the most of the bargains and hit up the Mall!

We took a break from the parks on a couple of days and decided to head out and do some shopping. We found the best bargains were at the Premium outlets as there was some pretty hefty discount on top of everything generally being cheaper than in the UK. I picked up some bits from Calvin Klein, Victoria Secret and I of course couldn’t leave America without some Bath and Body Works candles!


Visit the Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios

If you happen to visit Florida in September or October then you simply have to go along to Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. We booked the tickets whilst we were out there and although a little pricey we figured it was one of those things that we’d probably regret if we missed out on it. From the moment we stepped into the park I don’t think I stopped screaming, yes I was THAT girl. The evening was made up of a number of scare houses based on programmes such as American Horror Story and The Walking Dead aswell as live actors based in scare zones around the park. Although terrifying at the time it’s pretty hilarious to look back on, and made for some entertaining snapchats!

 

I hope you enjoyed having a little glimpse at our holiday and it’s given you some ideas incase you’re take a trip to Florida too!

 

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15 things to do in Orlando

Jess_Who

Author: Jessica

I’m Jess, a twenty-six year old self diagnosed Instagram and brunch addict. Whilst browsing Jess Who expect to find a hint of relatable personal style, Pinterest-worthy interiors, drool-worthy food and all of the latest happenings in Nottingham!