When it comes to family holidays, some places simply shine more than others. Orlando in Florida is the perfect family-friendly holiday destination, ticking the boxes with its amazing sun, sea and variety of attractions. While most people typically associate it with Disney World, the city has so much more to offer: it’s filled with a plethora of amazing kid-friendly activities that can produce truly magical moments, remaining fun, interesting, and educational all at once.
Read on for summer holiday inspiration with our top picks of the most fun things to do in Orlando with your kids!
Wild Florida Airboats & Wildlife Park
This is one way to spend time with a completely unique adventure outside of the bigger attractions. At this park, you can enjoy taking an exciting airboat tour through the Everglades to see the beauty of the surrounding wetlands. It is a prime opportunity to see local plants and wildlife and take a spin on a speedy airboat at the same time. In addition to taking the boat ride, you can experience a variety of wildlife interactions at this park. Though it is known for its esteemed gator park where you can watch, touch, and feed live alligators, the fun doesn’t end there. Whether you want to hang out with a sloth, spend time with a porcupine, or have lunch with an alligator, this park has something to please everyone.
Make sure you take a hat, sunglasses, a refillable water bottle and sun cream though, as it gets hot out there! Wild Florida provides ear defenders to help block out the loud noise, but they're also a handy accessory to keep your hat safely on your head during the windy ride!
More info at Wild Florida Airboats
Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park
Volcano Bay Themed Water Park, Orlando
In the warm and sunny Florida weather, there is nothing better than going for a dip in the water. Universal’s Volcano Bay is a waterpark filled with many great ways to spend a day cooling off under the sun, but still promises a fun-filled time with its variety of water-based experiences.
The park’s main attraction is the mind-blowing Krakatau Aqua Coaster, an absolute must-do. Board a four-man raft that twists, turns and winds in and out of tunnels on a high-speed adventure through the park’s centrepiece volcano. We recommend heading to this as soon as you start your day at the park, as queue times grow larger as the day goes on.
Or, if you’d rather take a relaxing break and simply enjoy time in the water, you can lounge at Waturi Beach. Just be aware that its wave pool is capable of producing several different types of waves, so those who are not strong swimmers should move to shallow water as larger waves can sweep you off your feet.
For ultimate relaxation, you can also catch the Kopiko Wai Winding River, a gentle, far-reaching lazy river that weaves and meanders through Volcano Bay’s tropical landscape and its hidden caves.
Exploring this mysterious island with its looming volcano is something that really teleports you to a new place, bringing the family together for a truly unique experience.
More info at Universal Orlando
Legoland Florida Resort
Though many people think that this is a park for kids, Legoland more than wins over the adults by bringing out your inner child. For any Lego fan (big or small!) this is a must-do: you will marvel at the many ways that Lego products are put to use, from an element of design to how it can be used in mechanics. Legoland has endless sights to behold - as you traverse the park you won’t believe how many ways the humble Lego brick can be applied to create something magical, in all its shapes and sizes. Its many rides are perfect for younger children and older too, making this Orlando park the perfect mix of fun, education, and exploration.
Inside there is also a waterpark that we recommend you visit. However, to gain access you must add on the water park ticket extension to your Legoland Florida ticket.
More info at Legoland Florida
Manta Rollercoaster - SeaWorld, Orlando
Though most people know that SeaWorld is home to a variety of animal-based attractions, few people realise just how much to the park there really is. SeaWorld has a variety of thrilling ride options including roller coasters, a Manta ride that lets you experience the swift dips of motion as a manta ray, and several water-based attractions that are sure to bring out your love of adventure. After you’re done enjoying all the rides, you can pop over to see a variety of aquatic creatures show off their talents
at one of SeaWorld’s famous shows. Lovers of dolphins, sea lions, and the world-famous orcas will be amazed by just how much these exciting creatures can do. For a little extra fun, you can even take the kids over to Sesame Street to meet some of their favourite friends.
More info at SeaWorld Orlando
Walt Disney World Resort
No one knows how to bring a family together quite like Disney, which is why so many people love visiting Walt Disney World. The Magic Kingdom Park is the favourite for younger kids, with six themed lands where you and your children can uncover a variety of wonderful experiences.
The world-famous daytime Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade is a must-do, celebrating the characters and stories found throughout Fantasyland. Your kids will love meeting their favourite Disney characters from films like The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Tangled, and Brave, as well as many others.
For those in need of a more relaxing day, head to Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, which you can say is part theme park, part zoo. The mixture of animals and rides is a breath of fresh air from the typical theme park attractions, as you can easily just wander around and enjoy the shows.
Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
In the Kilimanjaro Safari (Africa) you drive through a simulation of the Savannah and get to see lions, elephants and giraffes living in a natural habitat. If you’re looking for a ride with more adventure, try the Expedition Everest (Asia) - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. This is a high-speed roller coaster through the Himalayan mountains. Just be aware that some parts of this ride may be scary for children.
These are just a few of the many exciting things to do at Walt Disney World Resort, so we recommend you consider the advance FASTPASS+. This ticket allows access to shorter queue lines, giving you the ease of mind to better manage and get the most of your time. Also, we suggest you download the Disney Experience mobile app where, after creating an account, you can get attraction wait times as well as showtimes for fireworks and parades, browse restaurant menus, use the interactive GPS-enabled map and more.
More info at Walt Disney World
Everyone knows the wonder of getting a new box of Crayola crayons or markers for school. This is a great way to spend a few hours away from the heat and the parks, especially when you have younger kids. It’s easy to get caught up in the wonder of imagination here: you and your children can explore a world built upon creativity that is absolutely certain to get you all talking and bonding. Kids can enjoy a varied collection of experiences including playgrounds, interactive art exhibits, and so much more. All that you need to have a good time at this location is a smile on your face and a mind that is ready to create. As you make fun works of art and really learn about the wonders of artistic expression, you can look forward to bringing home exciting tokens like completely custom crayons finished with labels that you can make yourself. For those interested in trying new things, you can even mix colours with melted wax. As an added bonus, you can even see exactly how Crayola crayons are made!
More info at Crayola Experience Orlando
Places to stay with kids in Orlando Florida
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
If your trip is focused on visiting mainly Disney parks then the Swan and Dolphin resort is the perfect place for families to stay. From here you can grab the official Walt Disney World buses, which can take you to and from all of the parks on the property at no extra charge. Alternatively, for those who want to stretch their legs, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are only a ten minute walk away too.
Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin resort in Orlando
On-site there are plenty of activities for guests of all ages, including tennis, beach volleyball and the 18-hole Fairways Miniature Golf course, based on the Disney classic Fantasia. The hotel itself isn’t short of amenities either, with five heated pools, a small sandy beach, swan paddle boats, a coffee shop and gift shop accessible to visitors.
If you’re looking to tantalise your taste buds without leaving the walls of the resort, there’s a huge variety on offer through 17 different restaurants and lounges. We recommend Todd English’s Bluezoo, which features coastal cuisine by the internationally acclaimed celebrity chef. If you like fish then you must try the dancing fish! Kids can also enjoy the added benefit of having the opportunity to dine with Disney characters during breakfast or dinner at the tranquil Garden Grove family restaurant.
After a day at the theme parks, drop the little ones (aged 4-12) at Camp Dolphin where they can have a fun evening with nightly themed activities including arts, crafts, movies, board games and video and arcade games with other kids. Meanwhile, mum and dad can get some well-deserved evening fun or relaxation at the luxurious Mandara Spa.
More info at Swan and Dolphin Orlando
If you want your own private space, a great alternative to staying in the traditional favourite hotels is to rent a villa. These can be amazingly cost-effective when compared to booking a hotel room, and the more people you can get to come along with you, the cheaper it’ll be.
Reunion Resort 991 Orlando, Florida
The Reunion Resort 991 is a super stylish 8-bedroom, 9.5-bathroom villa with all the space and privacy you need for a hassle-free holiday with kids. It’s located just 6 miles away from Disney at the popular Reunion Resort. In addition to proximity to all the amusement parks, you can find shopping destinations and grocery stores nearby too.
This luxurious house is ideal for groups or families with children, with enough space to sleep up to 20 guests. There are several ways to keep kids entertained in the house, including a secret kids playroom, a generous gaming room with four screens and games consoles and even a slate pool table and an air hockey table. Kids and grown-ups can even come together at a dedicated in-house movie theatre for some relaxing down-time away from the hustle and bustle of the parks.
The perks don’t stop there, with a private infinity swimming pool allowing you to sit on the edge and dip your toes in the water undisturbed. With everything so easily accessible, you can enjoy your stay without really having to leave the house.
More information at Top Villas
To find out more information about Orlando holidays, go to the Visit Orlando website.