Orlando, Our Home, Our City
Where to Stay
There a lot of options around the Kissimmee (Disney) area that are affordable and well maintained parks. We ended up staying at Wekiva Falls, an RV Park about 45 minutes north of Orlando on I-4. While the location wasn’t ideal for us while working full time downtown, the park was really nice, had a lot of amenities (pool, community house, workout room, store, and laundry) including a natural spring.
There was a quaint little “tiki bar” at the end of the park that offered karayoke and refreshments on Friday & Saturday nights which was a fun place to meet and greet fellow RVers and was amazing people watching!
Universal & Islands of Adventure
We know everyone is not a theme park fan. The crowds are awful, your waiting in line for hours at a time, prices are inflated, and it’s HOT. We totally get it if Disney or Universal is not your idea of an amazing day, but we can’t deny it…we love Universal! We love going to a theme park and feeling like you’re in a totally new world (Harry Potter world is a dream come true), the thrill of riding roller coasters, and the escape it offers us from our day to day lives.
We were annual pass holders to Universal and Islands of Adventures (not as much of Disney fans with the exception of Epcot) which made visiting the park super enjoyable for us. We were able to go when the crowds were minimal (random afternoons after work or off weekends) and we went more often when the weather was pleasurable vs. summer when it’s disgustingly hot outside. If you like theme parks, we really think this is a must on your to-do list. Harry Potter World alone is worth it! We suggest a two day pass which you could totally bang out in one day if it’s off-season. If it’s peak season, spend one day at each park. While the two park pass is spendy, you’ll get the full experience and have the chance to ride on the Hogwarts express which is AWESOME (can you tell I’m a Harry Potter fan yet?). When you walk through each “land” you feel like you are transported. The ice cream in Harry Potter world is the best! Grab some as you wait in line for their new ride.
Rides worth waiting for
Universal: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Revenge of The Mummy, Men in Black, Despicable Me (if you have kids or really like it), Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Hogwarts Express (takes you to the other park)
Islands of Adventures: The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, Harry Potter & The Forbiden Journey, The Incredible Hulk, Skull Island Reign of Kong Dudley Doo Right’s Rip-Saw (if its hot outside)
There is also City Walk which is an outdoor market that has bars, restaraunts, shops, and events at the entrance of the theme park. We loved having a fun day riding our favorite rides then grabbing a bite to eat and a drink at one of their several unique restuarants.
What is more iconic of Orlando than the big Epcot ball and Disney ears? Even though I was a teacher, actually, probably because I was a teacher, I didn’t exactly love going to a children filled theme park that doesn’t even offer beer (Magic Kingdom) on my day off. While it’s less pricey than Universal or Island’s of Adventure for a day pass, your ride experience and the “lands” are much more geared toward children or Disney movie enthusiast. However, we know a ton of adults here that LOVE going to Disney, and go often even without children. If you’re not a Disney lover, or don’t have children that want to visit, I would at least stay open to going to Epcot. Epcot is one of Disney’s four theme parks that allows you to “travel” around the world eating, drinking, and sometimes riding your way through the new country. They do a fantastic job of making you feel like you are really in the country it’s designed after, have GREAT food, and the drinks are delicious.
They hold the Epcot Food and Wine Festival that holds world renowned chefs for a whole month here each year. We love the Avocado Margarita in Mexico, the Beirgarten in Germany, and the food in Japan. The rides at Epcot are also fun. Mission Space actually makes you feel like you’re in your own rocket (literally your stomach will feel it) and blasting off into space. Test Track is fast, exhilarating ride, and Soarin‘ is a virtual ride that allows you to travel throughout the world from above. They also offer nightly fireworks which are beautiful and free to watch if you already have a day pass to Epcot.