A trip to Orlando is a dream for so many children, families, and friends. A city known for its famous theme parks, Orlando is one of the world’s premier tourist destinations. From Walt Disney World and its four theme parks to SeaWorld, Universal Florida, and more, there’s no shortage of excitement.
There’s so much to see and do in Orlando, it can seem daunting to start planning your trip. The most important steps toward an unforgettable vacation in Orlando are research, planning, and advanced bookings. And, to help make sure you get the most out of your vacation to Orlando, we’ve put together a seven-day itinerary, complete with six important tips for visiting theme parks in Orlando to ensure you get to see the best of the best!
DAY 1 – ARRIVAL AND DISNEY SPRINGS
Welcome to Orlando! After you’re all settled into your guest room, get a taste of the magic of Orlando’s theme parks by heading to Disney Springs. Disney Springs has lots of great shopping and finding a spot for dinner will be easy (Earl of Sandwiches is a favorite of ours). Best of all, admission is free!
Pro Tip – Save on Accommodations: Enjoy even more of Orlando for less! There are plenty of accommodation options in Orlando. If you’re willing to travel a little bit, staying outside the parks can save a lot of money. Take advantage of value-add accommodations, featuring things like kitchens, free Wi-Fi, laundry services, and more. Book a room at one of InTown Suites’ extended stay accommodations, where guest rooms are set up like economy size apartments that offer everything you need for a comfortable stay. Discover our great selection of properties in North, South and Central Orlando, all with two-bed options—perfect for the family!
DAY 2 – EXPLORE DISNEY’S MAGIC KINGDOM
On your first full day in Orlando, head to the place that started it all, Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom is made up of six lands including Adventureland, Tomorrowland, and Frontierland! This world of fun is home to many amazing rides, so to avoid lines, hit the most popular ones early in the morning or just before closing when the waits are at their shortest. You can also get FastPass and FastPass+ tickets to skip lines on certain popular attractions like Splash Mountain.
Pro Tip – Find The Best Ticket Options:
There are so many ticket options for Orlando theme parks; it’s worth researching your options to find the best value and flexibility for your group. For example, there’s Go Orlando Cards that offers discounted prices for dozens of off-the-beaten-track attractions including the Kennedy Space Center. Disney’s Park Hopper Option pass allows you to move freely between all four of their parks, while Disney’s Park Hopper Option Plus pass provides admission to one or more of the four main parks PLUS the option to visit the Disney’s two water parks, golf courses, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Universal’s Park-to-Park ticket gives you access to Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure or Volcano Bay theme parks. Before you begin, have a good idea of how long your trip will be, which parks and attractions are on your must-see list, what your budget is, and how many are in your group.
DAY 3 – DIVE INTO FUN AT A WATER PARK
Chill out at one of Orlando’s water parks! If you want to hit Disney Parks, you have the options of Blizzard Beach, which has Summit Plummet, one of the world’s tallest water slides or Typhoon Lagoon, which has the largest wave pool in North America. Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park offers all-out aquatic adventure for older kids and kids at heart with the thrillingly unique Krakatau Aqua Coaster canoe slide. Fancy seeing some sea life while you hit the slides? Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark lets you ride down a translucent tube slide surrounded by Commerson’s dolphins in the Dolphin Plunge. Families with little ones will love the interactive atmosphere at the LEGOLAND Water Park where kiddos can assemble their own LEGO lazy-river raft at Build-a-Raft River or tackle the smaller slides at the DUPLO Splash Safari water playground. Not big into thrills? Each water park destination offers lazy rivers just made for relaxing.
Pro Tip – Prepare for Tropical Weather:
No matter the season you visit, prepare for heat and humidity. Hats, sunscreen, and quick-drying clothes are essential to your comfort and enjoyment. Bring refillable water bottles with you to keep everyone hydrated and seek out shade when necessary. Many of Orlando’s water parks, including those at Disney and Universal Studios, offer cabana rentals that provide a great place to take a break from the heat, grab a bite to eat, and even let little ones take a quick nap to recharge.
DAY 4 – CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE
Today’s a day to relax and take a break from the craze of the theme parks. Sleep in, and then spend the day exploring what you’d like in Orlando and neighboring Kissimmee. This part of Central Florida has some great outlet shops like the Orlando International Premium Outlets and Orlando Vinelands Premium Outlets if you’re looking for a good deal on a variety of goods. Orlando is also home to many incredible golf courses, so book a tee time and hit the links. Or, hit the glades in search of gators on an airboat adventure before spending your evening bumming around one of Kissimmee’s great entertainment districts. Get a good night’s sleep because you’ll be back to enjoying the excitement of the theme parks tomorrow!
Pro Tip – Plan Your Transportation:
Be sure to look into transportation options between the parks and attractions you’re planning to visit—Disney Parks, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and much more are all less than a 30-minute drive apart, but the keyword here is DRIVE. If your hotel is outside the parks, plan to rent a car and pay for parking or grab an Uber or Lyft. There are also many shuttles services that will take you from the airport to your hotel and beyond.
DAY 5 – DISCOVER DISNEY’S EPCOT
Don’t have enough time to travel the world? Head to EPCOT instead! The World Showcase is home to 11 pavilions featuring different countries of the world, like France and Morocco. If you’re over 21, make a stop at every country to sample one of their national beverages. Think wine in Italy and saké in Japan. Later, head over to Future World to ride some of the park’s most popular attractions like Test Track and Soarin’.
Pro Tip – Plan Ahead to Avoid Crowds:
Whenever you choose to go, there are great tips for avoiding congested parks and skip the line. Even during peak season, the general rule is that weekdays are less busy than weekends, giving you and your crew the optimal combination of smaller crowds and less time spent in lines. Speaking of lines, most parks have booking systems that allow you to pre-select the time you’d like to ride a particularly busy attraction. Disney Parks offer the FastPass+ system so that you can check-available ride times and pre-schedule up to three attractions in advance, while in-park Fast-Pass kiosks allow you to book further rides. Universal Orlando also offers a similar program with their Universal Express Pass that lets you skip lines at the most popular attractions for an added daily fee. Also be sure to check out their wearable TapuTapu, which acts like a key to the park allowing you to stand in line virtually, open your locker, make cash-free payments and more.
DAY 6 – EXPERIENCE UNIVERSAL ORLANDO
Universal Studios is one of the other major parks in the Orlando area. It’s home to three theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. Islands of Adventure is the newer of the “dry” parks and is home to the extremely popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter, while Universal Studios Florida offers backlot fun with visits from characters like the adorable Minions and thrilling interactive stunt rides. Compared with Disney, Universal Orlando’s attractions appeal more to an older, thrill-seeking audience, from the plunging water slides at Volcano Bay to the looping coasters that Universal is known for. Speaking of which, you can’t leave without riding The Incredible Hulk—a roller coaster that goes from 0 to 40mph in only 2 seconds!
Pro Tip – Be Strategic About Mealtimes:
Instead of spending precious time waiting in lines for counter service, snack strategically! Try eating meals slightly before or after typical mealtimes and spend those saved hours enjoying the attractions. While everyone else is waiting in line for lunch, you’ll be taking advantage of shorter lines for the best rides! Also, stay hydrated to avoid thirst-induced hunger and be sure to pack filling snacks like granola bars and nuts to stave-off hangry moments. At Universal Orlando, many of the sit-down restaurants along Universal’s CityWalk, the Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios take reservations, making planning your meals a walk in the (amusement) park! There’s no central reservation number, but most dining venues listed take bookings.
DAY 7 – PACK IT IN AND PACK IT UP
Your vacation has come to an end, and it’s time to head to the airport or drive home. However, if you haven’t quite had enough, extend your Orlando vacation by a few days with InTown Suites’ stay-over rates! After the first full week, you’ll only have to pay for the extra nights you need.