I’m afraid I have an unfair advantage for this week’s Destination Disney with Heidi, at Heidi’s Head. This week she has asked what our 7 favorite things to do OUTSIDE the parks are. Since I lived in Orlando for 23 years of my life and now only live an hour away, there are way more than seven things that I could list that I love to do so I’m going to tell you what we like to do when playing “tourist” for the weekend, in no particular order.
(Yes, we are the crazy Central Florida family that takes many weekend vacations in Orlando and enjoy as though we were tourist.)
A must do for us is Old Town, we always visit specifically for either the Muscle Car Cruise In on Friday night or the Classic Car Cruise In on Saturday night. The kids love seeing the cars just as much as we do and the fun family atmosphere is great. Occasionally we pop in during the day too to browse the neat shops. If you do visit Old Town, Flippers Pizza is a great place to have lunch or dinner as the food is great and you can sit out on the patio while you eat and people watch.
I Ride Trolley
Riding the trolley with Comic (or something of that sort) attendees. There was Iron Man and what I think was supposed to be Bo Peep. Fun!The I Ride Trolley has two lines that allow you to travel from Orlando Premium Outlets South, past SeaWorld, Point Orlando, down the main strip of I-Drive, to the Festival Bay Mall and on to Orlando Premium Outlets North. You can even take the green line further down Kirkman road to the cluster of hotels by Vineland Road. Now you may be wondering what is so great about this. Well, a day pass is only $4.00 per person and kids under 12 ride free when with an adult. Driving in this area can be a real pain, and walking will wear you out quickly. But the trolley lets you visit a ton of places and the best part for us, people watching. (Are you seeing a theme here yet?)
Point Orlando has changed and evolved so much over the years. It started out as the areas first outdoor mall with some higher end shops, exclusive eateries, a massive movie theater and even an FAO Swartz. It has changed several times over the years and is now home to some of the most elegant restaurants in the area but it still holds a place in our heart as a favorite place to visit when we are visiting kid free because you can still find Adobe Gila’s upstairs along with a Hooters and the movie theater. Over the years, I have decided that they make the best margarita around. This leads to my next favorite place.
WonderWorks is “an amusement park for the mind combining education and entertainment in over 100 hands-on exhibits that will spark the imagination and challenge the mind.” This is a must do for us because it holds nostalgia for me as I worked here as a teenager and the kids LOVE the exhibits. Most of all though, on those kids free visits after a few margaritas the hubs and I love to play a few rounds of laser tag as we hide out in corners that we know by heart and zap away at the unknowing real tourist. We’re mean, I know, but it is so fun.
Most Disney fans think of Disney Cruises when they think of Cape Canaveral, but not me. I think about Jetty Park where we can camp at the beach and watch the ships go in and out. Fishing in the middle of night and hopping aboard one of the gambling boats for an evening. Whether we visit as a couple or a family, we always have fun here.
North of Orlando, in Mount Dora, Renningers is an antique center and farmers and flea market that sits on 117 acres that host antique extravaganzas (these attract visitors from all over the country) Guitars and Cars weekends, a Civil War Festival and so much more. We go for a lot of the events and many times just to walk around a browse. The hubs has practically had to pry me away from some of the antique jewelry counters.
Loch Haven Park
Loch Haven Park is outside of Downtown Orlando is home to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando Science Center , Orlando Repertory Theatre , Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Fire Museum , Mennello Museum of American Art and the Orlando Garden Club. Wow, that was mouthful! There is always something going on between all of these locations, making the park a great place to visit, even if you just want to stroll around the grounds and look at the lakes and of course, people watch!