First Time in Orlando



Description:

Orlando is one of the destinations with so much to offer that it can actually feel pretty overwhelming for first-time visitors. We've compiled a list of the MUST EXPERIENCE points of interests to assist you in your trip planning - and hopefully make your visit easier, more enjoyable, and more memorable.

Orlando is basically made up of three main areas that most visitors want to experience. 1) Disney and Kissimmee area is where you'll find the sprawling Walt Disney World resort and the surrounding Kissimmee area is home to some additional tourist attractions such as Medieval Times.

2) The International Drive area (or I-Drive as the locals call it) houses Universal and SeaWorld theme parks (including Discovery Cove), as well as a ton of other attractions, chain restaurants and touristy nightlife spots.

3) Lastly, Downtown Orlando and it's northern suburbs like Winter Park is where you'll find more urban points of interests, independent restaurants, the art and culture scene, and a ton of marvelous outdoor park areas that should not be missed.

The I4 (Interstate 4) connects you to all three of these areas (with lots of outlet malls dotting the highway on route). Public transportation really isn't an option, but luckily, Orlando's car rental rates are kept fairly low due to enormous demand. Once you're on I-Drive or Downtown Orlando, you can easily and safely walk from place to place. Parking is pretty cheap and plentiful.

Probably one of Orlando's best features is its weather; the weather is great year-round, even during the very warm summer months when days spent lazing by the pool are ideal.

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Author: Kristen Manieri


Day 1 - Orlando, Kissimmee


Top 10 Things to Do - Here's a list of experiences that truly shouldn't be missed. If you're planning on a theme park day, it's best not to plan anything else for the evening since you'll probably want to stay late at the park for their fireworks show. Grab dinner at CityWalk or Downtown Disney. Group I-Drive stuff together and keep in mind that you can come back for a free second day at Kennedy Space Center if you don't get a chance to see it all in one visit. Make sure you get your ticket validated on the way out to take advantage of their return day program.


2

Discovery Cove

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expert pick

Location:

6000 Discovery Cove Way
Orlando, FL 32821

Contact:

tel: +1 407 370 1280


4

Universal Studios Florida

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expert pick

Location:

1000 Universal Studios Plaza
Orlando, FL 32809

Contact:

tel: +1 407 363 8000


6

Blue Man Group Show at Universal Orlando Resort

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Location:

Universal Studios, 6000 Universal Blvd
Orlando, Florida 32819

Contact:

tel: (888) 340-5476


7

iFly Orlando

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Location:

6805 Visitors Circle
Orlando, FL 32819

Contact:

tel: +1 407 903 1150
fax: +1 407 903 1906


9

Gatorland

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Location:

14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail
U.S. 441; between Osceola Pkwy and Hunter's Creek Blvd
Kissimmee, FL 34837

Contact:

tel: 800/393-5297


Day 2 - Orlando


Top 5 Restaurants: here's a list of restaurants that give visitors a great snapshot of edible Orlando. Located downtown, Ceviche not only pleases palates, but it's also ascetically amazing. A must see. The Ravenous Pig is a new local favorite about ten minutes from downtown that serves lots of locally produced veggies and meats. House and Blues and Rainforest Cafe are more theme-park located and will be major winners with the kids. Lastly, Seasons 52 makes the list because it continues to win local dining awards year after year - the food and service are very good and very reliable.


1

Ceviche

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Location:

125 West Church Street
(cross-street South Garland Avenue)
Orlando, FL 32801

Contact:

tel: +1 321 281 8140


3

Seasons 52

Location:

7700 West Sand Lake Road
Orlando, FL 32836

Contact:

tel: 407 354 5212
fax: +1 407 354 1109


Day 3 - Orlando


Top 5 Nightlife Venues: There are great nightlife options in all three of Orlando's main visiting areas (Disney, I-Drive, and Downtown) and all should be given a taste. Head to Downtown Disney for La Nouba and live bands at House of Blues. Downtown Orlando you'll find a bevy of great spots from hip little wine bars and lounges (Bosendorfer) to rockin' bars (Wall Street Plaza) and thumpin' nightclubs. Plus, downtown is where the patios are (Hue), always packed with a well-heeled but welcoming brood of revelers. Don't forget the I-Drive area - CityWalk is a good bet since there are about ten bars there and then there are a handful on I-Drive (Howl at the Moon and IceBar).


1

Bosendorfer Lounge

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Location:

325 South Orange Avenue
The Westin Grand Bohemian
Orlando, FL 32801

Contact:

tel: 407 313 9000
fax: +1 407 313 9001


3

Howl at the Moon

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Location:

8815 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

Contact:

tel: 407 354 5999
fax: 407 354 5992


6

Hue

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Location:

629 East Central Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32801-2916

Contact:

tel: 407 849 1800
fax: 407 872 3348


Day 4 - Apopka, Orlando, Longwood, Maitland


Top 5 Local Picks: You're not likely to find the locals around the major tourist areas (Disney + IDrive). Locals hangout Downtown and in the northern suburbs like Winter Park. This is where you'll find great outdoor spaces like impeccably maintained downtown parks (Lake Eola) and state parks teaming with wildlife (Wekiwa). This is also where you'll find local favorites like the Enzian (movie) theater, playing a steady blend of classic films and independent features. While you're in these neck of the woods, dine at one of the many independent and family-owned restaurants in places like Park Avenue and College Park.


1

Wekiwa Springs State Park

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Location:

1800 Wekiwa Circle
Apopka, FL 32712

Contact:

tel: +1 407 884 2008
fax: +1 407 884 2039


2

Harry P. Leu Gardens

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Location:

1920 N. Forest Ave
Between Nebraska St and Corrine Dr
Orlando, FL 32803

Contact:

tel: 407/246-2620
fax: +1 407 246 2849


3

Lake Eola Park

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expert pick

Location:

1 N. Rosalind Ave.
Lake Eola Park
Orlando, FL 32801

Contact:

tel: +1 407 246 2827


4

Enzo's Restaurant On The Lake

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expert pick

Location:

1130 South U.S. Highway 17-92
Longwood, FL 32750

Contact:

tel: 1 407 834 9872
fax: 1 407 834 6647


5

Enzian Theater

Location:

1300 South Orlando Avenue
Maitland, FL 32751

Contact:

tel: 407 629 0054


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