From the magic of Walt Disney World to the wonder of SeaWorld, Orlando is non-stop action, discovery, and playtime. There are two main challenges that most people deal with while planning their Orlando vacation: choosing whichattractions and theme parks to visit and including enough downtime in the vacation itinerary
We get it; you want to fit in as much as possible. Makes perfect sense in theory, but in practice, it can be exhausting! Take Walt Disney World; for instance, it’s comprised of multiple theme parks within itself. To get from one ride to the next and one park to the next requires some serious foot traffic. Though theme parks are a huge part of the Orlando culture, relaxing poolside at one of the fantastic resorts is also very much a part of the city’s culture, as well.
Planning Your Orlando Visit
To help you get the most out of your Orlando vacation, we’ve outlined a quick five-day itinerary that includes seeing many of the most popular attractions AND some quality R&R! A win-win, in our humble opinion. Ready to plan the trip of a lifetime?
We’re counting this as your first full-day, and we recommend heading straight to Universal Studios to enjoy the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Consistently ranked among the most popular attractions in all of Orlando, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is extremely fun regardless of whether you’ve read the books or watched the movies! Spend the morning on the rides.
Once you’re ready to eat lunch, there’s no better place than The Leaky Cauldron, a Harry Potter classic. Enjoy bangers and mash, fish n’chips, toad in the hole and more. Butterbeer too, of course.
As the food coma sets in, meander through Diagon Alley, stop into Ollivander’s and get fitted for a wand, or watch the riveting show The Tales of Beedle the Bard. After you’re through with all things Harry Potter, head back into Universal Studios and go on more rides! Once your feet have had enough, head back to your resort to get cozy and rest up for another full day tomorrow.
Every classic princess, ride, and photo op is waiting for you at Walt Disney World! We recommend arriving as soon as the park opens, usually 88 am and heading to your already-chosen favorite rides within one of the four theme parks. In case you didn’t know, Walt Disney World is comprised of four theme parks, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios. There’s no reasonable way to visit them all thoroughly in a single day. Choose, at most, two, and spend a half day at one, and a half day at the other!
If you got an early start, we recommend going for lunch around 11, before the restaurants get a bit crowded. Two our favorites are Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in The Magic Kingdom and Harambe Market in The Animal Kingdom.
Post-lunch head back out to park number two, or keep exploring park number one, and go on more rides! If fireworks and parades are your jam, then stay tuned for the evening show. If not, head out on more rides once the parade begins and you’ll be treated to shorter lines! This is likely to be another full day of walking, so head back to the resort once you’re done and elevate your feet!
Two days of navigating the most popular and magnificent parks in Orlando has earned you a rest day! If you so desire, of course. We recommend allowing the family to sleep in, at least a little. Eat breakfast at the resort restaurant, or opt for room service! After breakfast set up camp at your resort pool and/or water park, and play in the water for a few hours!
There’s no rush or production for lunch, as you can eat it on-site. Some resorts even offer poolside restaurant service.
If your crew seems more than happy to chill at the resort all day, then keep the relaxing going strong. You can always make spa appointments or indulge in the other resort amenities. For the family that can’t sit still for long, consider exploring the beautiful Lake Eola near downtown Orlando. You can hop aboard a picturesque swan paddle-boat. For dinner, choose one of Orlando’s many five-star restaurants.
It’s back to a full day of discovery and fun at Walt Disney World, at the remaining two parks you haven’t yet visited. In the case that you loved one park so much, ahem Animal Kingdom, you may prefer to return to it and continue exploring. This is your vacation so you should have it your way! Once again, we recommend getting to the park first thing.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, consider participating in a character breakfast. Essentially, you’ll eat a delicious breakfast while getting to spend more quality time with the different Disney princesses, among other characters. Learn more about it right here.
We can never say it too many times, Harambe Market in Animal Kingdom is amazing. It will always be our favorite! If you haven’t yet penciled it in, then this is the day! Another recommendation is going on a self-guided food tour of EPCOT center since it has over twenty different restaurants to choose from! You can narrow down your options here.
Head back out for more rides, shopping, and general Disney World fun! If you didn’t see the parade last time, you could catch it this time. Or, if you’re hardcore into the rides, take advantage of the shorter lines during the parade. After another magical day, return to your resort for post-park drinks and relaxation!
Today we bring you… wildcard day! We find that each family has different interests and needs, so let’s lay out some useful options for your last day.
Disney lovers should head back to Walt Disney World for a third go-around. By this point, your group may be craving more water park fun, in which case you can opt to spend the day at SeaWorld and kill two birds with one stone. If you have little ones, a day at LEGOLAND will be a very popular option. There’s also a likely chance your chosen resort is beyond amazing, and you simply want to spend another full day enjoying it!
Since this is your final full day, find the option that makes every member of the family happy. If that’s a tall order, then we recommend finding the option that makes the most members of the family happy. If that still seems unlikely (i.e., families with a few kids of different age groups), then go halfsies with the day!
By the end of your trip you will have visited Walt Disney World more than once, Universal Studios, possibly SeaWorld and LEGOLAND, seen a bit of Orlando outside of the theme parks, and thoroughly enjoyed the resort. We believe you will return home feeling utterly satisfied, somewhat relaxed, and excited to return the following summer!
For ALL your resort needs, book a stay at The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando. We hope our example itinerary is helpful, and that you enjoy your trip! Don’t forget to pack good walking shoes and plenty of sunscreen! Bon voyage!