What Can You Do in Orlando Besides Disney? 17 Best Attractions

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Needless to say, there are plenty of entertainment options for the whole family in the central Florida area. 

There is a zoo, parks, boat adventures, fine dining, an aquarium and so much more.

What is Orlando, Florida best known for?

Orlando is best known for its theme parks!

Of course, Walt Disney World Resort is located just outside Orlando. This medium-sized city is also home to Universal Studios, Seaworld and LEGOLAND theme parks.


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Is Disney separate from Orlando?

Yes, the Walt Disney World Resort is technically located in Bay Lake, Florida and has a mailing address of Lake Buena Vista.

The resort is situated on 25,000 acres of former swamp land just southwest of Orlando. 

Read Also: 16 Best Beaches Close to Orlando for a Quick Getaway

Is Orlando expensive to visit?

Orlando is a relatively inexpensive vacation market with tons of lodging options. I have a large family, so we typically stay in a condo or townhome when we visit Disney World. That being said, there is no shortage of luxury options available for visitors looking to splurge. 

And speaking of splurging, Disney tickets are expensive. If you’re looking for a break from the magic, some evening entertainment on your pool day or an interesting day trip during your vacation, there’s plenty to do when visiting Orlando. 

Here’s a list of some non-Disney entertainment options in the Orlando area:

A Close-up View of the Universal Globe
Universal has two theme parks, a water park and a third theme park coming soon (photo by Daniel Munson/HeyOrlando.com)

1. Universal Studios

Universal Studios (and Islands of Adventure) is a popular destination for thrill-seekers. In addition to the Harry Potter attractions, they are always adding new rides themed on popular Universal film franchises.

Volcano Bay is Universal’s water park. My kids always love catching a glimpse of the giant Volcano when driving through downtown Orlando. 

Plus, with Epic Universe coming in 2025, there will soon be even more to do and see.

Sea World Entrance Sign
Seaworld Orlando features animal exhibits and roller coasters (photo by Morgan Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

2. Seaworld Orlando

Although Seaworld is best known for its animal exhibits, they also have a variety of massive roller coasters. 

3. Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour

This one-hour guided tour takes passengers through a beautiful chain of lakes in Winter Park, Florida. Along the way, guests can see historic homes, mansions and churches, as well as the Rollins College campus.

The tour also offers stunning views of the surrounding nature, including cypress, oak and banana trees. Plus you might spot alligators and cranes. 

Legoland entrance
LEGOLAND can be found near the historic Cypress Gardens in Winter Park (photo by Kirby Russell/HeyOrlando.com)


This park is an excellent place for families with kids. It’s a smaller theme park located in Winter Park, Florida on the site of the historic Cypress Gardens.

You can still explore the trails that access the original gardens inside the park. There are also tons of kid-friendly rides and a water park!

Read Also: Do You Need a Child To Go to LEGOLAND Florida? Is There an Age Limit?

Kennedy Space Center Saturn 5
The first stage engines of the Saturn 5 rocket is exhibited at the visitor complex of Kennedy Space Center (photo by NaughtyNut/shutterstock.com)

5. Kennedy Space Center

This is a must-do for any space enthusiast. The Kennedy Space Center is home to the launch pads for the Apollo missions, the Space Shuttle program and the International Space Station.

Visitors can tour the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which includes the Apollo/Saturn V Center, the Kennedy Space Shuttle Center and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

6. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Ripley’s Odditorium and Mirror Maze are both located on International Drive. The Odditorium is known for its extensive collection of shrunken heads. You can purchase tickets for one or both of these attractions.

We took our oldest son to do Ripley’s Mirror Maze in Gatlinburg several years ago and he still talks about it. 

Orlando Science Center Complex
The Orlando Science Center complex is both educational and fun (photo by Timothy O’Leary/shutterstock.com)

7. Orlando Science Center

This science museum is a great place to learn about science and technology.

The Orlando Science Center has a variety of exhibits, including a planetarium, an aquarium and a live animal exhibit. You can also catch a special 3D movie while you’re there. 

8. Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament

This dinner show combines medieval-style entertainment with a four-course feast. The show features six knights competing in a jousting tournament, as well as other acts such as falconry, sword fighting and fire dancing.

Guests are seated at long tables and served a meal of roasted chicken, roasted potatoes, vegetables and a dessert. The show is a fun and exciting way to learn about medieval history and culture.

ferris wheel at icon park
The Wheel at Icon Park is a 400-foot-tall giant observation wheel (photo by Viaval Tours/shutterstock.com)

9. The Wheel at Icon Park

Icon Park is known for its 400-foot tall Ferris wheel that offers passengers a bird’s eye view of the surrounding area.

It’s also home to a number of other attractions.

10. Madame Tussauds Orlando 

Also located in Icon Park, this wax museum allows guests to get up close and personal with their favorite celebrities.

The wax models are incredible and this is the perfect spot to take some amazing photos. Icon Park offers several ticketing options with discounts when you purchase multiple experiences. 

11. Sea Life Orlando Aquarium

If you’re looking for a break from an amusement park, this aquarium is a great option for fun out of the sun.

It’s known for its 360-degree observation tunnel – the only one in Florida!

Divers Swim With Manatees Crystal River Florida
Snorkel with the manatees in Crystal River in Florida (photo by Thierry Eidenweil/shutterstock.com)

12. Snorkel with Manatees in Crystal River

Crystal River is an area in Central Florida about 90 minutes west of Orlando. It’s known for gorgeous turquoise waters and marine wildlife.

You can take an airboat tour, snorkel with manatees or go fishing. This is an excellent option for an adventurous day trip when you’re based in Orlando. 

13. Andretti Indoor Karting & Games

There’s an Andretti near me in Atlanta and my kids have been to many birthday parties there. In addition to go-karts, they have an arcade, bowling and laser tag.

It’s a great indoor alternative when you need a break from the Florida heat. 

Disney Springs Shopping at Night
There is no shortage of shopping, from Disney Springs (pictured above) to the outlets, malls and beyond (photo by James Overholt/HeyOrlando.com)

14. Shopping

Orlando has a variety of shopping options, from outlet malls to high-end boutiques. Some of the most popular shopping destinations include the Florida Mall, the Orlando International Premium Outlets and the Mall at Millenia.

Disney Springs is also a popular shopping destination. 

Aerophile Hot Air Balloon Disney Springs
The Aerophile at Disney Springs is fun, but there are untethered balloon rides available in Orlando as well (photo by James Overolt/HeyOrlando.com)

15. Hot Air Ballooning

Guests at Disney Springs have probably noticed the Aerophile. However, there are several different companies offering Hot Air Balloon Rides in the Orlando area.

Some options include Orlando Balloon Rides, Bob’s Balloons and Painted Horizons Hot Air Balloon Tours.

16. Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Located in Sanford, Florida just north of Orlando, this zoo is home to both local and exotic wildlife. In addition to the animal exhibits, they offer zipline adventures, a petting zoo and a splash pad. 

Fun Spot Serpent Ride in Orlando
The Fun Spot America theme park features rides and attractions that the whole family can enjoy (photo by Pat McGinley/shutterstock.com)

17. Fun Spot America 

This smaller-scale theme park is located close to downtown Orlando just across Interstate 4 from Universal’s Volcano Bay.

Here you’ll find rides and attractions for the whole family, including roller coasters, carnival games, go-karts, a splash pad and kiddie rides.

What is your favorite Disney alternative in the Orlando area? Let us know in the comments!

Photo of author


Kirby Russell

Kirby Russell is a freelance contributor for TheSmokies.com LLC – the parent company of TheSmokies.com and HeyOrlando.com.

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