Beyond Disney World: what to do with children in Orlando, Florida

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The bright lights and magic of Disneyland are endlessly captivating, but there is so much more to Orlando than a meeting with Mickey

Below are some of the best ways to enjoy what is best known as Florida’s theme park capital – beyond the obvious…

Head up high

The Wheel at ICON Park is a can’t-miss observation wheel towering above the surrounding landscape, going up to an incredible 400ft. You’ll get the best 360-degree views from the top – it takes around 20 minutes to complete the spin. For something extra special, hop on at sunset and watch the sun go down over nearby attractions including Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World and Cape Canaveral.

See a show

The Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts hosts fantastic entertainment year-round – see the website for its yearly calendar of events. While you’re in the area, be sure to check out K Restaurant, serving American food with an Italian influence. If you’re lucky, you’ll be served by the hilarious Roc-Hee and you won’t be disappointed.

Kayaking with a difference

With 100 per cent clear kayaks that allow you to see the water below, Get Up And Go Kayaking offers a one-of-a-kind experience at six different sites. Kids can jump onboard to enjoy the ride and you’ll be left speechless as you make your way along streams and canals, spotting birds, fish, turtles and even alligators. The first half of the paddle is a bit of a workout, but the float back is worth it!

Explore and eat

Located just North of Orlando, Winter Park was once considered a winter resort but is now a year-round destination home to more than 70 parks, a thriving arts and culture scene and a multitude of eateries to ensure the kids are fuelled up for the next leg of your family adventure.

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Unmissable fun at Universal

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Any Harry Potter fans out there? ⚡️🦉⁣ ⁣ A visit to Universal Orlando🌎 is a MUST for Harry Potter fans! At Universal Studios Park, you can visit Diagon Alley, and at Islands of Adventure you can visit Hogsmeade and Hogwarts 🏰 . Plus, if you have a Park-to-Park ticket, you can even ride the Hogwarts Express 🚂 between these two lands! ⁣ ⁣ Have you been to the Wizarding World yet❓⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #hagridsmagicalcreaturesmotorbikeadventure #universalstudios #universalorlando #universalstudiosorlando #islandsofadventureorlando #islandsofadventure #universalorlandoresort #harrypotter #hogwarts #hogsmeade #diagonalley #wizardingworld #wizardingworldofharrypotter #wizardingworldorlando #wizardingworldofharrypotterorlando #gringotts #hagrids #harrypotterandtheforbiddenjourney #harrypotterandtheescapefromgringotts #harrypotterfans #potterheads #potterfan #orlandovacation #orlandothemeparks #orlando #orlandoflorida #universalstudiosflorida #islandsofadventures #universalpark #universalparks

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The beauty of Orlando is that it’s guaranteed to bring out the big kid in everybody. The truly magical Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride at Universal Studios is one of the newer experiences not to be missed, including queuing beforehand inside Gringotts Bank. Take the Hogwarts Express between the two parks, linking Hogsmeade with Diagon Alley. Visit Attractions Tickets Direct, which offers the best value tickets.

Admire the spectacle of space

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is organised into Mission Zones charting the history of space exploration to the present day, with lots of hands on, interactive activities. Kids can even ‘train like an astronaut’ for a truly out of this world experience.

Jostle with Gator Jaws

Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve in the South of Orlando that, alongside more than 2,000 American Alligators, is home to wild cats, birds, snakes and more. When your little ones aren’t being captivated by the numerous daily shows on offer there are also activities such as a Screamin’ Gator zip wire to enjoy.