As travel bloggers, we have ventured to cities and towns far and wide. From the beaches of Southern California to the rolling hills of Central Europe, we have witnessed unimaginable beauty and experienced the magic that only traveling to new locations can provide. However, none can compare to the magical memories we made during our recent trip to Orlando, Florida.
Thanks to our partners at Visit Florida, we were able to re-experience all of the wonder and excitement of one of our favorite childhood vacation spots while checking a few new excursions off our bucket list all in one weekend.
When most people think of Orlando, they often automatically think of Disney World (which we will of course talk about later) and other family friendly parks such as Universal Studios or Sea World. Although Orlando is a perfect destination for a family vacation, it also offers a number of fantastic activities for couples and adults.
This is where we encourage our readers to sit back, relax, and grab a glass of wine as we share our travel guide for a successful weekend in Orlando.
1. Lake Buena Vista Village Resort and Spa
First things first: lodging. Most hotels in Orlando are geared towards hosting families with children, but given we wanted more of an adult only getaway, we decided to stay at Lake Buena Vista Village Resort and Spa. With amenities including a large outdoor pool (with a pirate ship) , a poolside bar and grill, a luxurious spa, full size kitchen and spacious rooms that include a jacuzzi tub in the master, it was the perfect resort for some much needed rest and relaxation.
One of the best parts about the resort is the location. It’s centrally located a convienent 10-15 min drive to all major attractions. Don’t have a car? The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to all the major theme parks. Lake Buena Vista Village Resort & Spa is a great alternative for those who don’t wish to spend the extra cash on a more expensive Disney Resort.
We wanted to treat ourselves as soon as we arrived so we decided to get a 50 minute Tropical Island Massage at the hotel’s full-service Reflections Salon & Spa which was the perfect way to start our mini girl’s getaway.
2. Ifly Orlando
After a relaxing massage at the Reflections Spa, we hopped in our Hertz rental car and headed across town to the indoor skydiving arena at Ifly Orlando. For those too afraid to skydive, Ifly is a great way to experience the sensation of freefalling without actually jumping out of a plane. Instead of falling out of the sky, visitors are flown up through a giant wind tunnel with an instructor by their side the whole time. It was extremely exhilarating and we couldn’t help but giggle at how ridiculous we looked in our helmets and puffer suits! To book an indoor skydiving experience at Ifly Orlando, click here.
3. Disney Springs
We headed to Disney Springs (about a 15 min car ride from the hotel) to have a hearty, southern-inspired dinner at Chef Art Smith’s signature restaurant, Homecoming. A claim to fame as Oprah’s Personal Chef, we aren’t exaggerating when we say it was the best southern cooked meal we’ve ever had. We started out with a couple hand crafted cocktails, followed by the popular appetizer, “Ham, Ham, & Jam,” biscuit sandwiches and the perfectly fried entrees pictured below!
After our bellies were full, we made our way to the waterfront theater to catch a showing of the famous “Cirque du Solei-La Nouba” which is also located in Disney Springs.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take photos or videos but the show transported us into the wacky world of acrobats, clowns and ribbon dancers. It’s the closet thing to a real circus but minus the animals. We found ourselves laughing and holding our breath all at the same time. It was wildly entertaining for kids and adults of all ages! The final performance for La Nouba is Dec. 31st, so purchase tickets before the curtain closes for good! Click here to find out more about this eye-popping show.
We couldn’t go to Orlando without spending some girl time at the most magical place on Earth: Disney World! While the park itself is a tourist trap during the summer months, that’s to be expected. Even in light of this, it’s truly a timeless place for adults to let loose and have some fun too. We had heard incredible reviews of the new Pandora – World of Avatar park, but had to see for ourselves what all the hype was about.
DISNEY TRAVELERS TIP:
We recommend purchasing Disney magic wrist bands and downloading the My Disney Experience mobile app prior to your visit to the theme parks. The My Disney Experience app is a must have as it let’s visitors book fast passes to all of the park’s most popular rides and provides a comprehensive interactive map. Did we mention it also lets you book a table at any Disney restaurant? The Disney magic wrist bands keep track of all registered fast passes so park-goers can skip the line at all their bucket list attractions. To purchase your Disney World Park Hopper tickets, click here and to purchase your Disney Magic Bands, click here.
We highly suggest getting to any of the Disney parks as close to opening time (8 am) as possible to beat the crowds. Parking is $20 a day for those who are not staying a Disney Resort and driving themselves. They also have free shuttles that take guests between parks should you choose to park hop like we did.
1. First stop on our one day park hopper pass was Animal Kingdom. During our time at Animal Kingdom, we went on a wild safari through Africa, took advantage of a photo opp in front of the Tree of Life, walked around the enchanting Pandora – World of Avatar while drinking green beer, and watched Finding Nemo the Musical.
2. Our final stop on our Disney World adventure was Magic Kingdom. Our top recommended attractions include the jungle cruise, meeting Mickey Mouse, dancing along the parade down Main Street in front of Cinderella’s castle, and eating famous Disney treats such as the Dole Whip and chocolate coated Mickey shaped rice krispie treats! To end the night, the new fire work show, Happily Ever After, at Cinderella’s castle is a must.
Unfortunately when we were there, it started storming right when the show was scheduled to start, so we weren’t able to see it. But for those lucky enough to visit when the weather is in better shape, the fireworks show starts at 9 pm EST every night.
We ended our Orlando journey with one final adventure. Our partner, Orlando Balloon Rides, was gracious enough to host us on a complimentary hot air balloon ride across the city. During the humid Florida months, it’s too hot to safely get the balloons off the ground late in the day, so they only offer a sunrise ride that meets promptly at 5 am. As we soared high above the ground for an hour, the areal views were breathtaking and surprising relaxing, making the early morning wake up call completely worth it.
However, if you’re afraid of heights, we do not suggest this particular activity. It was a great end to a fabulous time in Orlando. To book your Orlando Balloon ride and see pricing, click here!
Right after our Balloon ride, we packed up our rental car and headed straight Tampa- an easy 2 hour drive from Orlando. Stay tuned for our Travel Guide to 24 hours in Tampa!