Travel Destinations

Orlando – More than Disney

Orlando - More than Disney. Gatorland by David M. Simpson via Trover.com
Written by Carl Hedinger

Photo by David M. Simpson via Trover.com

This article is part of Hipmunk’s City Love campaign.


Orlando – More than Disney

You’ve started peeking around Orlando for things to do but can’t find anything outside Disney or its mega-theme-park brethren. Sure, there are many big amusement parks vying for people’s attention, but Orlando isn’t just Disney–it has lots to offer outside of Mickey and Minnie. Follow these tips and you’ll really see Central Florida’s representative city. Here’s a look at Orlando – More than Disney.

Disney Isn’t Even in Orlando

Universal Studios might be closer to the city but Disney lies 15 minutes outside the city. Many people will stay in or around Disney so find a place outside the city limits and you won’t have to worry about battling hordes of mouse ears-wearing tourists to enjoy yourself.

Don’t Worry, There’s Still Entertainment

With all of this trouble going into avoiding Disney, you might think Orlando doesn’t have much to do outside the theme parks. But Orlando still has lots to offer, with even more waiting nearby in its suburbs and lesser-populated areas. Sports lovers already know about the Magic but Orlando City SC tickets are a hot commodity, thanks to the club’s growing popularity.  If you’re up for a quieter outdoors experience, the Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens and its 50 acres are the perfect outlet for those in search of relaxation and a gorgeous walk for a day.

Food Finds & Neighborhoods

Of course all this will make you hungry and, luckily, you’re in one of America’s best food cities. Orlando’s neighborhoods truly stand out with worthwhile tastes and sights. If you visit tiny Winter Park, stop by Ravenous Pig for Orlando’s best gastropub. Sir Paul McCartney would agree with you, as he’s also eaten there. Visit Tu Tu Tango if you’re near the Orange County Convention Center, for bohemian-styled food geared towards sharing great eats along with a conversation. For the community-minded traveler, Audubon Park Gardens has a nice collection of bakeries, pubs, and restaurants and is always holding themed events. This is just the start and will convince you that Orlando can’t be seen in just one stop.

Convinced Yet? Bonus Mentions

In case you didn’t realize that Orlando is more than Disney, there are still a couple of bonus mentions that can’t be ignored. Cartoon animals are great but why not go and see a few real ones at Gatorland? You’ll come away with fond memories of those giant predators! More tame outdoor experiences include nearby Wewika Springs State Park, with swimming and kayaking among the many fun options available. The list doesn’t stop with these wonderful attractions so what are you waiting for? Those cheap flights to Orlando won’t last forever and then you’ll be kicking yourself for missing out on the fun. Enjoy your time in Orlando and remember, one visit isn’t enough to see the city for more than Disney!

About the author

Carl Hedinger

I’m a writer and recovering American expat who shares my family’s travels through life. Follow our adventures here and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

2 Comments

    • Thanks for commenting Ken! One of my favorite memories as a kid was visiting Universal Studios, and imagining anything other than that in Orlando is difficult for me! I guess that’s why I had to create this list of things other than the big hits. Hope you can get out there and do some of these!