Let's try and help a little here by getting a little more clarity.......so, have you ever been to Orlando before? Are you going with children? Are you a golfer? Are you stayng at a Marriott property that is recognized as a Disney 'partner' property (the Marriott Villages area with three hotels in the complex)? Will you have a car? What do you like to do and what is the interest (reason) that helped you pick Orlando as your vacation destination?
Definitely will help if you provide a little more detail as mentioned above. If you have kids, take them to Disney World. I think this is a must for those with young children. If they are a little older or there are only adults in the group, I suggest going to Universal Studios. You get to see great 3D/4D shows there along with seeing shows and going on rides (rollercoasters, etc.). To cool down, you can go to the Wet N Wild waterpark which is not too far from Universal Studios.
Prices can be steep so the more days you stay, the cheaper the rate is per day. So far for all these visits I made, I rarely book it directly from their main website. I usually get my tickets from third party services that are known to be valid ticket sellers like Maple Leaf Tickets.
Hey..thanks for your replies.
I am going with my husband, no kids, visiting Orlando for the first time. Staying at TownePlace Suites Orlando East/UCF. We will rent a car there. My husband likes Golf. Hope i have provided some more information.
Disney World is on my list and i hear good things about this restaurant "Bahama Breeze". Just want to gather some helpful info beforehand. If you guys could suggest any places to visit or good restaurants or things to do..you know some things that are synonmous with Orlando...would be helpful
See below for some golf deals:
In terms of eating, the last time we went, we didn't go to any special restaurant. It was either eating in one of the theme parks or at the usual restaurants (IHOP, Olive Garden, Chili's, etc.). You might want to look at some of the reviews and try to plan out the places to eat at if you want to try something new:
It looks like Bahama Breeze has several locations and all seem to have good reviews.
Are you staying there for over a week? If it's about a week's stay only, go to Disney World and see all 4 of the parks. Expect to pay $14 for parking in those huge lots. Make sure you keep track of where you parked. We spend over 10 hours in each of those park and believe me when all the fun is over, you forgot where you parked. You should be able to do almost everything in a single day for each park. We usually had some spare time but waited at night time so we get to see the night events (usually fireworks). If you have extra time, I suggest visiting SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and also Aquatica (waterpark). Also stroll by Downtown Orlando to enjoy the nightlife if you are interested.
There is definitely a lot to do and prepare for a lot of walking. If you plan to stay over a week (two weeks maybe?), add in Universal Studios. I find this better than Disney (for those without kids). I'm not saying kids won't enjoy this (they will), but it's probably more suited for teens and adults. Go watch all the 3D/4D shows there. Most of them are definitely worth it and I'm sure you will go back a second time or more. One more recommendation if you are visiting Universal is to go see the Blue Man Group performance. It was one of the highlight shows that we planned to see last time and it was definitely worth the money.
The last two times I went to Orlando (Universal & Disney, separate trips), I made sure I stayed at a hotel near the middle of the two parks in case we wanted to go to both parks. In your case, I think you are further away from Disney and will be passing by Universal. Since we were going to the theme parks almost every day, I made sure to be closer (about 20 minutes or so away). Just a suggestion.
Where you are staying is fairly close to Winter Park. The downtown area is a neat little village where you can park and walk the street with lots of restaurants and cafes (with outside seating) and village shops. Also, Houston's restaurant is also in Winter Park on South Orlando Avenue. Just up the street (north) from Houstons there are also a bunch of upscale (or Chili's and Friday's type restaurants too) restaurants clustered together.
If traveling on I-4 going back to the hotel the Sand Lake Rd exit (going north) and taking a left will bring you to Season's 52, a real busy restaurant with really good food. My wife and I go there every time we hit Orlando and eat in the bar (because that's where the fun is with entertainment and lots and lots of folks having a good time).
If you go to Disney and don't get tickets with parking included, you don't have to pay to park at each park if you go to Downtown Disney and park there for free. You can then ride their shuttle buses to any park and the shuttle buses are frequent and free. Wherever you go just ask the person at the shuttle area how to get where you want to go. They are very helpful and taking the buses saves a bundle in parking fees.
Have a great trip!
Oh - area restaurants in the UCF area: Peppino's (itallian restaurant) is just down the road from UCF, and very reasonable prices. Bahama Breeze is also along Alafaya Trail, and is a chain restaurant. Millers Ale House or Orlando Ale House is also along there. Kobe Japanese steakhouse is very close - between Woodbury Road and Alafaya Trial along highway 50 (also called Colonial Drive). Since you're going to be in the UCF area, Cocoa Beach and the Cape Canaveral Seashore are much closer than if you were staying in the Disney area. Be aware that there are tolls on virtually every highway in Orlando, so keep plenty of dollar bills and change handy if you're driving back and forth from Disney. If you plan to go to Cocoa Beach, and like sushi, Thai Thai is excellent. It's across from the Radisson in Cape Canaveral. If you want to have a good italian dinner in Orlando, Delmonico's steakhouse on I-Drive is wonderful. It's also right by highway 528, so it's convenient. Citywalk is an area of restaurants and shops before you get to Universal Studios, and it's a nice evening or afternoon if you go to Universal Studios.
As a resident of Florida who lives near Orlando and works in Orlando, I can tell you that there are no "discounts" on Disney Parks that we've ever found or heard about. I don't even think AAA gives a discount to the parks, but they'd be my first bet. We have been season pass holders for a few years, too. Military members do receive a discount on THEIR tickets (only). To save time and avoid standing in lines to buy tickets, you can order tickets ahead of time and pick them up at the Will Call window.
Some background info about Disney World's new Fantasy Land!!!
From a long-term season passholder: We live in the Orlando area. Well, I hope people don't think that Disney's "new" Fantasyland is worth paying the price of a ticket for just to go see that. First of all, they opened a very short Nemo ride (not worth the wait), a Beauty & the Beast dining hall, and a gift shop. THAT'S the "new" Fantasyland. There are other rides that are under construction, but if you're going to Magic Kingdom just to see the "new" Fantasyland, save your $$ and come back in a couple years when they've gotten more done. It's really not worth it.
Other than the theme parks, there are some other Orlando area attractions: You can go to Cocoa Beach (1 hour east on Hwy 528), the Cape Canaveral National Seashore (1 hour away east on Hwy 528 to I95 North, get off at the last Titusville exit (Garden Street) - turn right and continue straight on). There is a small admission charge to get through in the National Seashore. Be aware that there's a nude beach at marker 12 or 13 (Playa Linda beach) - it's at the end, whichever marker it is. Also, before you get to the guard gate, there's an area called Black Point Nature Trail/Drive that takes about 30 minutes to go around, and you will see many different kinds of birds, pink flamingos, and often alligators are in the channels near the end, especially. Also not far from this area is NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
As another writer mentioned, Winter Park is a fun day of shopping - very quaint village area.
Daytona Beach is just northeast of Orlando, too. If you have more time, St. Augustine is also a nice day visit, but it will take a few hours. About 1.5 hours or so west of Orlando is Siesta Key beach -which is an absolutely beautiful white sand beach to visit for a day. It's near St. Petersburg/Clearwater.
If you can find your way to Gino's Pizza 120 S Orange Ave Orlando, FL 32801
Speaking of the quality of the pizza, I feel like Gino's is close to that authentic Italian pizza feel--super thin crust, delicious sauce. Not to mention each slice of pizza comes with a garlic knot. Yum. And the thing is, even if the pizza was so-so--you know you still wouldn't be able to resist stopping in at Gino's anyway.