Swamp Ride, NBA Games, and Dining Centers: America's Magical City Has Many Attractions Outside the Parks

Orlando has been developing its downtown area and surroundings for years to snatch tourists for a few more days and perhaps keep them out of the big parks for a while. The city is a popular destination for Brazilians, but do travelers leave the traditional route of parks, shopping and hotels?

In addition to the magical world of Disney parks, the adventures of Universal Studios, the adrenaline of Busch Gardens and the marine world of Sea World, travelers can get to know the surrounding swamps up close with boat tours, balloon flights or at Wekiwa Springs. State Park, where there are also trails and natural pools. Another local attraction is the NBA, American basketball league, which takes place frequently in the city.

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Downtown Orlando also has plenty of activities for the whole family, such as the Ferris wheel-turned-viewpoint, the Madame Tussauds wax museum and Church Street District, a gastronomic center that appeals to all palates.

And, speaking of food, one way to diversify the menu during the trip and guarantee new experiences is to search for restaurants in other hotels in the region, even if it is not the one where you will be staying. You will be surprised by the variety: African, Asian, Italian, traditional American country and modern cuisine. Who said the United States is made of hamburgers and pizza?

Orlando is a sprawling but flat city, which makes getting around simple. Some of the top attractions within easy reach are: the NBA games, a food tour of Church Street District restaurants, a relaxed visit to the Madame Tussauds wax museum and a hop on the Ferris wheel. If the goal is shopping, some of the most famous places are Florida Mall, Mall at Millenia, Orlando International Premium Outlets and Vineland Premium Outlet.

But if you really want to get off the beaten track, get up close and personal with the city's rich ecosystems with a boat or hot air balloon ride through the swamps and a day at the relaxing Wekiwa Springs State Park, where you can hit trails and natural pools.

Things to do in Orlando

Photo: HenningE / Pixabay

Disney World

The complex has four main theme parks and two water parks. THE Magic Kingdom It is the most famous park in the city and its symbol is Cinderella's castle. Here visitors pass through the most enchanting and magical worlds of Disney films such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. This is also where classic characters like Mickey, Donald and Goofy have the most presence. The most wanted toys are: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain and Splash Mountain.

Former MGM Studios, Hollywood Studios is movie-themed and has areas and toys dedicated to Indiana Jones, Avatar, Star Wars and Toy Story. Another strong point are the live shows that have the memorable songs of A Bela e A Fera, A Pequena Sereia, among others. More attractions are: Rock'n'Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Frozen musical and the Fantasmic show, which ends the day.

To pass through the gates is to enter the animal kingdom. The symbol of Animal Kingdom is the Tree of Life, from The Lion King, and everything is surrounded by greenery, which makes the weather more pleasant on hot days. The park is shared with world-themed places such as Africa and Asia. Animal Kingdom is famous for safari, the live musical The Lion King, the Expedition Everest roller coaster, Kali River Rapids and It's Though to be Bug.

Originally designed to create a futuristic society, Epcot has two of the most famous rides in all of the parks, the Test Track, in which the visitor simulates testing a car in extreme conditions, and Soarin', where everyone takes off on a flight. hang gliding through different parts of the world. Another attraction that has formed lines for hours in recent years is the toy that takes a tour of the Frozen sets. But another strength of this park is the gastronomy, as the World of Showcase has pavilions from 11 different countries where it is possible to learn more about the culture of each one of them.

Universal Studios

The complex is formed by two major theme parks: the Universal Studios, with areas dedicated to films loved by the public, such as The Simpsons, Minions and ET. the second is the Island of Adventure. This park has old attractions from productions such as Jurassic Park and Popeye, but in recent years it has been called “Harry Potter's park”. The reasons are clear on the passage from Universal Studios to the Island of Adventure, which is made by the Hogwarts Express. Visitors are transported into the wizard's magical world with perfectly decorated streets and food and shops taken from JK Rowling's books. Despite the roller coasters, the big attraction for fans is the Hogwarts castle, which in this case hosts a 3D simulation toy mixed with a roller coaster in the dark. In addition to being considered one of the best rides in the park, the fun for fans already starts in the queue, which passes through different environments of the school of magic. Other highlights are The Incredible Hulk Coaster and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.

Bush Gardens

The park is 90km from Orlando, in the city of Tampa and is famous for its extreme roller coasters and has some of the biggest in the world! In addition, it is also one of the best zoos in the country, with more than 10,000 animals. Some highlights are: Sheikra, Edge of Africa, Tiger Trail, Kumba and Jungala Flyers.

lego land

The incredible Lego park is one of the most popular with families passing through Orlando. The park is just 40 minutes from the tourist center of the city. The entire decoration of Legoland Florida was made with the famous toy pieces, throughout the area it is possible to see numerous tourist attractions around the world, totaling more than 50 million pieces.

Florida Mall

The gallery is a very traditional Orlando mall and offers a good variety of stores like Dick's, Finish Line, H&M, Oakley, Kipling, Abercrombie, Zara, Victoria's Secrets, Pandora and many more.

Other places to visit in Orlando:

  • Disney Springs
  • Disney Typhoon Lagoon
  • Disney Blizzard Beach
  • NBA game
  • tour through the swamps
  • Church Street District
  • Wekiwa Springs State Park
  • balloon flights
  • Mall at Millenia
  • Orlando International Premium Outlets
  • Vineland Premium Outlet
  • Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
  • Ferris wheel

How to get to Orlando

Photo: FF16 / Pixabay

By airplane

Orlando has its own airport, but it is also possible to land in Miami and make the rest of the trip by car (380km). The two national companies that offer direct flights to the city are TAM, departing from São Paulo, and Azul departing from Campinas.

Flights with connections to miami can be made by Copa, which offers departures from 7 Brazilian cities (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Manaus, Recife and Belo Horizonte) via Panama. Avianca, on the other hand, offers flights to Orlando with stops in Bogotá from São Paulo and Rio.

By train

Although it is not one of the best options, there is the possibility of arriving in Orlando by train. The city is connected with other major US destinations such as New York, Washington, Charleston, Jacksonville and Savannah. Travel time from New York to Orlando is a little over 20 hours.

Best time to visit Orlando

Photo: Miosotis_Jade / Pixabay

Orlando is hot practically all year round, the coldest temperatures occur in November and December, but on isolated days and more at night. June through September is hurricane season in the Caribbean, which causes heavy rain in Orlando.

The high season months are January, February, July, August, October and December. The best time to visit the city and the parks is between the American holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the lines are shorter and the days are longer.

Where to stay in Orlando

Photo: Songquan Deng / Pixabay

Find Orlando accommodation here.

» Best parks to visit in Orlando
» places to visit in miami
» Best time to travel to the United States
» The 10 most beautiful cities to visit in the United States

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