More Than Theme Parks: 6 Days in Orlando, Florida

More Than Theme Parks: 6 Days in Orlando, Florida

Earlier this month, one of my oldest friends and I jetted off to Orlando, Florida to explore the wonders of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. However, what we found was that the region has so much more to offer than just great theme parks and expensive souvenirs. In addition to some much needed pool lounging time, we fell in love with some local restaurants and indulged in a fun history lesson by traversing some of Central Florida’s lakes and canals. We particularly enjoyed our time in Winter Park, which is a town right next to the theme park capital. If you’re planning a getaway to the area, here are the ins and outs of our trip and our 6 day Orlando, Florida itinerary.


Basics of Our Orlando, Florida Trip

  • Duration: 5 nights, 6 days (October 1-7).
  • Weather: Early October in Orlando is HOT and HUMID! So humid that the floors of our hotel were constantly a little damp. It was around 30C everyday were there. You will experience some flash showers throughout the day.
  • Accommodations: We stayed at Avanti Resort on International Drive (where most of Orlando’s resorts live). We paid ~$102/night. Monday-Thursday are cheaper than Friday-Sunday. They have a free shuttle to Universal Orlando.
  • Flights: We got a phenomenal price of $260 roundtrip from San Francisco to Orlando via Frontier. Our fares were likely very low due to hurricane season just passing.
  • Transportation: We took the shuttle to and from Universal Orlando, took the local trolley to the Premium Outlets ($2 per ride), and took Lyft for all our other excursions.
  • Theme park costs: $271.57 USD (with taxes) for a 2-day-2-park pass. This was for Universal Florida and Islands of Adventure where both parts of the Wizarding World are located.

Our 6 Days in Orlando, Florida Itinerary

Day 1: Caught up on sleep after our red eye flight and lounged by the pool. Went to Tu Tu Tango on International Drive for dinner, which was one of our favorite restaurants of the trip! Art lines the walls of this colorful restaurant and they have artists painting and dancers on-site.

orlando florida itinerary

Lounging at the pool at Avanti Resort

Day 2: Explored all the nooks and crannies at the Wizarding World. Dined at Universal’s Toothsome Chocolate Emporium for dinner. I loved their gnocchi and colossal milkshakes. Even if you don’t dine at Toothsome, the inside is definitely worth checking out!

orlando florida itinerary

The massive red velvet milkshake at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium

Day 3: Revisited the Wizarding World in case we missed anything and explored more of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Make sure to go early in the day because much of your day will be spent waiting in line for rides!

orlando florida itinerary

Springfield at Universal Orlando

Day 4: If you like to shop, you’ll need a whole day at the Orlando International Premium Outlets. The local trolley will take you straight there. Ask your hotel’s concierge if they have a discount passport for the outlets!

Day 5: Aside from the Wizarding World, the highlight of our trip was visiting the quaint town of Winter Park, which is just northeast of Orlando and known for its plethora of parks and being home to Rollins College. We had the most spectacular brunch at The Briarpatch and walked along its main shopping/eating hub of Park Avenue. After making some purchases, we walked a few blocks down to one of the town’s lakes where we had the most enjoyable time on the town’s Scenic Boat Tour. The tour led us through the various small lakes and canals of the area and our guide educated us on the rich history of the region. The tour is only $14 and a must-see if you’re in the area. We then capped our time off in Winter Park with drinks at Boca Kitchen Bar Market.

That evening we made our way back to Orlando for delicious Asian food at Hawkers Asian Street Fare in the city’s Mills 50 district. We had heard about the fun, themed bars in downtown Orlando so we proceeded to get drinks at Frosty’s, which is a Christmas themed bar! If the day couldn’t get any better, we concluded our night around the corner at Joysticks Arcade Lounge. This would be a great place to host a birthday party. Unsurprisingly, they have arcade games, nerdy-themed drinks, and the Game of Thrones THRONE on-site.

Orlando Florida Itinerary

Meandering through a canal on Winter Park’s Scenic Boat Tour

Day 6: Our flight was in the afternoon on this Saturday so we spent the morning and lunchtime revisiting the Universal Studios City Walk. We brunched at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and checked out the Walk’s shops. However, if you’re looking to do some extensive shopping, the City Walk is not where it’s at.

orlando florida itinerary

Exploring Universal with our matching wink hats




Our Orlando, Florida Getaway in More Photos…

Orlando Florida Itinerary

Live painting at Tu Tu Tango

orlando florida itinerary

Fun with Chief Wiggum in Springfield

orlando florida itinerary

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

Orlando Florida Itinerary

Jurassic Park at Islands of Adventure

orlando florida itinerary

A wet ride at Islands of Adventure

wizarding world of harry potter tips

Casting spells in Diagon Alley

orlando florida itinerary

Universal Orlando’s Toothsome Chocolate Emporium

Orlando Florida Itinerary

Brunch at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium

Orlando Florida Itinerary

Brunch at The Briarpatch in Winter Park, Florida

orlando florida itinerary

Winter Park’s Scenic Boat Tour

orlando florida itinerary

Some of Winter Park’s beautiful lakeside homes

Orlando Florida Itinerary

Boating by Rollins College on one of the small lakes

Orlando Florida Itinerary

Game of Thrones throne at Joysticks Arcade Lounge in downtown Orlando


Have any questions about our Orlando, Florida trip? Let me know in the comments! 

Want to know more about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? I wrote a whole blog post on it.




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Comments ( 23 )

  1. ReplyHannah Payne
    What a fun trip! The food looks amazing!!!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Thanks so much, Hannah! Yes, the food in Orlando really surprised me! We had some great meals.
  2. Replyannelawton
    We've been to orlando many times, and unfortunately never can get out of the amusement park mode. I will keep the scenic boat tour in mind the next time we go.
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      I totally see where you're coming from. I highly recommend Winter Park and its scenic boat tour though! Thanks for your comment, Anne!
  3. ReplySarah Camille
    Sounds like you had a great time. The Harry Potter stuff sounds awesome too.
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      We definitely did. Thanks, Sarah! The Wizarding World was definitely a highlight for us.
  4. ReplyCaitlin
    The Harry Potter theme park is one of my favorite things in Orlando! Makes me wanna go back!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      You and me both! So magical right? I definitely want to check out the Hollywood version now.
  5. Replyjulieannhoag
    Thanks for all these great travel tips! My husband and I have taken our boys to Disneyworld and Universal but no where else in Florida. Going back is definitely on our bucket list!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      That's wonderful you and your family got to do all that! I definitely hope you get to go back. Thanks, Julie!
  6. ReplyJane Davidson | Typically Jane
    That milkshake! I'll take two please and then go into a food coma for a week! This looks like such a great time! It makes me want to go back to Florida!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      I literally had to split that milkshake up into 3 nights! Hah. It was delicious though. You should definitely go back! Thanks so much, Jane.
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      YES the milkshake! Took me 3 nights to finish that monster haha. It was so delicious though. Thanks so much, Jane! I hope you do!
  7. ReplyCourtney Klimka
    This is awesome, I'm heading to florida in february and I definitely want to venture outside the parks. I also really want to check out Celebration.
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Ah have fun, Courtney! There's definitely a lot outside the parks. Wow I never heard of Celebration until your comment prompted me to look it up. Looks great!
  8. ReplyMimi
    Wow, I'd love to go there! I also love that you included all the prices :D
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      It's a great area! And no problem - I always look for prices on other websites so I like providing them on my blog. Thanks, Mimi!
  9. Replybellegabriella1
    This trip looks like so much fun! I love the sponge bob pineapple picture!!
  10. ReplyCarissa
    I enjoyed reading your adventures to Orlando! Boca is amazing! I don't know if you had more than drinks there, but their food is off the chain as well. And I loved the pictures from your scenic boat tour of Lake Maitland and it's surrounding lakes. My husband's mom lives along those chain of lakes and we love exploring through the tunnels in our kayaks! It's funny because...I still have yet to go to Universal for the Harry Potter World (I know, I knowww) haha but I'm glad ya'll had an awesome time!!!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      Hi Carissa! Ah I totally wanted to get food there, but we already planned on going to Hawkers that night. Have you been?? Kayaking along the canals and lakes in the area sounds incredible. You two must definitely make your way to the Wizarding World! I'm pretty sure you get a resident discount too.
  11. Replycertifiedpastryaficionado
    I'm from Orlando and have been to Universal a thousand times but I've never been to Toothsome. It must be brand-new. It sounds incredible, though. I have to go next time I'm back home!
    • ReplyAuthorEmma @ theweekendabroad.com
      I looked it up when I was there and from what I remember it opened last year? It's quite the experience! That's awesome you have such easy access to the parks as a resident there!

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