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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Our Orlando, Florida Getaway in More Photos…
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.