Is it possible to take an Orlando vacation and bypass Disney World entirely? It is — and you can still have a good time, even if you skip the Disney World resort entirely. Here’s a few ideas for enjoying a Disney-free Orlando vacation:
If you like thrill rides: Head to Universal’s Island of Adventure for plenty of roller coaster fun. You can also find some top notch coasters in Sea World, including the floorless flyer, Manta and the Kraken.
If you like animals: You can encounter plenty of animals at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, just an hour outside Orlando. Busch Gardens combines the best of both words–they offer great thrill rides like the stunning SheiKra and an assortment of animal exhibits and shows that will captivate any animal lover. Don’t want to make the drive? Sea World is home to more than Shamu — you’ll spot turtles, penguins and more when you visit.
If you like water parks: Sea World’s Aquatica and Wet n Wild both offer plenty of watery thrills — if the kids are along, Wet n Wild is a good bet, thanks to the newly revamped kids play zone.
If you like characters: Several local hotels offer character dining and character greetings; you can spot Shrek at the Gaylord Palms, Dora at the Nick hotel and a rotating list of characters at the Universal resorts. Don’t miss the antics of SpongeBob, Dora, Diego and the minions of Despicable Me when you visit Universal Orlando.
If you’re traveling with kids: Don’t miss Sea World’s Sesame Street themed areas and character dining; this is one of the best places to take preschoolers. Families with school aged children may find the drive to LEGOLAND to be well worth it. The park is not crowded and has plenty of fun LEGO based activities and exhibits.