As a family-run business for over 30 years, we at OrlandoVacation.com know many families who book Orlando Hotels and Orlando Vacation Home Rentals with us each year to visit Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando. Last year, however, theme parks shut down due to COVID-19 and many families had to cancel their Spring Break trips. Both Disney and Universal closed their doors in the middle of March 2020, but Universal reopened a few months later in the first week of June while Disney parks reopened in July.
Although we all were missing the theme parks and found ways to cope during the stay-at-home orders, it is wonderful that the parks have opened again. Visiting the Orlando Theme Parks in person is the best experience, but we’ve found ways to enjoy these parks a different way. From the comfort of your own home in honor of Virtual Vacation Day!
Before the pandemic impacted the world, I longed to take my family to visit one of the amazing theme parks. However, they were so far away and too expensive for me at the time. We searched for Disney and Universal virtual rides on YouTube. You can use a laundry basket to even more closely capture the roller coaster experience. Rocking your kid back and forth simulating the ride for a more realistic feel.
Sometimes looked for VR videos on YouTube as well that explore various parks. We threw on a VR headset and “rode” what we could find. Some videos captured with 360 video are of a higher quality and give you a sense of actually being there. Google maps also offer a 360 view of certain spots around the world to explore.
Recreating Parks in Your Home
You can also bring Universal Studios to home by recreating Jurassic World in your back yard. A fun scavenger hunt for Dinosaur eggs and while being weary of stray raptors . The kids can ride their bikes pretending they are helping an E.T. stuffed animal get home. You can make your own Butterbeer from Pinterest recipe boards to end a fun filled day. I have even seen videos of the Haunted Mansion ride recreated with household objects and a creative family.
One of our Orlando attractions hosted a set of Facebook live videos called School of Croc. Here, viewers can follow Savannah Boan, the Crocodilian Enrichment Coordinator and Social Media Director. Families all over the world can learn fun facts about more than just alligators, but amazing animals and adventures. Other animal experts join Boan throughout the program and incorporate crafts that kids can do at home. Families can send in questions and submit photos or videos. If you can’t make the live events, Gatorland has a YouTube channel for those that need a more flexible schedule.
One of the larger well-known theme parks, also has some incredible resources with videos that families can enjoy. There are interactive activities like mimicking different sounds that animals can make, you can download informational guides for learning, or ask questions to their animal experts.
While the dark days of stay at home quarantine are gone in most states and we wait for even more restrictions to fall away, the parks are open in Orlando. You can still have a memorable moment recreating your Orlando vacation from home!