Take it easy and get yourself used to Florida time! Orlando is 5 hours behind the UK, so you might find yourself waking up at silly o'clock while you adjust to the time difference. Use this day to get your plans straight for the next two weeks of Florida fun.
Can't wait to get to the theme parks? Take a trip to one of the smaller parks like Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You can always leave early for a nap if you need to!
Welcome to the most magical place on earth! With the iconic Cinderella Castle at its centre, the Magic Kingdom is made up of 6 themed lands where you can meet your favourite Disney characters, experience famous rides like Space Mountain and "it's a small world" and see spectacular parades and fireworks shows!
- 1. Use your Disney FastPass to avoid the queues on the most popular rides - you can reserve a time for up to 3 rides or attractions a day.
- 2. Staying at a Disney World hotel? Take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours, where the parks stay open longer especially for hotel guests!
While you’re here, don’t miss Meeting the Disney Characters
There are lots of ways to meet the characters, from character dining to special Meet & Greets. Little ones will be overjoyed to finally meet their heroes and heroines - and let’s be honest, the grown-ups will too!
Explore the culture and cuisine of 11 different countries, ride one of the fastest attractions in any Disney theme park (Test Track) and meet the Disney characters at the Epcot Character Spot! Even if you’ve never been to Disney World before, you’ll recognise the “giant golf ball” which is EPCOT’s mascot – and is actually a ride called Spaceship Earth!
Use your Disney FastPass to avoid the queues on the most popular rides - you can reserve a time for up to 3 rides or attractions a day!
While you’re here, don’t miss MISSION: SPACE
Possibly the most intense ride at Disney World, this simulator ride gives you a pretty authentic experience of taking a space shuttle launch! It has 2 levels of intensity, so if you’re prone to motion sickness you can take the less intense “Green” option.
There are two amazing Harry Potter lands at Universal Orlando Resort: Diagon Alley at Universal Studios and Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Check out our Hogsmeade guide and Diagon Alley guide to find out more about each of them!
While you’re here, don’t miss The Hogwarts Express
Take a real journey on the famous train from the Harry Potter films! The Hogwarts Express connects Hogsmeade with Diagon Alley, and the views out of the windows are different depending on which way you’re travelling!
After a few full-on days at the theme parks, you deserve some time out!
The best place to relax and recover? Discovery Cove – an all-inclusive paradise where you can spend the day drifting along scenic rivers, hand-feeding exotic birds, snorkelling with tropical fish, relaxing on sandy beaches and even swimming with dolphins!
Make sure you book your tickets for Discovery Cove well in advance! They only allow 1300 visitors into the park each day, so there are no crowds, but tickets can sell out very quicklyBook Discovery Cove Tickets
With some of the most state-of-the-art rides, stunning ocean-inspired shows and animal encounters, SeaWorld Orlando is a combination of theme park, waterpark and marine-life zoological park!
SeaWorld also rescue and rehabilitate marine animals like dolphins and manatees, always with the aim of returning them to the ocean. If this isn't possible, they are given a new forever home at SeaWorld.
Get the SeaWorld All Day Dining Pass, which lets you eat and drink as much as you like all day in most of SeaWorld’s eateries.Book SeaWorld Orlando Tickets
Officially home to some of Florida’s most epic thrill rides, as well as over 12,000 wild and wonderful exotic animals, Busch Gardens is a must-do for adrenaline junkies, animal lovers, and everyone in between!
Get the Busch Gardens All Day Dining Pass, which lets you eat and drink as much as you like all day in most of Busch Gardens’ eateries.Book Busch Gardens Tickets
While you’re here, don’t miss The Serengeti Safari
The incredible Serengeti Safari takes you on an adventure across the wild African plain where the friendly giraffes will trot right over to feed straight out of your hand – so make sure you have your camera ready for the ultimate selfie!
Important: You'll need an additional ticket to experience Serengeti Safari - find out more
In the evening:
Busch Gardens is about an hour away from the rest of the Orlando theme parks. Combine that with a full-on day of thrill rides and walking around, and you’ll probably be fancying a night in - you've earned it!
Want to know more about Busch Gardens? Read our Busch Gardens Guide
It’s not all about the theme parks! Florida is also famed for its amazing shopping opportunities and gorgeous beaches, so you should make time to fit at least one of these (if not both) into your schedule….
You could easily spend a whole day at the Florida Mall, Central Florida’s biggest shopping centre filled with big high-street and designer brands. If you’re after a bargain, head to one of Orlando’s Premium Outlet Villages where you can save up to 65%.Read more about Shopping in Florida
Get ready to have fun with your favourite childhood heroes, comic book stars and cartoon characters at this awesome Universal Orlando Resort theme park.
While you’re here, don’t miss The Incredible Hulk Ride
If you're an adrenaline nut, The Incredible Hulk rollercoaster is a must-do. It’s right at the entrance to the Islands of Adventure, so get there early to avoid the queues.Book Universal Orlando Tickets
Go beyond the screen, behind the scenes, and right into the action of your favourite films and TV shows at this real, working production studio where YOU are the star!
Party with the Minions from Despicable Me, get busy zapping aliens with the Men in Black, and head to Springfield to meet everyone’s favourite family - The Simpsons!
All the parks at Universal Orlando Resort - Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay and Universal CityWalk –are within walking distance of each other so there’s no worries about how you’ll get around!
When it comes to water parks, you're totally spoilt for choice in Orlando. As many of the water parks are right next to the various theme parks, your choices will probably depend on which theme parks you're visiting or which tickets you have.
These are the most popular water parks in Orlando:
Volcano Bay Water Theme Park (Universal Orlando Resort)
Volcano Bay is the newest water park to hit Orlando and is a truly 21st-century experience, with virtual queueing and state-of-the-art water rides.
Blizzard Beach & Typhoon Lagoon (Walt Disney World Resort)
Disney World has not one but TWO water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Obviously you’ll want to try them both but if time is short, our guide Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon? should help you to decide.
There’s much more to Florida than the theme parks (though they’re a good place to start!)
If you want to discover a little more of what Florida can offer, why not try:
In the evening:
If you haven’t yet had the chance, enjoy one of Orlando’s famous dinner shows:
- Travel through time with Medieval Times Orlando –watch a medieval tournament and tuck into a 4-course feast fit for a king
- Up for a bit of mystery? Test your detective skills over a meal at the Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show
- Get ready for a night of belly laughs at the hilarious Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show
The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show takes place in the WonderWorks building, so you can easily visit this mind-boggling attraction just before dinner.
Leave this day free to visit anywhere you didn’t get the chance to, or do some last-minute shopping for souvenirs!