Exploring Orlando Beyond Disney: A Guide to the City's Best Attractions

Located just an hour south of Orlando's bustling tourist districts, Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures offers a unique way to explore the Everglades. Glide through the headwaters of Florida's wetlands at speeds of up to 40 mph aboard six-passenger airboats that have been inspected and approved by the U. S. government.

On your journey, you'll find untouched areas and spot a wide range of exotic wildlife. If you're looking for an overnight adventure, Boggy Creek also offers one-hour expeditions. For a different kind of outdoor experience, Epic Paddle Adventures invites you to explore crystal clear springs, search for marine life on the intercoast, and soak up the sunshine on one of Orlando's many beautiful lakes. They provide intensive, hands-on instruction so you can feel comfortable in the water and focus on having the trip of a lifetime. Set on more than 100 acres, Gatorland is one of Orlando's oldest attractions and offers family fun at affordable prices. See thousands of alligators and crocodiles, along with an aviary, a breeding swamp with observation tower, Florida panthers, a petting zoo, and a splash pad for younger visitors.

Gatorland also offers unique reptile exhibits and special close-up encounters. Get even more of the excitement with the Screamin' Gator zip line and the Stompin' Gator off-road adventure with separate entrances. If you're looking for a truly unique experience, plan your visit around one of Kennedy Space Center's upcoming launches. Launch viewing is included with all Kennedy Space Center general admission tickets. Also known as the “alligator capital of the world”, Gatorland is a must-see for anyone who wants to get a real sense of the nature, culture and animals of the Everglades. This 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve is filled with exciting exhibits, thrilling rides and exciting alligator-themed entertainment.

Walt Disney World Resort is still standing after five decades as Orlando's most famous amusement park. Nowhere is the nostalgia factor higher than in Disney's Magic Kingdom. When Disney World opened in 1971, Magic Kingdom was the resort's only theme park - and now it appeals to all age groups. EPCOT has changed quite a bit over the years, but each new attraction brings an educational component along with its emotions and chills. From attractions and shows to exhibits and even dining options, every experience at EPCOT is both entertaining and enlightening.

Little ones will enjoy Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Shrek 4-D, while older kids can check out Revenge of the Mummy and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. When you're ready for a short break, enjoy the musical style of The Blues Brothers, Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees and Marilyn Monroe. Even though it's one of Orlando's newest theme parks (the park opened in 2011), LEGOLAND Florida is still introducing new attractions, including water sports acrobatics and new stage shows. Select ticket packages also include access to LEGOLAND Water Park - a great place to cool off from the hot Florida sun. For parents of very young children, Peppa Pig World is right next to LEGOLAND. When most people think of Florida, they think of Orlando's theme parks - but there are plenty of other attractions beyond these sprawling resorts.

From outdoor ecotourism adventures to independent attractions and other unforgettable ways to play - there are plenty of ways to explore Orlando beyond Disney.

Chandra Klingerman
Chandra Klingerman

Amateur food evangelist. Amateur beer advocate. Incurable zombie scholar. Extreme food trailblazer. Far horizon trailblazer.

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