Day 1 – Animal Kingdom
Orlando can be an exhausting holiday, with so much to do, but everyone will be excited to get to Disney! After travelling, take it easy and spend your first day at Animal Kingdom. There’s still plenty to see and do, but it doesn’t feel as hectic as some of the other parks. If you’re not too tired, there’s the Tree of Awakenings sound and light display on in the evening. The first day is also the best time to head to Walmart and stock up on goodies for the next 2 weeks!
Day 2 – Magic Kingdom
Excitement will be high today as you head to Magic Kingdom! A character breakfast is a great way to start your day, and I was recommended Crystal Palace by a friend, which I loved! If you’re Winnie the Pooh fans, and food fans, then this is the breakfast for you. I was definitely in my element eating Mickey Waffles and meeting Eeyore! There is a lot to get through in Magic Kingdom (rides and food), but reward yourself with a lovely dinner at Be Our Guest. This was one of my Disney highlights because the service was delightful, the food excellent and I even got to try the grey stuff! The Beast even makes an experience, which was the perfect end to our meal.
Day 3 – Blizzard Beach
Water parks are an ideal compromise between a busy park day and a chilled day, so they’re good to slot into your trip. I’m not huge on water rides, but this park seemed to have more rides for bigger children than Typhoon Lagoon (the other Disney water park), but as usual there’s a mix for different ages. For me, it was a case of get there early, find a lounger and keep the cocktails coming! After Blizzard Beach, head to Disney Springs for a stroll around and some food and drinks. Planet Hollywood is a fun place for dinner, but make sure you visit Amorette’s afterwards for pink champagne and chocolate covered strawberries (or other sweet treats). There’s lots of other entertainment options here too, such as cinema and bowling.
Day 4 – Magic Kingdom/Epcot
Today, head back to Magic Kingdom for anything you might have missed on Day 2 or re-do your favourite parts! This may take all day, but if not make your way to Epcot for an afternoon/evening of gastronomy! Epcot World Showcase takes visitors around the world in terms of food, drink and design. There’s not a lot for children to do in Epcot compared to the other parks, but you can read how to Eat and Drink Around the World here.
Day 5 – FREE DAY
You might want a break from the parks today and decide to have a pool day at your villa. Or if the weather isn’t great, go to The Mall at Millenia and enjoy lunch at the Cheesecake Factory before window shopping or spending your dollars in the many stores. Use the evening to make some food at home and have a relaxing evening before heading back to the parks tomorrow.
Day 6 – Hollywood Studios/Epcot
This can be a chilled morning before making your way to Hollywood Studios. I didn’t think there was as much to see and do as in some of the other parks, so I don’t think you need to be up and out as early doors. Toy Story Land is great addition for the kids, so make sure to pay it a visit. Fantasmic is a show that takes place at Hollywood Studios in the evening, but only on select dates, so it’s important to check if it’s on when you’re visiting! You can also use the afternoon to visit Epcot if you didn’t manage on Day 4, or if you just want more time there.
Day 7 – Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure
Start your day with the breakfast of champions – Voodoo Doughnut. I chose a peanut butter and jelly one and didn’t regret it! Islands of Adventure is my favourite of all the parks because I think it has the best rides. Make sure to get here early to give yourself plenty of time in both Universal parks, before catching a show with the Blue Man Group. I had heard great things about this show and it more than lived up to my expectations! It’s around 2 hours of music, colour and laughter, which is definitely worth going to.
Day 8 – Wizarding World
Get ready for the most magical day! Being a huge Harry Potter fan, this day was the highlight of my trip. The Wizarding World spans across both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, so there’s a lot to see and do; read my tips for the WW here. I could have spent 2 weeks here, just taking in every detail, but when you finally decide to leave make your way to Universal City Walk for dinner at Antojitos. This is a brilliant Mexican restaurant, with a great vibe, delicious margaritas and handmade guacamole at the table.
Day 9 – Volcano Bay
Volcano Bay is Universal’s waterpark, so there’s still plenty of rides, but also the chance to chill out on their beach and waterfront area. It was tricky for us to find loungers at all of the waterparks, but Volcano Bay was especially difficult for us, so try and get in early to get a good spot. Tonight, might be a good night to order a takeaway and have a night in; the sun and fun can take it out of you! Or go to Outback for a casual dinner – the quesadillas are delicious!
Day 10 – FREE DAY
Another rest day might be needed after a few busy park ones. But you can see how you feel after Volcano Bay – you might be chilled enough! Family days at the villa are always good, but if there’s anything you feel you’ve missed so far, it’s a good time to catch up. Hooters wings are a must for me when in American, so I would suggest the adults grab a bite to eat here tonight; there’s plenty of pub grub and beers.
Day 11 – Busch Gardens
Busch Gardens is actually in Tampa, which is around an hour and a half away from Orlando. It’s a fun park to visit because of the animals, but also because it has some bigger and really fun rides. However, if travelling with young children there may not be as much for them to do here, so it might not be worth the journey. Texas Roadhouse is a good casual steak restaurant to stop at on your way home. Or Fogo de Chao is a more upmarket Brazillian steakhouse where the food is served rodizio style with waiters offering meats from huge skewers. If you’re a food/steak fan I would definitely try and fit both into your trip for different experiences, but Fogo isn’t as well suited to children as Texas Roadhouse.
Day 12 – Typhoon Lagoon
Because I’m more of a chiller at waterparks rather than a ride goer, I really enjoyed Typhoon Lagoon. They have a huge surf pool that we spent a lot of time in because it was fun for the adults and the kids! There also seemed to be plenty of space to set up camp compared to Volcano Bay, which was quite cramped. Tonight, grab a chilled bite from Taco Bell or Cick Fil A before playing some outdoor or indoor mini golf.
Day 13 – FREE DAY
Depending on your preferences or what you did on Day 5, you could use today as a pool day at the villa or a shopping day. Orlando Premium Outlets is a must-visit for me because it’s a good place to find some bargains; it’s where I did the majority of my shopping. There’s also plenty of food options here to make sure you’re properly fueled for a busy day of making sure you have everything you need before you leave Orlando. For one of your last nights, Rocco’s Taco’s is a great place to have a very enjoyable meal and evening, with delicious food and drinks.
Day 14 – FREE DAY
Start your morning with breakfast at iHop, which will set you up for the rest of the day. Use your final day to try and fit in anything you might not have had time for, or anything you really want to do again, Orlando holidays are tiring, so it doesn’t always go to plan, or the weather might not play ball. You can also visit Disney’s Boardwalk for last minute souvenir shopping or to grab a bite to eat. The perfect ending to an Orlando holiday is watching Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom. It’s a spectacular fireworks display with sound and light that will leave you feeling all kind of emotions.