Orlando’s vacation with kids is a lot of fun. Orlando is a children’s wonderland. So much to offer and not too far from beaches. Our first family trip to Orlando, Fl was when our son was 9 months old. My husband had a conference at the Gaylord Palms and I thought why not tag a long since the hotel was covered, and our son flew as a lap infant. We also decided to go to Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World (WDW) for 1 day even though our son was so young. That was the moment we were hooked on Disney.
Watching our son’s amazement during the parade brought my husband and I both to tears. It’s one of many Disney moments that we will never forget. While we love Disney there is so much more to do in Orlando, Fl. We enjoyed our stay at the Gaylord Palms as well as Universal Studios Resort.
Best Orlando Airport for Vacations with Kids
Southwest Flies into MCO Airport from many locations across the US. My small home town airport Albany happen to over several flights daily which usually includes one or two direct flights. Don’t forget to check out how you can earn southwest companion pass and fly to many southwest airline destinations for almost free.
MCO airport is Orlando, Fl main airport, and has lounges but they are not accessible at the terminal southwest flies out of. We once tried to go through the other terminal and security told us there is a The Club lounge in our terminal too. Of course, there wasn’t, and we were already through security when we realized this, so we have yet to try out the lounge. Because of traffic at MCO and the chance security could be very long we do arrive early and next trip to Orlando, Fl may try to make it to the lounge.
There is also a United Club lounge. Inside the terminal, before security, there are Universal SeaWorld and Disney Stores to grab any last-minute souvenirs before your departure. On arrival, you can also grab a souvenir book quickly (pay for it of course) before heading to the magic express. This way you are ready for the parks when you arrive. I would plan an hour’s travel time between MCO and your Orlando, Fl destination. It may not take that long but it could.
Walt Disney World Orlando Vacation with Kids
We love our Walt Disney World Orlando Vacation with kids. Our kids have been to Walt Disney World for 3 full 7-9 day stays and 3 shorter trips. We even did an adult-only trip before they were born (when they had amazing package deals) and attended my Brother and sister-in-law’s wedding at Disney (one of my husband and my first trips together).
There is so much information out there about Walt Disney World and people who go much more frequently than we do (season pass holders). I recommend at least 7 days at Disney World to visit all the parks especially if you are doing sit-down meals daily. I also recommend this because after 4 days ticket prices are typically only $10 more per person per day for additional days so it’s inexpensive to go longer and you will have plenty to do. To help save on food at Walt Disney World check out 7 shareable meals at Walt Disney World and Ways to turn your snack credits into a meal.
If the idea of spending a week in a crowded amusement park stressed, you out. I highly recommend considering a day or 2 at Disney after dark or the Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party or Very Merry Christmas Party. It’s all the Magic without the crowds. Here’s my trip report from September 2018 when we did 2 Mickeys Not so Scary Halloween Parties.
Universal Studios Orlando Vacation with Kids
Universal Studios is a great amusement park that is often seen as something for older kids and adults. Another Myth is you should only go for 1 or 2 days. We took our kids on 2 trips to Universal Studios for 7 days at 4 and 5.5 years old and 5 days at 5 and 6.5 years old. Universal was a fun and relaxing vacation. We were able to do everything (really everything) in both parks, allow the kids to play on the play structures and areas for as long as they would like, and still have some pool time- but not a lot of pool time.
Universal Studios doesn’t quite have the same customer service as Disney, but it does have some fun rides and great themed areas. Great for kids is Dr. Seuss land and Jurassic Park both at Island of adventure and of Course Harry Potter which spans both parks. Staying onsite at select hotels offers the benefit of express passes included with your stay. Unlike fast passes, Universal express passes allow you to use the Express lane on any ride that offers them for an unlimited number of rides through out the day. This means very little waiting time.
Universal also allows pool hopping so if you stay at a hotel that offers the express passes such as the Royal Pacific you can still check out the pool and lazy river at cabana bay or any other Universal Resort hotel. Check out why I think Universal is a great vacation with kids.
Sea World and Discovery Cove
Sea World and Discovery Cove is on our list for an Orlando Vacation with Kids. We haven’t visited Discovery Cove yet but it’s on my bucket list. Discovery Cove is a wonderful sea life park offering the chance to swim with dolphins, stingrays, and more. Children must be at least 6 years old to swim with dolphins thus why we have waited. We did a dolphin experience in Atlantis and I must say I think we will wait till the kids are a little older to be able to do the deeper water experience. We loved the shallow water experience, but we don’t need to do something similar again. Tickets are rather pricey but it’s an all-inclusive day including food and drinks (alcohol included).
In addition, you get up to 2 weeks passes to Sea World and Aquatica (water-park inside Sea World). While we haven’t visited the Sea World in Orlando, fl we have visited a smaller one in Texas. We really enjoyed the impressive Pets Ahoy show. There is often an option to add a day at Busch Gardens for a small fee. This is a good excuse to extend your stay and head over to the gulf coast. Busch Gardens has a lot of roller coasters geared for older kids but they also have a lot of animals and a sesame street show which is fun. We visited Busch Gardens when our kids were 1 and 2.5 and had a lot of fun. We spent 2 days visiting the park.
It’s about an hour from MCO airport with a hotel on-site and another close by. The Legoland resort is a lot of fun. In fact, our kids had so much fun the first day at the resort that the next morning they didn’t want to leave the hotel to go to the park. We of course did and had a great time at the park as well.
The resort is very well themed and enough activities to keep you busy without even going to the park. Even the bedrooms all are themed as well. Legoland has some unique attractions that the children loved. There’s a fire truck that you pump to move and they spray to put out the fire, there are boats you can drive and cars they can drive by themselves (kids only). There’s of course roller-coasters and a Ninjago area that includes a fun shooting ride where you use your hands as controllers.
Gaylord Palm Resort
We stayed at the Gaylord Palms when my son was 9m old. It’s a beautiful hotel with 3 themed areas. We stayed while my husband was at a conference, so I had my son during the days. We hung out by the zero-entry pool. They have a splash area too though he was too young for that. We took the garden tour they offer throughout the resort and went to the fish feeding inside the hotel. If you are ever going to be stuck in a hotel because of rain or weather this is a great hotel.
I also enjoyed taking themed photos of my son next to the themed areas especially the fortress. Gaylord Palms does offer a shuttle to Disney World which we did use one day. The shuttle times are limited so you do need to plan when you leave and return but It was fine for the one day we went. Food is pricey we ate at the boat restaurant in the evening and my Ahi tuna sandwich was very good.
If you are looking for an Orlando Vacation with Kids there is so many options from amusement parks to fun family friendly hotels and beaches a short drive away for a day trip if you would like. There’s so many options that’s why we find ourselves visiting Orlando almost every year.
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