Cara Goldsbury

Article Summary:

When you need a break from Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, what else can you do on your Orlando vacation?

Advice For the Theme Park Weary

When you just can’t take another day at the theme parks on your Orlando vacation consider these suggestions:

Book a Spa Treatment
What better way to soothe fragile nerves and sore feet than a session at one of Orlando’s resort spas. On Disney property there’s the Grand Floridian as well as the Saratoga Springs Spa where one of their luxurious treatments are a perfect addition to your vacation. Off property you can’t do any better than the ultra luxurious Ritz-Carlton Spa or the Gaylord Palms Canyon Ranch Spa. Those staying at a Universal Resort should consider an exotic Javanese treatment at the Mandara Spa at Portofino Bay Hotel.

Relax At Your Resort’s Pool
Orlando’s resort pools are justifiably renowned for their spectacular theming. Disney offers some of the best, particularly Stormalong Bay at the Yacht and Beach Club, a 3-acre mini waterpark, or the boulder lined beauty at the Wilderness Lodge featuring waterfalls and its very own geyser. Off property, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress’ fantasyland pool is cooled by twelve waterfalls and at the JW Marriott’s "Lazy River" you can float to your heart’s content. And at Universal Orlando’s Hard Rock Hotel is the coolest (and I don’t just mean the water temperature) pool around with an underwater sound system, sand beach, and poolside cabanas.

Spend Time On Disney’s Waterways
Disney has miles of lakes and lagoons to explore. You’ll find that most Disney resorts have a marina where many types of watercraft are available for hire. Sailboats, pontoon and canopy boats, Sea Raycers, even a 48-foot yacht. Take your pick. Perhaps the biggest bang for your buck is to be had at the Contemporary Resort where in addition to the above you’ll also find parasailing, waterskiing, tubing, and wakeboarding on beautiful Bay Lake.

Cool Off at a Disney Waterpark
Disney has two wonderful waterparks: Blizzard Beach, a perfect place for daredevils, and Typhoon Lagoon where you’ll find a whopper of a surf pool along with tamer attractions. Spend your day hopping from one crazy waterslide to another or just kick back and relax on a lounge chair for the afternoon.

Shop Till You Drop in The Mall at Millenia
For one of Orlando’s best shopping experiences head to this fabulous new mall just minutes from Universal Orlando. Here you’ll find only the best with stores such as Neiman Marcus, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany. But fair warning: this trip could end up costing a pretty penny. Those with great taste but thriftier intentions will love the Orlando Premium Outlets Mall located just across I-4 from Downtown Disney where designer outlet stores such as Hugo Boss, Armani, Escada, Ermenegildo Zegna, and Burberry won’t break the bank.

Head to Downtown Disney
For a change of pace there’s Downtown Disney. Here you’ll find over 70 shops, restaurants, and nightclubs plus a 24-screen theater, Disney Quest with five floors of virtual games and adventures, even a Cirque du Soleil. Adults will want to pick a great restaurant for dinner like Wolfgang Puck or Portofino Yacht Club and then head to Pleasure Island to party down until the wee hours of the morning.

Swim With a Dolphin
Perhaps the most unusual experience in Orlando is Discovery Cove. Spend up close and personal time with your very own dolphin friend, snorkel with tropical fish and rays, even feed birds right out of your hand. Then relax on a sandy beach with little or no crowds. Definitely a day to be remembered.

Make the Rounds Resort Hopping
Spend a few hours ogling at Disney’s wonderfully themed resorts. And best of all, it doesn’t cost a thing. Board the monorail at the Ticket and Transportation Center and hop off at each of the three Magic Kingdom resorts. First the Polynesian, a tropical wonderland, then the Grand Floridian, Disney’s flagship resort, and lastly the Contemporary where you’ll enjoy the Grand Concourse with the monorail silently gliding overhead. Out back you can catch a boat to the Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s most beautiful resort modeled after an early 1900s national park lodge. Then catch a boat to the Magic Kingdom and a ferry to the TTC where you started. It’s a grand circle that can’t be beat.

Cara Goldsbury is a former travel agent and agency owner. Cara is the author of “The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World Resort“. For more information visit her website at Luxury Disney Guide.

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