Travel

Orlando, FL: Avoiding Disney!

This year, we decided to spend a dew days in Orlando, FL for family vacation. Although we love Mickey mouse, July is NOT the ideal time for our family to visit Disney world. To each, his own- but in my spare time I don’t fancy sweating profusely in the unforgiving Florida sun, wrestling with our three-year old and climbing for hours through the crowds to enjoy a ride or two. Ok, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but seriously- we live fairly close to Florida, so we vow to only visit Disney during the off season.

For this trip, we decided to stay in an AirBnB instead of a hotel. We had three adults and six children in our party, so not only was it cost efficient, we had privacy, a full kitchen, plenty of space, and a yard for the kids to play in during down time. Our hosts were absolutely wonderful, and the property was beautiful- there was a huge lake, a friendly horse, and even a few naturally grazing sheep!

Another way we saved money was by purchasing City Passes / Go Cards for everyone. With the City Pass, you can save up to 50% on admission to the following attractions:

  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex tickets

    Kennedy Space Center

  • LEGOLAND® Florida Resort tickets

    LEGOLAND® Florida Resort

  • WonderWorks All-Access Pass tickets

    WonderWorks All-Access Pass

    Now includes laser tag!
  • ICON Orlando tickets

    ICON Orlando

  • Fun Spot America Theme Park - 4 Ride Sampler tickets

    Fun Spot America Theme Park – 4 Ride Sampler

  • Madame Tussauds Orlando tickets

    Madame Tussauds Orlando

  • Gatorland: The Alligator Capital of the World tickets

    Gatorland: The Alligator Capital of the World

  • The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show tickets

    The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show

  • Boggy Creek Airboat Tour tickets

    Boggy Creek Airboat Tour

  • SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando tickets

    SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando

  • Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition tickets

    Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

  • Gray Line Orlando: City of Orlando Tour tickets

    Gray Line Orlando: City Tour of Orlando

  • Congo River Adventure Golf tickets

    Congo River Adventure Golf

  • Forever Florida Trail Buggy Adventure tickets

    Forever Florida Trail Buggy Adventure

  • Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour tickets

    Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour

  • American Police Hall of Fame tickets

    American Police Hall of Fame

  • StarLite Cruises: Majesty Daytime Cruise tickets

    StarLite Cruises: Majesty Daytime Cruise

  • Florida Aquarium tickets

    Florida Aquarium

  • Dolphin Racer Speedboat Cruise tickets

    Dolphin Racer Speedboat Cruise

  • Museum of Science and Industry tickets

    Museum of Science & Industry

  • Daytona Speedway All Access Track Tour tickets

    Daytona Speedway All Access Track Tour

  • Lion Country Safari tickets

    Lion Country Safari

  • Miami Seaquarium tickets

    Miami Seaquarium

  • Duck Tours South Beach tickets

    Duck Tours South Beach

  • Jungle Island tickets

    Jungle Island

  • Biscayne Bay Sightseeing Boat Cruise tickets

    Biscayne Bay Sightseeing Boat Cruise

  • Ft. Lauderdale Glass Bottom Boat and Snorkeling Trip tickets

    Ft. Lauderdale Glass Bottom Boat and Snorkeling Trip

  • Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Miami 1-Day All-Loops Tour tickets

    Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Miami 1-Day All-Loops Tour

  • Gator Park Airboat Tour tickets

    Gator Park Airboat Tours

  • Sawgrass Recreation Park Everglades Airboat Adventures tickets

    Sawgrass Recreation Park Everglades Airboat Adventures

  • Everglades Tour from Miami tickets

    Everglades Tour from Miami

On the website, there are three tiers to choose from. Each tier includes a pass for unlimited visits to each of the attractions above:

2 Days
Adult / Child (3-12)
$149 / $129
3 Days
Adult / Child (3-12)
$199 / $169
5 Days
Adult / Child (3-12)
$269 / $239

If you’re like me, you’re yelling, “ONE-HUNDRED-AND-FORTY-NINE DAWLARS?! EACH?!” And…that’s where Groupon comes in, without the fine print, to save the day. On Groupon, we found Go Orlando Cards for much cheaper- around $70 for the adults and $53 per child. Now, these cards are not unlimited- you can pay to visit 3 attractions, or pay a little more for a 5-attraction card. After purchase, you will be emailed a voucher with a barcode for each pass. You simply choose the attractions you wish to go to, and scan the barcode at the counter. The passes were very easy to use, but I will probably print them out next time. (Finding and scanning screenshots for 7 people [excluding two under 3] wasn’t as graceful as expected.) As mentioned before, we bought the 3-attraction passes. We were on vacation for about 5 days, but with travel, we only spent 3 full days in Orlando. We tried to choose attractions that would take up most of the day, so we weren’t stuck with bored, restless kids.

 

The 1st attraction we chose was the SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando. It was a small (compared to the Georgia Aquarium) aquarium that was perfect for kids! There were multiple exhibits, interactive activities, an indoor play area, and even a touch tank! Our son loves aquatic animals, especially sharks, sea turtles, and fish!

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2nd attraction we visited was the Wonderworks museum. I think I was the most excited to go- the whole building appears to be upside down, for goodness sake! Even inside, the “basement” is the top floor! If you’ve never been to a Wonderworks, there are amazing exhibits that encourage interaction! We spent a few hours doing EVERYTHING  in WonderWorks, including a 4D virtual ride, laser tag, and an aerial obstacle course!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our final attraction was the Coco Key Water Resort, which was a small water park attached to a motel-like resort. Although it’s not advertised on the CityPass website, it was included on the e-voucher, so we went. Overall, the water resort was nice- there were plenty of small slides for my three year old, and there was a huge pool (with more water slides) that was half-indoor and half-outdoor. BONUS: It wasn’t very crowded (*side eye* at Disney), so we really enjoyed ourselves!

Overall, we saved a bunch of money using the City Passes in Orlando. As a bonus we ventured through City Walk in downtown Orlando, and visited the Museum of Osteology. The Museum was absolutely amazing. There were, literally, hundreds of skeletons (donated or acquired via natural death) of all kinds of amazing creatures. I even got to hold the femur of a young elephant who died from a spider bite! Check it out:

Have you ever been to Orlando? Where are your favorite spots? Leave a comment below!

Until next time, beauties♥!

3 thoughts on “Orlando, FL: Avoiding Disney!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *