We all love Disney World, but it’s not the only thing to do in the Orlando area. Just a stone’s throw away is the area of Kissimmee which is home to more hotels, villas and activities than you can shake a stick at. On my previous trip to Florida, I spent some time exploring the Kissimmee area and have compiled a list of fun activities to try if you’re looking for a day outside of the theme parks. So without further ado, here’s my list of things to do outside of Disney World.
Things to do outside of Disney World…
3301 Lake Cypress Rd, Kenansville, FL 34739. Website.
Possibly my favourite activity that we did was the airboat ride at Wild Florida. If you’re going to do anything from this list of things to do outside of Disney World, this should be it! Here, you can take an airboat into the Central Florida Everglades where you can see all sorts of wild animals but the main attraction – wild alligators. We saw gators ranging from 2ft babies to 10ft machines in their undisturbed natural habitat.
Sam at the team at Wild Florida also rescue ‘nuisance’ gators (gators that have been caught and are legally not allowed to be released back into the wild) and there is also a wildlife park with other animals including sloths, peacocks and zebras (plus more gators!)
We also ate at the Chomp House Grill, trying ethically sourced alligator for the first time. The rumours are true, it tasted like chicken (although the texture was a bit weird!)
Early tours tend to garner the best results as the animals shy away in the hottest part of the day. Tickets start at $28 per person for a half an hour tour and a reservation is required. Even though it’s a bit of a drive out from the main Kissimmee area, I would thoroughly recommend it. The park and airboat ride take a good half a day and is a great way of seeing natural, undisturbed Florida.
4755 N Kenansville Rd, St Cloud, FL 34773 Website.
If you’re not into gators and horses are more your thing, you should take a trip to Forever Florida. Forever Florida offers various experiences including zip line and horse riding experiences. We took part in the ‘Horseback Trail Adventure’ where we rode Florida Cracker horses through untouched terrain and through a forest of cypress, oak and palm hammocks. The trek takes approximately an hour and a half and is suitable for riders of all abilities. The horses are incredibly well trained and follow their leader without much encouragement.
You must wear trousers that cover all your leg and I wouldn’t advise light shoes as the stirrups can rub off on them. Again this is a bit off the beaten track of ‘tourist’ Florida but really worth it. We saw plenty of wild animals including eagles which were pretty cool.
Prices for the trek start from $69 dollars per person and you must check the website to make sure you meet all of the safety requirements.
They also offer a ‘Cowboy for the Day’ package which I know my Mum would love to go back and try.
Relache Spa at Gaylord Palms Convention Centre
6000 W Osceola Pkwy, Kissimmee, FL 34746, USA. Website.
The spa itself offers everything from manicures and relaxing massages to Hydrafacials and spray tanning. We were lucky enough to try a Destress massage which was 30 minutes of pure bliss. It was a nice treat away from the parks and a chance to relax out of the Florida heat. You don’t just go for a treatment at Relache, you go for an experience with scents specific to your preferences used along the entire journey.
There’s also a sauna and steam room for you to take advantage of as well as tropical shower (possibly the best shower I’ve ever had by the way!) The spa is quiet and relaxing with a variety of drinks and snacks available if you’re there for a while.
Treatments start from $40.
ICON Orlando Eye
8401 International Dr #100, Orlando, FL 32819 Website.
The Orlando Eye is located on I-drive in the Icon complex which also houses Madam Tussauds and the Sea Life Aquarium. The Eye takes you 400ft into the air to see some of Orlando’s most iconic landmarks from the sky. From the top, you can see Disney World, Universal Orlando and Sea World and on a clear day, all the way out to Cape Canaveral. It’s open from 10am until 2am so it’s a great way to catch the Florida sunset.
There’s also lots to do at the base of the ey wi
Prices start from $26.
Shopping at Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets
8200 Vineland Ave, Orlando, FL 32821. Website.
We can’t talk about things to do outside of Disney World without talking about going shopping. If it’s retail therapy you’re after, look no further than the Vineland Premium Outlets. Located just off the I-4, they’re very easy to get to from Disney, I-drive and the 192. We’ve been going to Vineland for years as it’s our favourite place to shop in Florida. I can’t tell you how much I’ve spent there over the years. There are over fifty shops with plenty of designers and brands you’ve heard of before (Ralph Lauren, Hilfiger, Guess, Yankee Candle to name but a few…)
My favourite shop there is, of course, the Character Warehouse where you can find bargains from all the Disney parks not just in Florida, but from across the globe. Sometimes they have items in there that are still available n the parks for half the price.
If shopping has tired you out, there’s a huge food court filled with all kind of food imaginable.
So that’s a few activities and things to do outside of Disney World that you can try out. If you’ve tried any of them, let me know in the comments. What was your favourite? To find out more about Kissimmee and what it has to offer, visit the Experience Kissimmee website.