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Top 5 fun free things to do in Orlando

Disney's Grand Floridian is a great place to spend some time.
Disney's Grand Floridian is a great place to spend some time.
Disney World

Orlando is a famous vacation paradise that is known for its incredible theme parks. But if you’re in the city and want to have some fun without spending a small fortune, here are the top 5 things you can do for free in Orlando.

  1. Happening Hotels – There are some fabulous hotels surrounding the theme parks and they can be an experience in themselves. Hotel hop around Disney’s Magic Kingdom by riding the monorail from one hotel to the next – Disney’s Polynesian Resort, the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary Resort. Inside each hotel is a magical world waiting to be explored. If you happen to be there at night, you can even watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks. And don’t forget to check out Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Animal Kingdom (where you can actually watch the animals grazing). Spend a day at the Gaylord Palms and explore one of the largest hotels in Florida. Universal also offers some incredible experiences at the Portifino Bay (with nightly Italian music in the plaza), Royal Pacific Resort and the Hard Rock Hotel. Any of these hotels can be accessed by shuttle bus from Downtown Disney, or you can pay parking at the hotel. If you’re staying on International Drive, don’t miss the free parade of the Peabody Ducks daily at 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at The Peabody Hotel.
  2. Old Town – In Kissimmee there is a complex called “Old Town” that offers shops, restaurants and amusement rides for all ages. But one of the most fun attractions is the free Friday and Saturday night rock ‘n’ roll concerts and Vintage Car parade. Parking is free, but be prepared to spend a few bucks on drinks and just having fun. This still remains one of the best free things to do in the Orlando area.
  3. Downtown Disney Marketplace – Lots of unique shops, a huge Disney Store, entertainment galore, great dining options that are themselves worth the trip, and special events make Downtown Disney a day trip not to be missed. Parking is always free. The kids (and young at heart) can spend hours at the Lego Store building and racing lego cars. You may even be tempted to buy tickets for DisneyQuest (indoor games), take in a movie at the AMC 24 Theater, or catch a show at Cirque du Soleil.
  4. Disney’s Boardwalk – Step back in time to a 1930’s Atlantic coastal boardwalk and spend a day strolling the boardwalk watching musicians, magicians and performers for free, play midway games, or enjoy a boat ride. Rent a surrey bike to survey the surroundings, dine on gourmet food, or stay after dark and enjoy the nightlife.
  5. The Florida Mall – Orlando has several malls that appeal to diverse people – Mall at Millenia for the fashion/designer conscious, Premium Outlets for the budget-minded, and the quaint European-style city strip of shopping and restaurants found on Park Avenue in Winter Park. But the mall that appeals the most to families is The Florida Mall. This huge mall contains something for everyone in the family. M&M’s World is a retail-entertainment experience where you can choose from over 7,000 unique M&M’s items and experience a color mood analyzer that tells you what color of M&M you are today. Then there’s Build-A-Bear, The Disney Store, a kids play area, a yummy food court, great restaurants, and lots more. With cornerstone stores like Macy’s, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sears and J.C. Penney, shopping is a dream. The mall contains Wi-Fi and comfy chairs for family members that just want to chill while the rest of the family have fun.