A Magical Villa

Our Top 7 Orlando
Recommendations

Below are some of the tings we enjoy doing when we are in Florida. They are not necessarily the big reasons that bring you for a vacation to Florida but they can add variety and interest, or just give a way to unwind to a vacation. I have tried to add some activities that are low cost as well as my picks from the 2 major theme parks. For More information on Things to do in Central Florida check out our information on the Home page. Just click on any of the links there (Pictures or Topics) that are of interest to you and it will take you to more detailed information, photos and videos. Have a look around this page as we have included photos, videos, information and links.
They are in no particular order.

1. Harry Potter World in Universal

 Harry Potter is one of my favorite Children’s Book series. (As a Elementary School Librarian I read a lot of children’s Books!) You might have noticed our Harry Potter room at A Magical Villa. Universal has done an awesome job of recreating this world in both of their parks. My favorite ride is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, at Islands of Adventure: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Hogsmeade. The ride is part thrill ride, part immersion. It really feels like you are flying over the castle grounds and Quidditch Field and escaping the dementors! The Three Broomsticks Inn is a great restaurant in the park (counter service. ) I had a chicken and rib plate which was plenty to split with daughter. I love the frozen Butter Beer (Non alcoholic).

The newer Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride – In Universal Studios is also an excellent adventure ride. The Hogwarts Express is great fun but I would not pay the extra “Park to Park” fee unless you really want to do both parks in one day. The Express is a short recreation of the train ride to and from Hogwarts. A little different in each direction so ride both ways if you have the “Park to Park” ticket. (This is the only way you can ride this ride.) It is fun to wander around both Hogsmede and DiagonAlley.

The newer Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride – In Universal Studios is also an excellent adventure ride. The Hogwarts Express is great fun but I would not pay the extra “Park to Park” fee unless you really want to do both parks in one day. The Express is a short recreation of the train ride to and from Hogwarts. A little different in each direction so ride both ways if you have the “Park to Park” ticket. (This is the only way you can ride this ride.) It is fun to wander around both Hogsmede and DiagonAlley.

 

2. Epcot Studios

This is my personal favorite Park. It is not necessarily the park I would recommend for everyone (that would depend on the people asking and age range of the group.) The Disney Parks are generally best for families and groups of friends, but sometime I will even go here by myself. I find this is the park I go to most often. The rides are slower here and nostalgic. (Although one of my favorites is Test Track!)

I also enjoy the slow boat through the Land and I like the back stage tour through the green houses (extra price) . I also get a kick out of riding through Space Ship Earth catching a hang glidder ride  on  Soarin’ Around the World.  Traveling as a passion of mine so  I enjoy wandering through the World Showcase. There are so many foods there to sample and a great many excellent restaurants to try.

3. Flagler Beach

Flagler Beach on the Atlantic Ocean was one of the first beaches we stopped at on our tour through Florida, so perhaps this influences my beach preference. One of my very favorite things to do in the world is to walk along a white sand beach. I can get lost in thought and find it quite meditative. This beach is a little further than the other beaches I detail on the Beaches page but it is also less crowded and Flaggler Beach town has a laid back vibe. I enjoy listening to the waves roll in and enjoy watching the ocean birds walking, swimming and flying along the shore. My husband and I both enjoy eating at a sea side restaurant and watching the ocean while eating our meal. If you prefer more action try Cocoa Beach or Dayton Beach on the Atlantic side or for swimming or with younger children I would go to the Gulf. All have great walking beaches.

 

Flaggler Beach offers miles of beaches, fishing, beachside shops, waterfront restaurants, natural parks, and open-air ocean side restaurants. Enjoy Flagler Beach’s eclectic shops, surfing, a classic fishing pier and a six-mile-plus stretch of spectacular ocean views

4. Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures

2001 E Southport Rd. Kissimmee, FL33746

407 3449550 Toll Free (888)526-4194

Web: www.bcairboats.com

10-4 Closed on Mondays

This Park consists of 4 different adventures: Airboat Tours, a Native American Village, Fossil and Gem Mine, and the surrounding park. Enjoy one or all on your visit. A BBQ restaurant is also available.  

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures

We enjoyed an exciting airboat tour before having lunch and then meandering through the Native American Village. We missed the demonstration but had the unique experience of talking with one of the Native American guides that explained a lot about their traditional life. I loved being out on the water, moving at a very fast clip. The boat driver stopped several times to point out wildlife including alligators, and eagles. The baby alligator pen was also interesting. 

Check their website for more information and to check on prices, it is recommended to make reservations for the airboat ride to assure a spot on one of their tours. 

Boggy Creek juvenile alligators

5. Free Ski Show by Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team.

The third Saturday of Every Month. (First and Third Saturday in February, March, and April) Check the web site for times as they change seasonably.
We finally had the opportunity to watch this show in Dec 2020, in the middle of COVID. It was a great place to be with fabulous free entertainment in an environment that was easy to maintain social distancing. Concessions are available. Arrive a little early to find a parking spot and secure a good place to sit. The show consists of 2 parts. The first is a pre-show of primarily young skiers with an intermission, followed by the more advanced skiers. Both show are excellent, I recommend staying for both. When we were there, we especially enjoyed the young announcer during the first half. He was incredibly professional and charismatic. The Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team was started by former water skiers from Cypress Gardens Theme Park who wanted to pass on their show skiing legacy to the next generation.
Location: Lake Silver at Martin Luther King Jr. Park. 199 S Lake Silver Dr. NW, Winter Haven, FL *Turn at the Wendy’s on U.S. 17 and head 1 block east to get to the show site.

WaterSki Pyramid
Water Ski Pyramid
Cypress Gardens Ski Team
Ski Cypress Gardens Ski Team
Ski Stand on Stand
Water Ski Stand on Stand
Water Ski on 1 leg
Water Ski on 1 leg
Ski Flight
Hang Glider with Skier.

6. Old Town Kissimmee

5770 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway
Kissimmee, FL 34746, USA

A recreation of an Old Florida Town. This shopping complex is on 18 acres of shady treelined streets with over 70 interesting shops and restaurants as well as classic rides including: a Ferris Wheel, Carousel, and Fun Center. They offer several free activities throughout the week including the Saturday Night Classic Car Show and Cruise, Free Entertainment, A Farmers Market, a couple of other weekly Car Shows, and a Karaoke Night. See their website for current activities and Entertainment.

Old Town Kissimmee
Old Town Kissimmee Saturday Night Cruise
Old Town Kissimmee
Old Town Kissimmee Live Music
Old Town Kissimmee
Old Town Kissimmee Car Cruise

This is a Fun Place to go especially on a Saturday night for live entertainment and the car crawl. We went with friends, looked at the classic cars (Show Quality 1983 and older) proudly parked along the sidewalk waiting for inspection, did a little dancing, had a drink at an outdoor pub, and watched the old time classic cars cruise up the main street.

7. Blue Springs State Park

2100 W French Avenue
Orange City FL 32763
8 a.m. until sundown, 365 days
There is a variety of activities here for all nature lovers including: birding, boat tours, camping, fishing, hiking, an interpretive exhibit, paddling, picnicking, swimming, tubing, and even scuba diving and snorkeling!
Manatees call this place home. These gentle giants are protected here. Other wildlife abounds here including a variety of wading birds, ospreys, eagles, and kingfishers.
This is a very popular spot for swimming in the 72-degree water in the summer. (All water sports are closed during Manatee season Nov.-March.) Be sure to check the web site to check on all closures and regulations and to make reservations for special activities. This is a popular park so you should arrive early.

St Johns River
Cruise along St Johns River
Blue Springs State Park
Blue Springs State Park swimming hole.

We spent one very pleasant day here. We walked along the Pine Island Trail, took a boat cruise with St Johns River Cruises where we saw eagles, a variety of birds, and several alligators. We even saw a manatee swimming by in the river while we waited for our cruise. It did take us longer to drive here than expected from A Magical Villa, so make sure to allow extra driving time if you make reservations.

8. Posner Park

 42650 US Hwy 27
Davenport, 33837

A large outdoor mall  for shopping, food, and entertainment.

This is defiantly not a destination place, but I mention it here as it is close to A Magical Villa, and it has many of the shopping stores that I like and a place where you might like to go to pick up any wants or necessities : Target which carries a variety of home items and clothes as well as groceries and especially their Starbucks, Michaels for crafts, a Dollar store for those little things you forgot to pack, Pennys, Best Buy, Books a Million -for books and also has another coffee shop (which is hard to find in Florida), and of course Ross for discount clothes, shoes and decorator items! Newer stores have been now added which include: Home Goods, Marshalls, and a Starbucks store.
The Cinepolis Movie Theater IMAX is great when we need some low key entertainment.
There are several small restaurants we like: Japanese, Italian, Frozen Yogurt, and a Brew Pub, Chipotle and Twistee Treat.

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9. Recommendation 9

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10. Recommendation 10

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