When most people think of Orlando, their mind goes right to the major theme parks. There's a lot more to this perennially popular destination than just Universal and Disney, though. Whether you're with the family killing a few hours in between parks and need a bit of guidance to figure out where to go, looking for recommendations for a perfect weekend itinerary, or seeking advice for buying tickets to popular attractions and finding parking, there's one place that can help ensure your trip goes smoothly: Macy's Orlando Millenia. Macy's also offers a one-of-a-kind travel concierge service in the store Visitor Center that can provide advice for every aspect of your trip, from helping you decide what places to visit and how to get to them to making sure every step is effortless. Here are their suggestions for an unforgettable Orlando adventure, plus some insider tips on visiting.
Before heading off on your Orlando adventure, make a stop at Macy's Orlando Millenia. Not only is this the best place to grab stylish clothes and other vacation essentials (a nice outfit for a night out, or a swimsuit and towel, perhaps), but they also have a stellar travel concierge service at their Visitor Center. They'll help you shape a perfect itinerary (see below), and point you in the direction of Macy’s free My Stylist personal shopping experts who’ll provide great fashion tips and help you gather everything you need to make your trip great. Macy’s, established in 1858, is the Great American Department Store – an iconic retail brand with approximately 650 locations in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, as well as customers in the U.S. and more than 100 international destinations through its leading online store at macys.com.
Whether you're looking for adrenaline-pumping thrills, family-friendly fun, great dining or unforgettable nightlife, you can find it on International Drive. Work on your swing at Top Golf or at one of the many epic mini golf courses, indulge at the Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour, meet your favorite celeb at Madame Tussaud's, get behind the wheel at I-Drive NASCAR Kart Racing, and explore the ocean at Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, among other activities. You'll find the I-RIDE Trolley to be a useful way to get around when visiting attractions and eateries on International Drive. Plus, since there's so much to see and do here, get advice from the Travel Concierge at the Macy’s Visitor Center who can help you find deals and plan an itinerary.
One can't-miss International Drive adventure is the ICON Orlando. It's the tallest observation wheel on the East Coast (and the sixth-tallest in the world), clocking in at 400 feet tall. Book an air-conditioned capsule for 23 minutes of incredible views over Orlando, its theme parks and skyline. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Atlantic Ocean... or, if you do a bit of advance planning, you can time your ride so you can watch a launch from Kennedy Space Center from the wheel. Whether you ride during the day or at night to see Orlando all lit up, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If you want something a bit more thrilling than the observation wheel, then the Starflyer is for you. It's the world's tallest swing ride, and it stands at 450 feet. Once you're strapped in securely next to a friend, the ride moves you up and down and you'll sail around the tower at up to 45 miles per hour, taking in stunning views of Orlando and International Drive the whole time. And if you're hesitant about taking the ride, don't worry; the Star Bar offers a shot called "Liquid Courage," among other drinks and cocktails.
For the ultimate Orlando night out, you can't do any better than Mango's Tropical Cafe. Mango's will transport you right to the colorful Caribbean with its "dinner and a show" concept. Live music, talented dancers, and high-energy performances set the scene perfectly. Calypso, mariachi, belly dancing, samba, disco, salsa, bachata, conga, and hip-hop are among the many music and dance styles you'll enjoy as you dine on Churrasco steak, ropa vieja, tostones, and other Latin-inspired specials. Additionally, there are multiple bars and rooms dedicated to different sounds and beats, so the fun doesn't have to end when the show does. The bar offers a wide range of mojitos, margaritas, jungle juices, and other delicious cocktails to keep you going.
After the thrills of International Drive, you can take some time to get back to nature in Orlando. Wekiwa Springs State Park is a lush paradise filled with sparkling natural springs feeding into the Wekiwa River. Snorkel or float on an inner tube in the crystal clear water of the spring, which is always at a constant 72 degrees. For more adventure, canoe onto the Wekiwa River or Rock Springs Run or explore their miles and miles of trails. There's also camping and a stellar Nature Center (where you can get up close and personal with snakes, turtles, and a gator.) It's hard to believe that this untouched slice of natural beauty is only minutes from downtown Orlando.
If you want to enjoy the scenery without getting sweaty on a hike or getting in the water, head into the suburbs to take advantage of the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour. You'll get to cruise through three of the seven stunning lakes in the Winter Park chain, which are connected by man-made canals. Along the way, you'll enjoy views of wildlife (maybe even gators and cranes), lush greenery, opulent homes on the shores, and other boaters and rowers on the water. The relaxing hour-long tour is led by a captain who provides tons of information on the area and its history.
From epic thrills on the world's tallest swing ride to a hidden natural spring oasis, there are tons of lesser-known adventures to be had in Orlando. Take a break from the theme parks and the expected activities and fully enjoy everything the city has to offer.
Banner Photo Credit: Flickr/herdiephoto
Macy’s attracts visitors from all over the world to over 650 stores offering exclusive brands, fun store events and experiences, gourmet dining, special visitor savings, free personal shopping and expert itinerary planning services that help travelers make the most of their trips to nearby places.