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Orlando Itinerary Family Vacation 5-Day Guide

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Whether you are planning a trip to Orlando Florida for the first time or the 100th, there is always something new to find, somewhere new to be, and something new to try! With its many theme parks, golf courses, shopping malls, spectacular nightlife, and many lakes and parks, Orlando is a great vacation spot for families. And if you are wondering if it’s possible to explore everything from the Everglades, Disney, and Universal parks to I-Drive in Orlando in 5 days, it is! 

Let us help you create the perfect Orlando itinerary so you can have a laid-back, stress-free, and enjoyable vacation. Whether you are planning 6 days in Orlando or 2 weeks in Orlando, this 5-day Orlando trip planner will help you get started!

Orlando Itinerary family vacation 5 day guide

Orlando Itinerary Family Vacation 5-Day Guide

Day 1 – Arrival and Visit to Disney Springs 

You have arrived at your Orlando hotel and are eager to get your vacation started! Where to begin? Let’s start with where not to; you want to avoid heading to a theme park on the first day to allow for the possibility of delayed flights getting in the way of your itinerary for Orlando. Instead, check in, rest, grab lunch at your hotel or close by, and lounge around at the hotel pool.

Once you feel rested and refreshed, start your Orlando vacation by heading to Disney Springs. It’s the perfect place to fill your evening with some laid-back fun.

Disney Springs is always bustling with activity. From live music and dining to shopping and family-friendly experiences, there’s plenty to do for all. It’s free to visit any day of the week, but keep in mind that the weekends are more crowded. Weekdays are definitely the best days to visit Orlando parks

Things to do at Disney Springs:

Activities:

Start with a photo session with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear at the Coca-Cola Store. Next, hit the Marketplace Carousel and Train Express, both of which are attractions perfect for kids of every age. Then, have some fun bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes on the west side.

Enjoy some live music at one of the many vibrant places at The Landing, and take your kids for an Amphicar ride. It’s basically a hybrid of a car and a boat! 

After lunch, enjoy some live music at the House of Blues and then embark on an unforgettable tethered adventure called Aerophile in the world’s biggest hand-painted helium balloon. Note that kids under 12 must be accompanied by their parents. And if you are a Star Wars fan, remember to check out one of the biggest Star Wars retailers, the Star Wars Galactic Outpost. 

Meals:

With over 50 restaurants, food trucks, and cafes in Disney Springs, there is no shortage of options when it comes to mealtime.  

Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ has legendary southern cuisine, and the BoatHouse has the best seafood. Indulge in an exquisite collection of wine at Wine Bar George, or head to Polite Pig for wood-cooked delicacies. You can also grab a quick sandwich or wrap from the Earl of Sandwich. But make sure to try chicken tenders with 22 dipping sauces at the Chicken Guy! 

You can end your day with some delicious desserts from The Ganachery. If you are lucky, you might be able to try their limited-time menus that include items like Boozy Bourbon Bunnies.

You might have to wait a bit to get into each restaurant, so remember to reserve your seats ahead of time.

Mickey's Magical Friendship Faire

Day 2 – Magic Kingdom

With Disney World, there’s just too much to do. In fact, you could practically do Disney World for ten days straight and still not see it all. That’s why we suggest spending all, or at least most, of your time at Magic Kingdom when you’re there for just a day. It has the perfect combination of shows, attractions, and characters, making it a favorite among families. 

Most people like to stop at Main Street Bakery for a coffee and donut, but we suggest avoiding Main Street and heading straight for Magic Kingdom to beat the crowds. You can even pack your breakfast to save some time and energy or eat at the hotel before leaving. 

From the classic Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland, the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland, the Storybook Circus in Fantasyland, and the Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square to the thrilling Space Mountain in Tomorrowland, Disney has everything you need for a perfect family vacation.

Since you’ll be covering most of these rides in a limited amount of time, we suggest you opt for the Lightning Lane line-skipping service.

If time allows, you might be able to squeeze in a visit to Disney’s Epcot. Even with little kids, you can always ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind on a 360-degree coaster with Rider Switch.

Aside from its spectacular fireworks display at night, Epcot also has kid-friendly rides and attractions such as Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure; the Frozen Ever After musical; the dark ride, Spaceship Earth; and the legendary boat ride, Living with the Land. These slow rides are perfect for a post-lunch visit.

The best days to visit Disney Orlando’s parks are the weekdays, especially midweek since they’re the least crowded. For transportation in and around Magic Kingdom, consider the ferry, water taxi, bus, or monorail from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). 

Things to do at Magic Kingdom:

Activities:

Begin your journey through Magic Kingdom by cruising through the jungle in Jungle Cruise and exploring the life of a pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean adventure at Adventureland. Next, head to the haunted gold mine ride: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and immerse yourself in a heart-stopping 5-story drop at Splash Mountain in Frontierland.

Take a journey through Winnie the Pooh’s Hundred-Acre Wood in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, get spooked at the Haunted Mansion, and then head into Never Land on Peter Pan’s Flight. If you have teens, take them on a bumpy ride aboard the rustic Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

After lunch, you can explore some fantastic rides at Fantasyland, such as Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, and the kids’ favorite Peter Pan’s Flight.

Magic Kingdom also has some cute meet-and-greets to fill your younger kids’ day with joy. From chipmunks’ Chip and Dale and galactic superhero Buzz Lightyear to Goofy at the StoryBook Circus, there’s something for every young Disney fan. You can also meet Captain Jack Sparrow at Adventureland’s Treasures of the Seven Seas.

If you rank water attractions towards the top of your must-do list, you should consider cutting your Magic Kingdom visit short to check out some of Disney’s water rides. The spectacular whitewater adventure, Kali River Rapids, at Animal Kingdom, and the 120-foot almost vertical drop at the Summit Plummet in Blizzard Beach are the most popular ones! 

While covering both Magic Kingdom and water rides on the same day can seem like a long shot, it is possible. It just ultimately depends on your family’s preferences. However, Orlando’s CityPASS can make things a lot easier. It allows you to opt for only a few rides at different theme parks without having to pay for each theme park’s whole ticket cost.

With this pass, you can customize your vacation package to include only certain specific rides from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Legoland, and SeaWorld Orlando. That’s right! You’ll get individual tickets for each ride you wish to visit, even inclusive of Disney Genie+ for Disney World. Additionally, you can even opt for add-ons such as Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus to your pass.

Meals:

For some quick eats, head to Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. It is easily accessible, located right in the middle of Frontierland and Cinderella’s Royal Table in Liberty Square. You’ll find the funnel cakes and the Mickey Mouse-shaped Mickey waffles to be perfect for a fun snack. You might also like their sweet and spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich and hand-dipped corn dogs. 

Since you will probably spend the whole day at Magic Kingdom, we suggest skipping lunch at Cinderella Royal Table and instead heading there for an early breakfast to get a crowd-free castle shot. The Thanksgiving meal at Liberty Tree Tavern is available throughout the year and is incredibly popular as well. And if you love seafood, you can’t miss trying the lobster roll and shrimp boil at the Columbia Harbour House.

If you are in Fantasyland come evening, you can have dinner inside the Beast’s Castle at Be Our Guest and say hello to the Beast or enjoy a buffet in front of Cinderella Castle at Crystal Palace. For dessert, take advantage of the famous Dole Whip and Tropical Serenade at the Aloha Isle at Adventureland.

Universal Studios Florida Sign

Day 3 – Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure

On a tight schedule and need to see Universal in one day? We have the perfect Orlando itinerary for you to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Get a park-to-park ticket and board the Hogwarts Express to hop from park to park.

One important thing to consider before planning your trip is the time of year you wish to visit. Remember that summer and the holiday season will always be the most crowded, which is why they are probably not the best time to visit Orlando.

If you plan ahead of time, you can even include Universal’s Volcano Bay in your Orlando itinerary. For this, we suggest you buy the Early Park Admission so you can enter Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure parks one hour before the normal entry time to make the most of your time.

Universal also has an Express Pass that lets you skip lines at the park. You can either buy this at the park or online, but those staying at one of Universal’s Premier hotels can avail of it for free. Single Rider Lanes are a great option for families with babies as they allow you to skip long lines when getting on a ride alone. 

Universal Orlando is home to a number of fun rides, including Jurassic Park, E.T., and Harry Potter-themed attractions. It’s very convenient to get to as well, making it an easy choice for your Orlando trip itinerary.

You can take a shuttle, taxi, rideshare, town car, or even book yourself a car rental. Just keep in mind that booking a rental can get expensive and take up extra time due to having to find parking yourself.

Islands of Adventure

Things to do at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure:

Activities:

Start your day with a blast at the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit at Universal Studios, before heading to Revenge of the Mummy. After that, enter the magical land of Diagon Alley and hit the Escape from Gringotts ride. Finally, indulge in some mayhem at Despicable Me Minion Mayhem.

The last two are especially perfect for the morning as they tend to have longer queues later in the day. Opt for Early Park Admissions and cross them off your list first thing!

Take a quick snack break and then strap yourself in to fight off some aliens at Men in Black: Alien Attack. Keep the momentum going and ride a bicycle with E.T. hidden in your basket at E.T. Adventure Ride and end your Universal Studios visit with an epic visit to Transformers: The Ride 3D.

Check out Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration, Tales of Beedle the Bard, or Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. After one of these enchanting shows, pop by the sets of your favorite movies. And Potterheads, don’t forget to meet the conductor and chattering shrunken head at The Knight Bus meet-and-greet!

If you have younger kids, stay back a little longer and cover Kodos Twirl ‘n’ Hurl, Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster, Shrek 4-D, and Curious George Goes to Town. These are pretty fun rides that are worth checking out to delight little ones, but if you only have tweens and teens with you, leave to Islands of Adventure early and get a head start on the thriller rides!

Hop on the Hogwarts Express and head to Islands of Adventure. Begin your explorations by grabbing some lunch and then ease into your afternoon with a relaxing ride at Seuss Landing. The ride is based on Dr. Seuss’s books and is arguably one of the cutest rides at the park; a coaster that rides like a carousel!

Hogwarts Castle at Islands of Adventure Universal Orlando (1)

Next, grab a butterbeer from Hogsmeade and head to Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey or Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure (we suggest you use the Virtual Line option to save some time). Then, move on to Jurassic Park: River Adventure.

Most rides at Islands of Adventure have height restrictions so make sure you avail of the child swap service whenever applicable. Next, head to VelociCoaster, before gearing up for some thrills on Universal’s best water rides.

Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, Jurassic Park: River Adventure and Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges are some fun water rides to check out. We suggest you take the water rides last to cool off at the end of the day. This also makes sense since the water rides are so spread out.

If you have little ones with you, play some Top Glow, Whack-a-Mole, and Hot Shot with your whole family at Toon Lagoon Games, meet some superheroes at Marvel Super Hero Island, and ride the iconic Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man ride. You can also go for a thrill ride on the Incredible Hulk Coaster if you have teens over 112″ in height. Finally, end your day with The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle. 

If you do manage to squeeze in a Volcano Bay visit, check out the Krakatau Aqua Coaster and the Ko’okiri Body Plunge.

Meals

If you are in Universal Studios before 10:30 a.m., you can enjoy a full traditional English breakfast at the quaint Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley. But, if you happen to drop by at lunchtime or for dinner, the fish and chips is a must-try. 

For Simpsons fans, there’s the Fast Food Boulevard in Springfield, where you can enjoy a Krusty Burger before heading next door to Moe’s Tavern to grab a mug of Duff Beer. For a pint of Guinness beef stew and some live music, head to Finnegan’s Bar & Grill, an Irish-American pub located right behind Revenge of the Mummy. There’s also the Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour in Diagon Alley for desserts, where kids will love the soft serves and sundaes.

Islands of Adventure has its own variety of food joints as well. Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade serves a great rotisserie chicken. The Great Feast and the delicious Butterbeer is a must for kids and adults alike. 

For a snack between your rides, head to Cinnabon for some cinnamon rolls and stix or sample some cheesecakes and sandwiches at the Croissant Moon Bakery. If you like trying various cuisines, Mythos Restaurant in The Lost Continent is the way to go.

You can enjoy a hearty Oriental, American, or Mediterranean meal across from the lagoon here. There’s also the Confisco Grill for some grilled treats and fajitas. 

Just like the rides, restaurants too tend to have long lines, so download Universal’s mobile ordering app beforehand to save yourself some time during peak lunch hours. Furthermore, we recommend avoiding a visit to Universal CityWalk for lunch.

Traveling to and from the location will take up a lot of time. Plus, the long queues make it not worth the effort! Instead, you can take some time off Day 4 or Day 5 on your Orlando trip plan to visit the beautiful CityWalk, if it’s a top priority.

Boggy Creek Alligator

Day 4 – Boggy Creek and Pirate’s Dinner Adventure

If your family is up for something outdoorsy after the chaos of the theme parks, we have the ideal Orlando itinerary for your Day 4 in Orlando. Let your hair down and experience the wild side of Central Florida on a fun ride through the Everglades where you’ll get to watch alligators, birds, turtles, and more in their natural habitat at Boggy Creek. 

There are no Lynx direct buses to Boggy Creek from the city, so we suggest taking a taxi. 

Things to do at Boggy Creek and I-drive:

Activities:

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventure is the best and safest way to catch a glimpse of Florida’s state reptile, the American Alligator, in the Everglades. Afterward, you can have some fun family time at the Gem Mine Experience at Boggy Creek, where you will get hands-on mining experience.

Kids will love looking for rare gems and fossils like a true miner! You also get access to a Native American Village and an alligator-viewing area when at Boggy Creek. It’s just the perfect addition to an Orlando itinerary planner for nature lovers!

Meals:

The best way to kickstart your day is with breakfast at your hotel to save time at the creek. For lunch, grab some delicious barbecue at the Boggy Bottom Barbecue. You can sit on the patio overlooking Lake Toho and enjoy deliciously cooked brisket with five sauce options and pulled pork with some Gator Bites. Kids will love the hot chocolate and caramel cinnamon crisps. 

Head back to your hotel to relax at the pool or sneak in a quick nap before you prepare for an entertaining evening because the fun isn’t over yet. Dress up and head to the interactive Pirate’s Dinner Adventure for dinner. It is a must for families with kids! 

Located off International Drive, this show puts you right in the middle of some Pirate action at two different time slots, one that’s mid-afternoon and another in the evening. We do, however, suggest you go for the 7:30 p.m. show to enjoy a delicious three-course meal that consists of a salad, entree, main, and dessert.

The performance itself lasts for about two hours, but we suggest you stay for the dance party after the show to make the most of Day 4.  

WonderWorks upside down house Orlando

Day 5 – Wonderworks and I-drive

It’s likely that emotions will be running high on the final day of your trip. To lighten the mood and take the edge off, why not take part in something that’s intimate and family-oriented? For this, we suggest some laid-back family time at Wonderworks and I-drive. After all, your Orlando Florida itinerary is incomplete without visiting International Drive

From mini-golf to museums and kart races, there’s something for everyone at International Drive. Spark your children’s curiosity by showing them the 100+ interactive exhibits at the fun upside-down anomaly that is WonderWorks.

With six zones ranging from Extreme Weather, Physical Challenge to Imagination lab, it is basically 35,000 square feet of amusement for the mind. Each exhibit will challenge your little one’s mind and encourage them to get creative and use their imaginations. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture some real wonder on their faces! 

Things to do at Wonderworks and I-Drive:

Activities:

Start off with a game of laser tag with the family, then design and ride your own rollercoaster at the Wonder Coaster. Climb the three-story glow-in-the-dark rope course, go on an epic journey together on the 4D XD motion ride, and let the wind blow in your hair at the Hurricane Shack.

If you want to spend your whole day here, we suggest you end it at WonderWorks’ magic comedy dinner show. However, we recommend that you leave after lunch and explore the other exciting places and attractions on I-Drive. If you need a break from all the walking around, board the I-Ride Trolley for a fun ride to your next destination. 

If WonderWorks left you craving more oddities to tickle your brain, stop by The Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium. It has over 16 interactive exhibits that are perfect for just that. There’s also a play area with obstacles and inflatable slides to keep the littler members of your family just as occupied and entertained. 

Sealife aquarium orlando at ICON Park

After lunch, explore the serene 350,000-gallon Sea Life Aquarium that’s complete with a 360-degree tunnel and nine aquatic exhibits. Next, get a picturesque view of the city from on top of The Wheel, a one-of-a-kind observation wheel that takes you 400 feet above the ground. 

Once you’re feeling energized, it’s time for something sporty! Check out Pirate’s Cove Mini Golf, Congo River Adventure Golf, I-Drive NASCAR Kart Racing, or Arcade City for some action-packed fun.

End your day with some photos with Wonder Woman and Superman at the Madame Tussauds wax museum. The Skeletons Museum of Osteology is another unique museum to consider visiting if you want to add a bit of spookiness to your day.

Congo River Live Gator playing golf, Orlando, Florida
young girl playing mini golf, Congo River Golf Orlando, Florida

Meals:

When you break for lunch at I-Drive, you have plenty of options. Enjoy a delicious hand-tossed New York-style pizza and Mini Melts Ice Cream at the Wonder Cafe while at WonderWorks.

You can try the Fillet Mignon steak and Lobster tail at Jack’s Place at the Rosen Plaza Hotel, and enjoy the lively Greek-style music at the Greek-themed Taverna Opa at Pointe Orlando. Or, head to Kobe Japanese Steakhouse for a Japanese-style Teppanyaki meal. 

The Bahama Breeze is a great option for later in the day if you’re in the mood for a Caribbean-style dinner. The Oceanaire Seafood Room Pointe Orlando, on the other hand, is where you need to be for mouth-watering seafood.

Evening time is also the perfect time to check out I-Drive’s very own sports bar, Miller’s Ale House, while the kids enjoy some delicious treats at the Chocolate Kingdom. The fun dessert joint allows you to even customize your own chocolate bars at an additional cost. They make the perfect souvenirs to take back home for loved ones!

After crossing off as many activities as possible, return to your hotel to pack up and catch your flight. Whether you plan to stay in Orlando for just a few days or weeks, we guarantee that this Orlando holiday itinerary will help you plan your trip without missing a beat!

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