6 day Orlando and Tallahassee travel plan

I’ve just returned to Orlando after spending a few days in Tallahasse. Mostly I was in Tallahasse working. I went to an Instructional Systems conference where I met some people from the program I start in the fall. And most of my time was spent house-hunting. I need a cheap place to live in a nice area near Florida State when I return to school as a poor student.

So it wasn’t exactly a holiday, but we managed to do a few fun things, beyond just driving from house to house with our real estate agent. And it gave me an idea for a Florida vacation itinerary.

Day 1 – Orlando

Holidays to Orlando revolve around Disney so that’s where you go first. If you arrive early enough, Disney’s Animal Kingdom can be done in a half day. 6 hours is reasonable to hit the main attractions. The best rides are Kali River Rapids, Dinosaur, & Expedition Everest. There’s The Boneyard Playground for kids to wander through an archaeological dig. The film It’s Tough to Be a Bug is worth seeing for kids around middle school age. Then there’s the musical, Festival of the Lion King. You want to see some nature so check out the Kilimanjaro Safari, the Tree of Life and the Maharajah Jungle Trek

If you arrive too late for that, you might spend a few hours in Downtown Disney (the shopping district). Entry is free but I think most everything is overpriced. Remember that Disney vacations aren’t about bargain hunting.

Day 2 – Orlando

You’ll need a full day at Magic Kingdom. It’s a huge park with rides/events for everyone in the family. Without listing all the attractions, here are some big ones:

It’s a small world – a world-brotherhood-themed indoor boat ride (I still remember this one from when I was kid)
Celebrate A Dream Come True Parade – a feel-good afternoon Parade
Country Bear Jamboree – an audioanimatronic country-hoedown theater show
Jungle Cruise – an outdoor safari-themed boat-ride
Liberty Square Riverboat – an outdoor scenic boat ride
Main Street Electrical Parade » Old-School Nighttime Parade with a bazillion lights
Mickey’s PhilharMagic – a 3-D movie starring Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and some other favorites
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor – interactive animated comedy routines
Stitch’s Great Escape! – a sci-fi adventure show
The Hall of Presidents – an audioanimatronic historical theater presentation
The Haunted Mansion – a haunted-house dark ride – some people say the elevator is the best thing in Disney
Tomorrowland Speedway – mini cars you get to drive
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress – another audioanimatronic theater production
Aloha Isle – go here for dessert

Day 3 – Orlando

There’s plenty left to see in Disney, but most kids would probably like to see Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If it’s a crowded day, some visitors report being rushed through the castle even after waiting on line for hours to get in. And some complain that the ride through the castle is too rough (and not worth a long wait). Other visitors report the line for butter beer being too long. The wand show is great, especially if you’re lucky enough to get brought up on stage.

When the park closes, you might as well head next door to Universal Citywalk for restaurants and bars like Hard Rock Cafe and Margaritaville.

Day 4 – Tallahassee

Holidays to Florida tend to focus on Orland and Miami, but the state capital has its share of attractions too. After a 4-5 hour drive from Orlando, you’ll want to relax a bit in the evening. Join the locals for a stroll around Lake Ella in central Tallahassee. At Cancun’s on Tennessee Street, $20 should feed a family of 4.

Day 5 – Tallahassee

Your only full day in Tallahassee so pick something fun. Top attractions include Florida State University (the campus is pretty and you might be able to catch a game depending on when you arrive). If you’re more into nature, try the trails at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge where you can be a little active (short trails through different ecosystems) or more active (a 6 mile and a 12 mile trail). A third option is the excellent Tallahassee Antique car Museum, where you can see the Batmobile and more than a few other cool cars.

If possible, get this night to fall on the first Friday of the month. Then at night, head to Railroad Square for art that ranges from traditional coastal landscapes to weird stuff to jewelry. You’ll hear some local music and see some local people. Vegans must check out the Krishnas serving incredible vegan/vegetarian food ($5 or $6 for a meal).

Day 6 – Orlando

Seaworld is cool to visit on the 4th day. You can spend a lot of time here. Try to get a mixture of rides (Journey to Atlantis will get you happy and wet), shows (Shamu Stadium for the killer whale performance), and animal exhibits (we like the Shark Encounter underwater tunnel but if you like touching animals first head to Dolphin Cove and Stingray Lagoon).

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