For music educators - By music educators
Orlando is obviously one of the most popular destinations for groups and for good reason. The theme parks are musts and for performing or competing groups, there aren't many places in the world that offer more of a variety. No trip to Orlando would be complete without a visit to the theme parks but did you know there are plenty of other attractions and sights to see that are off the beaten path? And rather than take away from one of your "theme park days", these attractions can complement and give your group a much needed break from the high octane pace of visiting the parks and waiting in those long lines.
One of the most popular non theme park days for our groups is a day at the beach. This is especially exciting for groups who live far away from the coast. For some, the beach days are often the highlight of the trip and there are even extras to add to the day to make it even more enjoyable. We typically begin with a shopping stop at the world famous Ron Jon Surf Shop. After shopping, we are off to an awesome barbecue on the beach! After lunch, it's all fun and games with volleyball, boogie boards, beach balls and just frolicking in the beautiful Florida surf. A popular upgrade to your beach experience are surf lessons. That's right, you get to spend the afternoon learning how to surf by a real surfing professional! Imagine your group riding the waves of Florida! Setting aside a day for the beach is truly a real Florida experience and one your group will always remember. The beach day can also be combined with a visit to the nearby Kennedy Space Center, which is also a world famous attraction and a nice slower paced visit for the group.
Other real Florida attractions your group may want to explore are airboat rides where your can see alligators in their natural habitat, or zipline through the trees and take a jeep safari in a real Florida nature preserve. You can also enjoy Central Florida from the air in everything from a warbird airplane to a helicopter or on a breathtaking hot air balloon ride. Or how about enriching your groups' experience by volunteering and/or performing at the wonderful and heartwarming Give Kids the World village?
Whereas the Big 3 Theme Parks in the Orlando area offer the most famous and desired attractions, don't forget that there are many other interesting lesser known attractions in the area. Groups can have a blast exploring all of the wonders of Wonderworks, perhaps one of the most photographed buildings in all of Central Florida, and then move on to Ripley's Believe It Or Not. For history buffs, there is Titanic, an outstanding guided tour of the world's most famous ocean liner. Remember 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of her maiden and only voyage and a visit to Titanic is a great way to start off the day before heading to the parks. Then there's all the action at the two Fun Spot parks, loaded with some of the most intense go-karts to be found anywhere. Old Town in Kissimmee offers rides, shopping and fun dining choices. And of course for nighttime fun, Orlando is home to some really amazing dinner shows; Arabian Nights, Medieval Times, Outta Control Dinner Show (at Wonderworks), Pirate's Dinner Adventure, Sleuth's and the new Treasure Tavern.
Orlando also features many of the world's greatest water parks, each unique in their own way. Since many of the theme park multi day tickets include a water park option, a visit should certainly be up for discussion during your visit to Orlando. Water parks are a great way to beat the heat!
So yes, your Orlando trip wouldn't be complete without screaming all the way down Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom or diving head first on Manta at Sea World or becoming a wizard at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure...but save some room and some time for something truly Orlando, truly Florida and make your Orlando trip a truly unforgettable Florida experience.
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