Orlando has it all, and we can’t get enough of this family-friendly city! Our family had some new experiences on this trip which we are SO excited to share with you.
When planning your Orlando getaway, try to visit in the “off season”. Is there such a thing in Orlando? YES! Mid-late January, the last week of February, last week of April, and all of September are “off” times, and result in low crowds (wahoooo!). Having a quiet resort/theme park makes for stress free family fun!
We have compiled a list of the three A’s: Accommodations, Adventures, and Appetite! If you have any questions about Orlando or our trip please shoot us an email!
We stayed at Marriott’s Cypress Harbour Villas*, a resort by Marriott Vacation Club. Once arriving on the property you feel like part of a family. Everyone is waving, smiling, and truly having a great time. There are scheduled activities every day, whether you are looking for yoga on the pool deck, a beer dig, or a family field day with lawn games – the Marriott Cypress Harbour Villas has it ALL.
Our family enjoyed watching Frozen II at the pool movie night, ice cream social every day at 3pm (don’t miss it), making our own face masks and meditation, pool games, bike riding, and bumper boats. Not to mention the playgrounds on property, three pools, lake house, boat rides from the lake house to club house, and so much more. Participating in the activities earns you blue coins, which you can redeem for prizes (boooya!!).
This is the first resort we have stayed at that we met exclusively return guests. There is a reason people keep coming back – check it out for yourself!
Now lets talk rooms. We had a two bedroom/two bathroom villa with a beautiful water view. We enjoyed all our meals on the balcony, a fun twist for our kids. The villas have a full kitchen and washer/dryer (and they provide the laundry detergent, dishwasher tabs, etc…). This resort is amazing for families, it felt like we had our own condo and living amongst friends and family, making it very hard to leave.
Walt Disney World (Epcot & Animal Kingdom) – We did two parks in one day! We arrived at Animal Kingdom around 8:30am, going straight to meet Mickey and Minnie. We had a fast pass for River Navi Journey and Kilimanjaro Safari (this was at 12:20 – and we saw all the animals). If you do not have a fast pass for Flight of Passage you will need to basically run there to get on without a long wait (we did not do this!). We had minimal waits on all rides in AK, as we visited on a Tuesday. After lunch and meeting a few characters, off we went to Epcot.
Epcot was beautiful, as it was set up for the International Flower & Garden Festival (this started the next day, but it was all out). We met several of our girls favorite princesses, time these in advance, they are only out for 20 minutes at a time. The Frozen ride had the longest wait, but seemed to go down around meal times. We were not able to secure a Fast Pass on this so fully anticipated waiting, and a cast member was our angel – giving us all a fast pass and we skipped the whole line! We stayed for the fireworks, and it was truly a spectacular show.
We brought pins to trade for the first time – this was a highlight for the whole family, and I highly recommend it! Easy souvenirs for the littles.
iFly Orlando – Have you ever wanted to go skydiving? Indoor skydiving is pretty spectacular and was an amazing experience that gave us all a thrill and had our adrenaline pumping. You can see how people get addicted to it. We all participated, even our 4 year old! Our instructor was hilarious and very informative. Be sure to bring lace up shoes, they have them if you didn’t pack any. You get to wear a spiffy flight suit/helmet, and at the end of the session you are presented with a certificate of flight! High flights are necessary – you get the real feeling of flying, which is something we will never forget! iFly is less than a mile from the Orlando Eye Wheel, making it a great option to do both in one morning (what we did).
The Wheel at ICON Park – The Wheel at ICON Park Orlando is a 400 foot tall observation wheel, giving you great views of the city! The entire ride lasts 23 minutes and there are two tablets inside pointing out highlights of your views. Help yourself to a cocktail before getting on, and enjoy a relaxing ride. Our kids had a great time looking at everything and being SO high up! Go on a weekday for less lines. ICON Park is a 20-acre, walkable entertainment, shopping and dining district on International Drive. We went in the morning, but this would probably have some wonderful views at night!
Thai Thani Thai Restaurant – We had some yummy thai food from a restaurant close to the Marriott Cypress Harbour villas. Got it to go and ate it on our balcony while watching the sunset! They ask for heat level 1-10, we both got 5 and it wasn’t very spicy. So if you prefer heat, go for a 8-9!
Harambe Market (Animal Kingdom) – We had some tasty gyros and beer from the Harambe Market, located in Africa.
Epcot – We ate various food throughout Epcot including beer/pretzels in Germany, orange chicken in China, and hamburgers in America! You can’t go wrong with the food at Disney!
*Our family was hosted by Marriott Vacation Club, all thoughts and opinions are our own.