Orlando has been a destination for tourists the world over for decades. You’ve no doubt heard about Disney, SeaWorld, Universal Studios and Busch Gardens and have probably even visited them before. There’s plenty to keep you entertained at these theme parks and resorts, but Orlando has even more to offer that might not be as familiar. I had a summer internship in Orlando a few years ago and discovered some wonderful places that I recommend to friends. Check out some of these attractions while you’re at the Reliv 25 Conference and experience more of what Orlando has to offer!
Savvy shoppers know that Orlando is the place to be for great deals. You’ll find stores that only exist in a few places at the Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineland Avenue and International Drive. If upscale malls are more your pace, check out the Mall at Millenia to find such retailers as Apple, kate spade new York and Tommy Bahama.
For an outdoor shopping stroll with the whole family, consider Downtown Disney. You can shop at Disney-themed stores, enjoy a treat at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop and visit the LEGO imagination center. The LEGO creations around the store and in the adjacent pond are worth the visit! There’s even a Rainforest Café at Downtown Disney to satisfy your hunger!
Speaking of Downtown Disney, you can take in a gravity-defying, jaw-droping, awe-inspiring show at Cirque du Soleil while you’re there. If you choose the latter, be sure to purchase your tickets in advance as some shows tend to sell out during the busy season. Tickets range from $61 to $144 for adults and $49 to $117 for children.
If laid back live music is more your style, you can also experience the House of Blues® restaurant, bar and venue while at Downtown Disney. Kirk Franklin’s Gospel Brunch is at 10:30 am and 1 pm on Sunday, July 21 and well worth the visit.
Leaving the crowds behind, I suggest that you take a trip to Winter Park, which is just a short drive north on Interstate 4.
If you’re looking for a great coffee shop while in town, one of my favorites is Austin’s Coffee in Winter Park. Their coffee is delicious and the people watching never fails to inspire. They feature several frozen specialty beverages to cool you down; my favorite is the “chunkey monkey” that features frozen coffee with chocolate and banana. Yum!
If the weather is nice, you can take your beverage and stroll right down Fairbanks Ave., turn left up N. Denning Drive and then turn right on W Morse Blvd. and walk 3 blocks up N. Park Avenue to get to our next stop. It’s about a mile from the coffee shop to the museum below.
If you’re a fan of the beautiful stained glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany, you won’t want to miss the Morse Museum of American Art. They’ve just opened a new gallery featuring the recently restored Daffodil Terrace and 250 other art and architectural objects from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall. The Tiffany Chapel makes the visit worthwhile. It was built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The entire chapel has been rebuilt in the museum and you can walk through its 1,082 square feet of marvel. It’s a part of Orlando that you won’t want to miss!
After visiting the museum, you can turn right to walk down Park Avenue and visit the many specialty shops, restaurants and fashionable boutiques that are visited mostly by locals.
On your drive back to the Conference, if you stop southwest of Winter Park, you’ll find a peaceful retreat from the city in the Harry P Lew Gardens. This beautiful 50-acre botanical oasis features a museum in the heart of the garden that reveals turn-of-the century living for the families who once lived here. The gardens are so lovely that many couples choose them as a venue for their weddings and receptions each year. The views on Lake Rowena are lovely any time of year, and you’ll always see new delights in bloom.
However much time you have in Orlando, make time to explore and find some new places to love!