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Things to Do in Orlando for Kids this Summer

When it comes to planning a summer trip with kids, plenty of exciting family fun awaits in and near Orlando. Whether it’s the world-famous theme parks, large number of Orlando attractions or unique outdoor adventures, the summer season brings many family-friendly activities for everyone to explore and enjoy every day. Certainly, Central Florida is hot, but the city’s hottest spots keep us entertained all season long. Here are some fun things to do in Orlando for kids that will keep you cool and provide a great time on your summer visit.

Meet Anna and Elsa during "Frozen Summer Fun"
Meet Anna and Elsa during “Frozen Summer Fun”

Orlando offers many exciting attractions for kids any time of the year, but in the summer the city really keeps families smiling. If your kids enjoyed the film “Frozen,” they’ll have a great time celebrating it all day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Throughout the summer visitors will be entertained by cool thrills including a royal procession, a sing-a-long show, “Frozen”-themed treats and merchandise, plus great food and beverages. The kids will love to see Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff and everybody’s favorite fun-loving snowman, Olaf, who has a brand-new show, in the royal welcome parade accompanied by the Royal Arendelle Flag Corps and a flurry of skaters, skiers and ice cutters, plus the delightful “Frozen” sing-a-long “Let it Go!”

Afterward, take a stroll to the beautiful Hyperion Theater located in the heart of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where you can catch the popular show, For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along-Celebration. Here, you’ll enjoy some all-new in-theater effects and special appearances. Outside the theater, there’s a new retail location filled with all-things “Frozen.”

Share a laugh at the Magic Kingdom
Share a laugh at the Magic Kingdom

For other fun Walt Disney World options, catch a showing of the new animated short “Frozen Fever” with Disney’s live-action “Cinderella,” and a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of the film inside the ABC Sound Studio.

Later some favorite Disney characters take to the stage to host the “Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party. At sunset, Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf come together at the Event Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities kicking off an awe-inspiring “Frozen” fireworks display set to the music of “Frozen” and, of course, a flurry of snow! Its one cool spot where you can even see it snow in Florida.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a good park to combine with another park choice. Come early for the parade, take a few rides then pop off to one of the other parks for the afternoon. You can easily return to the Studios in time for the spectacular “Frozen” fireworks display.

The Magic Kingdom is always a good choice. I don’t know anyplace else where you can escape to a world of some of the most beloved animated characters that come to life and a fantasy world of princes and princesses, kings and queens. Known as the “King” of Orlando’s theme parks, it draws more visitors each year than any other theme park in the country. Also known as the “Happiest Place on Earth”, the Magic Kingdom covers 107 acres and is home to seven areas or themed lands along with dozens of other attractions for people of all ages. It’s a place for everyone, young and old, to journey to a fantasy land of the past and future. Here you can hurtle through space to unknown lands, sail on magic carpets or ride a train through an old west mining town. No trip to Disney World is complete without visiting the Magic Kingdom.

Make a splash at Typhoon Lagoon
Make a splash at Typhoon Lagoon

All of Walt Disney’s Water parks will stay even cooler all summer long with a variety of special events. Take a break from the theme parks to cool off at Disney’s water parks. Typhoon Lagoon, one of my favorites, and Blizzard Beach offer thrilling waterslides, raft rides, wave pools and other water relief. Both parks are lots of fun, and Blizzard Beach also has a mini-golf course right next door if you want to add a couple of rounds to your day.

If you like things a little more lively and want to leave the theme park rides behind, take the 40-minute drive from Disney World to the Kennedy Space Center where your entire family will experience a real adrenaline rush. Your kids will immerse themselves in the ingenious technology that sent brave astronauts on the ultimate journey through space. It’s definitely a unique experience. You’ll get a chance to see what its like to train in a spaceflight simulator, see rockets, launch pads and meet astronauts. Then grab a bite to eat at a space themed food court. If your kids are really into space travel you can enjoy a delicious meal with an Astronaut, who will give a short talk. And you’ll have the opportunity to actually take a photo with an astronaut.

Rock Springs at Kelly Park Photo Credit: Rain0974/flickr
Rock Springs at Kelly Park
Photo Credit: Rain0974/flickr

Your trip to Orlando isn’t complete without an excursion to a gorgeous natural spring where water temperatures average 68 to 72 degrees all year. Rock Springs at Kelly Park in Apopka, is a beautiful, shaded park with a playground about 45 minutes from Orlando. Hidden in a corner of Orange County, cool, crystal clear natural spring water spills out of crevices in the ground. For a splashy adventure, you can swim, rent a canoe and a kayak, and walk along a hiking trail. Imagine tubing on a swift creek that travels for more than 8 miles through a pristine rock spring run. It’s a fun activity for the whole family. Admission is $3 and you can rent tubes from private outfitters just outside the park for $5 to $10. The park fills up fast on summer weekends, and the gates shut when parking lots are full. It’s best to arrive early in the morning or visit during the week when you can avoid the crowds.

World of Disney, located at Downtown Disney, is the largest Disney souvenir shop anywhere
World of Disney, located at Downtown Disney, is the largest Disney souvenir shop anywhere

If you really like things lively, visit the Downtown Disney area with its world-class restaurants, dazzling entertainment and unique shops. Here, you’ll discover that Disney World isn’t all kid stuff. The Landing, West Side, and Marketplace all add grown-up fun to the mix. Shop in the world’s largest Disney store, dine amid prehistoric creatures, and have some fun bowling a game at Splitsville, 30-lane bowling alley.

Another reason to visit Orlando now: From personal experience, it’s a lot less expensive in the summer. You can find pre-high season deals on the hotels and resorts, such as the New Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World, the Ritz-Carlton, or several on-site at Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World Resorts. You’ll also find plenty of free or low-cost activities around town.

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