After work is done, give the family the Orlando resort vacation they deserve. (Photo: Getty Images)
Say you travel for work. Actually, say you travel a lot for work, and your family’s losing patience. Show them the silver lining to your job by tacking a mini family vacation on to your business trip in Orlando.
Pick a Theme, Any Theme
If you’re in Orlando with children, you’re going to a theme park. There’s no way out of it. It’s how kids define Orlando. But before you join the crowds at Walt Disney World, SeaWorld or Universal, consider the smaller Orlando resorts. With young kids, Legoland feels less overwhelming than the mega parks, since it’s geared toward children ages 12 and under. Check out the guide, “What to Do When You’re Two.” And while the big three have their fair share of thrill rides, it’s Fun Spot America, Kissimmee, that claims the world’s tallest SkyCoaster, a bungee jump from 300 feet up (height requirement: 42 inches).
Delve into Downtown
Show the family the city’s other side with a visit to downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park. There’s a playground and you can rent a swan-shaped paddle boat that seats up to five. You can also feed the real swans that call the lake home. If you’re there on a Sunday, check out the park’s farmers market, then head to the nearby Thornton Park neighborhood for brunch. Dexter’s serves an award-winning one (also offered on Saturdays), as well as sidewalk seating along the cobblestone street.
Soar Above the City
Climb into an air-conditioned capsule and ride the new observation wheel, Orlando Eye. At 400 feet above ground, you can see as far as Cape Canaveral (on a very clear day). For an extra treat, buy the VIP tickets, which include priority boarding and a glass of champagne for you, or soda for the kids.
Splurge on a Resort
If your business hotel was just so-so, treat yourself and your family and move to a luxury resort that appreciates kids. In Orlando, resorts have the space to spread out, offering spas, golf courses, both casual and upscale restaurants, even mini water parks. What kid wouldn’t love two 200-foot winding waterslides or a 90-foot speed slide? You may never want to leave, but just in case, most resorts offer shuttles to Disney.
Swim in Springs
There are a handful of fresh springs located an hour or two outside of downtown Orlando. In the summer, the clear, 73-degree water is super refreshing at Blue Spring State Park, 45 minutes north. You can swim, rent tubes and snorkel here.