Orlando in 5 Days: everything you need to know

Orlando is one of the most popular cities in the United States and offers a large number of attractions, so if you are planning a short stay you will need to put together an itinerary. Here's what you can do during a 5-day visit.

Matías Rodríguez

Matías Rodríguez

11 min read

Orlando in 5 Days: everything you need to know

Magic Kingdom - Serenity|©Cory Disbrow

No matter how many days you plan to spend in Orlando, due to the great variety of attractions the city has, there will never be enough time to get to know it in depth. However, with proper organization and a planned itinerary, you will be able to visit the main sites and discover the spirit of one of the most interesting destinations in the United States.

Some of the best things to do in Orlando in 5 days include visiting Universal Studios, watching the sunset from the Ferris wheel at Icon Park, taking a guided tour of Downtown, discovering the Kennedy Space Center, attending a Magic NBA game, visiting Magic Kingdom and attending the fireworks show, and going on a shopping tour of the city's malls.

Day 1: Spend a full day at Universal Studios attractions and watch the sunset from the Ferris wheel at Icon Park

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS ORLANDO|©Margalit Francus
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS ORLANDO|©Margalit Francus

If you plan to visit some of the best theme parks in Orlando, you should definitely include Universal Studios in the list, which is one of the most famous in the city, so for the first day I suggest a full tour of this site and, at sunset, discover the sunset from the Ferris wheel at Icon Park.

Enjoy a day of entertainment at Universal Studios, one of the most famous theme parks in the world

With its attractions and rides that are linked to Hollywood movies, Universal Studios offers an unforgettable experience for all visitors. In this park, located 15 kilometers from Orlando and open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., you will find yourself surrounded by movie sets and famous characters, such as the main characters of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park or Transformers.

There you can also visit The Incredible Hulk Coaster or Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, two roller coasters that will take you to dizzying heights and allow you to live an unforgettable adrenaline experience.

In addition to the attractions, Universal Studios has a wide variety of live shows, such as the popular Universal 's Superstar Parade and The Bourne Stuntacular, where you can enjoy the acrobatics and special effects of cinema live and direct.

Finally, and since the visit to the park usually takes a full day, you can not leave without enjoying the food and shopping in the various stores you'll find throughout the property. You can get to Universal Studios by bus lines 8, 37, 38, 105, 106 and 107.

Reserve tickets for Universal Studios

Watch the sunset from the Ferris wheel at Icon Park

Once you finish your tour of Universal Studios you can visit Icon Park, which is located a few blocks away and can be reached by bus lines 8, 37, 38 and 42. There you can watch the sunset from the heights at this site, which will allow you to see the panoramic view of the city and its surroundings, and turn the sunset into a captivating spectacle.

From the 121 meters high Ferris wheel of Icon Park you can discover a unique perspective of the skyscrapers, theme parks and lakes surrounding the city. In addition, if you plan to visit Orlando in December or during the Christmas season, you can discover the site filled with festive lights and colors, especially at night, as the park is open until 11 p.m.

The Icon Park Ferris wheel will give you the ideal platform to take some of the best pictures of your trip and, in addition, it is an attraction that is usually included in the Orlando tourist passes, so if you opt for this card you will not have extra costs to enjoy the activity.

Buy the Orlando tourist pass

Day 2: Take a guided tour of Downtown Orlando, discover the Kennedy Space Center and enjoy the shows of the city.

Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA|©Leo Labrin
Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA|©Leo Labrin

For the second day, I propose an itinerary that will allow you to discover the main sites of the city, outside the theme parks and shopping malls. You will get to know Downtown on a guided tour, marvel at the famous Kennedy Space Center and enjoy a show in the city.

Tour Downtown Orlando on your own or take a guided tour

Downtown Orlando is a vibrant urban district that offers a wide range of cultural, dining and entertainment experiences. Whether you stroll through it on your own or take a guided tour, you can immerse yourself in its charm and discover all the attractions it has to offer.

During guided tours, which are among the best Orlando excursions, you'll walk through Downtown's main streets and squares as your guide tells you about the city's history and shows you the highlights. From iconic skyscrapers to artistic murals, every corner tells a fascinating story.

During the tour, you'll see Church Street, which combines the city's oldest buildings with Orlando's modern thriving as a global capital, as well as Lake Eola Park, the Amway Center stadium and the Milk District, a quaint alternative neighborhood.

If you tour Downtown on your own, you will still be able to visit museums, art galleries and cultural centers, where you will have the opportunity to discover renowned exhibitions and learn about the city's vibrant art scene.

Book a guided tour in Orlando

Tour the Kennedy Space Center on the outskirts of town

Located on the outskirts of Orlando, about 25 kilometers from the heart of the city, the Kennedy Space Center is an iconic site that offers a fascinating experience for space and exploration enthusiasts. Touring this center will allow you to embark on a historical and scientific journey into the world of NASA and its space missions.

During the tour, which is usually included among the best full-day tours from Orlando if you opt for a guided tour but can also be done on your own, you will have the opportunity to visit the Visitor Center, where you can explore interactive exhibits and learn about NASA's accomplishments. You'll see replica spacecraft, astronaut suits and discover what it's like to live in space through simulators and educational experiences.

At Kennedy Space Center you'll see the launch complex, where historic space missions were conducted, including the launch of Apollo 11. You can walk the pads, tour the Apollo Center and marvel at the Saturn V, the largest rocket ever built.

In addition, you can witness a live launch if you are lucky enough to visit the site during a space mission, which will be possible if you plan to visit Orlando in February. Note that the intercity bus does not go to this site, so you will have to opt for a private tour or a cab or rental car transfer.

Book a tour to Kennedy Space Center from Orlando

Close your second day in Orlando with a show.

Orlando is known not only for its theme parks, but also for its vibrant entertainment scene, which includes a wide variety of shows for all tastes and ages. If you're looking for a unique and exciting experience, the city offers options ranging from live music to renowned theatrical productions.

One of the most popular options is to attend shows at Mango's Tropical Cafe, where you can discover the Caribbean spirit and cuisine of the region combined with dance, music and burlesque performances in a themed setting.

If you prefer theater, Orlando has several theater companies offering high quality productions. You can enjoy Broadway musicals at the Bob Carr Theater or attend performances at the Mad Cow Theatre. In addition, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater presents classic and contemporary plays that will transport you to imaginary worlds and that you can enjoy if you plan to visit Orlando with children.

Another interesting alternative is to attend a circus show. Cirque du Soleil has a permanent residence in the city with its La Nouba show, which is one of the best shows in Orlando. The venues for these shows are located in downtown Orlando, so you can get there from almost anywhere in the city on the 8, 38, 40, 105 and 107 bus lines.

Visit Mango's Tropical Cafe in Orlando

Day 3: Immerse yourself in the world of Magic Kingdom and in the evening attend an NBA game to cheer on the city's team.

Magic Kingdom|©C. E. Beavers
Magic Kingdom|©C. E. Beavers

On the third day of your tour, you will have the opportunity to live two of the best local experiences: immerse yourself in the world of Disney at Magic Kingdom and attend an NBA Magic game. These two activities will allow you to discover the varied entertainment offer that distinguishes the city and that bathes visitors in fun both day and night.

Live an unforgettable experience at Magic Kingdom

One of the best things to do in Orlando is, without a doubt, to visit the Walt Disney World park, which is located about 30 kilometers from downtown and can be reached by bus lines 8, 107 and 300. Magic Kingdom is a place where fantasy becomes reality and where you can find a world of fun, adventure and iconic characters.

At the entrance to the park, which you can enter starting at 9:00 a.m., you will be greeted by the iconic Cinderella Castle, a sight that will welcome you to a day full of wonders. As you explore the park, you' ll discover magical lands that will transport you to different worlds, from the future of Tomorrowland to the charm of the Wild West in Frontierland.

Don't miss classic attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, where you can embark on thrilling adventures and animated scenarios. In addition, you can enjoy live performances such as the Festival of Fantasy parade and the Happily Ever After fireworks show, which will light up the sky, making it also one of the best things to do at night in Orlando.

Disney characters will also be present throughout the day, giving hugs, signing autographs and creating unforgettable moments. In an experience that will be enriching for the little ones, you can meet Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Ariel and many more as you explore every corner of the park.

Attend an NBA game to root for the Magic

Attendinga Magic NBA game in Orlando is an exciting experience that no sports fan should miss. The Amway Center, the franchise's home arena, becomes a vibrant stage where the passion for basketball merges with the enthusiasm of the fans. From Magic Kingdom you can get there on the 300 bus or the local monorail.

From the moment you step into the stadium, you can feel the energy in the air. The atmosphere will be full of excitement, with the team colors, the music and the roar of the crowd creating an electrifying atmosphere. Just keep in mind that in order to get NBA tickets you must book in advance.

During this experience you will not only be able to enjoy the game itself, but also the breaks between quarters where you can have fun with entertainment presentations and contests. The festive atmosphere and interaction with the team mascot, Stuff the Magic Dragon, will make the experience even more fun.

In addition, the Amway Center offers a wide variety of food and beverage options, from fast food classics to more gourmet options. You can enjoy a delicious dinner before or during the game and fully immerse yourself in the experience of discovering the NBA through the Magic.

Reserve tickets to see the Magic in the NBA

Day 4: Take a full-day excursion to St. Augustine from Orlando

saint augustine florida|©isogood
saint augustine florida|©isogood

If you're in Orlando and want to explore the history and charm of colonial Florida, a full-day excursion to St. Augustine is an ideal alternative. Located about a two-hour drive from Orlando, this is the oldest city in the United States and offers a wealth of attractions that will take you back in time.

In St. Augustine you will be amazed by its beautiful colonial architecture and rich history. Stroll the narrow cobblestone streets and discover historic landmarks such as Fort San Marcos, an imposing Spanish fortress dating back to the 17th century that offers panoramic views of the city and the ocean.

You can also visit historic St. George Street, where you'll find antique stores, art galleries and cozy restaurants. During your full-day excursion from Orlando, don't forget to visit the Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse, a wooden schoolhouse built in the 18th century.

One of St. Augustine's most famous attractions is the Fountain of Youth, a freshwater spring surrounded by myths and legends.

Join a tour to St. Augustine from Orlando

Alternative visit to Everglades National Park

If you are not interested in touring St. Augustine or prefer a more natural alternative, you can tour Everglades National Park on a full-day excursion. This site is about three hours by car or private transportation from downtown Orlando, but it is a worthwhile visit.

In this park you will enter a vast landscape of wetlands, mangroves and estuaries that are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. You can take kayak or boat tours, where you can appreciate the majesty of the Everglades as you glide through the meandering waterways. You may spot alligators, manatees, exotic birds and other species native to the site.

Everglades National Park also offers nature trails for hiking and biking, where you can immerse yourself in the lush vegetation and discover the secrets hidden in this mysterious and fascinating site in identical parts.

Book an airboat tour of Everglades National Park

Day 5: Take a shopping tour of Orlando's malls and bid farewell to the city by watching the fireworks at Cinderella's Castle at Magic Kingdom

Orlando Premium Outlets|©miosotis jade
Orlando Premium Outlets|©miosotis jade

To close the tour of Orlando I suggest a visit to the city's shopping malls, some of which are famous throughout the United States for their discounts and the wide variety of their stores, and visit Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks show, which will certainly leave you amazed.

Take a shopping tour through the city's shopping malls

Orlando is known as a paradise for shopping lovers, and taking a tour of its famous malls is an experience not to be missed. Among the most famous sites you can visit Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets.

This open-air mall, located about 20 kilometers from the heart of the city, has more than 160 stores of well-known brands, where you can find discounts and promotions on clothing, footwear and accessories. You can reach it by car or by bus lines 8, 107 and 350, although if you want to optimize time I advise you to choose a tour with private transportation to visit several malls in the same day.

You can also visit Florida Mall, which is one of the largest malls in the city and is located a few blocks from Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. There you will find a variety of stores, from department stores to specialty boutiques. In addition, this site is home to dining and entertainment options, making it an ideal place to spend the day.

If you're looking for an upscale shopping experience, you can't miss the Mall at Millenia. This high-end mall is home to world-renowned designer stores such as Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

Say goodbye to Orlando by watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks show.

When it's time to say goodbye to Orlando, there's no better way to say goodbye than by enjoying the fireworks show at Magic Kingdom. This nighttime show is a magical experience that will leave you in awe. From the Mall at Millenia you can get to the park on bus lines 8, 107 and 300, although I recommend that you do not take too long because the complex closes its doors at 11:00 pm.

After sunset, Cinderella's castle takes center stage for the show, where thousands of lights and colors combine with music and special effects to create a visually stunning spectacle. From the excitement of the fireworks to the projectors that illuminate the castle with magical images, every moment is a work of art in motion.

The fireworks show tells a story that touches viewers. You can immerse yourself in the magic of Disney as iconic characters come to life on the castle screen and thrilling scenes are projected into the starry sky. Plus, if you're planning to visit Orlando during Christmas, you'll be able to see a festive themed show.

In addition to fireworks and projections, music is a key part of the show. Familiar tunes from Disney movies will envelop you and take you on an exciting journey as you bid farewell to the city.