48 Hours in Orlando: What to See

By  //  November 21, 2019

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When you think of Orlando you’ll no doubt instantly associate it with Walt Disney and Universal Studios.

When you think of Orlando you’ll no doubt instantly associate it with Walt Disney and Universal Studios.

The city’s 10 major theme parks are by far the top attraction and the main reason more than 6.5 million tourists visit each year.

However, you are unlikely to have time to experience everything, especially if you aren’t in Orlando for long. That’s why it pays to have a plan. 

Look for car hire in Orlando and you can easily explore this magical destination with your own vehicle and make the most of 48 hours. 

Day 1 

Morning: Start your first day in Orlando with a trip to the newest addition to Universal’s Islands of Adventure – the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The park opens at 9am, so get here early to make the most of your time. You can come face to face with Dementors, Death Eaters, and Voldermort when you experience the Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle.

You’ll ride Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike through the Forbidden Forest and meet a Hippogriff on a rollercoaster that flies past Hagrid’s Hut as well as have the chance to board the Hogwarts Express. Don’t forget to sample some butterbeer before you leave.    

Afternoon: With so much to see, your time at the theme park will no doubt continue well into the afternoon. But, once you are finished, make your way to International Drive.

Here you’ll find Wonderworks, which is full of science exhibits and attractions. It’s worth at least driving by to see the unique upside down building, even if you don’t go in. However, if you do, you have plenty of time to visit – it’s open until 12am. 

Evening: As the sun goes down and the city is lit up, make your way to The Wheel at ICON Park – known as the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye – which is also on International Drive.

Step into the glass capsule and you’ll travel 122 metres into the sky, where you can enjoy views across Orlando.

The wheel is open until 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and until 12am Friday and Saturday. A rotation of the wheel lasts about 22 minutes and when you are finished you can hop off and visit I-Drive 360 at the base.

It’s open until 2 a.m. and contains restaurants, bars and various attractions including Madame Tussauds. 

Day 2

Morning: Animal lovers can get closer than ever before to the magnificent creatures that call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home. You can choose from a range of experiences.

If you love elephants, for example, you’ll spend an hour with a specialist who looks after them, to learn fascinating facts and what daily life at the park looks like for them as well as hearing more about the conservation efforts.

You’ll be standing about 80 to 100 feet from this African herd – so you’ll have a great view and the perfect photo opportunity.  

Afternoon: After a morning with your favourite animal, head for Disney Springs. Here you’ll find more than 102 shops, 60 restaurants and 25 shows and events each day. Browse the various stores, grab a bite to eat and perhaps a cocktail, or two. 

Evening: Once you have finished exploring this, you can see one of the many shows on offer. From March 2020, you can see Cirque du Soleil + Walt Disney World – a show inspired by Disney animation.

In this love letter, the stage is an animator’s desk and the drawings come to life. Alternatively, there is live music to keep you entertained.