If you are heading to Orlando, there is a good chance that when you are not at the parks you will be spending a lot of your time on International Drive, it is the central hub for that part of Orlando and over the years that I have visited it has built up to be its own attraction. From staying to dining and then spending some downtime, International has something for all ages and tastes.
If you are not staying on site at one of the theme parks, International Drive is the place you need to stay and you will not be short for choice. Many of hotels also offer free transportation to the theme parks, so take this into consideration when choosing.
Budget – Super 8 Hotel
We stayed here for half of our last visit, located on the North end it is a cheap and cheerful hotel extremely close to the Universal Studio Resort. Offers free transportation to Universal Studios only.
Mid range – Ramada Plaza Resort
Offers free transportation to both Disney World and Universal Studios.
High End- Hotel Embassy Suites
Perfect for those travelling without children and looking for somewhere to relax after a long day at the parks. Offers free transportation to all of the major theme parks.
Free hotel transportation is a massive bonus if you are not planning on renting a car, but it can at times restrict you as the last bus will often depart before park closing. However, Uber is incredibly cheap in this area, we completely depended on it on our last trip, it was affordable and 100% safe.
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I will assume that most of your time will be spent in one of the many incredible theme parks but ensure to save at least half a day to walk International drive and explore what it has to offer.
Top things not to miss –
– Mini Golf (However our favourite mini golf is located inside City Walk, Universal)
– Vplay, virtual reality – ok, we spent far too much money here but I recommend this to everyone, it just outstanding and the most immersive VR game I have every played. I cannot even explain just how great it is, you just have to try it. The unit is also set inside a massive arcade with Mario Kart racers and other like games, it is a really fun place to hang out.
– Air Force Helicopter Tours – Want to fly over Hogwarts? They have got you covered.
– Coca-Cola Orlando Eye
– I-Drive NASCAR Kart Racing
– Zombie Outbreak – Live Action Zombie experience
– Wonderworks – Kid of like Ripley’s Believe it or not, but better.
AVOID – Fun Spot, it is incredibly overpriced for what it is and the Go Karts are really bloody slow.
You will be spoilt for choice for places to eat, from chain to independent, from all American to sushi, the only thing you may struggle to find is a small meal.
Hooters – Some may find this place slightly inappropriate if you have a young family, but you shouldn’t cause it is a great place and the food is even greater.
The Brick House – Damn good all-American food, great for lunch or dinner.
Ihop – Head for the perfect pancake breakfast
Johnny Rockets – We fell in love with this chain when travelling the West Coast and Orlando’s restaurant brought back all the memories.
Dunkin Donuts – International Drive is a long walk, stop off here for an iced coffee and Cronut snack.
Twin Peaks – Stop here for a cold beer
Looking to buy attraction tickets? I have found that Attraction Tickets Direct offer the best value for money.