Explore Orlando

Editor's Itinerary: Experience the Best of Orlando's Entertainment

Spend a day experiencing the very best shows, productions and parades.

Broadway shows, festive parades, stunning acrobatics and fabulous concerts … Orlando has it all. Our world-class theme parks—with their shows, productions and beloved characters—have helped launch the careers of many celebrities from Christina Aguilera to Sisaundra Lewis, who was recently a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice.”  With all the entertainment the theme parks have to offer, it's difficult to ever leave, but I encourage you to get out and explore the rest of our dynamic city. I'm including some itinerary ideas below for one big day of entertainment in Orlando. 

Morning

Our theme parks do an amazing job with their shows, whether it’s quality children’s theater or Broadway-caliber productions. Toddlers go bonkers for the Barney show at Universal Studios, Dr. Seuss at Islands of Adventure and Elmo at SeaWorld, while kids of all ages will enjoy "Lion King" at Animal Kingdom, along with "Beauty and the Beast" and the “Frozen" sing-along at Disney's Hollywood.

Frozen Sing-Along, Disney World Orlando
Frozen Sing-Along (©Walt Disney World)

Afternoon

There’s nothing quite as fun as a parade, and lucky for all of us, Orlando hosts them daily. Downtown Disney has a princess parade at 2 pm, and parking and admission there are free. At the Magic Kingdom, I recommend the "Move It, Shake It" street party or the "Festival of Fantasy" parade featuring all your favorite characters, representing both the old and the new generations of Disney. My little ones love Universal’s "Superstar Parade," with Dora the Explorer and Spongebob, and you can catch plenty of throws in the Mardi Gras parades going on there right now.

Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando
Mardi Gras (©Universal Orlando Resort)

Evening

I would be remiss without mentioning our beautiful, brand-new performing arts center downtown. See a show at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, whether it’s opera (Cosi Fan Tutte March 27), jazz (April 17) or an old favorite like Sarah McLachlan (March 24). Have a pre-drink downtown at the Bohemian Hotel on Orange Avenue, which also features a piano bar with live music.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Orlando
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (©Roberto Gonzalez)

Late Night

Sure Orlando is known as a kids' vacation spot with its array of world-famous theme parks, but there is also plenty of fun for the grown-ups long after tired tots are tucked in. International Drive is becoming a real hub for nightlife, music and entertainment with the new I-Drive 360 at Sand Lake, Howl at the Moon piano bar, Toby Keith’s at Artegon, and BB Kings at Pointe Orlando. Just outside Universal's two theme parks, you’ll find CityWalk, with a fun mix of clubs and restaurants with music such as Hard Rock Live. At Downtown Disney, House of Blues and Raglan Road are great bets for live music and Cirque du Soliel is an awe-inspiring show and a vacation must. 

Howl at the Moon, Orlando
(Courtesy of Howl at the Moon)