Let me guess — you have out of town guests coming to visit sometime between now and December 31st, right? I mean, you live in Orlando! Odds are someone you know is planning a fun Florida trip at some point during the holidays. And that’s fantastic! Because I’ve rounded up my top 5 ideas for Fall fun with out of town guests at Disney World and Universal Studios Florida!
My Top 5 Tips for Fall Fun with Out of Town Guests at Disney World & Universal Studios!
No Annual or Season Passes? No problem!
Seriously, if you don’t have annual or season passes to either Disney or Universal, no problem! My first two tips are just for you: Disney Springs and Universal Studios’ City Walk!
1. Disney Springs
If you and your out-of-town guests are Disney fans, Disney Springs is the PERFECT meet up spot! You get that magical Disney vibe (how ’bout them Mickey and Minnie-shaped caramel apples at Candy Cauldron!?). There are cool shops like the HUGE Coca Cola and Under Armor stores, the Lego Store, all the Disney merch your heart dreams about (and your wallet fears), and so much more! Plus, Disney Springs has amazing restaurants (hello, Morimoto Asia for Food Network Iron Chef fans)! And the dessert options include Ghirardelli Chocolate (which always reminds me of San Francisco) and Sprinkles cupcakes!
Oh, did I forget to mention the bowling alley and movie theatre? What about the awesome Aerophile balloon where you can see Disney Springs from 400 ft. up in the sky?! And if you have any NBA fans (like my 13 year old Golden State Warriors Steph Curry fan), you will absolutely LOVE the new NBA Experience that opened at Disney Springs earlier this year!
So far, since we moved to Orlando from Houston back in April, we’ve been to Disney Springs with my sister and her family (who happen to live in Windermere)! Our friends the Mays visited from Houston (in the month of May … how appropriate!). Of course, we met up at Disney Springs! We met my parents for lunch shortly after they moved to Casselberry in August. And when my in-laws came to visit from Puerto Rico during the summer, we celebrated my hubby’s 40th at Morimoto Asia (he’d been dying to go)!
2. Universal Studios City Walk
You know how your kids get excited and count the days till Christmas? That was me, counting down the days till my friend Tracy and her family visited from Kingwood, TX! We lived 2 doors down and LOVED having the VanNostrands as our neighbors! So when we heard they were coming, we rushed to make plans to meet! Their Florida trip took them to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. We’re Disney Annual Passholders, but that didn’t stop us from planning a little get together! We just went to Universal Studios City Walk (which we hadn’t visited before)!
It was ALL worth it when our kids saw each other (we each have a boy and a girl, super close in age)! It was easy to decide on pizza for everyone and Red Oven Pizza Bakery was perfect! They even took great care of my daughter’s food allergies.
And, of course, we walked ALL throughout City Walk and had to stop by Voodoo Doughnut. And it happened to be a Halloween Horror Night so, while we had to pay parking ($26!) We also got to walk close enough to the park entrance to see some of the scary fun and hear some of the Stranger Things-inspired music.
We had a BLAST! And man, we miss them already! But that’s the beauty of living here in Orlando. You just know it’s a matter of time before friends come back to visit again! 🙂
3. Visit a Disney hotel!
I have to credit my sister Emille for this AWESOME tip! Did you know you can visit many (if not all) Disney hotels, even if you’re not a guest? And they have some amazing restaurant experiences that you can enjoy without a park ticket or hotel room!
One super fun example: my sister and brother-in-law took us to the Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. The servers are hilarious! Pro tip: ask for ketchup and watch what happens. (wink, wink!)
Bonus: If you go during the holidays, you’ll enjoy perfect photo opps, especially at the Grand Floridian with their epic Gingerbread Houses and glorious Christmas trees & music everywhere! Ah, is it Christmas yet?!
So you have Annual or Season Passes to Disney World or Universal Studios? GREAT! And your guests have park tickets, too? SWEET!
Tips 4 & 5 here on the list are for YOU!
4. Enjoy the Disney Parks!
As much fun as it is going to any Disney Park (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), going with friends just multiplies the fun!
This is what happened when our friends the Ortiz-Clark family came to visit from Virginia! And it happened again when one of my daughter’s best friends came for a Disney trip earlier this month!
My friend Carmen and I have known each other since elementary school in Puerto Rico. When I found out she and her family were coming to Orlando to visit one of the grandmas, I freaked out! We were going to have a chance to go to Disney together! Our 9 year old selves would have been giddy to know that our 40-year-old selves would be riding Buzz Lightyear’s ride at the Magic Kingdom with our hubbies and kids! Or that our kids would ride Everest at Animal Kingdom together, either! So fun!
And I can’t even begin to tell you the JOY on my daughter’s face when she spotted one of her old besties at Epcot!
It worked out great that we had Annual Passes so when our family and friends have come to visit, and they’ve had park tickets, we can all go enjoy the parks together!
Extra Fun Fall Tip: If you want to go all out, get the extra ticket for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party through November 1st or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, starting November 8th!
5. Enjoy Universal Studios!
This one is still on our “to do list!” Our family doesn’t have Universal Studios passes, although my husband and I have both been to the parks in the past. But if you do have passes and your out-of-town guests have tickets, PERFECT! You can plan to spend a day at Universal Studio, Islands of Adventure (or both!) together!
Extra Fun Fall Tip: Our out-of-town friends, the VanNostrands, were thrilled to check out Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights! That’s a great idea if you love Halloween AND have the tickets! We didn’t, but we still got to hang out with them at Universal Studios City Walk, though! And it was a BLAST!
Do you have any other tips for out of town guests this fall at the theme parks? I know there are a million things to do here in Orlando! So feel free to share a few of your favorites in the comments! Can’t wait to hear from you!