From getting spooked at Universal Studios during Halloween Horror Nights to spending time with flamingos at SeaWorld, Orlando is a great place to visit during Fall.
Here is a sample 3 day itinerary of what to do in Orlando while still enjoying a bit of downtime. It includes staying at the DoubleTree Resort at SeaWorld, a day at SeaWorld and evening at Disney Springs, a day at Universal Studios, and a day of resting at the resort. Use it as inspiration to plan your own trip to the Theme Park Capital of the World.
Day 1 – SeaWorld and Disney Springs
Eat a light breakfast at the DoubleTree Resort and then get ready to head over to SeaWorld. From the DoubleTree Resort, you can either walk there in about 10 – 15 minutes or opt to take the complimentary shuttle. (Check with the resort for shuttle times.)
SeaWorld is open from 10 am until 6 pm during the week and from 9 am until 7 pm on the weekends.
From late September through October, the park celebrates Halloween with their Spooktacular, kid-friendly event on the weekends. During this daytime event, families are immersed in an underwater “fantasea” including trick-or-treating, whimsical sea creatures, and more.
The reason that I said to start off with a light breakfast is because of SeaWorld’s All-Day Dining Deal. For adults it is only $34.99 per person and for children (ages 3-9) it is $19.99 per person if you order online.
What makes this an incredible deal is that you can get an entree, a side, and a drink ONCE PER HOUR while at the park at Voyager’s Smokehouse, Expedition Café, Seaport Pizza, Captain Pete’s Island Treats, The Spice Mill, Seafire Grill, and Mango Joe’s®.
SeaWorld is a great place to encounter animals that you would not normally get the chance to. If you are nearby when the Flamingo Walk takes place, be sure to follow the beautiful pink creatures. They will stop in the park and you can sit down and enjoy their company. The birds will come up to you and play with your hair. Trust me – it’s a fun experience and you need to do it!
Then there are the dolphin and killer whale shows. You’ll enjoy watching the incredible interaction between the trained humans and the sea creatures. These highly intelligent beings have the option of not performing – it’s their choice.
After spending your first day at SeaWorld, return to the resort to freshen up. Then take an Uber or drive yourself to Disney Springs for a taste of Fall around Lake Buena Vista.
There are numerous locations at Disney Springs to dine, but if you are hungry for a hearty Italian dinner there is one clear choice – Terralina.
Terralina opened in June 2018 and is the latest dining concept by James Beard Award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano.
Dining at Terralina, guests can take their time to savor authentic Italian cuisine in the dining room or al fresco with sweeping waterfront views.
At Terralina, guests can enjoy handcrafted aperitivios, Crafted Lemonade made with lavender rosemary vodka, classic Margherita pizza, and seafood dishes like Swordfish Peperonatta.
My personal recommendation for Terralina is to order the Lemon Panna Cotta with candied thyme for dessert. It’s light and luscious and you’ll be glad you ordered it.
Before heading back to your room, take a leisure stroll around Disney Springs. This might be a good time to do some holiday shopping – there are 110 shopping options including everything from candy apples at Disney’s Candy Cauldron to gifts and housewares at Shop For Ireland.
Day 2 – Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure
Eat a hearty breakfast at the resort’s premier restaurant, Laguna. Then put on your walking shoes and get ready to explore the Universal Orlando Resort. October is a great time for exploring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Avoid parking hassles by taking the complimentary shuttle from DoubleTree.
Universal Studios is divided into two parks – Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. For a one day, one park ticket the price is $115 per person. For both parks for one day, the price is $170 per person. The advantages of the two park ticket aside from double the fun is that you can ride the Hogwarts™ Express between Hogsmeade™ Station and King’s Cross Station with a Park-to-Park Ticket.
If you like to get your thrills from rides, then start at Universal’s Islands of Adventure which received the #1 Amusement Park in the World – TripAdvisor® Travelers’ Choice Award. Ride to your heart’s content and then wander over to the village of Hogsmeade™.
Channel your inner Harry Potter or Hermoine Granger and stop at the Three Broomsticks™ for some British fare for lunch. Afterward, hop on the Hogwarts™ Express and begin your journey to Universal Studios.
For dinner head over to City Walk and try burgushi – that’s burgers + sushi at The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar.
The Taste Explosion Roll
This isn’t your typical sushi joint. It’s full of energy and they serve unique creations, such as the Taste Explosion Roll (pictured above). It is made with certified Angus beef, applewood bacon, jalapeños, spicy mayo inside, coated with tempura flakes and topped with Roma tomato and pepper jack cheese, and then it’s baked. Before serving, it is drizzled with cashew cilantro pesto.
Bloody Mary Had a Little Cow
At this point, some people might want to imbibe on a little liquid courage before they head back to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights. I can personally vouch that the Bloody Mary Had a Little Cow at Cowfish is a pretty tasty option. Be sure to eat the hamburger on top – it might not look like much but it’s delicious!
Classic Vanilla Milkshake
For those whom adult beverages are not an option, Cowfish makes hand-spun milkshakes. If you aren’t a plain vanilla type of person, then perhaps one of the following will hit the spot: The Nutty Cow, Cookies & Cream, The Marshmallow Crisp, Gimme More S’More Shake, Matcha Madness, The P “Double-B” & J Shake, Key Lime Pie, The Grasshopper, Yuzu Lemonade, Cup of Joe, Caramel Miso, or Avo Mango.
After dinner on your way to Universal Studios, take time for a selfie with your bestie at the giant VooDoo Doughnut throne.
VooDoo Doughnuts is renown for its fun spin on doughnuts. The City Walk location is the first VooDoo Doughnuts location east of Texas. Be prepared to wait in line just to get inside the building. Surprisingly, the doughnuts are quite affordable with cake doughnuts costing just under $2 and most raised doughnuts are in the $2-3 range.
Once you have mustered your courage, head back to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights. This is a separate ticketed event, so be sure that you have yours in hand (or on your phone).
There are 10 haunted houses at the Halloween Horror Nights event: Stranger Things, The Carnival Graveyard: Rust in Pieces, Slaughter Sinema, Dead Exposure: Patient Zero, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Poltergeist, Scary Tales: Deadly Ever After, The Horrors of Blumhouse, Trick ‘r Treat, and Seeds of Extinction. This event sells out so it’s best that you pick a few haunted houses to go through first and create a strategy before you enter the park.
What might even be scarier are the street creatures that are roaming the park. Some will creep up behind you and scare the bejeebers out of you.
For more tips and a survival guide for Halloween Horror Nights, visit Undercover Tourist for detailed info.
Day 3 – Rest and Relaxation at the DoubleTree Resort at SeaWorld
Day 3 is all about relaxing because after exploring two different parks over two days, you need a break. The DoubleTree Resort at SeaWorld has two pools and a hot tub that are an oasis away from it all. Enjoy a poolside lunch and soak up some rays while they last.
Take advantage of some of the fun activities at the resort, like mini golf, table tennis, or play checkers on the outdoor oversized checkerboard. You can read more about the DoubleTree Resort at SeaWorld by clicking here.
I was a guest of the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld. All thoughts, opinions, and grammatical errors are my own. Visit DoubleTree3.Hilton.com for more information about the resort and to book your stay and VisitOrlando.com to plan your trip.1