Whether you’re drawn to theme park thrills, or the array of other attractions, Orlando is a top spot for a weekend break.
While it is ideal family territory, the ‘City Beautiful’ is attracting more weekend visitors than ever before, drawn to the shops, restaurants and other highlights. If you’re thinking of spending a weekend in Orlando, check out this handy guide to making the most of your trip…
Where to stay
If you’re spending a weekend in Orlando and you’re not sure where to stay, it makes sense to cut down on traveling time by opting for accommodation that’s close to the main highlights.
You’ll find some fantastic vacation homes at the Encore Resort at Reunion in Kissimmee, located in a private and peaceful resort just a stone’s throw from Disney World.
Available for stays of 3 nights or more, Encore Club vacation homes work out better value for money than hotel rooms for multiple guests. They also offer more space and privacy, as well as luxury features like swimming pools, game rooms and home theatres.
There are an array of resort amenities to enjoy during your stay, including a water park, restaurants, bars, a fitness center and a clubhouse.
Guests can utilise shuttle bus services to the theme parks from just outside the resort, or make the most of great value car hire available via the Top Villas concierge team.
If you want to venture out of the resort, the surrounding area of Kissimmee offers plenty of highlights like the many and varied bars and restaurants along the Bronson Memorial Highway. There are also some pretty parks and lakes in Kissimmee, as well as an array of great golf courses.
See our Encore Club villas
Theme parks and attractions
A weekend in Orlando wouldn’t be complete without at least one trip to its world-class amusement parks.
Disney World, with its multiple theme parks, offers the most variety, with everything from the African plains of the Animal Kingdom to Cinderella’s soaring castle in the Magic Kingdom.
If theatre is your thing prepare to be blown away by the park’s live entertainment. You can watch Finding Nemo – The Musical, Beauty and the Beast, and many more state-of-the-art musicals. There’s also the La Nouba show by Cirque du Soleil, probably the most spectacular acrobat show you’ll ever see.
Universal Orlando is also worth at least a one-day visit if you’re spending a weekend in Orlando. There are two sensational theme parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, as well as the Volcano Bay water park, set to open in Summer 2017.
If you don’t fancy visiting theme parks on your weekend break, there are a number of other recent additions to Orlando’s attractions portfolio.
The i-Drive 360 complex has become a major tourist draw, boasting a 400 ft giant ferris wheel, as well as a Madame Tussaud’s, a Sealife Aquarium and an array of restaurants and entertainment venues.
Slightly more unusual things to do in Orlando are becoming increasingly popular too.
The iFly Orlando experience for example, offers people of all ages the opportunity to take a dive in an indoor skydiving simulator.
Where to head for shopping
If you want to combine a weekend in Orlando with some serious retail therapy, then be prepared to shop ’til you drop.
Orlando is almost as famous for its shopping malls as it is for its theme parks, with discount designer shops and high-end boutiques wherever you roam. There’s the Florida Mall and the Mall at Millenia, both offering high-fashion stores as well as restaurants, bars and kids play areas.
Outlet shopping is also a huge draw, this can be found in abundance at Orlando’s two Premium Outlets – both offering heavily discounted goods from the likes of Armani, Calvin Klein, Guess and Polo Ralph Lauren.
Great golf courses
Orlando may be home to some the best theme parks and shopping malls on the planet – it’s also every golf lover’s dream.
In fact, there are more than 170 golf courses and over 20 golf academies in Orlando. Whats more, it is home to more pro golfers than any other city in the world – and it hosts some of the most prestigious golf tournaments.
If you’re spending a weekend in Orlando, you’ll find a multitude of stunning courses to tee off on. There are 2 championship 18-hole Greg Norman courses at the Championsgate Golf Club, located just a few miles from our Encore Resort vacation homes. Other courses nearby are the Falcons’s Fire Golf Course in Kissimmee, and Disney’s 3 world-class courses.
If you fancy extending your weekend in Orlando to a stay of 5 nights or more, then we we offer a great range of vacation homes in many other top resorts in Orlando.
In particular, Reunion Resort is a favorite for golf vacations, being the only resort in the world with 3 signature-designed courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman and Tom Watson – but you have to stay there to use them.See our Reunion Resort villas
You can contact the Top Villas concierge team to book tee times on your behalf, and to secure the very best green fees.
Where to eat and drink
If you want to spend your weekend sampling the city’s dining and nightlife, you’ll find an almost endless array of places to try.
One of the best places to head is the new Disney Springs complex, a great spot for all-round dining and entertainment.
Styled as a bustling waterside promenade, the complex is free to get in, and it’s packed with unique boutiques, one-of-a-kind eateries and top-notch entertainment.
Chief among the restaurants here are The Boathouse, a swish waterfront seafood and steakhouse with its own marina for a variety of boat rides. Also excellent is Morimoto Asia, a contemporary warehouse-style eatery with multiple dining spaces and a Pacific-fusion menu.
The Universal Citywalk is another great venue, packed with excellent shops, restaurants and nightlife.
Not far from Universal is International Drive, where you’ll find an astonishing variety of restaurants in the ‘Restaurant Row’ district. There are more than 25 casual and upscale eateries to choose from, including popular places like Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar.
There are a number of fantastic dinner shows around International Drive too. A top choice is the Outta Control Magic Dinner Show at Wonderworks Orlando, which costs around $30 per adult, including unlimited pizza, salad, beer, wine, soda and dessert.
What to do Downtown
When you think of Orlando you may imagine Walt Disney World, but the Downtown district actually contains none of the theme parks.
The perfect place for a relaxing weekend, Downtown Orlando is a vibrant area, where you can wander around dozens of pretty parks, take in the city skyline and explore the many art galleries, museums and historic sites.
Church Street is one of the oldest and prettiest neighbourhoods in the city, it is also home to some of the best bars and nightclubs. A great place for a sundowner is High Tide Orlando, a rooftop bar high above Church Street, with spectacular views over the city.
The iconic Lake Eola is another don’t-miss attraction if you’re Downtown, located just a stone’s throw from the Church Street area. There’s a huge park with an open-air amphitheater. There’s also a massive swan-filled lake where you can take boat rides on charming ‘swan boats’ while you soak up the iconic Orlando skyline.
There are a number of other parks and gardens to visit in Downtown Orlando, and some fascinating museums and art galleries like the Orlando Museum of Art.
If theatre if your thing, you can head to the Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, famed for bringing Broadway-quality theatre, ballet and concerts to the Downtown district.
If you’re thinking of spending a weekend in Orlando, or you want to book a longer stay, then see all of our luxury Orlando Vacation Homes here.
Additionally, the Top Villas concierge service can arrange any added extras you need such as great value car hire and attraction tickets.