I visited Orlando for a week this month on a business trip. I am all-Disneyed out, meaning that I have visited the parks on both coasts too many times in recent years. I decided to explore Orlando without Disney.
It’s hard to escape Disney, even the dark underground Uber express tunnel pickup zone is decorated with Disney characters at MCO. Wherever you go, Mickey ears, magic bands or comparisons to Disney are abound.
I did the anti-Disney park, Universal Studios. My friend Tom and I had a long conversation about the history of Florida and theme parks on the bus ride there. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a must. I also found the Simpsons area entertaining but lacking good rides. A fun night out for sure.
In my opinion Orlando lacks it’s own voice or character. It’s filled with chain restaurants, theme parks and hotels. It’s hard to find anything local to do. I kept trying and that is how I ended up at Gatorland before catching my flight home.
The 12-year old in me still thinks badass animals are gnarly. The prices were a little high ($7 to rent a locker, c’mon!). The shows and access to gators were great. I really enjoyed myself. All and all Orlando provided a great place for my business team to connect with each other, even without Disney this time.