There are a lot of reasons to go to Orlando.
There are the parks… Not theme parks, public parks.
There are tours, museums, and all kinds of novelty attractions as well as seriously fun and educational experiences.
When visiting Orlando you will most likely be visiting some theme parks.
However, here are some of my favorite Orlando attractions outside of Disney, Universal, or Sea World.
If you are planning a theme park-free Orlando trip or just want to take a break from the theme park surroundings, try out my top 5 choices for Orlando attractions that don’t require a theme park admission.
Some of these experiences do cost money, but the price of a ticket may prove a far greater value for a day’s reprieve from the higher cost of theme parks in 2022.
The Crayola Experience Orlando
The Crayola Experience is one of my favorite Orlando attractions. It’s an educational trip your kids will never forget.
It promotes imagination with hands-on play and learning.
The place is much more than just a place to learn how crayons are made and buy lots of Crayola products (their gift shop is massive).
The Crayola Experience features almost 30 distinct attractions, including activities such as creating your own custom crayon and becoming the star of your own coloring page!
The Crayola experience is generally about a four-hour visit but a ticket is for a full day. You can take your pick of any of the various things to do.
There is also a playground and a cafe and dozens of interactive color-related activities.
One of the top attractions is the Crayola Factory show demonstrates how crayons are made. There are also melt and mold, modeling, drip art and so many more activities to explore.
General Admission tickets are sold online with a discount for buying in advance. There is also a premium area with exclusive crafts and attractions for an additional charge.
The Crayola store has products you won’t find anywhere else and has a section for making your own pack of crayons.
Disney Wilderness Preserve
Not the Disney you’re expecting on a trip to Florida, this wildlife preserve in Kissimmee Florida is one hour south of Disney World’s Lake Buena Vista.
The park has three distinct trails. One of which leads to a beautiful sand-bottom lake.
Disney Wilderness Preserve is part of the Everglades ecosystem and contains 7 miles of trails with over 1,000 species of plants and animals.
The Wilderness Preserve makes a really nice compliment and is a contrast to spending time in Orlando visiting theme parks.
A nature park surrounded by wilderness and a vibrant flourishing Floridian ecosystem brings some groundedness as you take in the reality of what exists in the wild when it is left alone.
It also makes a restful retreat and a great educational opportunity as well.
If you picture a children’s museum as an indoor theme park, you’ll have some sense of what awaits you at Wonderworks.
Wonderworks is only one of a handful of wonderful Orlando attractions in between Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World.
You can’t miss the building.
It’s the only one that is upside down.
When you go inside you have to enter a tunnel to turn yourself upside down too before you can experience the wonderful interactive exhibits in the building.
Even though Wonderworks has nothing to do with Disney it has a backstory that sounds like something straight out of Imagineering.
As the story goes, Wonderworks was a top-secret research laboratory on an island in the Bermuda Triangle.
An experiment has gone awry and unleashed the power of a tornado inside the laboratory.
The Tornado became a swirling vortex capable of pulling the building up from its foundation and, after carrying it thousands of miles, dropped it upside down where it stands to this day.
Inside Wonderworks are a variety of hands-on learning experiences that teach about extreme weather, space, art, and more.
There are six learning zones plus laser tag, a motion simulator ride, and an indoor ropes course.
It isn’t easy to stay away from Disney while you’re in Orlando, even if you are taking a break from the theme parks.
Disney Springs is free to enter and it’s a huge attraction with a variety of shops, dining, and other entertainment experiences.
While at Disney Springs, you can fly in a helium balloon, and experience a virtual adventure on Batuu through Meta, the exclusive Cirque Du Soleil performance Drawn to Life, bowl, and more.
Even if you just go for the Giant Coca-Cola and M&M stores it would be well worth it.
Disney Springs also has incredible restaurants and top brands for some retail therapy while you take a break from the theme park mayhem.
Disney Springs has four neighborhoods, which are practically four separate Orlando attractions.
The Marketplace on the west side is the most family-centric part with a high emphasis on Disney, value, and kid-pleasing stores and dining.
Town Center features a massive complex of shops. Coach, Kate Spade, Lovepop, Superdry, and L’Occitane en Provence are just a smattering of the places you’ll love to shop.
The Landing features incredible dining with an exciting backstory and architecture.
Finally, the Eastside has most of the entertainment, including HOB, AMC, Cirque, and Splitsville Luxury Lanes.
Kennedy Space Center
Just about an hour east of the Orlando International Airport, Kennedy Space Center is well worth the extra miles.
If you visit only one this really is the Orlando attraction other than Disney that you should prioritize.
It’s close enough and grand enough that I consider it at the forefront of Orlando attractions. You might say it’s not actually in Orlando.
That’s true, but technically, neither is Disney World.
Kennedy Space Center attractions like Race to the Moon and NASA: Now and Next include exhibits to entertain and enlighten.
Learn about the history and legends of NASA as well as tour launch sites, rockets, and a tree garden descended from seeds that have been to the moon!
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is… complex.
If you are a fan of space or want to learn more about the history of NASA and how we as humans are positioned in the present day for further space travel you have to start exploring the website now so you can plan the most fun-filled trip!
You can even buy tickets for the Astronaut Training Experience or a Launch Viewing if one is scheduled.
What are your favorite Orlado
attractions other than Disney?
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.