Orlando’s International Drive houses an immense collection of major theme parks, entertainment complexes, and family fun. Here, everything is designed to induce a good time. !t truly is a playground for the masses.
Universal Orlando Resort may be the center of this exciting mecca, but there’s much more to International Drive than just the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Along International Drive, there’s a brilliant collection of attractions that’ll get you both thinking and screaming! Plus, with the help of the trolley along I-Drive Orlando, it’s never been easier to see and do it all.
Not sure what to do in International Drive, Orlando? Plan the perfect itinerary with this complete guide to the I-Drive Entertainment District.
Things to do in International Drive, Orlando
Universal Orlando Resort
International Drive is a pulsating stretch of epic experiences, and at its heart is Universal Orlando Resort. The resort is where you’ll find such iconic theme parks as Universal Studios Florida and the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter. It’s an exciting mix of fun, thrills, and nostalgia where you can interact with many of your favorite characters.
It all begins with a journey down Universal CityWalk. The stretch is packed with entertainment, bars, shopping, and even some late-night karaoke. The area is free to visit and it’s a great place to hang out after your memorable day.
Although the soaring rollercoasters and distant screams will draw you towards the entrance, beyond you’ll have the chance to zoom over Hogwarts, jump between buildings like Spiderman, or experience the electrifying slides at Volcano Bay, Universal’s water theme park.
Universal Orlando Resort also has onsite accommodation that suits most budgets and is designed with families in mind.
Featuring a sprawling entertainment complex, plus some of its own amazing experiences, ICON Park brings all the fun of Orlando to one convenient location. If you’re looking for a break from Walt Disney World Resort and the city’s most famous theme parks, it’s one of the coolest Orlando attractions for the entire family.
At the center of the park, formerly called ICON Orlando 360, is its Ferris wheel. Reaching a dizzying height of 400 feet, The Wheel at ICON Park delivers stunning views out to the horizon. It’s particularly memorable at night when the bright lights of Orlando illuminate the night sky.
Despite reaching into the stratosphere, the Wheel isn’t even the highest experience to be had at ICON Park. Follow up your ride with the Orlando Free Fall that finishes with the biggest standing free fall on earth. Or take a whirl on the high-flyin’ Orlando StarFlyer, dubbed the world’s tallest swing ride.
There are tons of attractions to enjoy, especially if you want to pick up a Play Pass. This gives you entrance to the Wheel, Madame Tussauds Orlando, the Sea LIFE Orlando Aquarium, and more.
Afterward, pick between the dozens of restaurants and vibrant bars to end the day.
An amusement park for the mind, WonderWorks Orlando, is found within an upside-down building. From the get-go, your mind will be running in overdrive, and that’s before you even interact with the 100-plus hands-on experiences.
After days of riding rollercoasters, WonderWorks offers a nice change of pace while being no less entertaining. With several sections, such as Natural Disasters, Space Discovery, and the Physical Challenge Zone, all parts of the museum will challenge your mind, stoke curiosity, and ultimately teach you something new about the world and yourself.
After racking your brains, loosen up with some laser tag, try the indoor ropes challenge, or go for a ride on a 4D simulator.
You’ll find this thinking mans’ amusement park in Pointe Orlando. Much like ICON Park, you’ll be able to choose between a brilliant mix of restaurants, including award-winning spots, in the surrounding entertainment complex.
Fun Spot America
Universal Studios may be an iconic, international brand, but it’s not the only beloved theme park in Orlando. In fact, many prefer the family-owned Fun Spot. This theme park is effortlessly charming with Florida’s only wooden roller coaster plus a range of family activities, exciting rides, and arcade halls.
Fun Spot blurs the line between your local theme park and something far more expansive. It’s Universal without some of the organized chaos. The entire family will have a blast on the go-kart track that covers multiple levels, before getting soaked on the bumper boats and riding the thrilling Freedom Flyer.
With families at the forefront of the mind, there are a lot of rides designed for the younger kids that have the thrill meter turned down a notch or two. For those on a budget, you can also only pay for the rides that you want to go on. Plus, four rides at Fun Spot are included in your Go Orlando Pass.
Madame Tussauds Orlando
One of the best parts of ICON Park is Madame Tussauds Orlando. You may have visited one before—after all, they’ve become a worldwide brand—but each museum is different and with Orlando being all about the movies, you’re going to want to treat yourself.
Even if you’ve visited one before, it can be head-scratching to see just how accurate each celebrity or historical wax figure seems. With the exact measurements used, it provides for some hilarious selfies as you get to “meet” some of your favorite people.
Each section is broken up into a theme such as films, sports, and history, but the most memorable may be the Justice League room, where you’ll find heroes like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.
Madame Tussauds opens its doors at 10 am every day, but we suggest having some fun elsewhere and visiting at night. This is when the crowds are at their lowest, providing more time and freedom to enjoy the wide range of strikingly accurate wax figures.
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
There’s no shortage of amazing things to do in International Drive, especially for the young ones. But SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium promises to be unforgettable for kids, and a great spot to check out if you’re traveling with kids too young to experience the best rides at Universal or Fun Spot.
The aquarium is another attraction in ICON Park and is included on your pass, offering brilliant views of a vast range of marine life and coral, with the bright colors never failing to put a smile on the kid’s faces.
The many viewpoints are designed for smaller children, making it easy for them to see the action without having to jump on your shoulders. There are even underwater tunnels and interactive experiences, such as the rock pool. Some of the attraction’s 5,000 creatures include sharks, barracudas, and the giant Pacific octopus!
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando
As mesmerizing as the aquarium is, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is arguably much more captivating. The amazing collection of exhibits is unusual, hilarious, and just downright terrifying.
The fun begins before you even walk through the door as the building appears to be sinking into the state of Florida. The museum, or should we call it the odditorium, blurs the line between fact and fiction, allowing you to indulge in a little bit of mythology or legend, as you gaze upon some of the weirdest things known to man.
Orlando’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not features 16 galleries, each more head-scratching than the last. Here you’ll find real dinosaur eggs, a statue of Buddha using nothing but money, plus what’s said to be the smallest deck of cards on earth.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
Get ready to board the famous Titanic at our next attraction. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is manned with period actors who play onboard guests and tour guides who help you experience life on the iconic ship before discovering genuine artifacts taken from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
As you explore the museum, you’ll hear actual stories about those who were on board that fateful journey, including those who survived and perished. Venture into some of the rooms, such as the First-Class Cabin along with the Grand Staircase (just without Rose gliding down them!) and even check out some of the equipment used back in 1912.
To understand just how cold it was that night, you can explore a recreation of the Promenade Deck and feel the bitter breeze of the Atlantic. Finish up at the Underwater Room complete with 400 amazing artifacts.
Another riveting theme park to visit along International Drive is SeaWorld Orlando. This water park is much more than just swimming with dolphins. It’s an attraction full of rip-roaring rides that make for the perfect way to stay cool in the height of summer.
There are several parts of SeaWorld, including the main theme park, complete with the kid-friendly Sesame Street Land, along with its renowned roller coasters and the chance to see rays, sharks, and dolphins.
At Aquatic Orlando, you can venture down the white water river on a raft, enjoy the water slides, or compete against your friends and family on the Riptide Race.
In 2021, Discovery Cove was voted the best theme park in Orlando. That’s impressive when you consider the competition, but the cove is a part of an all-inclusive resort that gives you the chance to experience a tropical paradise without leaving town.
At Discovery Cove, the entire traveling crew will have the memorable opportunity to swim with dolphins and relax on white-sand beaches as if you were on the shore of the Mediterranean. Guests can also strap on the snorkeling gear and swim in water teeming with tropical fish and even manta rays!
Perhaps the best part of all this is the noticeable lack of lines. Forget paying for VIP status, Discovery Cove comes with no wait time, allowing you to complete experiences without having to be patient.
Your day pass comes complete with all the fun, plus breakfasts, snacks, and lunch with a beer or three thrown in for good measure.
Where to eat & drink
With all the fun and excitement to be had along International Drive, you’re going to work up an unbelievable appetite. Befitting International Drive’s worldwide reputation, you’ll have no trouble finding somewhere equally lively to eat and relive the best parts of the day.
One of the top restaurants on International Drive is Maggiano’s Little Italy. The upscale eatery serves all the classic Italian dishes in a family-friendly and cozy space. It’s a great place to gather, with a pleasant atmosphere that isn’t too over the top.
On the other end of the scale is Café Tu Tu Tango. As you waffle down some delicious tapas, watch artists paint in an eclectic space that’s full of color and oddities. Why not enjoy the Floridian weather and enjoy your food on the outdoor patio while you enjoy some great live entertainment?
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse is an upscale chain famous for its all-you-can-eat meat that’s carved right beside your table. Add the large salad bar to your order, and you’ll be ready to bring the energy the following day.
If your favorite team is playing on your vacation, pop into the Yard House to enjoy New American fare and craft beer while watching your team on TV. Another great spot for a pint and a game is Miller’s Ale House, offering a more casual atmosphere with an extensive list of apps and beers.
For a unique evening, check out ICEBAR Orlando. Just as advertised, you’ll need to dress in your warmest clothing so you can drink and dance in below freezing temps. To keep the night going, head to Howl at the Moon Orlando for live music and their famous bucket drinks.
Where to stay
Just two minutes from Universal, this hotel sits in a convenient location to experience all the best of I-Drive. After a day of sightseeing, cool down in the outdoor pool or limber up from your day of riding rollercoaster in the on-site fitness center.
If spending time at Universal Resort is on your agenda—without paying a premium to stay on-site—lay down your head at this popular I-Drive Hilton hotel. The spacious suites are the perfect size to give a little space to your ultimate Florida family vacation. The hotel even offers a convenient shuttle to nearby theme parks.
Looking for a dash of luxurious comfort? Book a room at the Hyatt Regency. The hotel sits less than two miles from the I-Drive’s main attractions, including its most popular theme parks. After a day on the strip, bring the whole family for a dip in the huge pool, featuring a waterslide and waterfall. Or settle down for a quiet meal at one of the four on-site restaurants, including its signature Italian steakhouse, Fiorenzo.
How to get there & around
The most convenient way to get to International Drive is to fly into Orlando International Airport. There are regular shuttles to major hotels, and the drive is around 20 minutes from the airport.
The best and easiest way of getting to the many attractions along International Drive is Orlando’s I-RIDE Trolley. This trolley is akin to a hop-on-hop-off bus and goes up and down the drive with great regularity.
Running from 8 am to 10.30 pm, you can purchase an I-RIDE pass that gives you unlimited trips along International Drive, along with free transfers between the Red and Green lines.
The Red Line focuses more on this stretch, stopping at all major attractions and shopping outlets, including Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando International Premium Outlets, ICON Park, and SeaWorld. You can expect a trolley to arrive around every twenty minutes.