Worlds of entertainment
What is perhaps the biggest collection of adjacent theme parks and waterparks anywhere in the world can be found circling International Drive. There's Walt Disney World Resort, Discovery Cove, Aquatica, Universal Studios – including the mighty structures and mythology of Hogwarts – plus a series of smaller venues, all ready to give you and the family hours of fun.
On top of this, I-Drive 360 is a new entertainment park that's opened in recent years to sensational acclaim, dominated by the glass capsules of its immense ferris wheel, the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye. It's also worth checking out the Fun Spot Action Park, where bumper cars and go-karts are among the traditional theme park fun rides.
Engaging both mind and body
Whether you're skydiving indoors at iFly, getting stuck into the active games of the WhirlyDome or trying your hand at some crazy golf under the waterfall, it's going to be pretty hard to sit still among the venues of International Drive. However, this is one destination that's as much about keeping your mind active as it is your body, so even when you've burned off plenty of energy, you're going to find a wealth of ways to put on your thinking cap or find inspiration.
The most famous of the venues set to spark up your synapses is Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium, a distinctively wonky building that houses peculiarities from across the globe, including matchstick motorcars, relics that bend your brain and photographs of seemingly impossible wonders. Over at the upside-down building of Wonder Works, you can try your hand at piloting a jet, experiencing an earthquake and all manner of other tricks.
For you have-a-go Sherlocks, you can pit your wits against a darkly comical murder mystery over sophisticated drinks and nibbles at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Theatre – it's sure to be an evening with a killer twist or two.
Shopping by the score
If you haven't brought spare suitcases, be prepared to invest in a couple to carry back all the wonderful treasures you'll find in International Drive's spectacular shopping malls. You'll adore the designer brands and high-profile boutiques of The Mall at Millennia, while top shops at more budget-friendly prices await in the extensive interior of Orlando Premium Outlets.
Make sure you remember to eat up while you're having all this fun. Luckily, your surroundings are going to make that pretty easy, especially with the much appreciated Florida-style steak readily available from restaurants across International Drive.
Those fond of the flavours of Italy can settle in for a warm, rustic evening at The Olive Garden over pasta, breadsticks and stonebaked pizzas, while flavours from the east are yours to enjoy at Ming Court. For a meal more in the traditions of Greece, Taverna Opa pairs its Mediterranean dishes with belly dancing lessons, while the all-American experience is yours at Sonic Drive-In, famous for sandwiches as big as housebricks – although luckily much more flavoursome.
Florida might be a state rich in sunshine, but once it sets, International Drive keeps making the magic happen. Some of the most entertaining themed bars and altogether exciting nights out can be found in this area, including the classic tunes of the B. B. King's Blues Bar and the sleek music and cocktails of The Groove.
From the world's biggest ice-bar to the paint-splashing fun of DRIP, as well as established names like the Hard Rock Cafe, you'll be taken in by the lights and glitz of International Drive. Don't be surprised if you're caught up in the revelry until the sun comes up with lively nights in Mango's Tropical Cafe as well as a taste of home at the George & Dragon Pub.
If you're keen to discover all that this vibrant area has to offer, be sure to browse our fantastic range of cheap holidays to International Drive.