3 Days in Orlando: The Perfect Weekend Itinerary

3 Days in Orlando: The Perfect Weekend Itinerary

Orlando is a place where it seems like magic can happen. You can become a wizard or a princess, or you could become a zoologist or an astronaut. You can even fly – with a bit of help, of course. You can be at one with nature or be transported to a world far beyond our own.

There’s a lot to consider when planning your Orlando vacation. One of the first things to think about is the weather. Orlando is often sunny throughout the year. Winters don’t get too hot, but summers, on the other hand, tend to get very warm and humid. If you’re planning a trip over the summer, be prepared to stay hydrated and reapply your sunscreen often.

But another thing to consider about Orlando summers is that they mark the start of hurricane season. Hurricane season lasts from the beginning of June to the end of November. While it’s not to say that hurricanes happen continuously throughout this time, you should still keep an eye on the weather in the weeks leading up to your trip if you’re planning to go to Orlando during this time. 

You may want to consider making sure your trip plans are refundable, just in case. There may not be a hurricane at all throughout the season, but you’ll want to be prepared if there is. 

And even if there isn’t a hurricane, you should expect sudden but typically short downpours throughout the season. In case of lightning, don’t bring an umbrella. However, you should pack rain ponchos for yourself and your family! 

Planning a 3-day trip to Orlando? Orlando is filled with adventures, but which ones are right for you? To help you navigate your journey, we’ve put together a 3-day Orlando itinerary filled with fun for the whole family. Follow these recommendations, from where to eat to what to do, and you’re bound to have an amazing time exploring Orlando!

If you’re still deciding where to stay then make sure to check out our article on the best hotels in Orlando (near Disney World)!

How to Spend a Weekend in Orlando, Florida

Getting Around Orlando

3 Days in Orlando Itinerary: Orlando International Airport

Orlando has its own airport, the Orlando International Airport, but it’s also nearby the Kissimmee Gateway Airport. Flights into Kissimmee can sometimes be slightly less expensive, but it’ll take you longer to get to your Orlando destination if you fly into Kissimmee. Ultimately, you may find it’s easier to start your Orlando vacation if you land in Orlando instead of Kissimmee.

Orlando does have some public transportation, including the SunRail rail system. Unfortunately, the SunRail doesn’t operate on weekends as it’s primarily a commuter rail line. If you’re planning a weekend trip to Orlando, you’ll most likely either need a car or be prepared to rely on Uber or cabs. 

Although you may have a free shuttle that can take you from the airport to your hotel, as is the case with many of the larger hotels in the Orlando area, you’ll need a car to take you to additional destinations. Orlando is also not a very walkable city, with most attractions being spread miles apart, which is all the more reason why a car is required.

Hop-on, Hop-off Trolley Pass

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Orlando Weekend Itinerary – Day 1

You’re in for quite an adventure on the first day of your 3-day Orlando vacation, so you better get in a hearty breakfast. Luckily, Sweet Mama’s Restaurant, located nearby Lake Nona, is serving up breakfast favorites that will keep you going all day long. 

This family-friendly dining spot is all about comfort food done right. From Bananas Foster French Toast to Philly Cheese Steak Omelettes, you can guarantee you’ll never leave this cozy diner feeling hungry. 

Nona Adventure Park

Weekend in Orlando 3 Days Itinerary: Nona Adventure Park

Once you’re ready to get going, head over to Lake Nona for a day of fun and activity. If you’re traveling with kids, they’ll love getting out on the water and swinging high in the trees at Nona Adventure Park. This water-based family entertainment center provides plenty of ways to get active all day. 

Challenge your family to the inflatable obstacle course at the Aqua Park, where you’ll all take on the Tire Run, the Ninja Jump, and many more fun features. For even more fun on the water, you can rent gear to water ski, kneeboard, and wakeboard. The Nona Adventure Park staff are on hand to help with one-on-one instruction for new riders.

3 Days in Orlando Weekend Itinerary: Nona Adventure Park

When you’re ready for a break, head to the on-site Splashes Bar & Grill, where you’ll take in the view while dining on gourmet pizza and specialty drinks. Then, if you’re still looking for a challenge, venture on over to the Climbing Tower. 

You’ll take to the sky when you climb up to 60 feet on the ropes course. Challenge a fellow vacationer to the twin sky ropes to see who can ring the bell first or climb on your own on one of three 50-foot climbing walls. 

If you’re traveling with young ones, they can hang out on the junior course, where parents can lend a helping hand if needed. But if you just want to chill out and enjoy the sunshine, you can kick back in a cabana.

ICON Park

Orlando 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: Icon Park

Now it’s time for your second big stop of the day. You’re heading to the heart of Orlando’s International Drive for a night of even more adventures at ICON Park. ICON Park is an entertainment district that’s fun for the whole family. 

Hop on the Pearl Express Train for a view of the city, take in the animals at SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, practice your ax-throwing skills at Max Action Arena, or get your game face on at the In The Game arcade, which features a fully immersive 7D motion theater.

3 Days in Orlando Itinerary: Icon Park

ICON Park boasts several eatery options, but if you’re visiting with any picky eaters, you may want to try the Wheelhouse Market. This food hall is filled with different foods to choose from, including pizza, pasta, tacos, burgers, and sandwiches. You’re bound to find something for everyone. 

The Wheelhouse Market is directly underneath ICON Park’s most iconic attraction, The Wheel. This 400-foot-tall observation wheel isn’t great for those with a fear of heights, but for those who enjoy an incredible view, it might just be the best view in all of Orlando. It’s a perfect way to finish off the first day of your 3-day trip to Orlando.

Ride the Wheel at ICON Park

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Orlando Weekend Itinerary – Day 2

Orlando is filled with different kinds of adventures. So, for the second day of your long weekend in Orlando, this itinerary is a bit like a choose-your-own-adventure. But don’t worry – we’ll guide you through making the best choice for your family. 

First off, start your day at a breakfast spot that’s one of the best that Orlando has to offer. Keke’s Breakfast Cafe is a Florida staple with multiple locations in the Orlando area. And no matter which one you go to, you won’t be disappointed. But if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’re going to want to head right to the Stuffed French Toast section of the menu.

From Turtle Stuffed French Toast made with pecans, caramel, chocolate, and cream cheese to Apple-Cinnamon Stuffed French Toast stuffed with cinnamon-coated apples and cream cheese, you’ll be leaving here stuffed, satisfied, and probably with a bit of a sugar rush. But if you prefer a less sugary option, the Poached Eggs Meals section of the menu is another major highlight. 

Walt Disney World or Universal Studios Florida

Now, it’s time to pick where to head for your day of fun. Considering that you’re visiting the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” it’s only fitting that you spend at least one day of your Orlando vacation taking in the rides, shows, and characters found in Orlando’s many theme parks. If you only have a weekend in Orlando, we recommend choosing between the two biggest parks in Orlando: Walt Disney World or Universal Studios Florida.

Walt Disney World Resort Admission Ticket

But how do you know which one to choose? Well, you have several options, so let’s break it down. 

Got a group of young ones who probably can’t get on the thrill rides but would love to meet a few princesses? Pick Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Got a group of foodies who love trying cuisines from around the world and can handle a few thrill rides on a full stomach? Pick EPCOT at Walt Disney World. 

Traveling with a group of Star Wars fans who enjoy thrill rides and interactive shows? Pick Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. Visiting Orlando with animal lovers who enjoy a few good action-packed rides? Pick Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

Traveling with a group that loves roller coasters and getting their heart racing? Pick Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios Florida. Traveling with a mix of young and older kids and need a good mix of both small rides, character experiences, and coasters? Pick the original Universal Studios Park at Universal Studios Florida.

Universal Studios Park-to-Park Ticket

As you can see, you have a lot to choose from. And you don’t necessarily have to do one or the other. Although you probably shouldn’t try to squeeze both Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida into one day, you can do multiple parks at each theme park. 

Walt Disney World allows Park Hopper to be added to your ticket, so you can do one park in the morning and another in the afternoon. And Universal Studios Florida offers Park-to-Park Tickets, which allow you to go from Universal Studios to Islands of Adventure via an exclusive Hogwarts Express Train Ride. 

For your lunch, these theme parks have a mix of sit-down and quick-service dining options. But you may want to keep in mind that Universal Studios Florida doesn’t have a lot of sit-down dining options inside the parks themselves. 

If you don’t want to do quick service, you can always leave the park to go to the attached City Walk entertainment district. There you’ll find plenty of options, but one of the best is the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, which features an interactive story with characters to meet and giant milkshakes topped with decadent treats. You’ll be able to venture to City Walk for lunch and still come back into the park.

3 Days in Orlando Weekend Itinerary: Toothsome Chocolate Emporium

You could always stay in the parks until closing, which varies depending on the park and day. You may see a park close as early as 6 pm or as late as 11 pm. If the park is open late, we recommend staying to enjoy the nighttime shows. 

Walt Disney World currently has nighttime shows at Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and EPCOT. Universal Studios Florida has a less consistent nighttime show schedule. Still, you may see a projection show on Hogwarts in Islands of Adventure or a water show on the central lagoon in Universal Studios.

Disney Springs 

3 Days in Orlando Weekend Itinerary: Disney Springs

If the park closes early or if you’re just ready to wind down, head over to Disney Springs for your dinner. This entertainment district is filled with incredible restaurants, from the beloved Morimoto Asia to the lively and chic restaurant and bar The Edison

But in addition to sit-down options, there’s also counter service to be enjoyed here. If you’re with a group that loves trying new flavors, skip the sit-downs and eat your way around Disney Springs. 

Try some BBQ at the Polite Pig, enjoy Pan-Asian bites at Morimoto Asia Street Food, try a flavorful meal from Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy, or grab a Taco Cone from the 4 Rivers food truck. With so many options at Disney Springs, eating around the park this way allows you to try a little bit of everything.

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Orlando Weekend Itinerary – Day 3

After 48 hours of fun and adventure, you may be ready to wind down a bit. So, the third day of your 3 days in Orlando is slightly calmer and will have you taking in the sights rather than the thrills. 

Orlando has tons of great donut shops, and one of the best is Donuts To Go, near Lake Monroe. Although they make some classic favorites, this donut shop tends to take fan-favorite flavors and donut-ify them. From Fruity Pebbles donuts to Butterfinger donuts, every sweet tooth is bound to leave here satisfied. 

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Garden

3 Days in Orlando Itinerary: Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden

Donuts To Go is nearby your first stop of the day, which is the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Garden. The Central Florida Zoo is home to more than 350 animals across over 100 species, and a day at this zoo is great for every age. 

The whole family will enjoy meeting these stunning creatures and learning more about them with the zoo’s Keeper Chats. Meanwhile, little ones will love the Barnyard Buddies area, where they can pet sheep, alpacas, and more. 

Older children and thrill-seeking adults will have a blast at Seminole Aerial Adventures. This zipline course will have you navigating rope bridges, suspended disks, and more. 

Or you can escape the heat at the Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground. Over in the botanical garden, you’ll get up close with nature’s pollinators as you explore and watch them explore the gorgeous flora all around you, a relaxing way to finish your day at the zoo.

Zoo Skip-the-Line Ticket

Santiago’s Bodega

For lunch, head to the nearby Santiago’s Bodega. This warm and cozy tapas restaurant lets you and your fellow vacationers try a bit of everything. From short ribs to quesadillas to ceviche, you’ll find something for everyone on the menu. You may just end up ordering a little bit of everything.

Harry P. Leu Gardens

3 Days in Orlando Itinerary: Harry P Leu Gardens

After lunch, your next stop is near downtown, though it doesn’t feel like you’re in the city at all. The Harry P. Leu Gardens is a 50-acre botanical oasis that’s home to some of the most rare plant life you’ve ever seen. 

No matter when you visit, you’ll see something in bloom, creating a colorful, natural palette across the landscape. You’ll also find unique art pieces hidden among the flowers, and you can step inside the Leu House Museum to learn more about the land and how the gardens came to be.

Old Town

Orlando 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: Old Town

After your tour of the gardens, it’s time to venture a bit outside of the city and head to nearby Kissimmee for the final stop of your 3-day Orlando vacation. Old Town is all about retro fun, and this 18-acre walking district is designed to transport you back in time! 

Here you’ll find classic carnival rides, architecture from another time, and more than 70 family-friendly attractions. It’s a perfect place to spend an evening with your family, although anyone could have fun here, even if you’re on an adults-only vacation.

3 Days in Orlando Weekend Itinerary: Old Town

You can play classic arcade games at the Happy Days Family Fun Center, test your ninja talents at the Xtreme Ninja Challenge, and ride the timeless carnival rides, which have plenty of options for both young ones and older thrill-seekers. You’ll also find plenty of dining options in this quaint complex. From wineries to pizzerias, there’s something for everyone.

Old Town Combo Ticket

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More Places to Eat & Drink in Orlando

Drink up and eat up at The Ravenous Pig:
This Winter Park gastropub is all about comfort. The restaurant’s Southern fare is enhanced by its Floridian twists. Take a seat at the beer garden, enjoy a brew from the restaurant’s sister brewing company, and relax with your family and pets in this casual yet delicious spot.

Dine on locally-caught seafood at The Osprey:
The Osprey celebrates coastal cuisine, so you can bet that every fish you eat here will be fresh and coming from the many fishing areas around Florida. But in addition to delightful seafood courses, you’ll also find cocktails you won’t want to miss.

Go gourmet with Deli Desires:
If you’re looking for a top breakfast or lunch spot, you’ll want to head to Deli Desires to try their eclectic bialys. These bread rolls come with tons of different fillings and toppings, so you can come in any time and try something totally new.  

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What to do if you have more than 3 days in Orlando

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

3 Days in Orlando Itinerary: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Become an astronaut at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Located in nearby Cape Canaveral, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex allows you to learn directly from the astronauts and journey through time and space to study NASA’s history. Kids, in particular, will love the one-of-a-kind STEAM learning experience created in collaboration with LEGO Education, which will have them do hands-on activities to teach them about the engineering and creativity that goes into space travel.

Kennedy Space Center Admission Ticket

Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures

Tour the Everglades on an airboat. You’ll have to venture a bit further south, but if you’re a nature lover, you’ll want to see the Everglades during your Orlando trip. One of the best ways to do that is by taking an airboat, which you can do with Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures.

Rock Springs at Kelly Park

Take in the Rock Springs at Kelly Park. There are almost 900 springs in Florida, but the Rock Springs at Kelly Park, known as Orlando’s natural lazy river, stands out among the rest. You could float around in an inner tube in the cool water pool or take that tube and race your way down the rock run.

Rock Springs Run Kayak Tour

Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park

Orlando 3 Day Itinerary Weekend Guide: Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park

Learn to fly at the Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park. There’s perhaps no better way to see Orlando than by flying over it. This flight park will have you taking to the sky. Your instructor will teach you the art of the free-fly, letting you truly soar.

LEGOLAND Florida

3 Days in Orlando Weekend Itinerary: Legoland Florida

Take your little one to LEGOLAND Florida. This LEGO-themed theme park features over 55 rides and attractions, promising all-day fun. But you could also grab a joint ticket to the next-door Peppa Pig Theme Park, designed to be a child’s first theme park. These parks provide a perfect day of adventure for young ones who might not be ready for the bigger thrills of Orlando’s other theme parks. 

LEGOLAND Admission Ticket

We hope you enjoy your weekend trip to Orlando! Should we add something else to our 3-day Orlando itinerary? Let us know in the comments.


Planning a trip to Florida? Check out our favorite travel guides and resources!


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About the Author:

  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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