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Key Info

1920 N. Forest Ave.

Details

Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 4.5Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Despite the fact that most vacationers spend their time pounding the pavement, trundling tots from one amusement park ride to the next, Orlando is actually a great place to stop and smell the flowers. Swing by Harry P. Leu Gardens and get a sense of the real Orlando. This botanical oasis – which sits 4 miles northeast of the city center – offers 50 acres of plants like camellias, roses and azaleas. Plus, there are horticulture classes, permanent and rotating art exhibits, a botany reference library and a restored 19th-century home.

Recent visitors said this is a nice change of pace from park-palooza, even when it's not peak bloom season. According to many, the Butterfly Garden is a must-see, especially if you have kids with you. Many visitors remark on the garden's permanent and visiting exhibits, which add another enjoyable element to the peaceful property.

If you're going to visit Harry P. Leu Gardens, aim to do so on the first Monday of the month between April and September – that's when admission is free. Otherwise, you'll pay $10 (and $5 for school-age children). The grounds are open every day except Christmas from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (The last garden admission time is at 4:30 p.m.) Complimentary parking is provided, or you can take the No. 125 or 313 LYNX bus to the property. Of note: The Leu House Museum was damaged in Hurricane Irma and is closed indefinitely. More information about Harry P. Leu Gardens can be found on the attraction's website.

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#1 Walt Disney World Resort

Excessive, exhausting and expensive, Walt Disney World Resort is above all else enchanting. Composed of four theme parks (the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom), two water parks (Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Disney's Blizzard Beach), more than two dozen hotels and the Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex, this sprawling property features iconic sights and rides like Cinderella Castle, "it's a small world," Spaceship Earth, Toy Story Land and Pandora – The World of Avatar. Even Anaheim's Disneyland can't compete, according to some. 

Of course, there is one major drawback. Walt Disney World park tickets are expensive, regardless of whether you're visiting for just a day (single-day tickets for kids and adults ages 10 and older start at $109). Meanwhile, one-day water park tickets start at $64 for adults 10 and older. Most suggest you visit this expansive property over the course of several days to justify the high entrance fees. If you have limited time, consider skipping the parks in favor of exploring Disney Springs, which is free to visit.

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