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6 ways to explore Orlando without leaving your couch

April 09, 2020
6 min read
Universal Orlando
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Orlando is the city of theme parks, but there's more to it than that -- relaxing poolside at a resort perhaps, or getting in touch with your nature-loving side or trying something new and daring like indoor skydiving. And, just right for our current homebound existence, you can have more than 85 Orlando experiences at home via virtual reality.

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Here are six of the top things to do if you go to Orlando or, for now, visit virtually.

Tour the theme parks

People come from all over the world to experience the magic and thrills of the theme parks like Disney World or Universal Orlando, but that's on hold while we work together to slow the spread of coronavirus. However, there are virtual workarounds to get to the fun.

For instance, you can skip the lines and get a sneak peek at rides like Mickey and Minnie's Railway and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance on the Disney Parks YouTube channel. Better yet, you can take as many virtual rides as you'd like of park favorites like Space Mountain. Just looking to take in the magic of Disney? You can gawk at Cinderella's Castle with a virtual tour while getting the lay of the land for a future trip.

Over at Universal Orlando Resort, you can virtually transport yourself to places like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter among other park favorites.

Related: TPG's guide to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando

Do you have a Lego fan in the house? Head to LEGOLAND where you can virtually experience The Dragon indoor/outdoor roller coaster.

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Related: Complete guide to traveling during the deadly coronavirus outbreak

See wildlife up close

If you want to see wildlife, Gatorland hosts a Facebook Live every day at 10 a.m. ET. You can also watch live-action encounters with animals like the Burmese python on YouTube.

The Central Florida Zoo also hosts daily Facebook Lives that offer a peek into the animal habitats along with educational tidbits from the zookeepers.

Do something daring

There's more to up your adrenaline in Orlando than roller coasters. For example, you can zipline over live alligators on the Screamin' Gator Zip Line at Gatorland.

If heights plus dangerous reptiles below is a bit too thrilling for you, take the driver's seat at Andretti Indoor Karting and Games for a high-speed chase on an indoor track.

Meanwhile, if you're all for heights but can skip the animals, then iFly Orlando may be your speed. Here you can experience what it's like to fly in a high-energy vertical wind tunnel. This is something you'll definitely want to experience for real, but for now the internet will have to do.

Relax and unwind

Let's be honest, working from home isn't quite as relaxing as we all dreamed it would be. The city of Orlando has quite a few places where you can go to recharge — there's the lazy river at the five-acre waterpark at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, or you can take a swan boat ride at Lake Eola Park or float down Roa's Rapids at Aquatica Orlando waterpark.

Learn something new

So you've become a full-time parent and teacher and you're stuck in the house? Well, Orlando's got you covered when it comes to educational materials that don't necessarily require any heavy lifting on your end.

To see what it's like to live in space, tune in to the Kennedy Space Center Facebook Live series. Learn about Mars and rocketry or tour the Space Shuttle Atlantis at the space center which is just down the road from Orlando.

Finally, for aspiring engineers and Disney fanatics alike, you can get lessons in theme park design and engineering in a free course taught by Disney Imagineers, Khan Academy and Pixar.

Grab some popcorn and enjoy free entertainment

If you're looking for something more, let's say, culturally enriching to binge besides "Tiger King," there are a few options.

If you're interested in music, you can watch previously recorded live performances from the Timucua Arts Foundation in Orlando. You can also help support Central Florida artists via a Digital Music Flea Market hosted by Timucua as well.

Related: Stuck at home? Stream these 12 movies to cope with travel wanderlust

Can't decide what movie to watch next? Get a daily recommendation and insider film info from a cinema expert on the Enzian Theater’s Facebook page .

Finally, if you prefer indulging in art, you can virtually explore the galleries of the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. To learn more about the museum located in Winter Park near Orlando, you can stream two films — A Legacy for the Community and The Tiffany Chapel: A Masterpiece Rediscovered.

Related: 10 iconic museums you can tour online

Bottom line

For now, travel is on hold and Orlando theme parks are closed indefinitely. Luckily, you can still get a taste of some of Orlando's greatest experiences at home. This is the perfect opportunity to start outlining your itinerary for a future trip — the places you'll stay, the rides you'll take, the earning and spending strategy for making it all happen.

If you're planning a big trip to Orlando once this is all over like we are, be sure to check out our guides on where to stay during a visit to Disney World or Universal Orlando, or both.

For more trip inspiration:

Featured image by Universal Orlando. (Photo courtesy of Universal Orlando.)