Kennedy Space Centre, Cape Canaveral (74.5 miles:- 1 hour 19 minutes)
Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Coast is a fun, educational, entertaining awe-inspiring day for all ages.
Visit NASA's launch complex, the astronaut hall of fame or if you are really lucky and there at the right time, even a rocket launch!
You can learn first-hand about the first space mission, look around the launch sites and see the shuttle and Apollo rockets up close. Enjoy the new IMAX 3D shows, simulators and various tours. One tour includes a chef prepared buffet lunch in the company of an astronaut from whom you will hear stories about what life in space is really like, from someone who has actually been there and experienced it.
We had a day at the Space Centre when we were staying at our villa in November with 5 friends, all adults. It took just over an hour by car and it was a pleasant journey, quiet motorway all the way and no hold ups. It was the first time we had visited this attraction in about 12 years and what an amazing difference! All of us were completely enthralled and the quality of the exhibits and attractions was outstanding. It was one of the highlights of our two week holiday for us all and I would very much recommend a visit.
As Kennedy Space Centre is on the cape at Cape Canaveral which is a nature reserve there is even the chance to spot some wildlife such as dolphins and gators.
Click here to find out the next space launch
Gatorland (18.6 miles:-29 minutes)
Gatorland is over 60 years old now and is still a family run, privately owned business. It covers 110 acres and is a blend between a theme park and a wildlife preserve. Known as the Alligator Capitol of the world, here you will experience at close hand, not just alligators but also crocodiles, snakes, turtles and other reptiles.
There is a free flight aviary, a petting zoo, shows, the natural alligator breeding marsh and for those wanting a thrill high above the tree tops there is the Screamin' Gator Zip Line.
The zip line was voted by AOL travel as the best in the USA and you can enjoy the fun and thrill of flying high above the park and over the alligator breeding marsh as you travel along the 1,200 feet of the zip line, with the added knowledge that as you do so there are 130 giant alligators looking up at you from below as you soar overhead.
You can pay for additional activities such as a behind the scenes opportunity to be a trainer for the day during which you will really be able to get up close and personal to these unique creatures at Gatorland.
There are a few places to eat while you are in the park such as Pearl's Smokehouse, a snack bar and Fudge Kitchen.
As Gatorland is situated quite near to the airport it can be a good place to visit on your last day when you have checked out of your villa and are heading north to the airport.
International Drive (22.9 miles: 28 minutes)
It is quite hard to know where to even start describing International Drive, or I-Drive as it is also known as, because it encompasses so many attractions.
It is one of the main thoroughfares through Orlando, and as such can be very busy. I-Drive offers visitors a vast range of entertainment, dining (this article highlights 5 of the best restaurants on International Drive), shopping and world class attractions including six of the key theme parks of Orlando.
The key theme parks that are found along I-Drive are Seaworld, Discovery Cove, Aquatica, Wet-n-Wild, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.
In addition there are a whole host of other attractions such as Madame Tussauds, Ripley's Believe it Or Not, Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf , Dinner Shows, Night Clubs, a multiscreen Cineplex with IMAX.
You can buy a Combopass for four I-Drive attractions, known as the I-Drive Four Pass which gives access to the following experiences at a cost of $74.99 + tax per adult and $54.99 per child aged 3-12. The four attractions are CSI:The Experience, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Ripley's Orlando Odditorium and Wonderworld.
I-Drive 360 is Orlando's new $200 million entertainment destination with the 400 foot high observation wheel being its highlight.
There is free parking for up to 1,600 cars.
Another great attraction on I-Drive is a $1.5 million watershow set to music and lights which runs twice daily.
So, this just touches the surface of what you can find on I-Drive and in the next couple of years a further $1 billion is being spent on development so there will be a lot more to come.
In the meantime check out more things to do on International Drive through this link .www.internationaldriveorlando.com/things-to-do
Disney Springs (18.6 miles: 26 minutes)
Disney Springs consists of several different neighbourhoods. Each neighbourhood has its own distinct feel and will be connected along the waterfront by the spring. Disney Springs will have over 150 stores, restaurants and entertainment locations. The neighbourhoods will be named The Town Centre, The Landing, The West Side, and The Marketplace.
Admission to Disney Springs is free and it is a fun and exciting place to visit day or night, being open from 8 am to 2 am.
There are many places to dine including some lovely waterfront restaurants to sit and enjoy the views.
The stores are varied and many are quite unique. It is a good place to look for Disney clothing and accessories.
There is a host of entertainment options such a movie theatres, live music, spectacular shows like La Nouba by Cirque Du Soleil.
We spent an evening at Disney Springs in November, 2015. It was our first visit and everyone in our party of 7 adults really enjoyed it. It was easy to park and parking and entry are free. We arrived at 5pm and it was relatively busy at that time but by the time we left at about 10.30 pm it was very busy. A really fun place to spend time with so many places to dine or have a drink and lots of great live music from bands playing in various locations. As it got darker it became quite magical with the lights in the trees and reflecting off the lake. We decided to eat at The Boathouse because of its location overlooking the lake. It was very busy but despite 7 of us turning up without a reservation, we only had to wait about 10 minutes before we were seated at a prime table outside, overlooking the lake which gave us beautiful views. We could also see the volcanic flames coming fromThe Rainforest Cafe across the lake which was fun. The food was nice but quite expensive but worth the price for the location. I think we would go here again and maybe just have a drink on their pier and then eat somewhere else. It was fun strolling around the various shops after dinner such as the Disney Store and the Lego Store. I would aim to have an evening at Disney Springs each time we visit Orlando.
Downtown 1486 East Buena Vista Drive, Downtown Disney Boat Dock, Orlando, FL 32830,