My Trip to Orlando


In early September I went on a trip to Orlando, Florida. The timing was perfect weather wise, and it was a great time to avoid the summer vacation crowds. Orlando is a unique city that will welcome you with a vast selection of exceptional outdoor activities and adventures for the whole family. From balloon rides to kayaking and airboat rides, you’ll find a great deal of fun outdoor activities in Orlando!

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

Whether you come for the thrill of the world’s best theme parks, or to enjoy, Orlando’s diverse landscape, you will want to come back.

Where We Stayed

We stayed at the new Universal Aventura Hotel. This stylish hotel is within walking distance of Universal’s Volcano Bay and offers spectacular views of all three Universal Orlando three parks. This 17-story tower opened in 2018 and it features 600 modern and comfortable rooms.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

We both loved the gym here and went every day we stayed there. Keeping active and healthy on a trip is important to me, so I get excited when a hotel has an exception gym.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

Car Rental

If we were doing just theme parks, we probably would not have rented a car. However, since we knew that we would be traveling all over Orlando for various activities and adventures, we rented one. We opted for a silver convertible Mustang…because driving with the top down is sooooo much fun!

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Where We Ate

Josh and I always love eating healthy when we travel and we really enjoy vegan food. Even though I am not vegan, it seems easier to eat gluten and dairy fee at a vegan restaurant. We tried both places and really would recommend both.

  • Dandelion Communitea Caffe – We enjoyed a truly delightful menu full of unique healthy food. If you are a gluten-free foodie, you’ll love this place. Loved the umbrella tables outside too.
  • The Sanctum – Another awesome hip vegan restaurant for all healthy food-lovers. A definite must-visit! We actually ate here several times.

Universal Orlando

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure are both not-to-be-missed places. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, we had an opportunity to enjoy some of the most innovative rides and attractions created on seven themed islands: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Toon Lagoon, The Lost Continent, Marvel Super Hero Island, Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing and Port of Entry.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

Universal Studios Florida features incredible attractions based on pop-culture icons, TV shows, and blockbuster films. You will instantly get transported into a highly imaginative world of your favorite heroes. So many characters from shows and movies growing up gave me so much nostalgia. I even got to meet Hello Kitty….I was fan-girling!!

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

If you want good photo opportunities, I would suggest getting there as early as you can get in and have a plan of attack. I use this strategy to get photos without the crowds at all theme parks and tourist locations. No sleeping in!!!

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

Universal City Walk

Universal CityWalk bursts with fun and entertainment. This fabulous entertainment destination is situated between the entrance to Universal Orlando Resort’s two theme parks. This is a great place to stay and enjoy live entertainment, a great choice of restaurants, shopping, and nightclubs. We ate here a few times, too. Lots of choices.   ?

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

A special thanks to Josh for joining me on this trip and taking my photos.

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Orlando Outdoor Adventures

Orlando Balloon Rides

This was one of the most exciting adventures we experienced during our Orlando trip. Orlando Balloon Rides took us high above the grounds during an hour-long flight. This is a spectacular opportunity to enjoy the view of famous sites around Orlando. A unique opportunity to admire the orange groves and theme parks from a birds-eye perspective.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

Get Up and Go Kayaking

Orlando’s unique landscape offers impressive views of crystal-clear lakes, natural springs, and lush wild forests.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

A very exciting part of our itinerary included kayaking with Get Up and Go. We absolutely loved sitting in a clear kayak and exploring the crystal-clear waters of Rock Springs. Get Up and Go Kayaking is the only company in Florida to use clear kayaks, so make sure to book yours on time. It is really a unique experience because the clear boats act as a huge magnifying glass. Nature here is simply stunning – surrounding untouched forests are home to many wild animals such as deer, herons, and the black bear.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

Boggy Creek Airboat Rides

Boggy Creek Airboat Rides was a great opportunity to observe the wildlife and cypress trees while gliding through Florida wetlands at speeds up to 50 mph (80 kilometers per hour). Not to mention how excited we were to catch a glimpse of alligators, turtles, and eagles while sliding through lush wetlands.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

My Trip to Orlando Vlog

Watch my trip to Orlando vlog below or on YouTube for better quality.

Other Outdoor Activities for Next Time

I’d love to visit Indian River and Island Boat Lines for one of their daily dolphin and manatee Thousand Island tours or explore the Showcase of Citrus, a 2,500-acre citrus and cattle ranch with more than 50 seasonal varieties of citrus.

Moreover, I think I would really like to check out A Swamp Safari & Eco Tour and observe alligators, exotic birds, zebra, and more. I have a hard time resisting anything that involves animals!

I have heard that the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour on Lake Osceola has a great hour-long, guided cruise through three of seven lakes.

Next trip I’d also like to check out De Leon Springs State Park end enjoy a variety of outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, swimming, and bird watching.

Families, or fun lovers like me, will enjoy a free-flowing natural spring at Kelly Park’s Rock Springs which is just ideal for tubing.

Orlando Nature Trails and Parks

I wish we had more time this trip but next trip I would also like to check out some of the local trails.

There are a great number of nature parks and trails in Orlando, and in one trip you most likely you won’t be able to visit all of them. For example, I’d love to do a horseback trail ride at Forever Florida Ziplines & Adventures in the Wild.

We did stop briefly at Lake Eola Park in the heart of downtown Orlando. I loved the swan boats in the lake.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

West Orange Trail in Winer Garden is Orlando’s longest paved bicycle trail, and it is 19 miles long while Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo offers horseback riding adventure along the miles of resort’s untouched beauty.

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The Gatorland Bird Rookery is something else that is on my next time list. This site was opened in 1991 as an alligator breeding marsh. It has grown since into one of the largest wading bird rookeries in Florida. Here you can observe over 20 different species of birds.

Orlando Fun Times

iFLY Orlando

Located on International Drive, Orlando’s indoor skydiving center is your fun yet safe opportunity to float in the air. You get to hover on an on a column of air in a 1,000 hp high vertical wind tunnel. And the best part is, you don’t need to have any jumping or parachute experience. Honestly, iFLY Orlando is a great way to experience free falling if you fear to jump from a plane.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

ICON Orlando Observation Wheel

The ICON 400-foot tall observation wheel is also located on International Drive. This spectacular observation wheel is the focal point of the ICON Orlando 360 entertainment complex of attractions, restaurants, shops, and club and the tallest wheel on America’s East Coast. Settle in one of 30 fully enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules and enjoy the view of Central Florida in all directions. Really loved it! It is fabulous in the daytime and at night, too.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE Aquarium

While in Orlando, we simply couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Madame Tussauds. This is the world’s most famous celebrity wax attraction. Come and take a selfie with Brad Pitt or Katy Perry…or Taylor Swift! It’s so fun to see all those celebrities in one place. Well, their wax replicas. But very good ones. You would think they will start talking at any moment!

After visiting Madame Tussauds, we visited SEA LIFE Orlando which is right next door. We really enjoyed our time here as we observed extraordinary underwater species from the oceans of the world. Imagine being face-to-face with more than 5,000 sea creatures such as colorful fish, jellyfish, sharks, and turtles while walking through 360-degree ocean tunnel. A truly unique experience.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.
Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

Orlando StarFlyer

We both absolutely loved the world’s tallest swing ride attraction! Orlando StarFlyer is towering 450 feet high above the ground. There are 12 x 2 seats secured with seat belts and leg harness that only the ride operator can unlock. So, don’t worry, you’re pretty safe up there. Be prepared because this is FAST!

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

You’ll be moving up and down and rotating around the huge tower at speed of up to 60mph. and if you visit by night, you’ll be amazed by the incredible lighting system – more than 240,000 LED lights illuminate this gigantic attraction. Orlando StarFly opened this summer and it is a definite must-try!

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares about her trip to Orlando, Florida. She went air boating, on a hot air balloon, kayaking, to Universal Studios, ate yummy vegan food and lots more.

Thanks for always following along on my adventures!

This post has been sponsored by Visit Orlando. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support me. 


xoxoBella is a popular travel and lifestyle blog featuring travel inspiration, fashion, recipes, dog mom tips and fitness motivation. Bella Bucchiotti lives with and advocates for Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease awareness.

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16 Comments

  1. You did so much on your trip! I really want to go to Harry Potter World, I’ve never been!

    Posted 10.10.18 Reply
  2. Oh my goodness! This looks like such a fun trip. I actually took a trip to Orlando a few weeks ago, but my boyfriend and I went solely to go to Universal, so we didn’t get to fit in all of the other awesome things that you did. We had so much fun at Universal though and stayed from open to close. I definitely agree that it’s best to get there as early as possible.

    Posted 10.10.18 Reply
  3. Tara Liston Fuller wrote:

    you take the BEST trips!! i’m dying over that canoe experience!

    Posted 10.10.18 Reply
  4. ahh i love orlando! Im going there in a few weeks! the springs and universal are my faves! I had a lot of friends who would go to ifly every weekend for a while

    Posted 10.11.18 Reply
  5. Deborah wrote:

    WOW looks like you had the BEST time! I love Orlando!

    Posted 10.11.18 Reply
  6. Alix Maza wrote:

    That kayaking trip looks so fun! The water looks gorgeous.

    Posted 10.11.18 Reply
  7. Your trip looks so fun! Orlando definitely has so many activities. Universal Studies is one of my favorites!

    Posted 10.11.18 Reply
  8. Jenna wrote:

    Oh my gosh I used to LOVE going to Orlando for vacation when I was a kid! So magical!

    Posted 10.12.18 Reply
  9. I want to visit Universal Studios so badly!! LOoks like you had an amazing time!

    Posted 10.12.18 Reply
  10. Ash Neverson wrote:

    wow you certainly have the best pictures!! I love all of them and you make sightseeing so fun to see! I cant wait to visit america and explore all of these places!!

    Posted 10.13.18 Reply
  11. I love Universal Orlando – I’ve only ever done the theme parks but I should definitely branch out and do more things next time I visit.

    Posted 10.13.18 Reply
  12. the_odditty wrote:

    Omg I’ve been to Orlando and I feel like i wasted my trip because i didn’t see most of these places! Now I def have to! Great photos btw

    Posted 10.14.18 Reply
  13. Deborah wrote:

    I’ve been wanting to go back to Orlando and this post is giving me FOMO!

    Posted 10.15.18 Reply
  14. Ugh this is making me want to go to Orlando so much!

    Posted 10.15.18 Reply
  15. This looks like a blast! We’re heading to Orlando… tomorrow, in fact! But we’re going to Disney World. I haven’t explored the area outside of Disney! That clear bottom kayak, though… amazing!

    Posted 10.15.18 Reply
  16. Anne Belo wrote:

    I remember our Orlando trip before! It was so gooood! I miss florida omg 🙁

    Posted 10.25.18 Reply

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