What's Happening on I-Drive!
Family Reunions - Put Magic in Family Gatherings in the International Drive Resort Area
Reconnect. Celebrate cherished family memories. Enjoy being together. Make some new memories. Have fun. Laugh until you cry. This is what family reunions are all about.
There is no better place than the International Drive Resort Area. In the center of the best that Orlando has to offer for family gatherings…five of the world’s most famous theme parks (SeaWorld
, Discovery Cove
, Wet ‘n Wild
, Universal Studios
, Islands of Adventure
), great restaurants, renowned shopping experiences, mega entertainment complexes, smaller family style attractions.
Whether your family is looking for the thrill of the theme parks, playing on one of the area's golf courses or the endless selection of shopping and dining, the I-Drive area provides the perfect place for families to spend time together in Orlando's tourism corridor.
With more than 100 resorts and hotels of all sizes and offerings, accommodations are available to fit every reunion budget from exclusive resorts with spas to suite hotels to budget-minded properties. And they are all close to the fun and excitement with the I-Ride Trolley Service
that will deliver you to almost any location in the resort area. Park the car. Leave the driving to the Trolley conductor and enjoy the fun way to get around International Drive! And taking the Trolley will save visitors dollars while traveling around the I-Drive Area.
Costs: Single fare, $1.50 per ride; senior fare 65 and over, $0.25 per ride. Children under 12 ride free when accompanied by a paying adult. Unlimited ride passes are available: (one-day pass, $5.00 per person); (three-day pass, $7.00 per person); (five-day pass, $9.00 per person); (seven-day pass, $12.00 per person) (14-day pass, $18.00 per person).
Where else can you swim with dolphins in the morning at Discovery Cove
and encounter JAWS in the afternoon at Universal Orlando
? It's all right outside your hotel!
Take the kids (and the adults!) for a burger and fries at the world’s largest McDonald’s Place
Catch a movie at a 20-screen theater at Regal Cinemas
Pointe Orlando Stadium 20 + Imax.
Have great food, meet the artists and buy some art off the walls at Cafe TuTu Tango
It’s Not Just Dining! It's an Adventure!
Celebrating with family over great meals is a big part of any reunion. You will not want to miss the choices of themed, quality entertainment combined with great food and fun for the entire family! From the world's largest McDonald's PlayPlace to dining with pirates, dining will be a memorable part of any family reunion. Many dinner theaters offer group discounts, so be sure to ask when planning your reunion.
All of the familiar restaurant chains that you have at home are located in the I-Drive area...along with many more.
If the pirate’s life is for you and your family, have a memorable evening at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure
. Watch Princess Anita and her crew try to escape from dastardly pirates aboard a fully rigged pirate’s galleon while enjoying the appetizer buffet, piping hot bread, entrée and dessert.
At Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Shows
, you become the detective as you mingle with outrageous characters trained in the art of improv. Sleuths presents 12 different themed shows on a rotating schedule. Dine on a choice of delicious game hen, lasagna or prime rib, along with appetizers, salad and dessert.
For a taste of the islands, include the Makahiki Luau
, SeaWorld's Polynesian Feast and Celebration in your family dining plans.
In addition to the themed dining experiences, there are choices in family-style restaurants, fast food dining and an endless selection of international cuisines from which to choose. For a complete listing, go to Dining!
Don’t Forget the Camera…Theme Park Memories!
Be sure to check with the theme parks for discounted tickets for groups as well as special services such as catering, event and banquet space and assistance in event planning. Some parks even offer exclusive tours for groups.
Wet 'N Wild
offers everything for a fun, family reunion! Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more and groups with minimum 50 people, receive a 45-minute All-You-Can-Eat catered buffet. Smaller groups can be combined to meet the requirement. For details: www.wetnwildorlando.com/groups.php or 407-351-1808.
At SeaWorld Orlando
, the options for family reunions also include an exclusive performance by Shamu and his killer whale friends, or cocktails with dolphins and stingrays at SeaWorld’s Key West. Adventurous families and groups can ride SeaWorld’s thrilling coasters; Kraken and Journey to Atlantis, then enjoy a reception surrounded by polar bears and walruses in the Wild Arctic. Groups of 50 or more can dine privately among the predators of the deep at Sharks Underwater Grill. SeaWorld also offers a variety of group VIP tours, character appearances and animal experiences. Groups of 15 or more can receive discounted park admission and will receive one complimentary ticket for every 35 paid admissions so be sure to check on special deals.
offers the perfect location for an all-day adventure or an evening function! Create your own special event with many options such as private beach parties, customized menus, appearances by the park’s exotic animals and live entertainment. Themed events may be created for your group in this not-to-be-forgotten park.
Universal Studios Florida
and Universal's Islands of Adventure
offers so much family fun that the options for a reunion are endless. With three hotels located on-site, Universal Orlando Resort offers groups of 15 or more a variety of options for an unforgettable family event. Groups may enjoy exclusive ticket offers and discounts, VIP tour options with front-of-the-line access on the most popular rides, as well as event and travel planning services. A variety of choices for location, menu and budget for group meals and banquets are available. Groups may take classes on film production at the largest working film studio outside Hollywood, or take advantage of culinary classes, team-building activities and scavenger hunts. Kids and adults alike are delighted when characters like Spider-Man, the Cat in the Hat, or Shrek pop in on the reunion.
At Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, just one hour east of Orlando, groups of 15 or more enjoy discounted admission as well as a variety of opportunities for special tours, astronaut training activities, catered events, and meet-and-greets with astronauts. From dining beneath a 363-foot Saturn V rocket used to fly to the moon, to chatting with one of the men who went there, Kennedy Space Center can provide families and groups with an out-of-this-world experience. Visit www.kennedyspacecenter.com
Where to Stay?
Most accommodations in the area have programs for family reunions and someone on staff to assist with your planning. Many offer discounts for groups so be sure to inquire when planning your reunion.
Examples: The Embassy Suites Orlando I-Drive Jamaican Court
caters to family reunions with special service, transportation and group discounts at attractions, free breakfast and evening cocktails. And much more. Visit www.orlandoembassysuites.com/lp-family-reunion-hotel.php.
Tips for planning your magical family reunion:
Form a committee to begin planning 12-18 months prior to the reunion. There are magazines devoted to family reunions that are very helpful. Special software programs may be found on-line to assist with the planning.
Select a date and a back up date. Check with family to avoid conflicts.
Determine how many people will be attending and how many rooms you will need.
Think about an itinerary. There are many attractions in the area that are perfect for reunions. Plan activities for the family to do together and also allow some free time for exploring the area. Consider the ages of all member of the family. Use this site to help decide activities and dining options.
Determine budget. Set up an account to keep track of expenditures.
Select an accommodation on I-Drive that is best for your family. Work with the reunion planner at the accommodation. Ask about group discounts for rooms and tickets.
Establish good communications! Everyone needs time to plan and budget for an out of town reunion.
Prepare guest list. It is a good idea to send “save the date” postcards as soon as possible with dates and location information.
Develop program. Book reservations. Inquire about group discounts at dinner theaters restaurants. And theme parks.
After the reunion: Make sure that you have collected all cameras! Prepare a newsletter of stories and photos. All of your great memories form the reunion. Be sure to include an updated list of contact information for each member of the family.
Cherish the memories!
07/2011 (Updated 10/2012)