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Mission to Mars game at The Escape Game

No ticket? No problem.

Orlando isn’t just a city of theme parks. Yes, the area is best known for Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and its myriad water parks, but there’s far more to The City Beautiful than just thrill rides and sprawling resorts. Whether you want to fill a no-theme-parks day on an upcoming vacation or you’re just looking for something new to enjoy your next visit, you won’t want to miss these six Orlando experiences that don’t require a pricey theme park admission. Have you experienced all of them?

1. The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye

Orlando Eye at Night with Motion Blur

Image: HerdiePhoto, Flickr (license)

Orlando is a city with universal appeal both to thrill seekers and gentle spirits. Generally, the attractions preferred by these two demographics are mutually exclusive. The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye defies stereotype by perfectly appealing to both.

Similar to its London counterpart, The Orlando Eye is a massive 400-foot-tall ferris wheel. This prospect alone would cause most to lump the Eye in with thrill rides, but what makes it truly unique is its perfectly smooth movement. While some guests have reported slight swaying, the eye’s compartments are designed to stay well balanced, so even visitors with apprehensions about heights can find delight in the Eye’s unmatchable 360 degree sweeping views of Orlando. Each car comes equipped with iPads for users to explore all Orlando has to offer, and champagne packages are available for couples with love in mind. To top it off, The Orlando Eye is surrounded by a rich range of shops and restaurants to enjoy before and after your journey.

2. Medieval Times

Knight on black horse surrounded by fog at Medieval Times

Image: Boris Kasimov, Flickr (license)

Clashing swords. Majestic steeds. Flowing ale and fresh meat on the bone. If you have never experienced the revelry that is Medieval Times, you have seriously been missing out.

Medieval Times is probably one of Orlando’s most beloved dinner theater experiences, a magnificent recreation of a historic tournament where knights compete in challenges of horsemanship, swordfighting, and jousting while audiences partake in a sumptuous feast. Don’t expect any silverware here (unless you ask for it—BAH). The entire meal is designed to be noshed with your fingers, and the food is fit for a king (for those with special diets, the vegetarian spread is especially good!). Each family is assigned to a particular knight, and raucous cheering and booing for your favored hero or villain is encouraged. In between tests of combat, guests get enjoy exhibitions of horse training, falconry, the fantastical, and ladies young and old can holler for the opportunity to be chosen for a knight’s favor. You may even become the evening’s Queen of Love and Beauty!

Already experienced Medieval Times? As of 2017, veterans of the court can enjoy an all new show where for the first time, the castle is under the rule of a queen!

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