As some of you may know I’m originally from Orlando, Florida! I spent 18 years of my life living there and 7 years visiting. So I can give you insight as to the best places to stay and fun things to do. (That are a little less touristy.)

1. Rosen Shingle Creek

Not only is Rosen Shingle Creek one of my favorite places to stay when visiting Orlando. The owner, Harris Rosen, is an amazing pillar in the community and does a plethora of philanthropic work.  Besides that fact, Rosen Shingle Creek is a breathtakingly beautiful hotel, with a fabulous golf course, exquisite rooms, delicious gourmet food that can make anyone cheat on their diet, and superior customer service.  If the opportunity presents itself to stay here I highly recommend it!

2. Park Avenue, Winter Park

I love taking a stroll down Winter Parks quaint Park Avenue! Located next to Rollins College Park Avenue is located in the heart of Winter Park and has cute shops and fabulous restaurants. It also has a beautiful park across the street from the shops that in the winter has an ice skating rink. It also has a good mix of people walking visiting from younger kids and families, to college kids, to grandparents.   For a relaxing afternoon and some gorgeous pictures, I recommend heading on over to Park Avenue.

3. Junior Columbian Burger

This is LIFE! Okay, so I tried Junior Columbian Burger when I was about 18 years old.  One of my co-workers at Abercrombie & Fitch took me one day after work and ordered me a classic burger and OMG it was soo good! I’d even say life-changing.  I honestly couldn’t tell you what’s on the burger, but the chips, the various sauces, and whatever else they put on there is to die for!! The best part is they are open super late.  This delicious joint now has two branches, one over by UCF and one across from Universal Studios off Kirkman road. Just a heads up the Kirkman Road location is limited on parking and space inside.

4. I4

This is more of a heads up! I4 is one of the most dangerous roads to drive on and is one of the most traffic-y roads in Florida that currently is under construction right now which makes it that much worse. So here’s my best advice, avoid driving on it during rush hour, or during any peak park times because more than likely you WILL get stuck. So that being said I recommend using the app Waze to save you some of your traffic headaches.

5. Disney 

As much as many Floridians will tell you Orlando is more than just Disney, which don’t get me wrong it is, Disney is still AWESOME.  I won’t lie I have a Disney annual pass and I enjoy going and being a big kid. There are so many parks to choose from and it’s overall good family fun!  If you are looking for more adult fun with alcoholic beverages and tasty food I recommend Epcot! For rides, I recommend Hollywood studios. For animals and fun rides I recommend the Animal Kingdom, and for princesses and anything superbly magical I recommend the Magic Kingdom! It is worth going to at least once in your life.