I hear you loud and clear! I was always in Orlando on the weekends visiting Disney World and Universal Studios when I was a student at UF. But, as a UCF student, you LIVE here! How exciting! Living in Orlando as a student can definitely be fun with all the theme park happenings. UCF and the surrounding apartments are less than 30 minutes away from all the major theme parks via Interstate 4.
Remember though, you're at college because, hey, you want to learn something, right?! The local theme parks not only provide thrills, but educational opportunities as well.
Learn first-hand about saving money by checking out UCF's Student Government Association's discounted tickets for students, faculty and staff. Just show your valid UCF ID card, and you can start saving money on theme park tickets as well as movie tickets, transportation passes and more. Disney and Universal discounts are about 30 to 35 percent; that's a huge savings! Other discounted tickets offered include SeaWorld and the Kennedy Space Center, both of which offer numerous learning experiences. With theme park ticket prices constantly rising, don't miss out on this great resource to save some of your dough. Tip: Parking at Universal is free after 6:00 p.m. for Florida residents.
Take an international approach to your studies and check out the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Each fall, this annual festival features delicacies from around the world and free seminars about wine-making in Napa or about the history of chocolate. There are also plenty of other activities where you can immerse yourself in foreign cultures such as cooking demonstrations, guided tours and more. This will be one lesson you (and your stomach!) won't forget anytime soon. Or, take a culinary trip to New Orleans during Universal Studio's annual Mardi Gras celebration. Try out authentic Cajun food such as jambalaya and powdered sugar-dusted beignets. Tip: Want to run off all the fabulous food you'll try? Register for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend, and you'll be burning calories while running through Disney property.
Experience live, world-class music right here in Orlando with several opportunities throughout the year to hear a variety of chart-topping musicians and bands. Spring offers the Flower Power Concert Series at Epcot, featuring music from the 1960s and other decades, as well as weekly Mardi Gras concerts at Universal Studios. Summer heats up at the Summer Concert Series at Universal Studios with past acts such as Ne-Yo and Gavin DeGraw. During Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival during the fall, the Eat to the Beat concert series features headliners such as Sister Hazel and Boyz II Men. Tip: There aren't seats at Universal's concerts – standing room only! Arrive early for big name acts. Kelly Clarkson a few years ago featured a 6-hour queue for standing room close to the stage.
Horticulture and Wildlife Lesson:
Epcot's International Flower and Garden Festival provides you with the opportunity to learn about plants and flowers, as well as opportunities to learn about butterflies and other insects. Included in the price of admission, this annual event is colorful and vibrant, yet also informative. Horticulture experts are on-hand to help you develop your green thumb and answer questions you may have. Tip: Even as an apartment resident, you can still create a container garden on your balcony!
There are plenty of fun, learning opportunities at all of Central Florida's theme parks. Sign up for newsletters, social media and emails from the parks so you can stay on top of what's happening.