Things to do / Travel Guide
When you think of Central Florida, Orlando's theme parks usually come to mind first. In addition to a “backstage” tour of Walt Disney World, many of the region's other attractions are also likely to enchant you if you get a behind-the-scenes look at their operations. Also, you shouldn't miss a chance to blast off on a tour of the Kennedy Space Center or swashbuckle your way around Raymond James Stadium.
Behind-the-scenes and factory tours are typically family-friendly activities good for a short and interesting diversion from a region's mainstream tourist activities. Generally inexpensive, visitors are often given free tastes and samples, like the fruity treats handed out at Davidson of Dundee, makers of everything citrus. Note that some tours have irregular hours and admission restrictions. Click on the individual icons for more practical information.
Behind-the-Scenes Tour of the Kennedy Space Center
Surrounded by rockets, boosters, and spacecraft of all kinds, you're guaranteed to be wowed over and over again at the Kennedy Space Center. Keep in mind that this tour doesn't come cheap, and that admission is limited to visitors over age eight. Tour the launch complex where U.S. astronauts began their moon missions. With some advanced planning and cooperation from the weather and mission control you may get to witness an actual launch, an experience that you will never forget.
Behind-the-Scenes and Factory Tours around Orlando, Florida
Walt Disney World offers a number of behind-the-scenes tours, ranging from 2-5 hours in length, which give visitors a chance to see how the Disney fantasy comes alive. Note that these are among the most expensive behind-the-scenes tours in the nation (up to $60 per person), and that their cost is not included in the price of general admission to the theme park.
The Keys to the Kingdom Tour gives visitors a very special look “backstage” at the company's history, parade float assembly techniques, and production centers, as they pass through the 1.5 miles of underground “utilidor” tunnels underneath the Magic Kingdom. The Family Magic Tour is perfect for kids, with a treasure hunt theme. Also available are a historical tour (Magical Milestones) and a tour of the park's locomotives (The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains).
If you can tear yourself away from the Disney theme parks, make a pit stop at Regal Marine Industries, also in Orlando, to see how yachts and other types of pleasure boats are made. On this tour you can see the high-tech wizardry that helps create and design their watercraft, which range anywhere from 17 (LSR runabouts) to 44 (Commodore express cruisers) feet long.
Behind-the-Scenes and Factory Tours around Tampa, Florida
See what a stadium looks like when it's empty on a guided tour of Raymond James Stadium, where the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers play. A chance to step into the high-class luxury boxes and step out onto the gridiron is the stuff of dreams for any serious football fan.
If you need to quench your thirst, head on over to the Yuengling Brewery, the oldest brewery in the U.S. On the tour your kids can join you for a round of free (root) beer samples - you'll get to taste the real thing of course, some splendid home town brew.
Behind-the-Scenes and Factory Tours in Orlando, Tampa, Cape Canaveral and Central Florida