There are a ton of things to do and see in Orlando, Florida — so many, in fact, that it can be hard to finalize your itinerary. One aspect of travel that some families forget though is that, depending on your travel dates, rain is a common occurrence. I always recommend having a few “rainy day” activities scouted out before going on vacation in case you get rained out.
In Orlando, we opted to go to the Crayola Experience at the Florida Mall. From the minute we pulled into the parking lot, I knew it was going to be a hit. My 10-year-old step son quickly declared, “this place is awesome and I’ve only seen the outside!!”
General admission (ages 2+) is $21.99/person or $17.99 if you buy tickets online in advance
Tips on making the most of the Crayola Experience:
- Leave the stroller behind if your child(ren) can walk – you won’t need it. This is a place where kids of all ages are encouraged to roam around and interact with all the stations. I brought mine and found it to be cumbersome and something else to have to think about.
2. Arrive when it first opens
Arriving when a place first opens isn’t something I typically advise because you can encounter terrible lines and a mad rush. But, at the Crayola Experience this was the quietest hour. As time went on birthday parties showed up and the place for packed.
3. Reverse the order.
What do I mean by this? When you arrive and walk in to the facility, activities unfold in front of you. The first activity is a must-do when you arrive (you get to name and wrap your own crayon) and stations are limited so do it if there’s an opening. But as you move beyond that, I recommend skipping the next section of activities (neon colouring on boards, tot play area, playing with clay etc) and go straight to the back corner where kids make art with melted crayons and make their own colours. It gets busy in there and fast. Lines were so long we skipped a couple of the really good ones because we spent too much time on other activities. In the future, I would reverse the order of the actual physical layout.
4. Take advantage of all that’s included.
When you arrive you’ll receive a plastic bag with two tokens inside. Use these tokens to make crayon labels and get items from machines. The family portrait area is another great way to get a fun, free take-home souvenir.
5. Wear comfortable clothing
This isn’t a place for your kids’ Sunday best attire. My toddler got marker all over himself and spent the majority of the time in the toddler area without shoes on. It’s a place where kids really get back to their roots and let loose so I recommend comfy clothing.
6. Set aside time to enjoy the activities
We stayed for two and a half hours, but employees say the average stay is between 3 and 5 hours. If you really relax and let your kids be kids, they’ll likely stay for the majority of the day. We missed a few activities due to time constraint.
7. Pack snacks.
I didn’t bring food but I saw other families (who were clearly there for the day) enjoying juice and snacks while their kids settled in to an activity.
Overall, the Crayola Experience at the Florida Mall is a fantastic tourist stop for extremely hot days or rainy weather. It’s a favorite of locals (who buy annual passes and plan birthday parties) and I found it to be a good option for visitors as well.
It’s a place where your kids own creativity is brought to life and I found it to be a refreshing break from the amusement parks, tech toys and heat.