Disney Detour: A Day at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

A Walt Disney World vacation is a dream come true for adults and children alike, but the next time you travel to the Orlando area for a Disney visit, consider adding a day to build a different kind of magic into your itinerary with a visit to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Where It Is

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is approximately 50 miles outside Orlando, on the east coast of the state near Cape Canaveral. The drive from the Disney resort area usually takes around one hour and fifteen minutes, and you can take state road 528 (with tolls) to cruise across the state to the coast.

What to See 

Once you arrive at the complex, there is a lot to explore. The park is arranged into Mission Zones by time period so that you can learn about space travel from its beginnings all the way up to modern-day missions. Included in admission are several exhibits and experiences including attractions that celebrate the heroes and legends of space, an overview of the race to the moon, and viewing of the permanent home of the space shuttle Atlantis. For an extra fee, you can enjoy a catered meal and live chat with a real, in-person astronaut who will share their insights about space travel and answer your pressing questions about the feat. There are also special camps and programs to take advantage of, and your visit could even coincide with a rocket launch. Be sure to check the events calendar on the website before making your trip so you can find out if there are any special events to plan your visit around.

Top Tips

Many of the experiences at the complex are indoors, but some sights, like the Rocket Garden, involve touring outside in the Florida sun, so be sure that both you and your little ones wear plenty of sunscreen, sunglasses, sun-protective clothing, and hats. There are plenty of dining options, but you may want to pack a few snacks for smaller kids who need to eat more consistently throughout the day or who have specific dietary needs. Tickets for adults 12 and up run $57 and kids 3 through 11 are $47. A visit to the complex is a full day, so plan your itinerary ahead of time, and leave the Orlando area at the start of the day so that you arrive at the complex early enough to make the most of your time there. Lastly, if you are traveling with a crowd, you may want to work with the complex to host your group by contacting them ahead of time to make special arrangements.

Since Disney will be your home base, consider staying close to the resort at the Crowne Plaza Lake Buena Vista. The Wyndham Orlando Resort & Conference Center/Celebration, and Staybridge Suites Orlando Royale Parc, are also great bets for comfortable lodging, or consider Aloft Orlando International Drive, Comfort Inn International, Element Orlando International Drive, or Best Western International Drive near I-Drive.