Orlando is known as the theme park capital of the world, and for good reason! Home to a plethora of premier amusement parks, this is the go-to destination for family fun. Each park offers its own unique blend of entertainment, too, from magical moments with your favorite characters to thrilling rides and superhero encounters. Ready to discover all Orlando theme parks have to offer? Read on.
Disney World Theme Parks
Families can reconnect and create lifelong memories at the most magical place on earth. Home to four extraordinary theme parks, Disney World is the ultimate place to play in Orlando. To get the true Disney experience, I recommend spending a couple of days at the park and using a Park Hopper ticket to hop from park to park. The Magic Kingdom is the crown jewel of the park, and should be first on your agenda. Walk down Main Street U.S.A., have your picture snapped in front of Cinderella’s Castle, then traipse through Fantasyland where movies like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid come to life. There’s so much more to do, though! Which is why you need to be able to slow down, take it all in and not rush your time at the park.
The three other Disney theme parks in Orlando are Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Epcot combines futuristic fun with culinary adventures within two areas of the park – Future World and World Showcase. Take a ride Soarin’ to get a birds-eye-view of California, then rev up your engines at Test Track. Spaceship Earth is a great throwback ride, and speaks of the original version of the park. At World Showcase you ca sample exotic foods and delightful drinks, all in themed areas where you’ll feel as if you’re really in other countries such as Italy, China and Germany.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios highlights the star power of Hollywood, with glitz, glamour and movie nostalgia found in every corner. Tower of Terror is the best thrill in all of the Disney parks, and is a definite fastpass choice. Afterwards, hit the highway on the Aerosmith Rock ‘n Roller Coaster and walk through the back lots of scenes in New York City and San Francisco. Star Tours, Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular are also popular attractions within Hollywood Studios. Lastly, Animal Kingdom provides spectacular animal encounters mixed with intricately themed landscapes. Kilimanjaro Safaris are the ultimate attraction here, as you can view elephants, giraffes and even lions up-close. Be sure to take in It’s a Bug Life and Expedition Everest too, and take plenty of pictures of the Tree of Life!
Universal Orlando Resort
You can jump right into the movies at Universal Orlando Resort! Two outstanding parks – Universal Studios and Universal Orlando Resort – offer extreme thrills, movie magic and the best of pop culture. At Universal Studios you can wage war against the decepticons at TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D, then visit Springfield to experience the Simpson Ride and visit iconic places like Moe’s and Krusty Burger. Coaster enthusiasts rave about Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit, while the little ones will want to visit Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. Then, take to the streets of London at the newly opened Diagon Alley. At this section of the park, immerse yourself in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. See if you can power through the perils of the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s Bank, then purchase a wizard robe of your own at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions.
Stop at the Platform 9 ¾ to board the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade, located on the Islands of Adventure side of the park. Highlights of Hogsmeade include a high-flying qudditch adventure with Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, choosing your very own wand at Ollivander’s and dining at The Three Broomsticks. Of course, there’s much more to do at Islands of Adventure. All your favorite comic characters leap off the pages at Marvel Superhero Island. Swing through the streets at The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man before braving the fury of The Incredible Hulk Coaster. Be sure to stop for a laugh and a splash at Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, then explore the realms of Jurassic Park. Spend the evening at Universal CityWalk dining at themed restaurants such as Margaritaville, the upscale Emeril’, or grab a slice at the Red Oven Pizza Bakery.
Families love visiting Busch Gardens because it combines the best of theme park adventure and zoo encounters, all in an engaging and exotically themed atmosphere. Experience up-close encounters with wild animals, and explore fascinating attractions based on cultures and legends of faraway lands. Race like a wild cat on the Serengeti aboard Cheetah Hunt, then plunge from the sky on Sheikra. Montu, Kumba and The Scorpion offer even more coaster excitement, and nearly 3,000 animals, live shows, restaurants, shops and games round out the unparalleled activities at Busch Gardens Tampa. The best part is you can have your thrills and discovery too, as animal encounters are just steps away. Animal lovers will want to explore the Serengeti Plain to spot giraffes, the Myombe Reserve to glimpse gorillas and the Edge of Africa to get a look at lions.
LEGOLAND is the place to build family fun with little ones. This theme park is geared towards children ages 2-12, and provides the ultimate setting for those impressive imaginations to run amok. There are more than 50 rides, shows and attractions spread across 10 different lands, all with their own theme. Be sure to watch the “Battle for Brickbeard’s Bounty” at Pirate Ski Cove Stadium before letting the kids go for a spin at the Driving School at LEGO City. Put your LEGO skills to the test at Imagination Zone, then go back to the medieval era with a ride on The Dragon or Royal Joust at LEGO Kingdom. Safari Trek and Coastersaurus are standouts at Land of Adventure, while Miniland USA replicates famous cities brick by LEGO brick. Want to add even more things to do to your day at the park? Purchase a LEGOLAND Florida Waterpark combo ticket! Kid-friendly aquatic attractions make this the perfect place to spend a day in the Orlando sun.
There’s only one Orlando theme park offering an ocean of fun for families – SeaWorld! Venture below the surface of the ocean surface of the ocean, get up close and personal with animals, and experience one-of-a-kind aquatic thrills all at one unique park. A few of the best experiences at the park include the adrenaline fueled, face-down coaster rush of Manta, the visually stunning, 3D and 360 voyage of TurtleTrek and the icy adventure of Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. Of course, a day at SeaWorld truly shines while you watch one of their signature shows. One Ocean, Pets Ahoy and the stunning Shamu Celebration: Light Up the Night are all spectacular. Plus, at Dolphin Cove you can watch as amazing dolphin’s splash and spin while at Shark Encounter you can weave your way through underwater viewing tunnels. You can discover even more aquatic adventures at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s water park.
Wet ‘n Wild Orlando
The best in water park rides and attractions is showcased at Wet ‘n Wild Orlando. With more multi-person rides than any other area waterpark, it’s easy to spend time with your family while famously making a splash. Two of the tops group rides area Brain Wash and Disco H20, while The Black Hole provides a groovy space-themed spills and thrills. For amped up adventure, try the slick speeds of Aqua Drag Racer or the epic six-story drop of Bomb Bay. You’ll find Florida’s largest water play area at Blastaway Beach, which is sandcastle-themed and features slides, water cannons and waterfalls. Try our hand at catching a wave at Surf Lagoon or take a leisurely float on the Lazy River. All of this and more can be found at Wet ‘n Wild Orlando.