Congratulations! You’re engaged and about to marry the person of your dreams. You’ve eagerly awaited the day when you could say “I’m going to Disney World!” when asked about your honeymoon plans — and that day is here. Whether you want to relive the magic you experienced as a child or it’s your favorite place on planet Earth, nothing can quite compare to a Walt Disney World honeymoon.

Of course, planning a honeymoon can be overwhelming. But don’t worry! Putting together a Walt Disney World honeymoon is easier than you think. Use our step-by-step guide to planning the best honeymoon for you and your significant other at Walt Disney World.

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1) Fund Your Walt Disney World Honeymoon

As with any honeymoon planning process, the first step is to determine your budget. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to enjoy the magic of Disney all within your defined budget.

Create a Honeymoon Registry
Do you really need yet another set of silverware? Of course, not. What you and your soon-to-be spouse need is an exhilarating ride on Space Mountain or a behind-the-scenes tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Forgo a traditional registry for a Walt Disney World registry. From theme park tickets to romantic spa treatments, wedding guests can help make sure you both have the magical vacation you desire by contributing to your honeymoon registry.

Travel Off-Peak, If Possible
If possible, travel to Walt Disney World during an off-peak time of the year. To avoid the crowds and take advantage of seasonal prices on flights, plan your honeymoon during these specific times:

  • Second week of January through mid-February
  • First three weeks of May (before the school year is over)
  • Late August and entire month of September
  • Mid-November through mid-December (except the week of Thanksgiving)

 

If these times aren’t possible, no worries! There are plenty of other ways to plan an affordable Walt Disney World honeymoon.

Skip the Park Hopper Pass
A Park Hopper pass allows you both to visit multiple Walt Disney World resort theme parks in one day. While this is a nice convenience, I recommend forgoing the park hopper pass on your honeymoon. You’ll want to slow down, and savor every moment, which is hard to do when you’re racing from park to park. This additional pass can cost anywhere from $50-$60 per person in addition to park admission. To save money, visit one park per day and use your free time for extra magical experiences such as shopping at Disney Springs.

Book a Year in Advance
It is recommended that couples book their honeymoon to Disney World a year in advance. This enables you and your significant other to have guaranteed lodging, tickets, dining reservations, and take advantage of the best possible rates.

Be Flexible with Your Itinerary
While I just told you to book a year in advance, one of the best ways to stretch your honeymoon budget is to be flexible. For example, arranging your travel days according to the cheapest airfare is always a good idea if you are able to be flexible. Also, being flexible in your itinerary is a good idea as it allows you to take advantage of extra experiences and unexpected opportunities throughout your Walt Disney World honeymoon.

Once you’ve set your budget, launched your honeymoon registry, and know how to save, it’s time to start the reservation process.

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2) Choose a Hotel or Resort

The Walt Disney World resort property is home to several hotels and resorts. From budget-friendly hotels to extravagant resorts, you have a wide range of lodging options to choose from.

Depending on your Walt Disney World honeymoon budget, you have three options:

  1. Book a hotel room at one of the budget resorts.
  2. Reserve a room at a resort offering premium amenities, but still within budget.
  3. Go all out and get a room at one of Disney’s top-tier resorts.

 

The budget-friendly hotel option for guests are Disney’s All-Star resorts. While the price of these rooms is enticing, keep in mind that the hotel property is geared towards families and children. This means that the pool, dining area, and resort lobby will be filled with families. Just remember, you aren’t going to Walt Disney World for the hotel room. If you plan to spend most of your time outside of the hotel room, this is a great option for budget-conscious honeymooners.

Upscale Walt Disney World resorts that won’t break the bank include:

 

These resorts are well within a honeymoon budget but offer a wide range of premium amenities and activities onsite.

On the other hand, if you and your new spouse want to reserve a room at the top Walt Disney World resorts, check out these options:

 

While at your chosen Disney resort or hotel, don’t forget to ask a cast member about “In-Room Celebrations”. After a long day at the theme parks, you can have a surprise bouquet of flowers or other gift waiting in your room.

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3) Make Your Dining Reservations

Everyone knows that the restaurants at Walt Disney World resort are outstanding. If there’s a specific restaurant you and your future spouse want to dine at during your honeymoon, make your reservation ASAP. In fact, it is recommended that newlyweds make dining reservations up to 180 days in advance to secure a table at the restaurant they desire.

Quick insider tip: Make sure you have reservations for a late dinner at California Grill, located on the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. You can watch all 3 theme park fireworks shows from this restaurant while enjoying a meal. The viewable fireworks schedule is as follows:

  • IllumiNations at Epcot: 9:00 PM
  • Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios: 9:30 PM
  • Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom: 10:00 PM

 

Between the food and the views, dining at California Grill is a “do not miss” experience while enjoying a Walt Disney World honeymoon.

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4) Figure Out Transportation

When planning your honeymoon to Walt Disney World, your first thought might be to procure a rental car. However, think of all the costs associated with renting a car: gas, parking, insurance, and on. A rental car will eat through your budget in an instant. Instead, rely on the transportation options provided by Walt Disney World resort.

Disney’s Magical Express provides guests with transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport and guests can use the monorail or bus system to get around Walt Disney World resort. No need for a rental car, a taxi, or an Uber. This means you only have to figure out your flights. Easy enough!

Walt Disney World attractions lifestyle shoot. April 2013. Photographer: Cynthia Perez

5) Purchase Theme Park Tickets

Now onto the main reason you chose a Walt Disney World honeymoon — the theme parks! If not already taken care of by your honeymoon registry, it’s time to purchase your tickets to the Walt Disney World theme parks. Be sure to check Reserve Orlando for discount tickets to all four theme parks and more.

Now that you’ve procured your tickets, use these tips to make the most of your honeymoon in the theme parks:

Utilize FastPass+
Dying to ride the Haunted Mansion? Anxious to finally try the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster? Unfortunately, so are hundreds of other guests. Bypass the sprawling attraction lines with FastPass+. Using the My Disney Experience app (which you both need to download!), select your top three rides or shows and create your reservation. When the reservation time approaches, head back to the ride and enjoy!

Use these extra tips from Reserve Orlando to take advantage of all that the My Disney Experience app and FastPass+ have to offer.

Visit on a Weekday
As you might have guessed, weekends at Walt Disney World theme parks are overcrowded. Visit the theme parks on weekdays to eliminate some of the crowd congestion and lines. With fewer crowds, you and your spouse can experience all the theme parks have to offer during your Walt Disney World honeymoon.

Purchase a PhotoPass
While at the theme parks, you’ll find yourself trying to get the perfect picture of you and your significant other. Instead of asking a stranger to do it, let one of Disney’s pro photographers help! With a PhotoPass, photographers will help you capture lifelong memories of your Walt Disney World honeymoon. You can then access your images on the My Disney Experience app and cherish them forever by downloading and printing or sharing with friends and family.

Let Cast Members Know It’s Your Honeymoon
Trust me – you’re in store for a treat once Walt Disney World cast members find out you’re on your honeymoon. From free dessert to complimentary souvenirs and more, you’re in for a great surprise. In addition, it’s super fun to wear bride and groom Mickey ears. You’ll hear congratulations from everyone which makes your honeymoon that much more special.

Go Behind-the-Scenes
Enjoy a unique honeymoon experience by reserving your spot for one of the exciting behind-the-scenes tours. Each theme park offers a vast array of tours, but my personal recommendation is the Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom. During this legendary tour, you’ll have access to the mysterious underground tunnels, learn about Mr. Walt Disney and his vision, and more.

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Time to Plan Your Walt Disney World Honeymoon

Before you dive into your planning activities using this step-by-step guide, let me leave you with a bit of last minute advice:

  • There’s more to Walt Disney World than the theme parks. Visit Disney Springs, go to the spa, play a round of golf!
  • Remember to get a customized souvenir from your Walt Disney World honeymoon.
  • Slow down and enjoy your honeymoon! You want to create lasting memories. There’s no need to rush!

 

Lastly, don’t forget to rely on Reserve Orlando for discounted Walt Disney World tickets, premier lodging, and insider advice. Now, stop reading this article and start planning your Walt Disney World honeymoon!

 

SeaWorld is the only place where real and amazing live. Through every experience at these aquatic theme parks, guests are encouraged to connect with the sea. As a result, exciting rides, amazing shows and up-close encounters are made that much more captivating. Not only do you connect with the wonders of the ocean, you care about them.

To highlight SeaWorld’s commitment to animals all over the world, as well as their guests, Reserve Direct invited two families to visit the park as part of our SeaWorld: One Park, Two Ways campaign. Discover all the fun and educational experiences they had as they explore the real, amazing aspects of SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego.

We sent Krystal, from Sweet Sunny Days, to experience SeaWorld Orlando. Additionally, Shelby from OC Mom Blog, toured SeaWorld San Diego. During their time at the park, we invited each blogger to exclusive, behind-the-scenes activities at the park. Don’t worry—you can have this kind of access too. They’re all part of SeaWorld’s efforts to educate visitors on their conservation efforts. Interactive and engaging, they add the real to any day at SeaWorld. And  yes, it’s pretty amazing!

Discover more about these parks with our recaps below.

SeaWorld Orlando

Real

Meet a Dolphin
At the Dolphin encounter get up-close to bottlenose dolphins. Not only will you get a chance to touch the dolphins, you learn about how SeaWorld’s animal team cares for these clever animals.

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Explore the Aquariums and Rescue Areas
Did you know nearly all of SeaWorld Orlando’s attractions have special aquariums showcasing a variety of aquatic life? During Krystal’s visit, her family was able to discover another side of SeaWorld at Sea Garden. This section of the park is home to rescue animals ranging from eagles to spoonbills, as well as close-up, one-of-a-kind encounters.

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Behind the Scenes Tour
At the Behind the Scenes Tour, you’re able to touch a shark and interact with a penguin. As a result, it was Krystal’s favorite activity at the park.

Amazing

Ride the Trio of Roller Coasters
SeaWorld Orlando packs more of an adrenaline punch than any other SeaWorld park. Thrill seeker will love Mako, Manta and Kraken.

Shamu’s Happy Harbor
A haven for children and parents, Shamu’s Happy Harbor has pint-sized attractions for kids and plenty of seating for parents.

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One Ocean Show
Killer whales are the focus of One Ocean, a show that connects the majesty of these ocean creatures with an overall message of conservation.

Want to learn more about Krystal’s day at SeaWorld Orlando? Read her full article at Sweet Sunny Days.

SeaWorld San Diego

Real

Touch a Bat Ray
Did you know bat rays are closely related to sharks? Their skin is also super smooth. Find out for yourself with these real (and free!) experience.

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Dolphin Encounter
At the Dolphin Encounter, Shelby and her family were able to touch and feed dolphins. This was the highlight of their day!

Behind the Scenes Tour
SeaWorld San Diego has a strong rescue operation—over 900 animals have been helped this year alone! On this behind the scenes tour, get an inside look at how these recovery missions work as well as the animals they help rescue.

Amazing

Pet’s Rule Christmas
Shelby’s family loves household pets, which made this show an easy favorite. This another show you can also see year-round, when it’s simply Pet’s Rule. Same antics, less holiday music!

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Dolphin Island Christmas
Dolphins and pilot whales get into the Christmas spirit during this festive show. Not visiting during Christmas? Don’t worry. Dolphin Days showcases the same beautiful animals in the regular season.

Christmas Experiences
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is truly amazing. Kids love the meeting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Plus, you can’t resist the magic telling Santa what’s on your wish list this year.

To discover more of Shelby’s day at SeaWorld San Diego, read her full blog post at OC Mom Blog.

As you can see, SeaWorld is one park you can easily discover in two ways: real and amazing. Experience the park for yourself, on us!

A special thanks to our hotel partners, Holiday Inn Resort Orlando and Doubletree Hotel San Diego Hotel Circle, for sponsoring hotel stays for both of families.

 

SeaWorld theme parks continues to keep things fresh and innovative by introducing new rides, events and activities every year. What’s new at SeaWorld Orlando 2017? Read on to discover more about this Central Florida theme park.

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©SeaWorld Parks

Electric Ocean
Summer 2017

For 2017, SeaWorld Orlando is presenting an all-new end-of-day spectacle. Electric Ocean will feature bioluminescent lighting, music and pathway entertainment – immersing guests in a glowing sea of wonder.

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©SeaWorld Parks

Kraken® Virtual Reality (VR)
Summer 2017

Get ready to experience Kraken in a whole new way at SeaWorld Orlando 2017. The park will debut its first digitally enhanced ride experience as the legendary Kraken roller coaster is transformed into a virtual reality (VR) coaster experience.  This thrill ride will be the only VR coaster experience in Florida.

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©SeaWorld Parks

Dolphin Nursery, SeaWorld Orlando
Summer 2017

SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Nursery will become more interactive in 2017. Guests will have the opportunity to see mother and baby dolphins up close via large-scale acrylic windows. Even better, there will be multiple levels providing children a face-to-face perspective with calves.  New slide out areas and a lifting floor will allow for easier access to mom and baby for the veterinary and animal care teams, and multi-purpose digital displays will allow SeaWorld educators to share information.

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SeaWorld/Facebook

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends
2016 Christmas events, continuing in 2017

Beloved Christmas character Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends, including Clarice, Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius, and Rudolph-themed attractions will be making their debut as part of the 2016 Christmas Celebration™ at SeaWorld Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego, and Christmas Town™ at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Williamsburg, Virginia.  Rudolph & Friends will return for the 2017 season, with additional Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-themed experiences for families to enjoy the Christmas spirit even more.

In 2016, SeaWorld Orlando added Mako, an all-new hypercoaster named for one of the ocean’s fastest known sharks, to its attraction line-up. It is Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster. It has quickly become a fan favorite, and is part of SeaWorld’s ongoing journey to stay at the forefront of the thrill ride game in Orlando.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Universal Orlando® Resort is one of the most popular theme parks in Orlando, Florida. As such, ticket prices can be a bit pricey – especially during certain seasons throughout the year. Instead of paying top dollar for amusement park admission, check out the best ways to take advantage of Universal Orlando ticket discounts. After all, who doesn’t love to save money on theme park tickets?

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Understanding the New Ticket Prices

Universal Orlando® Resort has been experimenting with a seasonal pricing model for quite some time. Recently, the theme park implemented this brand new pricing strategy for 1-day park tickets. This strategy aims to regulate attendance in the theme parks and provide a better customer experience for all guests. Ticket prices for 1-day admission are now based on three different season categories — Peak, Regular, and Value.

As a result, peak dates cost more while value tickets offer great savings for guests. One day, park-to-park tickets for both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure are also subject to the new ticket pricing structure. Tickets must be used during their corresponding seasons:

  • Peak tickets are valid during any season.
  • Regular tickets are valid during regular and value season dates.
  • Value tickets are only valid during value season dates.

 

If you purchase one season and prefer to use it on a different season date, you can upgrade your tickets at the theme park entry gates. On the other hand, keep in mind that refunds for using a Peak ticket during a Regular or Valid season date are not possible.

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How to Save with New Universal Orlando Ticket Discounts

Now that you understand how Universal Orlando® Resort’s new ticket prices work, it’s time to learn how you can save.

Schedule Your Vacation Around Value or Regular Dates
With the new ticket prices in mind, you can plan your vacation around the season dates and prices that work for your budget. Leveraging these Universal Orlando ticket discounts can be the difference between an expensive and an affordable vacation.

On average, the seasonal ticket prices for 1-day at Universal Studios and/or Islands of Adventure are as follows:

Value Season:

  • 1-Day, 1-Park = $105 per adult, $100 per child
  • 1-Day, Park-to-Park = $155 per adult, $150 per child

 

Regular Season:

  • 1-Day, 1-Park = $110 per adult, $105 per child
  • 1-Day, Park-to-Park = $160 per adult, $155 per child

 

Peak Season:

  • 1-Day, 1-Park = $119 per adult, $114 per child
  • 1-Day, Park-to-Park = $169 per adult, $164 per child

 

To know when the Peak, Regular, and Value season dates are, use this calendar.

Purchase Multi-Day Tickets
Another way to save with Universal Orlando ticket discounts is to purchase a multi-day ticket. This ticket type permits entry into the parks for 2 to 4 days, depending on your selection. To maximize vacation time and still stay within budget, I’d recommend purchasing a multi-day pass.

For example:
During peak season, a 1-Day, 1-Park ticket is $119 per adult, $114 per child. A “One Park Per Day”, 2-day pass is $184.99 per adult and $174.99 per child. This allows you to visit Universal Studios one day and Islands of Adventure the next all while saving money. As a result, the more days you visit, the more savings you receive.

Do keep in mind that park-to-park passes are required to ride the Hogwarts Express between Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

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Book Your Universal Orlando® Resort Tickets on Reserve Orlando

While still taking the new seasonal pricing model into consideration, Reserve Orlando offers unbeatable Universal Orlando ticket discounts. No matter if you purchase a single day ticket or multi-day, multi-park pass, you’ll enjoy exceptional savings. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself and purchase your discounted Universal Orlando Resort tickets today.

Plus, Reserve Orlando customers receive additional benefits including:

  • Discounted nightly hotel prices when you bundle your purchase
  • Access to exclusive theme park packages and savings
  • Skip waiting in the ticket line thanks to your Reserve Orlando e-Ticket

 

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Take Advantage of Universal Orlando Ticket Discounts Today

As you can see, the new pricing model at Universal Orlando® Resort and exclusive offers from Reserve Orlando are a fantastic way to save on your Florida vacation. Start planning your theme park vacation today.

New year, new theme park thrills! Universal Orlando Resort continues its expansion with new rides, resorts and restaurants. In their quest to bring the biggest and best pop culture experiences to the masses, Universal has plenty lined up for not only this year but beyond. So, what are the new attractions at Universal Orlando for 2017? And what can you expect from one of the world’s best theme parks in the years to come? Read on to find out.

In early summer 2017, a first-of-its-kind water theme park will erupt at Universal Orlando Resort – Universal’s Volcano Bay. © 2016 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Universal’s Volcano Bay
Opening early 2017

Live the carefree island life at Universal’s Volcano Bay™. It’s an all-new water theme park like no other where thrills and relaxation flow in perfect harmony. With the power of the TapuTapu™ wearable there’s no standing in long lines, wrestling with tubes, or waiting for the fun to begin. It’s a tropical paradise just steps away from everything Universal Orlando Resort™ has to offer.

Race Through New York Jimmy Fallon

In 2017, Jimmy Fallon – host of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” – will be the star of a brand-new hilarious ride experience at Universal Studios Florida called, “Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon.” © 2016 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Opening 2017

Jimmy Fallon is a pop culture sensation so it’s fitting he’s getting his very own attraction at Universal Studios. On “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” you’ll be competing against Fallon as you navigate the streets of one of the world’s greatest cities—New York City. Guests will first be welcomed at Fallon’s Studio 6B before embarking on an escapade through not only the streets but the skies on New York City. Encounter everything from iconic landmarks to the subway tunnels and whatever else pops into Jimmy’s wacky mind.

One of the most successful film franchises of all time will soon become one of Universal Studios Florida’s most action-packed ride experiences. Universal Orlando Resort announced today that Fast & Furious: Supercharged will join its incredible lineup of attractions in 2017 – continuing the unprecedented growth of the destination. Guests will experience a high-octane journey that fuses an original storyline and incredible ride technology with everything that fans love about the films—popular characters, exhilarating environments, nonstop action and, of course, high-speed cars.

Fast & Furious: Supercharged will join Universal’s incredible lineup of attractions in 2017 – continuing the unprecedented growth of the destination. © 2016 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Fast & Furious: Supercharged
Opening 2018

One of the most anticipated new attractions at Universal Orlando Resort is Fast & Furious: Supercharged. It’s set to take riders on a high-speed adventure into the world of underground racing. Riders will become a part of the Fast & Furious family as they race beside stars of the franchise. Specially designed ride vehicles ensure non-stop action and adrenaline-inducing, pedal-to-the-metal thrills.

This it the latest on new attractions at Universal Orlando for 2016 and beyond. Watch here for more updates on what this theme park has planned next!

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© 2016 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Universal’s Aventura Hotel
Opening 2018

Universal’s Aventura Hotel is all about a visionary spirit and contemporary surroundings. This hotel is a lifestyle, even if you only get to live it while on vacation. It’s blue skies, clear water, clean lines, open air, and stimulating environments. You’re a guest in a place quite unlike anywhere else. You’re en vogue the moment you walk through the door.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Do you love marine animals? If so, you have to visit SeaWorld Orlando during your next Orlando vacation. Over the past few years, the park has made great advancements with all new exhibits and attractions, including opening up their rescue and rehabilitation center to the public. Of course, the best part about your trip to SeaWorld will be seeing your favorite marine mammals and aquatic creatures. Use this guide to learn all about the SeaWorld Orlando animals you’ll get to meet!

Find the beluga whales at SeaWorld Orlando

Beluga Whales

The unmistakeable beluga whales are some of the most playful marine animals you’ll meet while at SeaWorld. Did you know that beluga whales are closely related to narwhals? These two sea mammals are the only members of the Monodontidae family. You can find beluga whales and other SeaWorld Orlando animals at the Wild Arctic® exhibit.

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Dolphins

You can find bottlenose dolphins all over SeaWorld Orlando! Start your dolphin exploration at Dolphin Cove. This interactive area allows you to get up close to the dolphins while you learn all about their behaviors, biologic make-up, natural habitats, and more. In fact, did you know dolphins have their own individual whistles? This is how marine biologists can distinguish dolphins from one another – by looking at the whistle shapes on a sonogram device.

After, head over to the Dolphin Nursery to meet the newest members of our dolphin family! You can watch baby dolphins learn to play, jump, and whistle. Don’t forget to save your seats for the Blue Horizons® show to see your favorite dolphins in action!

SeaWorld Orlando Animals

Killer Whales

I bet you didn’t know that Orcas, also known as killer whales, are the largest member of the dolphin family. These majestic animals can be found all over the world. This is due to their unique ability to adapt to almost any type of coastal environment. You can find the Orcas at the Shamu Underwater Viewing Stadium and in the One Ocean® show.

SeaWorld Orlando Animals - Penguins

Penguins

Out of all the SeaWorld Orlando animals to see, visiting the penguins should definitely be at the top of your list! These flightless birds are fascinating to watch. Take note of their feathers – there are about 100 feathers per square inch! This keeps water away from their skin while they swim. For the best view of the penguins, ride Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin® for a great surprise.

Can’t wait until your Orlando vacation to see these intriguing birds? Check out the Penguin Cam anytime!

Flamingos

Flamingos

Another of the feathered SeaWorld Orlando animals, the flamingos are also a must-see. These birds will quickly brighten up your day with their vibrant feathers. Did you know that flamingos aren’t born with their renowned pink coloring? Baby flamingos are born with grayish colored feathers. You’ll find the flamingos over by the Manta roller coaster.

Turtle Trek

Sea Turtles

Sea Turtles have lived in the sea for over 200 million years. Pretty impressive, right? Plus, they can swim great lengths, sometimes crossing entire oceans to feed, reproduce, or migrate. Watch as sea turtles glide through the water at the TurtleTrek 360° theatre exhibit. This epic exhibit lets visitors step into the shoes (or shell) of a turtle and experience what life is like in the deep blue sea. Trust me, you don’t want to bypass this attraction. Too impatient? Watch the Sea Turtle webcam right now.

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Sharks

Did you know that sharks are made out of cartilage instead of bone? They also boast anywhere from five to seven pairs of gill slits in their neck. In comparison, fish tend to only have one or two pairs. Learn about the 400 different types of sharks at the Shark Encounter exhibit and by riding the all new MakoTM coaster. You can also check out the sharks at SeaWorld Orlando right now by watching the Shark Cam!

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Jewel of the Sea Aquarium and Manta Aquarium

Whenever I visit an aquarium, one of my favorite things to do is sit and watch all of the tropical fish swim peacefully in the astronomically large tanks. I’m always mesmerized by their colors, patterns, and behaviors. In the Jewel of the Sea Aquarium and the Manta Aquarium, you’ll find over 3,000 SeaWorld Orlando animals swimming around — from clownfish to a giant Pacific Octopus. I highly recommend visiting both aquariums to get a glimpse at the unbeatable beauty of ocean life.

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Pelicans

While the majority of SeaWorld Orlando animals in the rescue, rehabilitate, and release programs are sent back to the wild, the Pelicans are here to stay. Unfortunately, these Pelicans endured terrible and permanent injuries prior to being rescued by the SeaWorld Rescue Team. Due to these injuries, the Pelicans would not be able to survive on their own in the wild. Threats such as discarded strong fishing line can cause irreversible damage to animals, such as the Pelicans.

Learn all about SeaWorld’s Pelican population and the lengths the Rescue Team went through to ensure the safety and rehabilitation of these birds at the Pelican Reserve exhibit.

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Stingrays

Have you ever wanted to touch a stingray? Stingrays are one of the many SeaWorld Orlando animals that guests are allowed to interact with. You can find stingrays in multiple places throughout the park.

Start by taking a ride on Manta® for a rush unlike any other. Then, head over to the Manta Aquarium where you’ll find more than 300 stingrays swimming gracefully. Want to feed a stingray? Stingray Lagoon is where you’ll want to go!

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California Sea Lions and Harbor Seals

Whenever I go to SeaWorld Orlando, I immediately go see the California Sea Lions at Pacific Point Reserve®. California Sea Lions are by far my favorite marine mammal. Of course, these furry creatures aren’t to be confused with a Harbor Seal, which you can also find at Pacific Point Reserve®. California Sea Lions boast several differences from a Harbor Seal, including their ears and flipper structure.

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Parrots

While they might not talk back to you, you can check out the colorful parrots at SeaWorld Orlando. As part of the Blue Horizons show, these parrots boast exceptionally vibrant feathers and incredible wingspans. Don’t miss watching these dazzling birds take flight!

Manatee

Manatees

Manatees spend the majority of their day eating and resting. Did you know that several manatees call the Florida oceans and coasts home? Manatees enjoy tropical climates and can be found off the coasts of North America, South America, and West Africa. At SeaWorld, you can find manatees at the Manatee Rehabilitation Area.

This 5-acre rescue center helps manatees and other marine animals that have been injured, become ill, or are facing distressing factors such as being orphaned. Go behind-the-scenes and learn about the dangers manatees face in the wild and how SeaWorld’s team is working endlessly to rescue and rehabilitate these gentle creatures. The facility has been part of SeaWorld’s campus for decades and was previously only available through guided tours. Now, visitors can browse the Manatee Rescue Area anytime they please in the complimentary viewing area

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Asian Small-Clawed Otters

When you visit SeaWorld Orlando, you have to meet the adorable otters. You’ll find the Asian Small-Clawed Otters at the Sea Garden exhibit. Although these critters can be quite loud, they actually use scent as their primary method of communication. Think of each otter’s scent as their fingerprint. No two are alike!

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Walruses

Last but certainly not the least of the SeaWorld Orlando animals is the magnificent walrus. As the largest marine animal found at the Wild Arctic® exhibit, you literally cannot miss the walruses. Did you know each walrus has anywhere from 400 to 700 whiskers on their face? These sensitive whiskers called vibrissae help them find clams, fish, crabs, and other types of prey.

Do You Have Your Tickets to See the SeaWorld Orlando Animals?

While you can view the SeaWorld animals via webcam anytime you please, it doesn’t compare to meeting them in person. Purchase your SeaWorld Orlando tickets using Reserve Orlando. Instead of standing in line to purchase your tickets at the gate, you can walk right into the park with your E-Ticket and head straight to all of the SeaWorld Orlando animals you’ve been waiting to meet!

 

Adrenaline junkies from across the globe flock to Florida for their chance to experience the biggest and baddest Orlando thrill rides. From plummeting to your doom on a haunted elevator ride to coming face-to-face with a mummy, the rush of adrenaline never stops in the theme park capital of the world.

If you’re a thrill seeker, you need to secure a seat on these 14 Orlando thrill rides.

Kraken SeaWorld CC

Kraken: Flickr/Josh Hallett

Kraken — SeaWorld Orlando
As one of Orlando’s floorless roller coasters — yes, I said floorless — passengers soar 150-feet high at a whopping 65mph. The Kraken coaster was modeled after a mythological underwater beast freed from the deepest troves of the sea, which is evident by the massive climbs and drops of the track. Did I mention that guests sit in open-sided seats? You’ll feel like you’re diving in and out of the water at astronomical speeds when you ride the Kraken.

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Mako: SeaWorld/Facebook

Mako — SeaWorld Orlando
Ready to ride Orlando’s tallest roller coaster? This thrill ride sends passengers 200 feet high for a stunning view of the Orlando skyline, right before hurdling them 73mph on a hypercoaster track. You’ll feel weightless as you glide along the mile-long track at incredible speeds. Mako is new to the Orlando thrill ride scene and has already shattered records including tallest, longest, and fastest coaster in Orlando!

WDW Attractions Lifestyle Shoot

Hollywood Tower of Terror. So. Much. Fun.

Tower of Terror — Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Fans of “The Twilight Zone” know just how frightening the television show can be. Disney Imagineers took that fright, bottled it up, and made a popular Orlando thrill ride out of it. Guests enter the Twilight Zone and face their fears as they plummet down 13 stories in a haunted elevator. The best part about the Tower of Terror? You never know what’s coming next thanks to a completely randomized dropping sequence.

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SheiKra: Busch Gardens/Facebook

SheiKra — Busch Gardens Tampa
Nothing says adrenaline rush like dangling over a 90-degree drop on a floorless roller coaster, right? You’ll climb 200-feet to the top of a 90-degree plunge, only to slowly creep past the edge. As you dangle at the edge of the thrill, your nerves will kick in as you wait for SheiKra to drop you into the 70 mph coaster complete with an Immelmann loop, a dive into an underground tunnel and a splashdown finale that soaks those waiting for their turn to ride. If you find yourself in the “splash zone”, beware!

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Magic happens inside Gringotts Bank

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts — Universal Studios Florida
This mind-blowing, 3D steel roller coaster ride takes you deep into the heart of Gringotts Bank where an adventure awaits you. Be careful — Voldemort and Bellatrix are lurking below the bank too. The combination of special effects, 3D animation, and a pure adrenaline rush has secured Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts’ position as a top Orlando thrill ride for years to come.

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Hogwards Castle, Home to the Forbidden Journey

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey — Universal’s Island of Adventure
Sometimes all it takes to make an Orlando thrill ride truly wonderful is a bit of magic. Experience the magic of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with Harry Potter and friends on this one-of-a-kind thrill ride. Featuring groundbreaking technology and mind-boggling engineering, the ride brings guests right into the wizarding world. You’ll feel a rush unlike any other when you join Harry Potter and friends on an adventure filled with magical creatures, spellbinding interactions, and sudden surprises.

Harry Potter Dragon Challenge

Face Off at the Dragon Challenge

Dragon Challenge — Universal’s Islands of Adventure
The wizarding world fun doesn’t end after your forbidden journey. Head over to the Dragon Challenge at Universal’s Islands of Adventure for yet another infamous Orlando thrill ride. Choose your dragon and get ready for the ride of your life. Each dragon, I mean coaster, offers a different experience and rush for Orlando thrill seekers.

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Experience the thrills of Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain — Disney’s Animal Kingdom
There’s no bigger rush than coming face-to-face with the Abominable Snowman while speeding through the Himalayan Mountains on an out-of-control train. With an 80-foot drop and soaring speeds, you’ll jet around the Himalayan Mountains both forwards and backward in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Are you ready to meet the legend of the Yeti while screaming at the top of your lungs?

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Splashdown at Jurassic Park River Adventure: Flickr/Flabber DeGasky

The Jurassic Park River Adventure — Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Immerse yourself in the Jurassic Park universe with a tour of the dinosaurs on the island — that goes horribly wrong. Passengers find themselves stuck in the Raptor Containment Area and the only way to escape the incoming T-Rex is by plunging down an 85-foot waterfall drop. Get ready to scream, get soaked, and experience the adventure of a lifetime.

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The Incredible Hulk Coaster — Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Wondering what Bruce Banner feels like when he transforms into the Incredible Hulk? This 67 mph coaster with insane zero-gravity rolls, drops, and turns will help you experience exactly that. If you’re a rollercoaster fanatic, you need to ride the Incredible Hulk Coaster. The ride recently underwent a massive remodel with the intent of making the Orlando thrill ride exceptionally exhilarating!

Based on the popular “Mummy” films, the world’s first “psychological thrill ride” places riders in seeming jeopardy, bringing them face-to-face with both physical and psychological fears – fear of the dark, fear of bugs, fear of fire, fear of falling, fear of being out of control and more.

© 2016 Universal Orlando Resort. All rights reserved.

Revenge of the Mummy — Universal Studios Florida
Out of all the Orlando thrill rides on this list, Revenge of the Mummy is my absolute favorite. It’s not the fastest roller coaster nor does it have the biggest drop, but the state-of-the-art technology combined with the speed of the ride creates an unmatched adrenaline rush. Thrill seekers have often said that the ride seemed to get faster and more intense every time they rode it. Perhaps the curse of the Mummy has something to do with this?

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Even kids love the thrills of Rock ‘n Roller Coaster

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith — Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Scream along with Steven Tyler and the rest of Aerosmith as they jet off to their Los Angeles concert in a 60 mph stretch limo (also known as an indoor roller coaster) through loops, twists, turns, and plunging drops. Each “limo” plays different Aerosmith songs, meaning no two rides are ever the same.

Human Slingshot

Prepare to ride the human slingshot!

Slingshot — Magical Midway Thrill Park
While on your Orlando thrill rides tour, why not get launched 390 feet into the air from a slingshot? This thrill ride allows guests to feel total weightlessness in the ultimate adrenaline rush.

Blizzard Beach photoshoot. 2013. Photographer: Pat Molnar

Summit Plummet

Summit Plummet — Disney’s Blizzard Beach
This 120-foot, free-fall body slide includes a terrifying near vertical drop with a pitch-black tunnel at the end of the plunge. This waterslide drops you higher than most roller coasters and other Orlando thrill rides. Who said water rides couldn’t be thrilling?

Now you know which rides are guaranteed to raise your pulse and make you scream! So, get ready to brave the biggest, baddest Orlando thrill rides. I dare you!

Believe it or not, theme parks are not the only reason why people travel to Orlando, Florida.

While some people find amusement parks enjoyable, others despise visiting these attractions. From the never-ending crowds to an apprehension towards thrill rides, these attractions are not everyone’s cup of tea.

While I get wide-eyed and giddy like a child when I visit popular Orlando amusement parks, I wasn’t always this way. I used to have a fear of rollercoasters and extreme thrill rides. This meant I either had to find an attraction I would enjoy or wait for my family at the exit gate of a ride.

If you’re not a fan of amusement parks, there’s plenty for you to experience throughout Orlando besides theme parks.

Lake Eola Park, Orlando Florida

Explore the Great Orlando Outdoors

Orlando is home to an incredible amount of outdoor activities and natural parks. Instead of moping around a theme park, take a quaint hike through the Disney Wilderness Preserve or hop on an exhilarating jet ski ride for a memorable vacation.

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Cruise around on a jet ski at Buena Vista Watersports’ tropical oasis

Try out these outdoor adventures the next time you’re in Orlando:

 

No matter which outdoor adventure you choose to pursue, make sure you check the forecast for the day. The Orlando weather can be quite unpredictable.

Animal Adventures

Who doesn’t love animals? Orlando is THE place for animal lovers. If you enjoy mammals, reptiles, amphibians, aquatic life, and birds, Orlando is home to a ton of animal related attractions — many of which offer up close and personal animal encounters.

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See otters up-close at Discovery Cove

Find time to experience one of these animal adventures in Orlando.

 

Similarly, you’d be surprised at just how much there is to do at conservation-centric SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. Sure, these theme parks have scream-inducing roller coasters but the animal experiences are also top-notch.

See a Show in Orlando

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Blue Man Group amazes without saying a word

If you thought NYC and Las Vegas were the show capitals of the country, think again. Orlando is filled with jaw-dropping shows, from the Blue Man Group (a must see) to La Nouba ™ by Cirque du Soleil.

Show fans who are stuck at a theme park with their family or friends will be glad to know that many amusement parks offer award-winning shows and performances throughout the day. Disney World theme parks are known for their legendary shows such as Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios.

Spend a Night On the Town

Who doesn’t love a night filled with exceptional food, fun, and the perfect atmosphere?

Orlando has a variety of restaurants, clubs, concert venues, and other fun establishments to check out while on your vacation. Be sure to schedule time to browse through downtown Orlando, Disney Springs, and Universal CityWalk for a night on the town.

All self-proclaimed foodies should make a dinner reservation for Victoria & Albert’s in Walt Disney World and Chatham’s Place for upscale dining. On the other hand, check out Zaza New Cuban Diner and Ragland Road for local fare.

Tour Orlando Museums and Landmarks

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Meet an astronaut at Kennedy Space Center

Captivating tours, museums, and landmarks are some of the many other activities available throughout Orlando besides theme parks.

Start your vacation off with a visit to the Kennedy Space Center. You’ll be able to meet an astronaut, learn all about outer space, and watch an IMAX movie. Depending on when your Orlando vacation is scheduled for, you might have the chance to see a live rocket launch!

Next, sail on over to the Titanic. This realistic recreation of the Titanic houses artifacts from the legendary ship. In addition, guests experience what it was like to be a passenger on the fateful voyage and get to see a real iceberg.

Shop Until You Drop

Due to the ever growing popularity of Orlando, there are endless shopping opportunities throughout the city. While at Downtown Disney and Universal CityWalk, remember to take advantage of the onsite shops, boutiques, and other intriguing stores.

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So much shopping to do, so little time

Don’t forget to stop at the Mall at Millenia for exceptional shopping. Likewise, visit the Artegon Marketplace for products by locally owned and operated Orlando businesses.

Relax with a Spa Day

If you want to escape the theme park crowds and relax, take a day trip to one of Orlando’s many spas and resorts. Your hotel or resort may already offer world-class relaxation services, but also check out Blue Harmony Spa at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek and the Mandara Spa at Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel for premier relaxation, massages, and more.

There’s More to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

Whether you despise thrill rides or simply prefer a low-key vacation, there are so many activities for you to enjoy in Orlando besides theme parks. Use these tips to make your non-theme park Orlando getaway a great one.

What will you do during your Orlando vacation?

On any given day, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is filled with muggles and wizards. No matter which group you align with, one thing is certain: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando will enchant you. Comprised of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, both sections of the Harry Potter-themed world put you inside the magic of this one-of-a-kind book and movie series. As a result, this has became one of the most visited areas of Universal Orlando Resort.

The Top 10 Must-Sees at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando:

 

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

1) Hogwarts

The trademark castle of the Harry Potter books and movies houses the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride and an elaborate queue with details like the Mirror of Erised, Dumbledore’s office, living portraits, mandrakes, levitating candles and more.  It’s the iconic centerpiece of Wizarding World, and the most photographed spot.  Be sure to get your photo in front of the castle, then prepare to “ooh” and “aww” at the outstanding ride inside.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

2) King’s Cross Station

For all you muggles who’ve always wanted to board the famous train centric to the Harry Potter stories, now’s your chance. Find the 9 3/4 platform, then travel on the iconic steam engine through the urban outskirts of London to the charming village of Hogsmeade, replicating one of the memorable elements of Harry Potter’s school life. Hogwarts Express connects Diagon Alley together with Hogsmeade, which means you can easily travel between both sections of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

3) Hogwarts Express

All aboard the Hogwarts Express! Billowing steam and an iconic whistle signal the arrival of the Hogwarts Express into Hogsmeade station, which travels back and forth from the Hogsmeade section of the park to Diagon Alley. Be sure to book a park-to-park ticket to enjoy all The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has to offer.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

4) Butterbeer Cart

Guests can taste the concoction made famous in the series. The recipe was created specifically for Universal Orlando and approved by author J.K. Rowling.  It’s a refreshing concoction that reminds me a bit of cream soda, but with an extra frothy foam.  Try it straight up or frozen.  I prefer straight up, but on hot days it’s hard to beat a frozen brew.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

5) Three Broomsticks

This restaurant serves British fare and features the multi-Muggle feast.  The rustic tavern is adorned with imaginative, striking elements creating a restaurant unlike any other. It’s perhaps the second best place – other than Hogwarts Castle – to immerse yourself in Harry Potter’s world. The Hogsmeade restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Come early to sample a true English breakfast or dine in the evening for a traditional fish and chips.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

6) Ollivanders

This wand shop, which features a which combines entertainment with retail, is the most popular shop at Hogsmeade. Magical effects aid a wand keeper in matching you with a mystical wand.  Pretend you’re a young wizard.  Then, marvel as magical effects aid a wand keeper in matching you with a mystical wand.  It’s the perfect souvenir for a loyal Harry Potter fan.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

7) Gringott’s Bank

In the shadow of the a massive fire-breathing dragon sits Gringotts Bank, the only bank of the wizarding world. Home to the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride, this grand building is made of white marble and is owner and operated by goblins. Walk through the same secret passageways as Potter as you explore the depths of Gringott’s Bank.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

8) Leaky Cauldron

For drinks and British dining, step inside this famous Diagon Alley pub–no magic password needed. Traditional food options include cottage pie, fish and chips, and bangers and mash. Wash it all down with a frothy Butterbeer as you admire the bewitching artwork on the walls.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

9) Wizarding Window Shopping

There are plenty of things to see at the Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley stores within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Honeydukes Candy Store and Zonko’s, a joke shop, are not to be missed.  Both bring the stores from the books to life with intricate details found outside and in. Similarly, Diagon Alley stores Madam Malkin’s Rober For All Occasions and Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes cast a spell on crowds.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

10) Dragon Challenge

Summon your courage as you accept the Dragon Challenge. Mount one of two dragons–an aggressive Chinese Fireball or a ferocious Hungarian Horntail. Each dragon twists and loops in an intertwining roller coaster chase across the sky. Each dragon offers a different experience, so brave both if you can!

Bonus: Owlery

This covered pavilion is a nice place to relax in the shade, sip a cool drink and marvel at the owls in the rafters. Take a break from the Orlando sun at the Owlery.  Then, visit the Owl Post, where you can mail letters from a Hogsmeade address.  How cool is that?  (I may or may not have sent one to myself!)

Double Bonus: Hippogriff

What Harry Potter fan hasn’t wanted to see a Hippogriff in real life?  The creature that is part horse, part eagle is located behind the Flight of the Hippogriff Coaster. When humans approach Hippogriffs, a proper etiquette must be maintained to avoid danger. Walk by Hagrid’s Hut, follow his instructions, then approach the Hippogriff. Snap a photo with the legendary creature before riding the family-friendly Flight of the Hippogriff coaster.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Universal Orlando Resort already has a resident wizard. Starting today, Universal Orlando Resort also has a king, the beastly King Kong.  Skull Island: Reign of Kong is now officially open after weeks of test rides, speculation and anticipation. Today Show host Al Roker was on hand to announce the grand opening, and give guests the inside scoop on the all-new attraction.

Skull Island Reign of Kong

You can find Skull Island: Reign of Kong at the Islands of Adventure section of Universal Orlando Resort, between Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park. The ride lasts 6-minutes, which is seriously long in theme park time. A massive 72-passenger ride vehicle also allows for faster queues and less waiting— a total bonus as waiting in the hot Orlando sun is never any fun.

Learn more about the story behind Skull Island:

The 3D ride journeys deep into a mysterious island, inhabited by prehistoric creatures and natives. Riders travel through temple ruins and island jungles as they fight for survival. The attack on riders, who are part of the 8th Wonder Expedition Company, leaves them in peril. Then, an even more enormous, earth-pounding presence arrives. King Kong – in the flesh. Will he be your salvation? Or will he destroy you? During the experience, riders come “face to face” with King Kong. Feel his breath sweep across your voice and your body tremble at his thunderous roar. As the gargantuan beasts fight for dominance, you will just fight to survive. Can you escape Skull Island? Only if King Kong lets you.

See what the encounter is really like with this behind-the-scenes video:

Skull Island: Reign of Kong is the largest addition to the Universal Orlando Resort since the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Universal Orlando Resort will continue to amaze guests as even more incredible attractions are planned over the next several years. “Race through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” is scheduled to open in 2017, while “Fast & Furious – Supercharged” races into Universal Studios in 2017. That’s not all, though, as in 2017 you can live the carefree island life at Universal’s Volcano Bay. The all-new water theme park promises no standing in long lines, no wrestling with tubes and no waiting for the fun to begin. It’s set to be a tropical paradise just minutes away from thrills of Universal Orlando Resort.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.