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.

Make a splash at SeaWorld Orlando in 2017!  The aquatic theme park is hosting several festivals that add to the things to do during your visit.  Dive into the details of SeaWorld Orlando events below.

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SeaWorld/Facebook

Praise Wave
Saturdays, January 14-18
With the return of Praise Wave, guests can celebrate Christian fellowship and fun at SeaWorld Orlando. Live concerts from the hottest names in faith-based music will light up the stage at Nautilus Theater.

Wild Weekends
Throughout the year
Wild Days connects guests to the wild and wonderful world we all share, with educational and interactive shows that give guests the opportunity to meet leaders in the world of animal rescue, rehabilitation and preservation.

Seven Seas Food Festival
Saturdays, February 11-May 13
This food festival replaces Bands, Brew & BBQ and Viva La Musica, while converging favorites from both. In addition, guests will experience street food and other delicacies—all inspired by the spices, flavors, and music of the world. Namely, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Asia, and South America will be highlighted. Attendees can also sample a variety of international, local and seasonal craft brews on tap. Live music and art vendors round out the new event.

Electric Ocean
Daily, Summer 2017
Electric Ocean will debut next summer at SeaWorld Orlando as a brand new, end-of-day spectacle event. As the sun goes down, the lights and energy go up, offering guests a different kind of fun after dark. The ocean comes to life with bioluminescent lighting, music and pathway entertainment, immersing guests in a glowing sea of wonder.

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular
Weekends, September 30-October 29
On select weekends in October, families can dive into on ocean of Halloween fun.  Look forward to Penelope’s Party Zone, Sesame Street’s Count Down to Halloween and trick-or-treating.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration
December 1-31
Celebrate the magic of the holiday season at Sea World.  Festivities include a dramatic holiday simulator ride, special Shamu Christmas show, special activities on The Waterfront and a holiday fountain show.

New Year’s Eve at SeaWorld
December 31
Celebrate our connection to the sea, sea life and the world we share as we ring in the New Year, SeaWorld style. A spectacular musical celebration and bold fireworks display send a wave of welcome to the New Year ahead.

Take advantage of these free SeaWorld Orlando events on your next Central Florida vacation.


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.

If you plan to be in Orlando on New Year’s Eve you’ll have plenty of entertainment options to choose from.  All of the Orlando theme parks are hosting special New Year’s Eve events, and even some of the local shows present New Year’s Eve productions.  Take note, though, that New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest days of the year for Orlando parks like Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort.

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New Year’s Eve celebrations in Orlando

Walt Disney World

Disney World Theme Parks feature something special
for the New Year’s Eve holiday, making them it even more magical.  For a detailed look at events happening at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs, click here.

Universal Orlando Resort

On December 31, Universal Orlando Resort guests can ring in 2017 at Universal CityWalk’s New Year’s Eve celebration. Partygoers will enjoy the music mixing talents of several DJs, dine on gourmet cuisine like filet mignon and jumbo shrimp and crab claws, and dance the night away at some of Orlando’s best nightclubs.

In addition to a high-energy live concert and dance party, guests can enjoy access to six of CityWalk’s hottest clubs, including Rising Star, the groove and Red Coconut Club as well as six distinct party zones. Guests can also raise their glass to 2017 with a midnight champagne toast, celebratory confetti burst and pyrotechnic display. Tickets start at $109.99 plus tax per person. Universal CityWalk’s New Year’s Eve celebration takes place from 8 p.m. through 2 a.m. Book your tickets in advance as this is one New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Orlando that sells out quickly! 

SeaWorld

SeaWorld hosts a New Year’s Eve party included with park admission.  Holiday entertainment including Shamu’s Christmas Miracle, A Sesame Street Christmas and Winter Wonderland on Ice will be featured followed by a special fireworks finale at midnight.

Busch Gardens

Purchase Busch Gardens tickets to countdown to 2017 with special musical entertainment, holiday themed shows and a special fireworks finale. The finale is visible from all around the park with the prime viewing location being Gwazi Park.

LEGOLAND Florida

The whole family can enjoy a family-friendly party with Kids’ New Year’s Eve on December 31. Kids get to rock out in Miniland USA with a live DJ Dance Party. After the live-action show and fireworks, everything will be in place for the enormous Brick Drop at just the right time for kids, midnight Kid Standard Time (KST) – otherwise known as 7pm.

Pirate’s Dinner Adventure New Year’s Eve Show

Ring in the New Year pirate-style at Pirates Dinner Adventure.  The New Year’s Eve show starts at 9:30pm and features complimentary appetizers in pre-show and a three-course port of call feast.  For this special occasion, complimentary draft beer and soda will be available before and during the show.  You ticket also includes a DJ spinning tunes, a countdown via live remote from Times Square, party favors, party hats and souvenir goblet, champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight.  New Year’s Eve show tickets start at $67.95 per adult.

Sleuth’s New Year’s Eve Party

Celebrate the New Year with Sleuths! Enjoy a fabulous party with a delicious dinner and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks! You’ll be treated to a hilarious comedy-mystery and streamers, noisemakers, hats, horns, topped off with a champagne toast at midnight! If that’s not enough, the night also includes a delicious dinner and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks. Plus, you can upgrade your night at the door, for an additional $35 per person, to include prime rib, upgraded hors d’oeuvres, champagne toast at midnight and specialty desserts. Tickets for the show, which starts at 9pm, are on sale for $53.95.


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.

Orlando is a magical place to visit during the holidays.  There are unique celebrations bringing festive cheer and merriment to Central Florida.  Experience the joy of Christmas in Orlando this season and plan your vacation today.

Christmas in Orlando: Holidays at the Theme Parks

Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando celebrates the holiday season like nowhere else. From spectacular fireworks displays to festive live entertainment, Orlando’s theme parks offer something for every member of the family. Treat yourself to holiday events at Orlando Theme Parks for merriment and memories! 

Walt Disney World Resort
November through December 31, 2017
Disney World Theme Parks offer some of the most elaborate of seasonal festivities, with more than 1,300 decorated trees and 8.5 million lights strung throughout the property creating a unique Disney World Christmas experience. As a result, Disney World is a cornerstone of Christmas in Orlando. For several weeks around the holidays, guests celebrate the season with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom Park, Holidays Around the World at Epcot, and the dazzling Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Guests can also ring in the New Year with a variety of entertainment, including the Electrical Parade and special dining events across Disney.

Universal Orlando Resort
December 3 through January 1, 2017
Universal Orlando Resort celebrates the classic tale of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” with Grinchmas at Islands of Adventure, featuring live musical shows, meet and greets with the Whos of Who-ville and appearances by The Grinch himself. Guests can also visit Universal Studios to experience Macy’s Holiday Parade, presenting floats and balloons direct from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. On New Year’s Eve, CityWalk comes alive with performances by national acts, a gourmet buffet and nightclub entertainment.

SeaWorld Christmas Spectacular
November 25 through December 31, 2016
SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration runs for six weeks, beginning November 25. SeaWorld offers special shows and attractions, including Shamu Christmas Miracles, Winter Wonderland on Ice and The Polar Express Experience. Guests can count down to New Year’s Day and enjoy live music and spectacular fireworks display.

Christmas Bricktacular at LEGOLAND
December 17-18, 24-30
LEGOLAND Florida will feature Christmas Bricktacular, a celebration with daily appearances by Santa Claus, a 270,000-LEGO-brick Christmas tree and other seasonal creations. Kids can also participate in their very own countdown to 2017 during a giant, LEGO brick drop at “Kids Standard Time,” otherwise known as 7 pm, during the park’s Kid’s New Year’s Eve. 

Busch Gardens Christmas Town
November 25 through December 31, 2016
Christmas Town returns to Busch Gardens Tampa is the Bay area’s largest Christmas celebration, and features live music, festive treats and thousands of dazzling holiday light displays. Best of all, Christmas Town is included with Busch Gardens tickets.

Festival of the Seasons at Disney Springs
November 11 through January 8, 2017
Embrace the spirit of the season at Disney Springs. Festival of the Seasons presents live entertainment, Santa photo opportunity, holiday carolers and grand holiday décor. Stroll through the delightful holiday wonderland, then browse in a unique shops for that gotta-have-it gift.

ICE! at Gaylord Palms
November 18 through January 1, 2017
Christmas in Orlando doesn’t get any better than this event! ICE! at Gaylord Palms, an award-winning attraction carved by a team of 40 skilled artisans, features more than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures, including scenes from A Charlie Brown Christmas, four ice slides and a live ice-carving station.  

Attractions Tickets & More
Reserve Orlando is an official seller of Orlando theme park tickets. To keep your vacation budget-friendly, take advantage of our discounts on Disney tickets and Orlando attractions.  We can also help you arrange a place to stay in Orlando, with options ranging from Disney World Resorts to hotels on International Drive.


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.

Make a splash at this season’s SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration!  From November 25 – December 31, 2016, SeaWorld Orlando will feature spectacular festivities and unforgettable experiences that celebrate the holiday season.  Festivities include a dramatic holiday simulator ride, special Shamu Christmas show, special activities on The Waterfront and a holiday fountain show.

Highlights of a visit to SeaWorld  Christmas Celebration include:

O Wondrous Night
Hear the greatest story ever told with over 30 carols, life-size puppets and live animals.  Special effects and marvelous singing add to this incredible production.

Sea of Trees
Stroll through a wintery wonderland of holiday trees that sparkles to music and lights up the waterfront. The lights literally dance to music, creating a Christmas treat for all.

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Shamu Christmas Miracles
Experience the holiday wonder of the 22-minute nighttime show – Shamu Christmas Miracles.  Seasonal music, talented killer whales and a story of peace and friendship remind visitors of the everyday miracles all around us. 

Elmo’s Christmas Wish
Everybody’s Sesame Street® friends have come to SeaWorld® Orlando for a festive and fun musical celebration!  Join Rosita, Grover, Zoe and Cookie Monster as they work together to help Elmo find his Christmas wish!

SeaWorld Shamu CMAS Miracles

Winter Wonderland on Ice
The stars of this show are the talented ice skaters who dazzle with their moves.   A backdrop of towering fountains of water dancing on the lake complimented by the fireworks lighting the night sky is one of the best SeaWorld holiday experiences.

Meet Rudolph
New for the 2016 season, visitors can meet Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Rudolph leads the way to Christmas joy and holiday fun with all-new ways of making spirits bright. Bring your family and share classic Rudolph traditions while creating your own through exciting holiday events and activities.

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Clyde and SeaMore’s Countdown to Christmas
Sea Lion and Otter Stadium celebrates the season in a hilarious Christmas comedy! Those loveable sea lions Clyde and Seamore, along with a few mischievous otters, a comical elf, and even a jolly walrus, invite you and yours to their fun-filled holiday celebration.
Best of all, SeaWorld’s holiday celebrations are all included with the price of SeaWorld tickets. You and your family can save by purchasing tickets online. When you book through Reserve Orlando, you’ll save $20 per ticket. As a result, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is more affordable than ever before!
Additional things to do at Sea World Orlando include holiday dining and shopping.  Stroll through the Seaside Marketplace to experience unique culinary delights and to see artisans at work.  Then, head to The Village Square and Waterfront at SeaWorld to see festive light displays and enjoy sweet holiday treats.  Round out your day with Santa’s Fireside Feast.  Enjoy a warm-hearted holiday experience and meet Santa and Mrs. Claus at Santa’s Fireside Feast, an exclusive dinner featuring an all-you-care-to-eat menu of holiday favorites and a complimentary family photo.

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.

While Orlando is known as a kid’s paradise, the resort town also provides plenty of activities for teenagers that will be fun, memorable, and even educational. There are so many attractions in Orlando that it’s not hard to find something teens can get excited about. Follow my guide to things to do in Orlando with teenagers to ensure your family stays entertained.

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1) SeaWorld
Teens can get up close to fascinating sea life at Sea World. As they make their way through an underwater tunnel that travels through a shark tank, they’ll see a variety of wild life; feel sting rays in a touch tank, and view killer whales from an underwater room.

2) Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove, the marine life park adjacent to Sea World gives teens the chance to swim with dolphins and snorkel in a pool of tropical fish while learning all about native wildlife.

3) Gatorland
Visit the 110-acre Gatorland, home to alligators, crocodiles, extremely rare “white” alligators, a petting zoo and a thrilling Zip Line adventure with breathtaking views at 1,200 feet. It’s just one of the things to do in Orlando with teenagers that’s guaranteed a two thumbs up approval rating!

4) Universal Orlando Resort
Plenty of teen-friendly thrill rides are on hand at Universal Orlando, which is divided into two separate parks adjacent to each other: Universal Studios is like visiting a movie studio complete with “character” sightings and high-tech simulators. It’s home to such movie-themed attractions as Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, an indoor roller coaster; Men in Black: Alien Attack, a dark ride with laser tag-elements; and motion simulator rides based on “The Simpsons,” “Shrek” and “Despicable Me.”

Islands of Adventure, the resort’s other park, is one of Orlando’s best destinations for thrill-seeking teens. What teen doesn’t love Harry Potter? The whole family can enjoy an entire section dedicated to the “Harry Potter” franchise–The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The park also features Marvel Superhero Island with a Hulk themed roller coaster and a Spider Man 3-D ride.

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5) Disney World Theme Parks
For some high speed adventure Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom have rides that appeal to teenagers like the massive free-fall drops on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster with Aerosmith, the revamped Star Tours ride, themed after the famous movie franchise, “Star Wars” and have fun on high-speed adventures on Big Thunder Mountain railroad, and Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom.

6) K1 Speed
Teens take to the road at K1 Speed, an indoor go-kart race track with sharp turns. They can drive an adult kart that reaches speeds of up to 50 miles per hour if they are at least 56 inches tall. Parents or guardians must sign waivers before teens under 18 can drive a kart.

7) WhirlyBall
WhirlyBall is an unusual sport, often dubbed a mix between basketball, hockey and lacrosse, and played on an indoor court while driving a bumper car. The sport is open to visitors age 12 and over, or those measuring at least 4 feet and 6 inches.

8) Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf
Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is a buccaneer-themed miniature golf course outfitted with waterfalls, dungeons and pirate ships. Watch out for the cannon that fires intermittently as you play on one of the two 18-hole courses.

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9) Disney World Water Parks
Cool off at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, both of which are part of Walt Disney World. Teens can kick back on the 3,000-foot-long lazy river at Blizzard Beach as they float through lush forests and polar ice caves. Typhoon Lagoon offers such attractions as Humunga Kowabunga, three five-story racing slides, and the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool, a wave pool with six-foot swells.

10) Wet ‘n Wild Orlando
Wet ‘n Wild Orlando is a large water park with rides such as Disco H20, a four-person raft waterslide where the interior comes alive with disco music, a disco ball and flashing lights.

11) Aquatica Orlando
Teens can take the Dolphin Plunge at Aquatica Orlando where they’ll fly through enclosed slides and a pool filled with dolphins, or ride with their friends through the dark on Walhalla Wave, a raft slide through enclosed flumes.

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12) Disney Springs
If teens really like things lively, they’ll discover that Disney World isn’t all kid stuff at the Disney Springs, an outdoor pedestrian-only thoroughfare dotted with unique shops, world-class restaurants, and dazzling entertainment. The Landing, West Side, Market Place and Town Center all add fun to the mix.  Your teens can shop in the world’s largest Disney store, dine amid prehistoric creatures, and even have some fun bowling a game at the 30-lane alley, Splitsville.

Things to do in Orlando with teenagers can also be chill. If your teens want to sit back and relax, they can catch a movie in the AMC Dine-In Theater. Reserve seats and a waiter will bring you everything from popcorn to burgers!

13) Shopping
Young adults can spend the afternoon feeling chic at the Mall at Millenia, an upscale, two-story indoor mall with more than 145 shops and restaurants, including clothing and jewelry stores geared toward teenagers. Teens can also recharge their cell phones at the complimentary charging station outside the food park.

You might not think of Orlando as a Thanksgiving destination but there’s a bounty of things to do in Central Florida. From bountiful feasts to discount shopping and engaging attractions, you’ll find a cornucopia of Turkey Day delights. Want to learn more about things to do in Orlando during Thanksgiving? Read on.

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Things to do in Orlando during Thanksgiving

Shopping

Shopping and Thanksgiving go hand in hand. With Black Friday sales at outlet malls like Orlando Premium Outlets and high-end stores, along with boutique and box stores, shopping in Orlando is a real treat. You can make the most of Black Friday and get all of your holiday shopping done Thanksgiving weekend. Check out our holiday shopping guide to get the scoop of where to shop ’til you drop!

Thanksgiving Dinner

Once of the best things to do in Orlando during Thanksgiving? Eat! Plus, sometimes it’s nice to relax, have the meal taken care of and be able to simply enjoy the holidays season. Let Orlando restaurants cater to your taste buds. From family-friendly to intimate and quaint, you can choose the type of Thanksgiving meal right for you.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
Hours: 11:00am-10:00pm
Traditional Thanksgiving faire is complimented by the restaurant’s regular menu

Emeril’s Restaurant Orlando
Hours: Noon-9pm
Features a special Thanksgiving menu from Chef Doug

Emeril’s Tchoup Chop
Hours: Noon-9pm
Chef Ryan presents a special 3-course Thanksgiving menu. $49/person.

Islands’ Dining Room
Hours: 11:00am-9:00pm
Enjoy a Thanksgiving buffet while watching South Pacific entertainment and Universal Orlando Resort characters. $58/adults, $26/kids.

Landry’s Seafood House
Hours: 11:30am-9:00pm
A Thanksgiving dinner buffet is served along with the main menu. $22/adults, $10/kids.

Roy’s Orlando
Hours: 11:00am-8:00pm
3-course Thanksgiving meny is served with selections of Roy’s classic dishes available. $39.95/person.

The Kitchen at Hard Rock Hotel
Hours: 11:00am-4:00pm, 5:0opm-10:00pm
Thanksgiving menu featured along with entertainment and Universal Orlando Resort characters. $59/adults, $20/kids.

Tony Roma’s Orlando I-Drive
Hours: Noon-10:00pm
A special 3-course Thanksgiving menu, with ribs, is featured. $29/adults, $15/kids.

Thanksgiving Weekend Events

Thanksgiving is also the official kickoff to Christmas. You can start your holiday off right by visiting Orlando Theme Parks where the spirit of the season will already be in full swing. From Disney World to Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld to LEGOLAND, there are many ways to celebrate the magic of this special time of year.

Entertainment

You can also see an Orlando show over Thanksgiving vacation. Blue Man Group, Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure and other productions are open on Thanksgiving Day and have show times throughout the weekend.

Plan your vacation in Orlando now to get a head start on the holiday season.


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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!