Orlando, Florida is famous for its vacation spots and theme parks. With so many to choose from, it can be a challenge to narrow it down to the best attractions for you and your family. From Walt Disney World to Universal Studios, this top 10 list details the best theme park experiences for all ages!
1. Magic Kingdom
When you think of Disney, you most likely imagine the iconic Cinderella castle, which is nestled in the heart of Magic Kingdom. Located just outside of Orlando in Kissimmee, this park contains all of the historical rides original to Disney, including the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and It’s A Small World. Guests can explore the futuristic Tommorowland and ride the iconic Space Mountain, stop over in Fantasyland for a bite to eat in the Be Our Guest restaurant, and cool off in Adventureland on Splash Mountain.
Over the past few years, new rides themed after classic Disney films have been added, such as The Little Mermaid and Seven Dwarves Mine Train. Perfect for families and guests of all ages! Tickets start at 113 USD for adults and 107 USD for children, but can range up to 132 USD for adults and 125 USD for children during the peak summer months.
Address: Walt Disney World Resort, 1180 Seven Seas Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Website: Magic Kingdom
What happens when you mix the concept of a world’s fair with the future? You get Epcot! While great for families, this park has become a favorite among adults for its wine and food tasting, and art and garden festivals offered throughout the year. After visiting futuristic attractions, such as Mission Space, guests can tour several countries in the World Showcase and enjoy authentic meals and cultural attractions. Tickets start at 105 USD for adults and 99 USD for children, and can range up to 126 USD for adults and 120 USD for children during peak times.
Address: Walt Disney World Resort, 200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
3. Animal Kingdom
The largest park in Walt Disney World, Animal Kingdom gives guests an up-close look at a variety of animals, such as African elephants, giraffes, and gorillas. Guests can embark on a Kilimanjaro Safari to get a glimpse at plenty of exotic animals across an African savanna. Besides animal encounters, the park also contains a number of thrill rides, such as Expedition Everest, DINOSAUR, and Kali River Rapids.
Its newest addition, Pandora World of Avatar, allows guests to experience the world of Avatar complete with its floating mountains and bio-luminescent plant life. Tickets start at 105 USD for adults and 99 USD for children and can range to 126 USD for adults and 120 USD for children.
Address: Walt Disney World Resort, 2901 Osceola Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32830
Website: Animal Kingdom
4. Hollywood Studios
Are you a film buff? Hollywood Studios prides itself on allowing guests to experience the movies. From The Great Movie Ride, where guests can surround themselves in the action of iconic films, to One Man’s Dream, which contains many rare artifacts from Walt Disney’s career, this park has attractions to satisfy every type of movie lover.
Star Wars fans will also feel at home here, since many new additions include meet-and-greets with a number of characters from the films. Fans can also experience Star Tours, which takes guests on a 3D motion simulator ride through different Star Wars planets. Tickets start at 105 USD for adults and 99 for children, and can range up to 126 USD for adults and 120 USD for children in peak times.
Address: Walt Disney World Resort, 351 S Studio Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Website: Hollywood Studios
5. Universal Orlando
With a name like Universal, guests can expect a multitude of movie-themed rides and memorabilia scattered throughout the park. While this park is great for families, the number of roller coasters and thrill rides make it perfect for adults and families with older children. The most popular attraction is the recent Diagon Alley addition to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which connects Universal to its sister park, Islands of Adventure.
Guests can immerse themselves in the Wizarding World by walking through the cobbled streets, shopping at stores from the Harry Potter books, sipping the famous Butterbeer, and taking a journey on the Hogwarts Express. In order to ride the Hogwarts Express, guests will need to purchase a park-hopper ticket, which starts at 175 USD. If train rides aren’t your thing, 1-park tickets start at 117 USD for adults and 111 USD for children, and can range up to 132 USD for adults and 126 for children during peak times.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
Website: Universal Orlando
6. Islands of Adventure
Next door to Universal Studios is Islands of Adventure, known for its high-speed The Incredible Hulk rollercoaster and motion simulators, like Skull Island: Reign of Kong and The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. The park includes sections dedicated to popular superheroes, classic comics, and Jurassic Park. The most popular section of the park is Hogsmeade, a magical shopping and dining village from the Harry Potter universe.
Guests can choose from an array of themed merchandise and dining options complete with a view of Hogwarts castle looming in the distance, which provides the perfect photo-op. Popular attractions include Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Dragon Challenge coaster. Tickets start at 117 USD for adults and 111 USD for children, and can range up to 132 USD for adults and 126 for children during peak times.
Islands of Adventure
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
Website: Islands of Adventure
If you are looking to vacation with small children, Legoland is a favorite option among families. Located 46 miles (51 kilometers) outside of Orlando in Winter Haven, Legoland gives guests a variety of kid-friendly rides throughout their themed lands, such as LEGO Technic, Pirates Cove, and Land of Adventure. Rides include small coasters, such as Coastersaurus and Beetle Bounce, the suspended coaster Flying School, and Boating School, where kids can control their own boat.
You can’t have a Lego theme park without the chance to build things, and the park gives guests plenty of opportunities to build their own Lego creations. Before the park was opened in 2011, it was the former site of the historical Cypress Gardens theme park. Guests can still view the restored botanical gardens and the 75-year-old Banyan tree original to the park. Tickets start at 99 USD for adults and 92 USD for children. Toddlers are free.
Address: 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven, FL 33884
8. Seaworld Orlando
Famous for their orca whale shows, Sea World allows guest to experience up-close encounters with a variety of marine life, including sharks, turtles, beluga whales, and dolphins. After touring their many aquariums, guests can visit their Manatee Rehabilitation Area to learn about Sea World’s conservation efforts and get a behind-the-scenes look at the rescue process of injured manatees.
Besides their shows featuring their famous orca whales, Sea World also showcases plenty of other animals in a number of live shows, including dolphins, sea lions, and cats and dogs. For thrill seekers, there are many towering, high-speed coasters to choose from, including Kraken, Manta, and their newest coaster Mako, which sends guests 200 feet (60 meters) high with speeds up to 73 mph (117 km). For guests ages 3 and up, tickets start at 99 USD.
Address: 7007 Sea World Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
Website: Seaworld Orlando
After visiting Sea World, you can cool off at their water park, Aquatica. From their lazy river Loggerhead Lane, to their free-falling ride Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, this water park has attractions perfect for all ages and thrill levels. A ride you won’t find at any other water park is Dolphin Plunge, which takes guests gliding through a dolphin enclosure. Among other attractions, the park also contains a wave pool, Cutback Cove and Big Surf Shores, and the family-sized tube ride, Walhalla Wave. For guests ages 3 and up, tickets start at 59 USD.
Address: 5800 Water Play Way, Orlando, FL 32821
10. Discovery Cove
If you’re looking for a face-to-face encounter with marine life, Discovery Cove gives guests the amazing opportunity to swim next to dolphins, scuba dive with exotic fish, and view an array of multicolored birds up-close in their Explorer’s Aviary. In 30-minute sessions, guests can greet dolphins before taking hold of a dorsal fin for a thrilling ride around the Dolphin Lagoon. After exploring the many paths and grottos of The Grand Reef and getting an up-close view of otters from the Freshwater Oasis, guests can unwind on the sandy beaches of Serenity Bay or drift down the crystal waters of Wind-Away River.
Due to limited capacity, reservations are required. All inclusive packages, with all attractions, complimentary breakfast, lunch and unlimited snacks, lockers, sunscreen, and snorkel gear, range from 243 to 488 USD. For non-dolphin encounters, tickets range from 179 USD to 286 USD.
Address: 6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, FL 32821
Website: Discovery Cove
Experience these parks this upcoming travel season!
With so many options to choose from, Orlando prides itself on being a top vacation spot for families and guests of all ages. Visit Orlando this upcoming travel season to experience these top-rated theme parks and unique attractions.
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