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Top Theme Parks & Things To Do In Orlando
November 1, 2018 By CityPASS
You'll never run out of things to do in Orlando, Florida. It's a city of a little over 275,000 residents that hosts over 70 million tourists a year. Top attractions in Orlando include its plethora of theme parks and the conveniently located Lake Eola––home to the Disney Amphitheater––where you can casually circle its gorgeous perimeter or even take a swan boat out for a spin.
Boasting temperatures that range between the mid-60's and low-80's, it's easy to see why visitors are flocking to this balmy city. Orlando was established in 1885, and, until the Great Freeze of 1894-95, was the hub of Florida's citrus industry.
World class theme parks in Orlando include Walt Disney World® Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort™ and LEGOLAND® Florida Resort. In 2017 Orlando beat New York City for the title of most popular tourist destination in the United States, winning the competition by almost 10 million visitors.
Theme parks aside, the resort itself is home to multiple shopping venues such as Disney's Boardwalk Entertainment District and Disney Springs™, hotels owned by Disney and other operators, restaurants that cater to any palate, and many other entertainment options, including the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It even hosts weddings and puts on ticketed events for holidays. You'll never find yourself wondering what to do; rather, it's more a question of how much you can squeeze in during your trip! Here you'll find Orlando's attractions at their finest.
Magic Kingdom® Park
With over 40 (and counting) attractions ranging from the classic it's a small world® Attraction to the scary Haunted Mansion® Attraction, Magic Kingdom® Park has been delighting visitors for decades.
Romantics should make a point to visit Magic Kingdom's most iconic building: Cinderella Castle. Flanking the end of Main Street, U.S.A.®, the main corridor inside this 189-foot castle features five handcrafted murals illustrating the story of Cinderella. These exquisite murals are made from over one million pieces of colorful glass, as well as 14-karat gold and silver pieces. Pop into Cinderella's Royal Table to dine with Disney Princesses or get a royal makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, but don't forget to head back at the end of select days to enjoy the fireworks display that explodes in the sky above the castle.
Kids and adults alike will enjoy the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, filled with animatronic swashbuckling vagabonds and pirates. If you're into music, the Country Bear Jamboree Show features country-crooning animatronic bears, and Mickey's PhilharMagic® Attraction will amaze you with its host of 3-D of Disney® characters.
Hours for the Magic Kingdom® Park vary by month and day of the week but range from 9am to 10pm. Check the website before you plan your visit. The park is located at 1180 Seven Seas Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Epcot®, the second theme park built in the Walt Disney World® Resort, will take you across the globe, outside of this world, and even underwater. First, get your feet wet at The Seas with Nemo & Friends® Attraction, where you'll see both live aquatic life at the aquarium and enjoy a ride with Marlin and Dory to search for Nemo in a "clamobile."
At Frozen Ever After, Arendelle comes to life as you glide through the frozen willow forest and up the North Mountain leading to Queen Elsa's ice palace. Take your time on the walking tour at Epcot's World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered, so you can take in the carefully replicated architecture and landscapes of eleven countries, and even chat with Disney staffers who hail from those countries.
Space nuts will appreciate the Mission: SPACE® shuttle simulator where you can travel to Mars or orbit the Earth, all without ever leaving Florida. Epcot® is located at 200 Epcot Center Drive in Orlando, Florida.
Hours for Epcot® vary by attraction, by month, and by day of the week but range from 9am to 10pm. Check the website before you plan your visit.
Disney's Hollywood Studios®
Become a star in your own right at Disney's Hollywood Studios® theme park. You'll find it hard to choose between spectacular live shows like Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular!, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, and the live puppetry of Voyage of The Little Mermaid.
If you've had your fill of show-stopping performances, check out the quirky Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster in Toy Story Land (where you can also explore Andy's room through a 4-D arcade), or hold onto your hat during The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ Attraction heart-stopping 13-story drop. If the Tower only whets your appetite for more adrenaline-charged action, hop aboard the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith, where you'll whip through LA freeways in a limo blasting Aerosmith's top hits out of a 32,000 watt audio system.
Disney's Hollywood Studios® is located 351 S Studio Drive in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Hours for Disney's Hollywood Studios® vary by attraction, month, and day of the week but range from 9am to 8pm (shows may extend beyond 8pm). Some attractions offer Extra Magic Hours from 8am-9am. Check the Disney website before you plan your visit.
Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park
There are more than enough activities to keep you busy at Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. Try a nighttime safari on the Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour, where you'll get to speed through Himalayan peaks as part of the Expedition Everest Attraction and witness a mesmerizing bioluminescent rainforest from a boat.
Take a trek through the Asian jungle at the Maharajah Jungle Trek® Attraction (look out for tigers and Komodo dragons!), or experience the African savanna through an expedition into the Harambe Wildlife Parti on the Kilimanjaro Safari® Attraction.
Avatar comes alive here through the Disney's magical recreation of Pandora -- Land of Avatar®, where you can soar through the skies on the back of a mountain banshee and hike the mystical Valley of Mo'ara.
Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park is located at 2901 Osceola Pkwy, Orlando, Florida. Hours vary by attraction, month, and day of the week. Some attractions offer Extra Magic Hours from 8am-9am. Check the Disney website before you plan your visit.
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
Stay cool at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, where you can zip down thrilling water slides, splash around in a giant wave pool, or even carve out a few hours for yourself at your own private Beachcomber shack, which can accommodate up to six guests.
For those looking to turbo-charge their visit, try Humunga Kowabunga. This five-story, 60-degree drop (in the dark, no less) is not for the faint of heart. Gangplank Falls allows you and three others to surf in a giant inner tube down 300-yards of rushing rapids, and the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool features six-foot waves perfect for body surfing or even just bobbing around in the surf.
Those looking for a more relaxing activity will find bliss drifting down Castaway Creek, where you can lazily encircle the water park in a cushy inner tube. Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is located at 1145 East Buena Vista Drive, Orlando, Florida. Hours are from 10am-5pm, but it's closed for the winter months for refurbishment. Check the Disney website before you plan your visit.
Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park
Disney's ski-resort themed water park is a treat for all ages. If Humunga Kowabunga wasn't enough to sate your appetite for exhilarating drops, try the Summit Plummit, a near-vertical free-fall body slide, or Snow Stormers, which features three different curving waterslides. Race your friends and family down slippery slaloms at Toboggan Racers or navigate white water rapids with up to five others at Teamboat Springs.
If you've got youngsters, Ski Patrol Training Camp is the perfect place for tots and pre-teens to scramble over obstacle courses and zip down age appropriate slides. Be sure to make time to bob like a cork in Blizzard Beach's one-acre wave pool, Melt-Away Bay.
Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park is located at 1534 Blizzard Beach Drive, Orlando, Florida. Hours are from 10am-5pm, but it's closed for the winter months for refurbishment. Check the Disney website before you plan your visit.
Other Walt Disney World® Parks
The fun never ends at Disney, where, along with its magical theme and water parks, you can experience some of the most fun fairways Florida has to offer on Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course, Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course, and Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course.
Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course is a casual 9-hole retreat that's fun for all ages, but if mini-golf is more your thing, join Santa and his elves at the Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course, or test your golfing skills among tutu-clad hippos at Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex hosts hundreds of teams from all over in every sport you can think of, from cheerleading and dance to gymnastics to football. Cheer for your personal team or just drop by to applaud the athletes as they compete.
Universal Orlando Resort is a unique vacation destination that places guests in the heart of powerful stories and adventures. Universal Orlando's three theme parks, Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay, are home to some of the world's most exciting and innovative theme park experiences – including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. In addition to its exciting and innovative theme parks, Universal Orlando is home to an entertainment complex complete with shopping and dining, and six (soon to be eight) incredibly themed hotels. The destination also hosts multiple theme nights, most notably its Halloween Horror Nights and Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort.
Opened in 1990, Universal Studios Florida was Universal Orlando's first theme park and was designed to make guests feel like stars by placing them in the heart of their favorite movies. Later in 1999 Universal Orlando debuted its second theme park, Universal's Islands of Adventure and its entertainment complex, Universal CityWalk. Most recently in 2017, the vacation destination added its third theme park, Universal's Volcano Bay, an innovative water theme park.
Universal Studios Florida™
Immerse yourself in the next generation of blockbuster entertainment at Universal Studios Florida as heart-pounding, cutting-edge attractions bring your favorite movies, television and more to life. You'll encounter mischievous Minions, join forces with the TRANSFORMERS, crash through Krustyland with The Simpsons™ and take on the new ride Fast & Furious – Supercharged™.
At Universal Studios Florida you'll also find The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Here you can follow in Harry Potter's footsteps as you walk through the streets of London, and enter Diagon Alley where you'll find many of the wizarding world's most famous establishments. Dine at the Leaky Cauldron, see a wand choose a wizard at Ollivanders wand shop, and take a journey deep below Gringotts bank on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts.
Universal Studios Florida is located at 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, Florida. Hours vary by month and day of the week but range from 8am to 10pm. Check the Universal Studios Florida website before you plan your visit.
Universal's Islands of Adventure
Take a once-in-a-lifetime journey through the legendary worlds of incredible heroes at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Here you'll step right into some of the most powerful stories, myths and legends ever created. Come face to face with King Kong, battle villains alongside Spider-Man, go on a high-speed rampage with The Incredible Hulk, and flee hungry raptors in Jurassic Park.
Here you'll find The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade nestled at the foot of Hogwarts castle. Dine at the Three Broomsticks, swoop past Hagrid's hut on Flight of the Hippogriff, and shop for sweets at Honeydukes. Then, discover the mysteries of Hogwarts as you wander through the classrooms and corridors, and soar above the castle with Harry Potter on the groundbreaking ride, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
Universal Islands of Adventure is located at 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, Florida. Hours vary by month and day of the week but range from 8am to 10pm. Check the Universal Islands of Adventure website before you plan your visit.
Universal's Volcano Bay
Enjoy the thrills and relaxation of a tropical paradise like no other. At Universal's Volcano Bay water theme park, you'll find an oasis of excitement along with laid-back luxuries. It's an entirely new vacation experience with no standing in long lines. No wrestling with tubes. No waiting for the fun to begin.
Relax at Waturi Beach where you can enjoy the lapping surf while taking in an unforgettable view of the Krakatau volcano. You can also become an honorary Waturi and experience the power of the Krakatau Aqua Coaster. If thrills are more your speed, brave the volcano on the Ko'okiri Body Plunge or take a thrilling whitewater ride along TeAwa The Fearless River.
Universal's Volcano Bay is located at 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, Florida. Hours vary by month and day of the week but range from 10am to 7pm. Check the Universal's Volcano Bay website before you plan your visit.
If you're after fun, food, and entertainment for everyone, you're in for a treat when you visit Universal CityWalk. To enter Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure, attendees travel through Universal CityWalk, but it is also open to non-ticket holding public. Its variety of themed restaurants, nightclubs, and shops that make for a fabulous night out even if you're not planning on visiting the parks.
Fill your tummy with tempting nosh at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen, made to look like a steam-punk chocolate factory, or The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, where you'll never have to worry about choosing between a juicy burger or a satisfying sushi roll. Afterwards grab a sinfully delicious treat at Voodoo Doughnut which serves more than 50 types of doughnuts.
Don't miss out on everyone's favorite show, Blue Man Group, as they enliven your evening with a combination of comedy, rock, and theater. This wildly popular phenomenon delivers an unforgettable multi-sensory experience. It's an outrageous evening of entertainment you'll never forget.
You can also dance until the wee hours at the Red Coconut Club, a Cuban-inspired nightclub featuring signature martinis and VIP table service, or the groove where a multi-level dance club boasts the latest in sound and special effects. You can also take the stage and karaoke the night away at CityWalk's Rising Star. Here you can belt out your favorite tunes with help from talented backup singers and a live band.
Universal CityWalk is located at 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, Florida. Hours for Universal CityWalk vary by attraction; the area itself is open until 2am. Check the attraction's website for hours before planning your visit.
Built in 2011, the LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is a sprawling 150-acre complex comprised of thrilling rides, attractions, shops, eateries, a hotel, and a water park. It caters to kids ages 2-12, but in truth, all ages will enjoy the parks. The second LEGOLAND resort in the United States, it's built on the land that used to host Florida's Cypress Gardens theme park, and it chose to preserve the previous resident's botanical gardens. The LEGOLAND Hotel is just steps from the park entrance, and each room features a unique LEGO® theme; the LEGOLAND Beach Resort is positioned on the edge of a lake and is filled with 83 themed bungalows.
LEGOLAND® Florida Resort
The LEGOLAND Florida Resort is comprised of 12 distinctly themed areas. Each has its own individual motif that encompasses the attractions and concessions.
LEGO City is where kids take control. At Ford driving school, they'll enjoy some hands-on driving education and get the chance to earn their own license. Once they've passed their test, the entire family can head over to the Driving School Store to purchase a custom-made driver's license. Children can also attend boating and flying schools—the former being a kid-piloted boat ride and the latter a dizzying roller coaster.
In Pirate's Cove, Miranda Valentina and her guardsmen are attacked by pirates as part of a live-action water-ski show, and it's up to the kids to help safeguard her palace.
MINILAND USA is filled with LEGO replicas of top US tourist destinations like the Kennedy Space Center, New York City, and Hollywood. It took many man-hours and 32 million LEGO bricks to build these inspiring scenes, so take your time examining each one.
Burn off some energy at Cole's Rock Climb as part of LEGO NINJAGO® World, or tour the 75-year old historic gardens, courtesy of LEGOLAND's predecessor, Cypress Gardens. In AQUAZONE® Wave Racers, young ones can pilot their own pontoon vehicle, racing their friends or family members.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort is located at 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven, Florida. Hours vary by month and day of the week but range from 10am to 8pm. Check the LEGOLAND Florida Resort website for hours before planning your visit.
LEGOLAND® Florida Water Park
LEGOLAND Florida Water Park is a cornucopia of kid-centered delights. On Splash Out, children can decide between three slides, all of which result in a 60-foot drop into a pool. The LEGO Wave Pool has carefully tailored waves small enough for younger ones to enjoy, but also large enough so the older ones don't get bored.
The Joker Soaker is for kids to indulge in their favorite pastime––playing––where they can clamber on climbing areas and slip down slides or splash under giant water spouts. Creative Cove has an educational bent: children can create their own boat, which they can then race against others at Build-A-Boat.
There's plenty of delicious eats to be had as well. From the Beach-n-Brick Grill to Beach Street Tacos, you'll never be far from a yummy treat.
LEGOLAND Florida Water Park is located within LEGOLAND at 1 Florida Way, Winter Haven, Florida. Hours vary by month and by day of the week but range from 10:30am to 6pm. Check the LEGOLAND Florida Water Park website for hours before planning your visit.
SeaWorld Orlando is both a theme park and marine zoological park, making it the ideal combination of fun and education. Since its inception in 1973, this 200-acre park has been charming visitors with its engaging live entertainment and adrenaline-charged rides. Scare yourself silly at the Shark Encounter exhibit in the Sea of Mystery, or connect with thrilling sea creatures at One Ocean, SeaWorld's signature killer whale show. There are roller coasters, river rapids, and indoor and outdoor educational exhibits on marine life from around the world. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment® comprises SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove, and Aquatica Water Park, making it one of the top attractions in Orlando.
Make sure to allow yourself at least a few days at this amazing theme park—there's so much to enjoy that you'll want to spend an entire week there!
SeaWorld Orlando features a variety of coaster experiences that provide thrills for all ages. Families can brave thrills together on Journey to Atlantis®, an edge-of-your-seat watercoaster. On Manta®, guests can enjoy a seamless blend of up-close animal encounters with a head-first, facedown thrills. True thrill connoisseurs will look no further when they experience Orlando's tallest, fastest and longest coaster, MAKO™.
Kraken Unleashed is a floorless roller coaster based on a mythological underwater monster that has struck fear into sailors' hearts for centuries. You'll reach heights of 150 feet, only to plunge down at incredible speeds.
The all-new Infinity Falls will take guests on an adventure through a lush rainforest environment inspired by some of the world's most incredible freshwater ecosystems. The new attraction will feature the world's tallest drop on a river raft ride and allow visitors to experience the feel of exhilarating rapids. The ride will also feature an innovative elevator lift designed to transport the rafts to the top of the ride's 40-foot drop before plunging into churning whitewater.
Discover what it takes to care for an injured animal at SeaWorld Rescue™ Manatee Rehabilitation. Witness the power and grace of killer whales in the awe-inspiring show One Ocean®, and experience one-of-a-kind attractions, thrilling coasters and up-close animal interactions.
SeaWorld Orlando is located at 7007 SeaWorld Drive, Orlando, Florida. Hours vary by month and day of the week but range from 9am to 10pm. Check the SeaWorld Orlando website for hours before planning your visit.
The sister park of SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica is sure to satisfy your urge to get soaked in the most thrilling way possible. From high-speed water slides and exhilarating wave pools, to tranquil beaches, Aquatica Orlando offers exclusive attractions that promise unlimited fun, sending guests on amazing undersea adventures. This one-of-a-kind waterpark is home to some of the world's most thrilling water rides, featuring 42 slides, rivers and lagoons and 84,000 square feet of sparkling white sandy beaches.
Get ready to brave the three-in-one thrills of all-new Ray Rush™, an action-packed water adventure the entire family can enjoy together. If Ihu's Breakaway Falls®, a heart-stopping multi-story freefall water slide, isn't enough of a rush for you, brace yourself for the Taumata Racer, which hurtles you down a monstrously steep hill face-first.
The park also boasts the Dolphin Plunge, an enthralling underwater ride that takes you past the home of a Commerson's dolphins, some of whom may race you as you whiz by. Those seeking a refreshing dip in the surf should visit Cutback Cove and Big Surf Shores, two side-by-side wave pools that offer high-action and variable waves, respectively.
Younger kids will adore the whimsical Walkabout Waters, boasting a 60-foot-tall rain fortress, or Kata's Kookaburra Cove®, where they can indulge in a pint-sized body slide or splash the day away under gushing water spouts.
Once you've had your fill of heart-pounding rides, unwind on the relaxing Loggerwood Lane lazy river, where you'll pass a captivating underwater world of rainbow-colored fish.
Aquatica Orlando is located at 5800 Water Play Way, Orlando, Florida. Check the Aquatica Orlando website for hours before planning your visit.
With so much to see and do in Orlando, it's not hard to see why it has become one of the top tourist destinations in the United States. CityPASS offers discount attraction tickets to some of the most exciting spots in Orlando. With your Orlando CityPASS tickets in hand, you can see more for less. Purchase your Orlando CityPASS tickets today to start your adventure.
HARRY POTTER characters, names and related indicia are © & TM Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s17)
*Additional restrictions apply. TRANSFORMERS and all related characters are trademarks of Hasbro and are used with permission. © 2017 Hasbro. All Rights Reserved. © 2017 MARVEL. Jurassic Park TM Universal Studios/Amblin. © 2017 BMP. Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2017 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.
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