Universal Orlando® brings your favourite films, TV shows and games to life through amazingly themed worlds and rides. They pull out all the stops to create some spectacular sensory experiences, too – with actors in costume, sounds, smells, 4D interactions and even holographic technology to fully immerse you. There are two parks for you to explore, Universal’s Islands of Adventure®, which is aimed more at families, and Universal Studios®, which is set in a genuine working production studio – and both are right next to each other, so you can easily go between the two. When it comes to rides, there’s a good mix of thrilling rollercoasters, like The Incredible Hulk Coaster® which hits speeds of up to 105 kilometres per hour, family favourites like Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges®, and mini coasters for little ones in Dr Seuss land. Film buffs and TV fans will also love strolling through comic strips in Marvel Super Hero Island, waving interactive magic wands around Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, or chilling out with a Duff Beer at Mo’s Tavern in The Simpsons™ land, Springfield.
Universal’s first ever ‘water theme park’ Volcano Bay has just had its grand opening too, and you can buy a pass for all three of the parks to enjoy them all. They also recently announced an exciting new Nintendo-themed land for gaming fans who’ll be able to headbutt life-size question blocks, munch on Super Mario mushroom power ups and meet Princess Peach and company in real life, too.
With four huge theme parks and two waterparks to choose from – Walt Disney World covers just about everyone. The most famous park is Magic Kingdom where families and nostalgic Disney fans can enjoy family-friendly attractions, beyond amazing parades and fireworks shows, and, of course, meeting their favourite characters. There’s also Hollywood Studios for some old movie magic and exhilarating rides like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™, and Animal Kingdom – where you can step into a Lion King-style wildlife wonderland. The most adult-friendly park is Epcot, which is packed full of grown-up rides, exhibitions and a massive World Showcase dining pavilion where you can eat your way around eleven countries. If you’re there from mid-September to mid-November in 2017, you’ll also get free entry into one of the biggest food and wine festivals in the world with more than 300 varieties of wine to try and food cooked from 250 expert chefs.
If that’s not enough, there are two waterparks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, to explore as well. Plus, if you’re staying at a Disney hotel, you can also take advantage of the golf course, and the newly-opened Disney Springs which has plenty of shopping, dining and nightlife options.
SeaWorld and Busch Gardens are part of SeaWorld parks, so you can buy a pass that covers them both. These parks boast some really thrilling rollercoasters, so if you’re a speed fiend, don’t skip them. Busch Gardens is an African-themed park which has seven huge rollercoasters. There’s SkeiKra, which is floorless and takes you 200 feet into the air with a 90-degree drop, Scorpion which has a terrifying 60-foot drop and a 360-degree loop, and Falcon's Fury which is the tallest free-standing drop tower in North America at a height of 335 feet. Cobra's Curse is the newest coaster added into the mix – this three and a half minute spinning ride speeds along at 40mph around a petrifying 80-foot model of a snake.
Over at SeaWorld, you’ll find loads of ocean-themed rollercoasters and water rides. Kraken is a massive looping rollercoaster named after the Kraken sea monster, and the stingray-themed Manta is a ‘flying’ rollercoaster where you ride face down and splash into the sea. There’s also the brand-new Mako which is a shark-themed coaster that reaches speeds of up to 73 mph and happens to be the longest, tallest and fastest in Orlando.
SeaWorld Parks also have their own big waterpark, Aquatica, which has a mix of exhilarating and family-friendly slides. The most popular is Dolphin Plunge® where riders whizz along an enclosed transparent tube through a pod full of playful black and white Commerson’s Dolphins.
This part theme park, part model village is perfect for family fun with plenty of activities for little ones to get stuck in to. There’s more than 50 rides, shows and attractions including building zones where you can get hands on with the LEGO®, and interactive activities like Boating School and Driving School. When it comes to rides, they’re more of the ‘pink knuckle’ variety for younger kids to enjoy, but there’s also the slightly scarier Dragon Coaster and suspended rollercoaster Flying School for big kids, too. In Miniland USA, you’ll find amazing LEGO® replicas of American cities and attractions including Las Vegas, New York and Washington DC. 58 million LEGO® bricks were used to make more than 28,000 intricately-detailed models within the resort – so this is worth seeing alone.
The newest addition to LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is the LEGO® NINJAGO™ World which opened in January this year. Inspired by the TV show Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, this land features hands-on, immersive activities where kids can learn ninja skills and interact with the characters. There’s also the 4D interactive LEGO® NINJAGO™ The Ride which blends 3D animation and special effects where guests blast animated fireballs using special ninja moves.
If you’re a fan of a bit of nostalgia, you’ll love Fun Spot America which is a traditional fairground-style theme park packed full of classic rides like bumper cars, teacups and carousels. It’s also home to Orlando’s only wooden rollercoaster, and an arcade where you can have the opportunity to play more than 100 new and classic video games. Best of all, Fun Spot America is a wallet-friendly option, being around half the price of a day ticket to the biggest theme parks, plus there’s free parking and free Wi-Fi when you’re in there, too. Fun Spot America is a family-owned business, so you can expect a welcoming atmosphere and lots of exciting attractions to bring the family together. One of the most popular rides here happens to be the Go Karts, which have tracks of different levels and speeds where you can race the rest of the clan.
Sorted for your Florida holiday?
Browse our attraction tickets to all of these theme parks or check out our Florida deals.
If you enjoyed reading this you may also like Florida – why the Sunshine State isn’t just for kids, our Walt Disney World Resort in Florida video, or Can you visit four Walt Disney World parks in one day?
Author: Selina Akhtar
A trio of theme parks are right on your doorstep when you stay at the retro-themed Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
Get a real life Lion King experience with a stay at where Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge giraffes and zebras roam freely right outside your window.
The luxurious Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort is the perfect place to unwind after a gourmet feast, with a big grotto pool, health club and spa onsite.
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