Art of Animation

14 Bucket List Orlando Theme Parks

14 Bucket List Orlando Theme Parks
Written by Noah Roy

Nothing says fun like an Orlando theme park. Is your family begging for a vacation at the amusement park? If so, see…

Nothing says fun like an Orlando theme park.

Is your family begging for a vacation at the amusement park? If so, find a trip to Orlando, Florida. Choose from a variety of theme parks to suit all tastes, from classic rides and characters at Walt Disney World Resort to heart-pounding thrills at Universal Orlando Resort. And if the kids are animal lovers, they will be especially happy at SeaWorld Orlando or Gatorland. Read on to start planning your next trip to the Sunshine State; Great weather and fun-filled family adventures await at these Orlando theme parks.

Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort: Lake Buena Vista

Perhaps Orlando’s most famous theme park, Magic Kingdom Park, opened its doors in 1971 as the first park at Walt Disney World Resort. Awakening the imaginations of children and adults alike, the world-famous Magic Kingdom is home to many nostalgic classics, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan’s Flight and Jungle Cruise. The rides are divided into six themed areas – including Adventureland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland – with Cinderella’s Castle standing as the focal point in the center of the park. There are many family-friendly Disney accommodations near the Magic Kingdom, including Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesia Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort: Lake Buena Vista

Epcot is famous for its four different worlds for visitors to explore. In the World Discovery section of the park, get your blood pumping on two exciting rides: Test Track and Mission: Space. At the World Showcase, learn about countries around the world, including Morocco, Italy, Norway and China, through films, exhibitions, rides, and restaurants. Popular games in this region include Ratatouille Adventure in France and Frozen Ever After in Norway. When you strike out, stop for a snack at romantic La Cantina de San Angel in Mexico. For easy access to Epcot, book a stay at the Disney Beach Club Resort, located within walking distance of one of the park’s back entrances. At this property, you can also hop on the Disney Skyliner gondola to get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios or more Disney parks or other resorts in the area.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World Resort: Lake Buena Vista

Fans of “Star Wars” and “Toy Story” will not want to miss Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as they will find entire grounds dedicated to their favorite characters. In Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, take a journey on the Millennium Falcon, craft your own lightsaber or set out on a Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance story. In Toy Story Land, visitors can ride the Slinky Dog Dash, and try their hand at carnival games on Toy Story Mania! Meet characters like Woody and Buzz Lightyear. You’ll also find a variety of live performances, including a “Frozen Sing Celebration.” Affordable Disney resorts near Hollywood Studios include Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Animation Arts Resort. At Art of Animation, large families can opt for a three-bed family suite, which includes a dining table that can be used as a bed.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World Resort: Lake Buena Vista

Spread over 500 acres, Animal Kingdom Park is one of the largest theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort. It houses about 2,000 animals and features a range of rides across six divisions, including Africa, Asia, Pandora – Avatar World, and DinoLand USA Favorite attractions include Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain coaster, Avatar Flight of Passage, and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Visitors to this Disney park can continue their animal kingdom experience with a stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Guests can look directly outside the lodge to see more than 30 species of African wildlife, as well as enjoy a large pool with a waterslide and meals at on-site restaurants such as Jiko – The Cooking Place and Boma – Flavors of Africa.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Walt Disney World Resort: Lake Buena Vista

For some refreshing fun during Orlando’s hot days, head to Blizzard Beach, one of two Disney water parks. The theme park brings to life a fictional Florida snowstorm centered on Mount Goshmore, featuring a moving lift and Summit Plummet waterslide. Other attractions include Toboggan Racers, where you can race with a friend or family member on a mat, and ride the Teamboat Springs water raft. Blizzard Beach is located between Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort – both with easy park-to-park access.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Walt Disney World Resort: Lake Buena Vista

It’s easy to spot Disney’s second water park option – the Typhoon Lagoon – thanks to the famous shrimp boat perched atop a Mt. Stroll the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool, the park’s main attraction with a white sandy beach, or take a spin on Crush ‘n’ Gusher, a coaster-style ride that propels you forward with water jets. For an extra special experience, you can even take a surfing lesson. The Typhoon Lagoon is located near Disney Springs, a shopping and dining area, and nearby resorts include Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa.

Universal Studios Florida, Universal Orlando Resort: Orlando

Step into the spotlight at Universal Studios Florida, where you can experience attractions based on movies, TV shows, and Hollywood icons. Perhaps the most popular section of the park is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, which allows fans of the popular book and movie series to experience the magical setting of Harry Potter. Park-goers can ride the Hogwarts Express or hop on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and they can even pick up their own wand at Olivander’s Wand. In addition to Harry Potter-themed attractions, travelers can enjoy sims Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem and The Simpsons Ride. Universal Studios Florida is also known for its Halloween Horror Nights event each fall, which features haunted houses and spooky characters. The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in Universal Orlando, an Italianate-style resort, offers luxury accommodations with easy access to the parks via boat.

Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando Resort: Orlando

Universal’s Islands of Adventure Park is the place to go for fantasy adventures through themed areas like Marvel Super Hero Island, Jurassic Park, and Seuss Landing. In Seuss Landing, you can enter the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss and his many stories and characters. In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, sip Butterbeer while waiting in line for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey inside Hogwarts Castle. Exciting rides within the park range from Hagrid’s magical creatures motorbike adventure to Jurassic World Velocoaster, the Dr. Dooms Fairfall ride and the amazing adventures of Spider-Man. When night falls, lay your head at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which dates back to the 1950s and 1960s and features family suites with kitchenettes and separate sitting and sleeping areas.

Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park, Universal Orlando Resort: Orlando

You can’t miss the gigantic volcano in the middle of Universal Volcano Bay Waterpark. Attractions include water coasters, body slides, rafting, and a lazy river with rapids and waves. A particularly unique feature is the park’s virtual lines; Park-goers wear TapuTapu devices on their wrists that keep them in line for the ride and notify them when it’s their turn. For a quick walk into the park, stay at Universal’s Aventura Hotel, which has a trail that goes directly to Volcano Bay. The property also features a rooftop bar, food court, on-site Starbucks, and a swimming pool.

LEGOLAND Theme Park, LEGOLAND Resort Florida: Winter Haven

Do you have LEGO fans in your family? Experience all things built at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, from THE LEGO MOVIE World to the Land of Adventure. Check out LEGO NINJAGO The Ride and Coastersaurus for more excitement. Little ones will enjoy the kid-friendly DUPLO Valley area, which features a colorful playground, train ride and splash area for toddlers. For added convenience, you can stay overnight in one of the three LEGOLAND Florida hotels. Choose from a Pirate Island hotel with pirate-themed rooms and search for in-room treasures; LEGOLAND HOTEL OR BUILDINGS AT LEGOLAND Beach Retreat.

LEGOLAND Water Park, LEGOLAND Florida: Winter Haven

When you want a brick break, head for a refreshing dip at LEGOLAND Water Park. Families will find water slides, a wave pool and a lazy river. At Creative Cove, visitors can build their own boats and compete against others, and travelers can also test their engineering skills by creating their own rafts to float in the lazy river. Nearby properties outside the park include the Courtyard Winter Haven and the Holiday Inn Winter Haven.

SeaWorld Orlando: Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando Zoo in Orlando focuses on saving and rehabilitating ocean animals. Get up close and personal with the sea creatures on a variety of shows, including Orca Encounter and Sea Lion & Otter Spotlight. There are also many aquariums and opportunities to go behind the scenes at the park’s rehabilitation centers. You’ll also find plenty of attractions to please visitors of all ages; Ride-ons for thrill seekers include Mako, Manta, and Kraken, as well as a trip to the waterpark Atlantis. Younger kids can tour SeaWorld’s Sesame Street Land, which offers rides like Elmo’s Choo Choo Train and Big Bird’s Twirl ‘n’ Whirl. The nearby Homewood Suites by Hilton Orlando Theme Parks offers a free daily hot breakfast, as well as a pool and suites with kitchens and dining areas.

Gatorland: Orlando

If you want to take a trip to an off-the-track theme park, consider Gatorland. Located south of Orlando near Kissimmee, Gatorland offers kids the chance to see more than 2,000 American alligators, as well as alligators, birds, and other animals of all shapes and sizes. Spend the day riding a zip line over reptiles, going on an off-road adventure complete with tour guides singing or attending a wildlife show. JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes, and Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes are both less than 5 miles north of the park making for a luxurious night out.

Fun Spot America: Orlando

Fun Spot America is located off the north end of the International Highway in Orlando and features classic theme park rides such as Orlando’s only wooden coaster. At the park, you’ll also find bumper cars and thrill rides like the SkyCoaster, the Hot Seat giant arm swing and the Headrush 360 (which flips riders upside down to swing and spin). Take your pick from nearby hotels, including the Hilton Garden Inn Orlando International Drive North or Surestay Plus by Best Western Orlando International Drive.

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14 Bucket List Orlando Theme Parks Originally appeared usnews.com

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Noah Roy

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