If you’re looking for an unforgettable vacation, Orlando, Florida is the place to be. Not only is it home to some of the world’s most famous theme parks, but it also boasts an impressive array of attractions and activities that are perfect for visitors of all ages. With so much to see and do, it can be tough to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the must-visit theme parks in Orlando. Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, you’re sure to find something that everyone will love.
The Magic Kingdom: Where Fairy Tales Come to Life
The Magic Kingdom is the quintessential theme park. It’s the place where you can meet your favorite Disney characters, ride thrilling attractions, and watch spectacular parades and fireworks shows. From the moment you step through the gates, you’ll be transported to a magical world where anything is possible.
What to Do
- Take a ride on Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or Splash Mountain
- Meet and greet Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, and Buzz Lightyear
- Watch the daily Festival of Fantasy parade and the nightly Happily Ever After fireworks show
- Explore themed lands like Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Adventureland
- Visit early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid crowds
- Use the My Disney Experience app to book FastPass+ reservations for popular attractions
- Bring sunscreen, a hat, and comfortable shoes
Epcot: A World of Possibilities
Epcot is not your typical theme park. Instead of focusing solely on rides and attractions, it’s a celebration of culture, innovation, and the human spirit. With two distinct sections – Future World and World Showcase – there’s something for everyone at Epcot.
What to Do
- Ride Soarin’, Test Track, and Mission: SPACE in Future World
- Explore the 11 pavilions of World Showcase, each representing a different country
- Sample international cuisine and beverages at the various restaurants and kiosks
- Watch the nightly IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show
- Plan on spending at least a full day at Epcot to see everything
- Use the Disney World transportation system to get from one section of the park to another
- Bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated
Hollywood Studios: Lights, Camera, Action!
Hollywood Studios is the place to go if you’re a fan of movies, TV shows, and all things Hollywood. From classic attractions like the Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to newer additions like Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, there’s no shortage of excitement at this theme park.
What to Do
- Ride the newest attractions in Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- Experience the thrills of the Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Watch shows like Fantasmic! and Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
- Meet and greet your favorite Disney characters
- Get to the park early to snag a spot in the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Use the single rider line for quicker access to some of the more popular attractions
- Bring a poncho or rain jacket in case of afternoon showers
Animal Kingdom: A Wild Adventure
Animal Kingdom is a theme park unlike any other. It’s a celebration of nature, wildlife, and conservation. From the lush vegetation to the stunning animal exhibits, you’ll feel like you’re in the heart of an African savanna.
What to Do
- Take a safari ride through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve
- Visit Pandora – The World of Avatar and experience the Na’vi River Journey and Flight of Passage
- Watch shows like Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo – The Musical
- Walk through the various animal exhibits and learn about conservation efforts
- Wear comfortable, breathable clothing and shoes
- Use the Disney World app to check wait times for attractions and shows
- Bring a refillable water bottle and snacks
Universal Studios: A Thrilling Experience
Although not a Disney park, Universal Studios is a must-visit for any theme park enthusiast. It’s home to some of the most thrilling rides and attractions in Orlando, including the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Simpsons Ride, and the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit.
What to Do
- Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and ride the Forbidden Journey and Escape from Gringotts
- Ride the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and Revenge of the Mummy
- Explore the various attractions and shows in Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure
- Meet and greet your favorite characters, like the Minions and Spider-Man
- Get to the park early to avoid crowds
- Use the Universal Orlando app to check wait times and book Express Passes
- Bring a change of clothes if you plan on riding the water rides
With so many amazing theme parks to choose from, it can be tough to decide where to go. However, any of the must-visit theme parks in Orlando are sure to provide you with an unforgettable vacation. Whether you’re a fan of Disney, Universal, or both, you’ll find something that everyone will enjoy. So pack your bags, grab your family or friends, and get ready for a magical adventure in Orlando.