Best Orlando Theme Parks Based On Age
Orlando truly offers something for everyone and should never be overlooked as a fabulous and exciting destination when you’re planning a vacation. The appeal to most travelers, of course, is that it’s home to some of the best theme parks in the country, if not in the world, making this the mecca of family travel. The two most well-known theme parks, Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando have been attracting millions of visitors annually for years.
You may be wondering if these are indeed the best theme parks in Orlando for you and your party. Of course, you want to ensure that you are getting the most out of your stay, and there are dozens of options from which to choose. If you want to plan your vacation to Orlando with theme parks as your primary go-to places, check out this list of the best theme parks Orlando (suitable by age group.) Most parks offer something for everyone, but you will want to do your research to be sure you visit the theme parks that are most suitable for you, your party and your occasion. And of course, start with you and the members of your party. What do you most want to visit? What are the kids’ current passions? Is it wildlife, Hogwarts, Hollywood, minions? Let your research start with them. Orlando theme parks have it all.
Best Orlando Theme Parks For Children
For those who will be traveling to Orlando with their family, getting the right tickets to the right theme parks in Orlando is a must. No visit to this city is complete without checking out at least one of these fantastic parks. Of course, you’ll need to choose which ones will be ideal for your family, and most appropriate for your kids. Here are a few parks that you’ll want to check out:
Disney’s Magic Kingdom
The Granddaddy of them all. This theme park is still full of magic that’ll dazzle both young and old alike. Disney’s Magic Kingdom was actually the first attraction that was built in Walt Disney World and many believe, it is still where the magic begins and ends. You won’t want to miss the iconic Cinderella’s Castle, Disney’s centerpiece. The park promises thrilling rides, from heart-pounding roller coasters to circling teacups. Numerous attractions pepper the 107-acre area. Although Disney World has expanded its theme parks over time, the Magic Kingdom remains a crowd pleaser. And if you have little ones in your party, let the trip start here. This is most definitely the best Disney experience for the littlest ones. Every year children come to meet and greet their favorite Disney characters in the flesh. Do it while they still believe!
Universal’s Islands Of Adventure
Universal Orlando developed Islands of Adventure as one of its top-billing theme parks in the Orlando area. It has a fantastic range of roller coasters and rides, and tremendous theming. So this is a great choice for the thrill seekers and is super family friendly with all of the themed attractions. Here you’ll find the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade. Enjoy a glass of butterbeer while waiting to see which wand will pick you. There are several Harry Potter-themed attractions here such as the Forbidden Forest, Hogwarts Castle, and the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster. If you can’t get enough of Hogwarts, visit Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Splash away as you thrill to Jurassic Park River Adventure and Dudley DoRight’s Ripsaw Falls. For younger kids, visit Seuss Landing which is a fun area for the little ones featuring gentler rides compared to others in the Islands of Adventure.
If you have children who are school aged, something educational may be in order. A great example of a fun and educational theme park in Orlando is SeaWorld. This water park teaches your young ones all about aquatic life. SeaWorld offers a number of exhibits where visitors can get a close look at sea lions, baby dolphins, and stingrays. The younger kids will definitely enjoy Shamu’s Happy Harbor where the popular Net Climb can be found. The Net Climb is a four-story attraction where nets and tunnels are linked together that will challenge your little one’s climbing skills. If you want to venture further into family-fun, check out Antartica: Empire of the Penguin. The ride is a bit mild, but the freezing temperatures will make you feel like a penguin. There are four different species of penguins here, which are sure to pique your interest. And let’s not forget the seniors. They will enjoy the shows such as One Ocean, Dolphin Day and watching the animal encounters from the 360-degree view of Orlando from the Sky Tower just as much as the little ones will.
Legoland is a vast theme park with over 50 rides, attractions, shops, and dining, and has a separate waterpark with lazy river and wave pool. Bring your children 12 and under to LEGOLAND. This is one experience that no LEGO fan will ever forget. Not only will your kids get to see life-size LEGO statues, but if they want to experience thrill rides, the Flying School roller coaster is a must. For the younger kids, The Dragon is an excellent place to start. And don’t forget the water park, so if you are feeling that the heat’s getting to be a bit too much, you don’t have to go very far to cool down.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
While you are exploring Disney World, you should also check out Disney’s Hollywood Studios where guests are taken back to 1920’s Hollywood. You can also enjoy features from Star Wars to the Beauty and the Beast live show. Don’t miss Aerosmith’s thrilling Rock N’ Roller Coaster. There’s something for all ages here.
Universal always has something up its sleeve to entertain its guests. The park is divided into 6 main areas, each based on a different Disney-related theme such as Hollywood Boulevard, Toy StoryLand, and Sunset Boulevard. It’s a great choice for movie buffs of all ages, but their many simulator rides (vs. thrill rides) based on major movie franchises makes it a great call for the tweens in your party. Harry Potter, Transformers, and Revenge of the Mummy will keep the bolder ones thrilled. Universal Studios invites people to relive classic movies like King Kong, Jaws, as well as, more recent ones like Harry Potter. Similar to Islands of Adventure, here is another area celebrating Harry Potter. Purchase a special ticket that will allow to you ride the replica of the popular Hogwarts Express or challenge yourself to ride the Escape from Gringotts roller coaster.
Don’t forget Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. The event is so popular Universal has chosen to extend the dates from Friday, September 6, 2019 - November 2, 2019. This is the earliest that Horror Nights has ever started. Based on both classic and modern horror strategies, as well as original content, you’ll need a strong heart to venture through haunted houses, scare zones, and live entertainment.
Best Theme Parks In Orlando For Teens
Traveling to Orlando with your teens will be more action-packed when they are seeking thrill rides and unique experiences. Orlando is up to the task as these options are guaranteed to keep your teens happily satisfied.
Universal’s Islands of Adventures
With all of the true thrill rides such as The Incredible Hulk Coaster, this is a must do for teens. See above for more details!
This water park is just beside Sea World and offers teens the chance to swim with dolphins and snorkel along with tropical fish, all the while learning about aquatic life. Your teens are sure to make a splash in this water park. An extra perk is that the food is already part of the entrance fee.
Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens Tampa is sure to be any teenager’s ideal vacation as it mixes thrill rides, world-class roller coasters, and animal encounters in one area. Your kids are sure to have fun exploring this theme park. Because it’s not as crowded as some other parks, they will get to spend more time on the rides.
What if your teen thrives on adrenaline? Well, the iFly Orlando will give them exactly what they are looking for with their indoor skydiving facility. This is perfect for thrill seekers who want to enjoy skydiving without having to jump out of an airplane! This attraction is run by professional skydivers which means that your teens are in good hands.
The fun never stops at K1 Speed which caters to young adults who have a need for speed. This attraction is an indoor go-kart race track that will test their driving skills with the sharp turns and speeds reaching up to 50 miles per hour. Thrill-seeking teens will enjoy the day here, as they channel their professional race drivers. If you have a child who is less than 18, but old enough to drive the go-kart, you will be required to sign a waiver.
Best Theme Parks In Orlando For Adults Based On Reviews
The best theme parks in Orlando are certainly not limited to the younger visitors, but there are also plenty of attractions and fun rides designed with adults in mind. Here’s an Orlando theme parks list that adults will enjoy.
If you want to check out the best theme parks in Orlando for adults, Universal Orlando is a great place to start, with its theme parks, water parks, shopping and great range of regional cuisine. At Universal Studios Florida, you’ll find your favorite TV and movie characters coming to life, and get a look at real movie magic and enjoy the Hollywood-inspired rides and attractions. Test your nerves on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, or enjoy waterfront dining. Of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Hogwarts, and Diagon Alley should not be missed. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, you won’t want to miss The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man or a splash on the Jurassic Park River Adventure. Universal CityWalk is also well worth checking out. The CityWalk offers a great variety of shops, lots of live shows, and many themed restaurants ranging from NBA-themed to the world’s largest Hard Rock Cafe. And the great news, access to the entire area is free.
Talking about theme parks for adults, don’t leave Florida without a visit to the “Alligator Capital of the World,” Gatorland. This theme park and wildlife preserve sits on a 110-acre tract of land where it’s become a home for alligators and crocodiles which are quite common in Florida. Fun fact - the park was featured in the movie, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The zoo features thousands of alligators, crocodiles, and a breeding marsh complete with observation tower and boardwalk. Guests can visit the petting zoo, free-flight aviary, or try the zip line ride. The live gator show is always a must-see here.
A perennial favorite for adults is Epcot. Epcot has 2 areas, Future World and World Showcase. The World Showcase features pavilions from around the world allowing visitors to explore the sights, sounds, tastes and shopping of many cultures. It’s hard to miss this place, especially with the iconic giant golf ball-like centerpiece which can seen from much of Orlando. The International Food & Wine Festival always draws the adults to this place, but if you are with your kids, the Future World can challenge their creativity. Epcot is a win-win place to add to your itinerary in Orlando. Make dinner reservations ahead!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
If you want to visit one of the best parks in Orlando, the Animal Kingdom should be on your list. It is one of the largest animal parks in the world with live animals, exciting rides and diverse experiences. Here, you can immerse yourself in the flora and fauna of Orlando, Florida. You can trek in their open-air safari to observe exotic animals, or you can check out Pandora – The World of Avatar. You will be transported to the movie with the chance to fly on the back of a banshee yourself. The bioluminescent rainforest will leave you amazed.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
The Florida heat can take a toll on you. Perhaps, you’ll find it’s time to break out your swimwear and head out to Castaway Creek Lazy River. At Typhoon Lagoon you will find a massive wave pool and surging lagoons that cater to both the young and the old. There are water slides too, not to mention rafting adventures that are perfect for adrenaline junkies out there. And for you surfers, check out the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool with its 6-foot swells. What a way to enjoy the Florida sun, don’t you think?
Aquatica at SeaWorld Orlando
What other theme parks should you go to when in Orlando? Aquatica is actually great for those who want to make your water adventure more exciting as this park has several rapids, bullet-fast water chutes, and half-pipes that will leave you breathless. The Dolphin Plunge and the Omaka Rocka are perfect for adults who want to experience the adrenaline rush while plunging into Aquatica’s cool waters.
Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil features La Nouba, an exciting blend of acrobatics, trapeze, jugglers, singers and other theatrics. This unique and world famous circus show is held at Disney Springs Marketplace, an entertainment complex in the Walt Disney World Resort area. La Nouba means “the party” and that it is! You’ll see 65 amazing artists from 15 countries.
Don’t overlook the Margaritaville Resort. You’ll know you’re in vacation mode the minute you step on the premises of the Margaritaville Resort Orlando. Enjoy the floor-to-ceiling views of the lagoon pool, a welcome cocktail and the sound of the tropics. Choose from an exclusive suite, a cottage, or a pool view guest room. Don’t hesitate to bring the whole family, or come for the adult time (and ask for your AARP discount.) There are teen and kids’ clubs as well as a waterpark and lagoon-style pools.
Visiting Orlando is sure to be an action-packed, fun-filled, adrenaline-rush adventure for you and the whole family. While some theme parks are geared toward one age group (Magic Kingdom), most of the parks offer rides and attractions for kids-of-all-ages. It’s amazing how Disney and Universal managed to create worlds of their own where their visitors are able to enjoy the thrills, the rides, the many attractions, and the shops. You may want to consider getting a hotel in one of these theme parks bundled with passes for the various parks.
Regardless of whether you are looking for something educational, enjoy nature, shopping or want to experience the best in thrill rides, there’s always an adventure that beckons. Your family will be hard-pressed to choose which theme park to go to first. Who can resist the Incredible Hulk, Minion Mayhem, or Hogwarts Castle? In fact, many visitors choose to take the shuttle between the parks. The best part? The theme parks are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun and entertainment in Orlando. Orlando’s parks, nature preserves, and their restaurants all have something in common, and that is to take care of their guests Orlando style.
Best Theme Parks In Orlando Resources:
 Undercover Tourist; The Best Orlando Theme Parks by Age Group, Mommy Frog, July 25, 2019.
 Culture Trip; The Best Theme Parks in Orlando, Lydia Picknell, June 12, 2018.
 Tripster Travel Guide; 13 Of The Best Things To do In Orlando with Teenagers, Ashley, October 2018.
 Tripster Travel Guide; The 6 Orlando Best Themes Parks for Adults, Anne, September 5, 2018.
 Time Out; The 13 best Theme Parks in Orlando; Michele Marin, October 3, 2018.