Best Theme Parks In Orlando (And Why) 2023
Orlando has much to offer both visitors and locals alike, with its abundance of world-class theme parks, tourist hotspots and attractions, fantastic dining destinations, vibrant nightlife and great Florida outdoors. Planning a vacation to Orlando has never been more fun, especially for those with kids in tow, because there’s no place in the world that says “family fun” like Orlando. Whether you’re traveling with the family, the grandkids or that special someone, between the thrilling rides, unique attractions and the best in amusement parks and entertainment, you’ll find something that will fill your day your way and leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
There are two major theme parks in Orlando and these are Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. What makes these two dominate the scene is that they bring a world of excitement to its guests from parks, to performances, to dining, and even their nightlife hubs. If you’re wondering, which are the best theme parks in Orlando for you and your party, here’s a list of great options to consider.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom
This is the first-ever theme park built by Disney World and today, it still draws more than 20 million visitors annually which is a kind of magic itself. Disney’s Magic Kingdom is without a doubt the best park for the little ones who want to see their favorite characters come to life and to experience the magic of Disney. Cinderella’s Castle is the most iconic sight that you’ll see here, and is magnificent when lit up at night by the fireworks. For the $100 entrance fee, you can immerse yourself in the world of Disney with its non-stop parades, simulators, roller coasters, and more which are all designed to help young children experience and meet their favorite characters in real life. You can choose from the six differently themed lands from Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Main Stress, Liberty Square, and FrontierLand. The themes vary from the tropical jungles of Africa and the world of pirates, medieval fayres from Disney movies, the Wild West and famous Splash Mountain, a look into the future with Space Mountain, and the American Revolution and the spooky Haunted Mansion.
Address: 1180 Seven Seas Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, United States
Ticket Prices: $100. Be sure to check. Various tickets are available.
Hours of Operation: 09:00 to 24:00 daily (May vary depending on the season. Be sure to confirm)
Universal Islands of Adventure
If you’re looking for the best theme parks in Orlando, Universal Islands of Adventure should definitely be on your list of places to visit. Although there are some theme parks in the Orlando area that cater to specific crowds or age groups, this one has something for both kids and adults of all tastes. From live-action stunts that will hook the kids, to roller coaster rides that will make you scream with excitement and even immersive simulators, you’re sure to find something to do here. You can check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which always draws most of the crowd, Jurassic Park, where you get to relive the popular Jurassic movies, as well as Marvel Super Hero Island just to name a few. The Hogwarts Castle and Escape to Gringotts are just a few interesting themes in Universal’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade and should definitely be included in your itinerary. And for the littlest ones, don’t miss Seuss Landing.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, United States
Ticket Prices: $105 per day for Islands of Adventure or $155 per day for both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida.
Hours of Operation: 09:00am to 10:00pm May vary depending on the season. Be sure to confirm.
If you’re looking for a water park that will thrill the kids and delight the parents and grandparents alike, SeaWorld offers fun and learning at the same time. Everyone is sure to have tons of fun in this park that features the Shark Encounter tunnel, Dolphin Cove and Stingray Lagoon. The kids have a chance to get up close to baby dolphins, stingrays, and sea lions just to name a few. Shamu’s Happy Harbor is always a hit with younger kids, while the penguin habitat is a must-see. Here you’ll experience what it’s like to live in the South Pole and you’ll even get to see different species of penguins while you’re at it. Be sure to catch a wave at Aquatica or grab a private cabana for the day. This water park should definitely be on your bucket list while visiting Orlando.
Address: 7007 SeaWorld Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
Ticket Prices: $99.99 but discounts may be available if you purchase prior to visiting.
Hours of Operation: 09:00/10:00 am to 06:00/07:00pm.
This is Legoland’s largest park to date. Legoland features over 50 rides, shows, attractions and restaurants, not to mention its own water park. It is located in historic Winter Park, which is a 45 minute drive from Orlando. You can also take the $5 shuttle that goes through the park on a daily basis starting from the International Drive at 9 in the morning. Inside the park, there are dozens of sights to see and things to do, from gigantic Lego-built models, like the Kennedy Space Center, New York, and even the Daytona Speedway, roller coasters, as well as performances and shows that are quite incredible. There are several day passes available here for children and adults with $100 for the LEGOLAND Water Park if you are going to use the “park-hopper” pass.
Address: 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven, FL 33884
Ticket Prices: $74 for adults and $66 for children
Hours of Operation: 10:30am to all 7:00pm
Universal Studios Orlando
Universal Studios Orlando is definitely one of the best theme parks in Orlando with heaps of thrilling rides, shows, and performances that are guaranteed to make your day, (or days) unforgettable. Rides and attractions are movie-inspired from Despicable Me, Men in Black and Harry Potter. Check out their Halloween Horror Nights which are not for the faint of heart, their Hogwarts themed park such as Escape from Gringotts where you can get the chance to meet up with the heroes Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The best part? You can book a stay in their hotel too, so you won’t have to be far away from all the action in Universal Studios. Take advantage of this theme park’s app, so you can find your away round Universal Citywalk and stay updated on what’s happening in the area during your visit.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819 USA
Ticket Prices: $114
Hours of Operation: 08:00am to 02:00am
Are you looking for the best theme parks in Orlando for adults? Discovery Cove is a good option to consider as visitors here will be treated to an unusual water park adventure in a breathtaking tropical atmosphere. That’s what you came to Florida for, right? This is an immersive aquatic park where you can snorkel along with tropical fish, get up close to dolphins, and just enjoy the sun and the water at your own leisure. A main attraction is the Dolphin Lagoon where you can swim with the dolphins. What’s even better is that almost everything that you’ll find in this theme park is already paid for in your admission tickets such as snorkel equipment, food, and sunscreen.
Address: 6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, FL 32821
Ticket Prices: $211.94 to $489.90 per person but rates can vary depending on the season.
Hours of Operation: 09:00am to 05:00pm
Another contender for the best theme parks in Orlando for adults is Gatorland. This 110-acre theme park is thriving with wildlife where visitors can see different types of alligators and crocodiles in their natural habitat. Guests can also take advantage of their petting zoo, free-flight aviary, rookie gator wrestling, and even their zipline ride which is always a thrill to try out. Make sure that when you visit Gatorland, you’re wearing proper attire, especially when you plan on using the zipline. And to avoid having to wait in line at the entrance, it’s always a good idea to secure your tickets online.
Address: 14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32837
Ticket Prices: $29.99 for one-day general admission
Hours of Operation: 10:00am to 05:00pm
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens offers animal safaris, live entertainment, and heart-stopping roller coasters. Try out Cheetah Hunt, one of the longest roller coasters in the country. Or for the most fearless only, try Falcon’s Fury, which will plummet you toward the ground face-down at speeds of 60. If you’re looking for thrill rides that will make your heart leap out of your chest, Busch Gardens is where you’ll want to go next. The good news is that, although this is one of the best theme parks in Orlando for adults, kids aren’t left behind either. You can also try the Sesame Street Safari of Fun that is filled with rides as well as attractions, plus take a photo with Big Bird and Elmo. You’ll also find one of the biggest zoos here which will mean hours of entertainment for the young and old alike as it’s home to hundreds of different animals.
Address: 10165 McKinely Dr, Tampa, FL 33612
Ticket Prices: $79.99 for a single park ticket
Hours of Operation: 10:00am to 06:00pm
If you’re planning a vacation in Orlando, make sure that you make your personalized list of the best theme parks in the area for you. Regardless of whether you’ll be traveling with the whole family, or with your friends, or even your significant other, there are dozens of thrill rides, roller coasters, amusement centers, resorts, and water parks to choose from. From Walt Disney World where you can meet iconic Disney characters to Universal Studios where their CityWalk is perfect for a leisurely walk to end the day, to Epcot, and SeaWorld, and everything in between, you’ll always find something exciting and fun happening here.
It’s impossible not to have fun when you’re in Orlando, whether you’re a kid or a just a kid at heart, dozens of fantastic theme parks are waiting for you to discover them. Don’t miss out on Toy StoryLand, a chance to watch Cirque Du Soleil, and even explore the Magical Kingdom of Disney too.
Don’t be fooled by the many family experiences Orlando is known for. When it comes to romance, there is plenty to go around.
Vacationing at Walt Disney World in Orlando can be overwhelming and a little bit intimidating, even for the return visitor. There are so many attractions and thousands of things to see and do.