There are many theme parks in Orlando, but there are some that stand out as being the best and most visited. These parks are namely, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World. When planning a vacation why not include Orlando in your plans. You will not be disappointed in your choice. The parks offer fun and enjoyment for the whole family and all ages. These are the top theme parks in the Orlando area, in my opinion.

If you have furry animals in your family and don’t want to leave them behind Walt Disney World has had accommodations  for your pets, The Best Friends Pet Care, for several years.

In keeping up with the times, Sea World has a Pet Care Center where you can leave your dog/cat before entering the park. Universal Studios has a drop off for guests with animals so they can enjoy the park without worrying about their furry family members.

 

Welcome to Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom has a statue of the beloved Walt Disney, the creator and master mind behind this wonderful place on earth. He had a vision and dream to build a park that people would enjoy for years to come and he certainly fulfilled that plan.Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando

This park has rides specific for the youngsters and the breathtaking castle will be enjoyed by all. Throughout the day you might be privileged to see some characters like Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, and Rapunzel,  to name just a few, all dressed up in costume. Quite often you will see them signing autographs for the visitors.

Don’t forget to stay and watch the parade and fire works display after dark. It is a sight to see. Disney cast members go all out for the pleasure of the guests.

Epcot  

Epcot Icon Orlando

As you enter Epcot the first thing to catch your attention is the bigger than life ball, called a geosphere, the Space Earth ride, Epcot’s icon.

In addition to the rides Epcot offers four seasonal festivals. Starting the year off, Epcot has the International Festival of the Arts which includes art, food, and entertainment. Broadway concerts are available seven days a week during the festival. This festival starts in mid January through the end of February.

Spring gives us the Flower and Garden Festival which portrays topiary designs of the Disney characters. Along the paths there are exotic flowers blooming. At times there is a pleasant scent coming from the flowers. Generally, this festival goes from early March through to the end of May.

Fall brings us to the Food and Wine Festival which showcases international goodies of food and wine from various international countries. It is the longest running festival, starting in September  and going all the way to the middle of November, just before the next festival starts.

Now to the last of the festivals for the year, the International Festival of the Holidays. This festival starts on the heels of the Food and Wine Festival and goes through to the end of December. It is a showing of many nations celebrating their culture and foods of the season.

The park has pavilions of several international countries featuring architecture, food, and treasures to purchase  from the particular country.

Hollywood Studios

The third of the four parks to be built is Hollywood Studios formerly known as MGM Studios. It has the scary Tower of Terror ride and if you ever experience this ride you will surely agree with its name. Recently this year, 2018, Toy Story opened.Star Wars characters, C3P0, Chewbacca, R2D2, and BB8 at Hollywood Studios in Orlando

For those of you who are Star Wars fans, hang on! This park is in the process of constructing a STAR WARS LAND and if it is anything like what Disney accomplishes it will be out of this world. Can’t wait! Of course there is a Star Wars ride now and as you exit the ride there are plenty of Star Wars trinkets, pins, and models to purchase. Enjoy.

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom was built last and as the title implies it is full of many species of animals.

 

Animal Kingdom Park in Orlando

 

When staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, you may witness some animals coming right up to your balcony.

The newest and most popular adventure ride is Pandora – The World of Avatar, Flights of Passage. It is a ride loved by all. An attraction that has been around is one you don’t want to miss, the Festival of the Lion King. It is a spectacular display of costume and dance.

 

Walt Disney with Mickey in Orlando

Universal Studios

Universal Studios in Orlando

As you drive down the road near Universal Studios you will notice a large globe of the world. When observed, you know you are approaching Universal Studios.

Not to be outdone by the Disney parks, Universal theme parks in Orlando were added to the landscape. The park has a slogan that says “Vacation Like You Mean It”. Quite clever!

Universal boasts having the Studios and Island of Adventure where you can hop on the Hogwarts Express in one park and the ride will take you to the other park. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is all the rage of the young at heart of all ages. At times the Hogwarts Castle displays nighttime lights that can be seen from the Hogsmeade village.

For those of the adult set, you will be delighted at the night-life of City Walk where there is featured a Karaoke Club with a Live Band.

There are many things to do while vacationing at Universal Studios. There are shops for you to pick up some of your favorite memorabilia and restaurants to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.Entrance to Hogsmeade

When you want to plan your vacation around seasonal activities there are a few from which to choose. In Spring there is the Mardi Gras, just in time for Halloween you’ll get scary with Halloween Horror Nights, and shortly after that is the start of Holidays at Universal.

There isn’t much left to the imagination for things to do at the Universal parks.

Sea World

Sea World is the next theme park in Orlando we will visit. Sea World is a marine zoological park. There are mild rides and roller coasters, but the main attractions here are all the sea creatures like stingrays, green sea turtles, pelicans and many other exotic sea animals.

As you stroll through the park, you will no doubt see many flamingos and there is an area where you can feed the stingrays and dolphins.

Sea World Orlando

 

There are many live shows and attractions that you won’t want to miss such as the Journey to Atlantis or the Turtle Trek.

In the section of the park known as the Sea of Mystery you will spot the Shark Exhibit and the Shark’s Underwater Grill. How cool is that!

Another area of the park, named Sea of Fun, displays the park’s orca mascot. It is a children oriented area and has a junior roller coaster. Having a strong heart and looking for just a little more of an adrenaline rush, try the newly installed ride Infinity Falls. It is a river rapids ride and boasts of the tallest drop. Definitely not for the faint of heart!

While enjoying being in the water to cool off in the Florida heat, going to the Aquatica Water Park may be just what you are looking for. The water slides are so inviting or you can just lie back on the sandy beach and take a breather from the exhausting days at Sea World.

Being a water enthusiast you might want to head over to Discovery Cove which is not too far from Sea World. There you will be able to get up and close to dolphins and swim with them. Meet them at the deep end of the water and they will bring you back to the shallow end of the pool.

 

Dolphins at Sea World

Making the Most of Your Vacation Time

The above mentioned theme parks are just a few of the things found in the Orlando area that are available for your entertainment while here on vacation. Each of the parks has its own theme and amenities. If the individual park doesn’t have enough shopping to suit your fancy you are able to jot over to Disney Springs, the former Downtown Disney.

Spoiler Alert

Walt Disney World has a new transportation system set to start moving guests from one park to another later this year. It is being named the Skyliner Gondolas. They may have been noticed if you traveled down the road or in some of the parks.

New Happenings at Universal Studios

Universal is adding some new things for their guests.

Islands of Adventure will have a new roller coaster ride, the Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure  and plans are for it to open on June 13, 2019.

Also in Islands of Adventure a show will be added some time in 2019, the Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle.

Adding one big spoiler alert, rumor has it that a new piece of land was acquired and Universal may be adding another theme park. It may be called Fantastic Worlds and include some classic monsters. This sounds exciting. Can’t wait to see what this will look like!

Good News at Sea World

Sea World in Orlando joined its other theme parks to offer a Certified Autism Center. Aquatica and Discovery Cove are also part of being more autism friendly.

Quiet Rooms  are being provided in case there is a need to get away from it all and have some quiet time.

This sounds like a step in the right direction to ensure everyone has a good time and enjoys the park!

Fun Time Ends

And so the vacation ends and you are on your way home. When finding yourself totally exhausted, you will know it is a sign that you had a fantastic time and can’t wait for a return visit to the happiest place on earth.

Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I had writing it and giving you some insight into what the parks have to offer you. If you would like to leave a comment or question, please feel free to do so. If you have a question, I will try to answer it and get back to you as soon as I am able, usually within the same day. Thanks.

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