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Travel Guide to Florida

THEME PARKS

The Reef Pool at Universal’s Volcano Bay • universal orlando resort

The Magic of Florida's Theme Parks

Theme parks are a must when visiting Central Florida. From Tampa to Orlando, the never-ending thrills can take your breath away. Even if you’ve had a chance to experience some of the area’s major attractions on a previous visit, prepare to be wowed. Florida’s theme parks are continuously adding new, fun-packed excitement and adventures to the delight of families and all ages year after year.

Seaworld Orlando

Get ready for Penguin Trek at SeaWorld Orlando, a thrilling marine-themed ride launching in spring 2024. This family friendly coaster offers an exhilarating journey through Antarctica aboard unique snowmobile-styled cars on a 3,020-foot indoor/outdoor track, concluding at SeaWorld’s live penguin habitat. With speeds up to 43 mph, two launches, and immersive twists, riders experience a penguin research mission, culminating in an encounter with real penguins. This ultimate adventure, accommodating heights from 42 to 77 inches, blends coaster thrills with genuine animal interaction. Penguin Trek embodies SeaWorld’s commitment to animal care and education, uniting family fun with conservation efforts. Join the anticipation for this eighth addition to SeaWorld Orlando’s diverse ride collection, promising an  unfor-gettable exploration for all.  

SeaWorld Orlando boasts an array of other must-try attractions including Mako, Ice Breaker, Manta, Kraken roller coasters, Infinity Falls water ride, Orca Encounter, Journey to Atlantis hybrid coaster, and Dolphin Adventures—an animal show extravaganza.

The Orca Encounter is the park’s premier animal show that gives guests the opportunity to learn about the park’s majestic killer whales in a 30-minute captivating program. For a deeper dive, sign up for the Killer Whale Up-Close Tour, an extraordinary opportunity that highlights the popular Dolphin Nursery. It gives guests a chance to see mothers and young dolphins up close. Throughout the animal-themed exhibits at SeaWorld Orlando, you’ll learn about the park’s ongoing work in the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife—over 40,000 animals spanning a duration of more than 50 years.

Nearby, Discovery Cove, an all-inclusive day resort with a list of interactive animal adventures, welcomes guests to swim with both dolphins and sharks. The Signature Dolphin Swim Experience offers the opportunity to interact with a dolphin including an unforgettable swim. The awe-inspiring shark swim allows guests to enjoy closer-than-ever encounters with several species of these legendary marine predators.

SeaWorld Orlando for a limited time offers SeaWorld Orlando Pass Members a chance to purchase a Guy Harvey 50th Anniversary Commemorative Pass with a $5 proceeds donation going to the hallmark oceanic research institute known as the Guy Harvey  Research Institute (GHRI). Discovery Cove also features a Ray Feeding experience, which gives guests as young as 6 years old the chance to feed stingrays as well as thousands of tropical fish.

Aquatica, SeaWorld Orlando’s water park, features high-speed water slides, exhilarating wave pools, and 80,000 square feet of sandy artificial beaches to the delight of all ages. This one-of-a-kind water park plans to debut Tassie’s Underwater Twist, an immersive water slide in spring 2024. This attraction incorporates video projections, synchronized displays, and an orchestral score, simulating Australia’s Shark Bay seagrass meadow journey. Promising exhilarating twists, it’s an experience crafted for thrill-seekers, leaving lasting family memories. Aquatica, celebrating its 15th year, highlights the slide’s 129-foot length with a bowl element, accommodating two-person inner tubes, adjacent to the Loggerhead Lane lazy river.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is the undisputed king of coasters in West Central Florida with world-class coasters: Kumba, Montu, Iron Gwazi, and the newest Phoenix Rising set to launch in spring. Feel the rush of a legendary flight in this immersive family-friendly roller coaster that promises a blaze of excitement, inspired by the phoenix legend.  For younger guests, the park offers two mellower rides, SandSerpent and Air Grover.

Of course, Busch Gardens Tampa is much more than roller coasters. It’s also one of the country’s premiere zoos.

At the park’s state-of-the-art Animal Care Center, guests can observe animal care first-hand and even take part in animal-care experiences ranging from nutrition and treatments to X-rays and surgeries.

Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort sets the stage for an enchanting experience with its upcoming themed land dedicated to DreamWorks Animation’s cherished characters. Expect vibrant colors, interactive play areas, and attractions featuring favorites like Shrek, Trolls, and Kung Fu Panda. This 2024 addition underscores Universal’s dedication to immersive storytelling, promising unforgettable moments for guests of all ages. 

Harry Potter fans will want to experience Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Board magical motorbikes to fly far into the dark forest past Hogwarts Castle, towering trees and magical creatures, while dodging fierce beasts. At 50 mph, it will rocket you forward, sling you backward and drop you—with a free-fall vertical dropping you nearly 17 feet.

At Islands of Adventure, the Jurassic World VelociCoaster takes you for a high-speed dash as you feel the rush of the hunt racing alongside a pack of velociraptors, twisting and soaring above the land and water.

Guests can’t get enough of Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando’s third theme park. Unlike Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida, Volcano Bay, featuring Krakatau, the 200-foot volcano overlooking a South Pacific Island, is all about getting wet. The volcano is home to the park’s Krakatau Aqua Coaster, an exciting coaster that propels you upward and downward through the volcano’s interior peaks and valleys. Volcano Bay offers more than 30 experiences including a multi-directional wave pool with sandy beaches and twisting multi-rider raft rides. Take the Ko’okiri Body Plunge, a 70-degree, 125-foot fall through a trap door, or relax on the Kopiko Wai Winding River.

Walt Disney World

With spectacular views, the Disney Skyliner aerial gondolas offer convenient connections with four Disney Resort hotels, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot, via five stations. 

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you may find yourself shrunk to the size of a toy to explore the world of Andy’s backyard with your favorite Toy Story characters in Toy Story Land. This area also showcases Slinky Dog Dash—a family roller coaster. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway is a trackless dark ride located inside a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. With conductor Goofy, be prepared for unexpected twists, slapstick gags and incredible transformations as Mickey and Minnie try to save the day. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge features two ride options:  Being part of a six-person crew on “Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run” where you walk through a full-sized replica of the Millennium Falcon and then climb into the cockpit where Hondo Ohnaka leads a secret mission. A cast member hands each person their role assignment—a pilot, gunner or engineer.  “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance” is a massive, multi-platform attraction, unlike anything else at Disney World. Guests are in an epic battle between the First Order and the Resistance, boarding an Imperial Star Destroyer with 50 animatronic storm troopers waiting in formation.    

Under a transformation scheduled for completion in 2024, you’ll discover the legendary Epcot Center has ample new discoveries. Among the changes, Epcot will unify its four neighborhoods—World Showcase, World Celebration, World Nature and World Discovery.  Expect new rides like Journey of Water, inspired by Moana and other thrills.

At Epcot Center, the thrills of the fun blockbuster films “Guardians of the Galaxy” come to life in the rollercoaster attraction. Called,  “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind,” the family-friendly coaster experience rotates 360 degrees to focus guests on the action. This thrilling ride features the first ever reverse-launch on a Disney coaster and is one of the longest enclosed coasters in the world.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure in the France pavilion is a trackless dark ride. This 3D experience finds you on a daring culinary caper that will zip you through the kitchen, dining room and walls of Gusteau’s famous Paris restaurant. 

Legoland Florida Resort

Take the young ones aged 2 to 12 to LEGOLAND theme park, in Winter Haven. It boasts more than 50 rides, attractions and shows as well as life-sized LEGO displays. The Peppa Pig Theme Park features six rides, themed playscapes and a water play area. It is a Certified Autism Center and offers accessible rides for wheelchairs

Featured Links

Aquatica Orlando aquatica.com/Orlando

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay buschgardens.com/tampa

Dezerland Park dezerlandpark.com/Orlando

Discovery Cove discoverycove.com/Orlando

Gatorland gatorland.com

International Drive Resort Area internationaldriveorlando.com

Legoland Orlando legoland.com/florida

Orlando Watersports Complex orlandowatersports.com

SeaWorld Orlando seaworld.com/Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort universalorlando.com

Walt Disney World disneyworld.disney.go.com

Visit Orlando visitorlando.com

International Drive

Make time to visit Orlando’s International Drive a.k.a. I-Drive, home to smaller, yet no less exciting attractions.

At ICON Park, board The Wheel, a state-of-the-art  observation wheel with breathtaking views of Central Florida. Or, take an invigorating spin on the Orlando StarFlyer, a 450-foot-tall swing ride attraction. The Slingshot and Drop Tower are both park attractions. The former lowers riders into a volcano and, as it erupts, guests will launch in the air at 100 mph and then plummet back to earth. Boasting one of the fastest and smoothest ride systems to date, the latter carries riders up 40 stories into the sky then free-falls at 75 mph. Also at this complex, visit Madame Tussauds wax museum and the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium.

Nearby, the Magical Midway Thrill Park offers a variety of rides and attractions and Fun Spot America offers roller coasters—including a 250-foot SkyCoaster—multi-level go-kart tracks and arcade games. Ripley’s Believe it or Not is the center for all things odd and quirky, while Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition takes you on that fateful cruise among full scale re-creations of the doomed ship.

Dezerland Park is an indoor fun park with a trampoline park, go-karts, bowling, arcade games, and features The Auto Museum—home to one of the most engaging auto/vehicle collections in the world with exhibits including a car collection of famous Hollywood stars and rare James Bond cars.

Dinner shows also include such diverse choices as the Pirates Dinner Adventure, the Titanic First-class Dinner Gala and the Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show.  

More Enjoyment Awaits

Orlando Watersports Complex features a modular series of inflatable, interlocking climbing obstacles, pathways and slides for hours of watery fun.

Gatorland is a great place to see alligators of all sizes. Enjoy the Gator Zip Line and the Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure where you board monster-style off-road vehicles to adventure over hills, through mud puddles and across a pond full of alligators in a 15 minute rugged adventure ride alongside the swamps that feed the headwaters of the Everglades.

McKee Botanical Garden
Sunny Isles

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