There’s so much to do in Orlando that there’s no way you can fit it all into one trip. The new and classic theme parks alone make this Florida city a vibrant entertainment hub for all ages. Whether you prefer Disney princesses, Harry Potter or just hanging out with alligators, here are 7 of the best attractions in Orlando.
Walt Disney World
With over 50 million annual visitors, Walt Disney World isn’t just the most-visited Orlando attraction—it’s the most-visited vacation resort in the world. The four main parks each offer a different experience: fairy tales come to life at Magic Kingdom, while Epcot offers a glimpse of countries throughout the world. Animal Kingdom gives you close (sometimes very close) encounters with exotic animals, and Hollywood Studios captures the glamour and magic of the movies. There are also two water parks, and Disney Springs, which offers dining and entertainment without buying a ticket.
The most visible part of Icon Park is The Wheel, which, at 400 feet, is the tallest observation wheel on the East Coast. Closer to the ground, though, there’s so much more: wax recreations of the stars at Madame Tussauds; a killer whale skeleton at Skeletons: Museum of Osteology; a 360-degree ocean tunnel at Sea Life Orlando Aquarium; and other entertainment for older crowds, like a rooftop bar and interactive movies.
There’s only one place in Orlando where you fly through a magic castle: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, which spans both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Besides wizards, there’s a lot more at the parks. Universal Studios puts you inside the movies, and Islands of Adventure has thrill rides like The Incredible Hulk Coaster. Volcano Bay is the resort’s water park, and CityWalk offers kid and adult entertainment all day and well into the night.
A different kind of theme park, Legoland is geared toward younger kids and focuses on putting them in the center of the action. At Legoland Water Park, children can build their own rafts and float down the lazy river on them. At Legoland, they get right inside the movies in The Lego Movie World and experience Lego sculptures made of millions and millions of bricks. It inspires young visitors to be creative and dream big—in a snap.
This isn’t your average theme park. In addition to roller coasters, SeaWorld is an interactive aquarium where you can watch baby dolphins play, touch a stingray and see everything from Beluga whales to sea lions. The underwater shark tunnel is one of the largest in the world. SeaWorld also has two additional parks: swim with dolphins at Discovery Cove, or splash around 42 waterslides, rivers and lagoons at Aquatica. For those who have concerns about the humane treatment of its aquatic residents, the park has been working to address concerns from animal rights activists.
Orlando Museum of Art
The Orlando Museum of Art has been showcasing fine art for nearly 100 years. It hosts “First Thursdays” during the first week of each month, where the museum basically throws a party with music, food and local artists displaying new works. Regular events such as Yoga in the Museum and Art Night Out offer activities for people who need a little bit more than quiet contemplation of paintings.
What began as a roadside attraction in 1949 is now a full-blown theme park, where you can zip line over alligator marshes. Gatorland is home to 2,000 alligators and crocodiles, and plays a big part in Florida gator conservation and education. In addition to tours and gator shows, you can also have up-close encounters. And if you wander away from a tour, maybe a little too close.
Tremaine, Julie. “The 7 Best Attractions In Orlando.” Forbes, 20 Sept. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/julietremaine/2019/07/11/best-attractions-in-orlando/.