Orlando is a popular vacation destination for folks of all ages, and for good reason. If you’re looking for things to do throughout your Orlando vacation, then this post is for you!
From the magic of Disney World to the thrills of Universal Orlando, there’s plenty of opportunity to create all sorts of Orlando vacation itineraries that are jam-packed with rides, shows, and FOOD! While Disney World and Universal tend to get a lot of the hype, there are other theme parks to experience in the Orlando area. This post will serve as an overview for EVERY theme park in Orlando. Are ya ready?
There are four theme park resorts in Orlando that you can visit, with a total of 9 theme parks! For each park, we’ll discuss general information, current popular attractions, and about how many days you’d need at each park to experience all that your heart desires. You could totally visit each of these parks in one vacation if you play your cards right. Let’s go!
Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks
Disney World is widely considered THEEE theme park destination of Orlando, and for good reason. It’s the largest theme park resort in America — stretching 43 square miles. With four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, 22 different hotels, Disney Springs, and the two water parks, it’s safe to say that there is PLENTY to experience here.
We’d recommend spending at least four days at Disney World to experience each park, especially if you aren’t purchasing Park Hopper Tickets, which allow you to visit . Standard tickets average at around $115 for a 4-Day vacation, and around $135 for the Park Hopper option.
Now, let’s talk about the individual theme parks here.
When you think of Disney World, you probably think of Magic Kingdom in one way or another. As Disney World’s oldest park that opened in 1971, Magic Kingdom is home to many iconic Disney attractions, from Cinderella Castle and Main Street, U.S.A. to rides like Space Mountain and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. You’ll also be able to catch the beloved fireworks show, “Happily Ever After,” each night — typically starting anywhere from 8:30 to 9:30 depending on the time of year.
This is also where the all-new TRON: Lightcycle / Run attraction is located! While Magic Kingdom will probably be the park that boasts the most attractions for little ones, it’s fun for all ages! With over 30 different attractions laid out across the six different lands, most folks like to dedicate a whole day to Magic Kingdom. These lands include Main Street, U.S.A. and the Hub, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland.
EPCOT is home to what many folks refer to as “the giant golf ball” or “the EPCOT ball.” While “EPCOT ball” is an acceptable answer, this icon is actually Spaceship Earth, and is a ride! Spaceship Earth serves as one of EPCOT’s many iconic attractions.
EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype City (Community) of Tomorrow, and was the second Disney World park to open. This park was designed with Walt Disney’s dream of a self-contained city in mind, and themed after his love for World’s Fairs. EPCOT consists of four neighborhoods: World Nature, World Discovery, World Celebration, and World Showcase. The park is connected to other parts of Disney World via Monorail and the Skyliner.
Popular attractions include Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Frozen Ever After, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure. This is also where folks like to wander through the 11 countries represented in World Showcase and eat or drink around the world! Each night, you can currently watch the “EPCOT Forever” nighttime spectacular at 9PM, which will be replaced by “Luminous: Sympony of Us” on December 5th, 2023.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This was the third Disney World park to join the lineup. Originally called MGM Studios, this park took guests on an immersive journey through filmmaking and production. In 2008, the park underwent a major transformation to become Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a park dedicated to classic Hollywood and fan-favorite Disney movies!
Here, you can experience popular attractions like Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Tower of Terror, and Slinky Dog Dash. Yep, this park is where you’ll find Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land! The iconic Fantasmic! show is also located here. Showtimes vary here based on park hours and season, but it’s generally right after expected sundown each night. While this park is the one Disney World park that boasts the most high-thrill attractions, there are also plenty of things for the younger kiddos to experience! Oh, and did we mention it’s connected to the rest of Disney World via the Skyliner?
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the newest Disney World park, which is part theme park and part zoo. This park is typically very fun for younger kiddos, as there are quite a few rides they can go on with a grown-up as well as ANIMALS!
Popular attractions here include Avatar: Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, and Kilimanjaro Safaris. Here, you’ll also find the Tree of Life, another Disney World icon! There are several park areas you can visit, which include The Oasis and Discovery Island, then found clockwise from the bottom left of the map: Pandora — World of Avatar, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, and DinoLand U.S.A. This Disney World park is a bit out of the way compared to the others, and is only connected by resort bus. It also closes earlier than the other parks, usually 7PM, so that the animals get their beauty sleep!
Emma and Quincy did Hollywood Studios AND Animal Kingdom in ONE DAY! You can watch their video right here.
Now, let’s head to Universal!
Universal Orlando is about a half-hour’s drive from Disney World and features Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay, Universal’s Water Park. There are also eight hotels at which you can stay and relax.
We’d recommend visiting at least two days! Tickets average around $140 per day for a two-day trip if you’re hoping to visit both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios.
Let’s dive deeper into the theme parks!
Universal Studios is the first and main park at Universal Orlando. Here, you’ll find attractions like E.T. Adventure, Fast and Furious: Supercharged, Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringott’s, the Hogwarts Express, and the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit — among several others!
This park is also where you’ll find the Halloween Horror Nights event! Universal Studios has several high-thrill attractions as well as a few that are great for younger kiddos, too! We’d recommend spending a full day here, or splitting a full day between BOTH Universal parks, which brings us to…
Universal Islands of Adventure is the newest park at Universal Orlando, and is connected to the main park via the Hogwarts Express. Here, you’ll find the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Jurassic Park attractions, and even Seuss Landing — filled with all the whimsical wonders from the beloved Dr. Seuss books!
There are plenty of high-thrill attractions here as well as family-friendly ones, too. We’d recommend spending a full day here or splitting a day with Universal Studios.
Conveniently located near Disney World and Universal is SeaWorld, which allows guests to visit educational attractions that feature marine life as well as go on rollercoasters and other theme park rides.
Among popular experiences are the shows where you can view SeaWorld’s dolphins and whales in performances. Fan-favorite rides here are the Mako Kraken, and Manta coasters.
We’d recommend visiting for one day at SeaWorld, which averages around $50 per ticket. SeaWorld also has two water parks — Aquatica and the premium park, Discover Cove.
LEGOLAND Florida is located a bit further away, in Winter Haven. This is a great place for younger kiddos to visit, as the attractions and rides here are each family-friendly and don’t feature any high-thrills. You’ll also get to check out all the LEGO sculptures and designs!
You could probably get away with spending just one day here. One-day tickets start at $74 per person.
Peppa Pig Theme Park
This new(ish) theme park debuted in 2022 as the first theme park that’s all about Peppa! This family-friendly theme park consists of a few calmer Peppa Pig-themed rides as well as a splash pad.
Tickets purchased at the gate are $34.99 but the online price is $30.99. This park is actually considered to be “part” of LEGOLAND, and you can purchase a ticket that allows you to visit both parks in one day for $134.99 online and $149.99 at the gate.
And there you have it! We’ll continue to keep you updated with more travel and theme park news, so make sure to follow along for more!
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How many of these Orlando parks have you visited? Let us know in the comments!