especially Orlando is world famous for its
action packed theme parks, with the best, state of
the art rides in the world. You cannot go to Orlando,
and not go to any of its water parks and theme parks.
The first theme park in Florida was Disney,
and since then more and more have been built, such
as, Universal Studios, and many more.
Some of the parks are designed mainly for younger
children such as Magic Kingdom and other Orlando Tourist Attractions.
On the downside of all these great Theme
Parks is that they get so busy, you have
to wait over an hour for a 5-minute ride. However
a solution has been made. Some theme parks have introduced
a ticket called a Fast Pass, you
get a ticket that tells you what time to come back,
and when you do there is a special line and get on
the ride up to 4 times faster than usual. As the time
allotted to you is usually several hours away, this
can be a drawback as you may have wandered off to
another part and be immersed in something else when
you should be taking your place in the queue.
As a general rule, you should get to the Parks as
early as possible in the day – and
that means before 8.30 am – then there’ll
be a rush for the best rides but it is well patrolled.
The Parks are less crowded in the morning and you
might plan to leave around 12 noon,
back to your hotel or apartment for a couple of hours
to avoid the heat of the middle of the day and then
go back again around 4 pm –
most Parks stay open until 10 pm or later (there are
different opening and closing times depending on the
time of year so check this out). In Orlando, Theme
Parks are busiest in the last two weeks of the year
as well as at Easter time.
The Orlando theme parks are so extensive, that it
is worth buying a guide book before
you go to learn about them, decide what you want to
see and then plan your schedule. Do leave some “rest
days”, days when you don’t have an action
packed itinerary. Tickets are widely available online
but try and plan ahead. For example, it maybe that
a 4 Park Flexticket is what you need
– costing about 200 dollars (with some reduction
for children under 10 years). It allows you 14 days
admission to Wet ‘n Wild, Universal Studios,
Islands of Adventure and Sea World. This is only one
example of combined tickets. And remember although
shopping might not be on your itinerary, you’ll
have to give a few half days to this activity.
A small tip, arm all children of 10 years and under
with an Autograph Book, they’ll
have great fun collecting autographs and getting photographed
with the stars of all the parks.
Be warned – plan ahead. The
list of 10 things to do below is one list of ten,
but Orlando has so many sightseeing tourist attractions everyone will have their own list.
1. Universal Studios
Universal Studios Florida is the largest studio in
the world outside of Hollywood. It is huge and is
now a complete entertainment park. Universal Studios
has over 40 amazing computer animated rides, and in
the world famous Nickelodeon studios, you can go and
watch and possibly take part in a show. Some of the
best rides there are Back to the Future, as well as
Men in Black. Universal Studios has something for
all ages, though the children remember the rides as
the most fun. There are Movie sets to be viewed and
you can have your picture taken with ET! There is
the CityWalk with all kinds of on-going entertainment,
restaurants galore and nightclubs, plus shopping to
beat the band. You might consider spending some of
you stay in Orlando in the Universal Studios Hotel
– this will give you a special pass to the Park
2. Islands of Adventure – Universal
Universal Studios is split into two parks, Universal
Studios, and Islands of Adventure. When you order
a ticket, you can buy a two-day ticket, which includes
entry to both parks. Visitors from the UK look for
special deals – three day passes for the price
of two, etc. Two day passes cost approximately 100
dollars for adults and slightly less for children.
You’ll need two days to enjoy the best Universal
Studios and Islands of Adventure have to offer. Islands
of Adventure is packed with rides that you only ever
imagine, such as The Hulk, and Duelling Dragons, though
beware these rides are not for the faint hearted!
Some think this is the best theme park in Orlando,
at any rate it should be right at the top of your
list! There are five different islands Jurassic Park,
The Lost Continent, Seuss Landing, Marvel Super Hero
Island and would you believe - Toon Lagoon. From their
names you can guess the theme of each island/park.
3. Wet ‘N’ Wild
Wet ‘N’ Wild is one of the best and most
visited water parks in all of Orlando, and boasts
some of the scariest water rides in the world! They
have names like Black Hole, Bubba Tub, The Surge and
The Blast. The pools are heated year round and have
certified lifeguards, so you know you and your family
is in safe hands. As this water park has the best,
biggest and most scream inducing water rides and slides,
this is a must for everyone! The rides are so scary
and dramatic, people under 36” are not allowed
and if you’re under 45” you must have
an adult with you. But this Park caters for all ages
and it’s a fun packed day out for everyone.
Younger people will love the Bubble Up and Kids Park
– and if mom or dad thinks they’d like
to do the Bubble Up, they can’t, you have to
be under 12 years to have a go. Day Passes are around
38 dollars and children 9 and under are about 28 dollars.
Tickets are available online.
4. Sea World
When someone says to you Sea World, you think of sea
creatures, but I doubt you think of Sea Creatures
and roller coasters! This park has amazing rides like
Journey to Atlantis. You’ll get soaked but the
rides are great fun. Sea World has sharks, whales,
dolphins, stingrays and loads more sea creatures.
Sea World Orlando has much more and great restaurants
where you can also watch one of the most famous whales
in the world Shamu! Of course, you can also go to
Dolphin Cove and from the underwater gallery watch
the dolphins swim around. This park will appeal to
all ages, but many children rate it the best in Orlando.
More adventurous visitors can go scuba diving in a
shark-proof cage right up close to sharks –
for an additional fee of 150 dollars!
5. Discovery Cove
At Discovery Cove, you can relax, and enjoy those
great features. Or if you prefer you could go and
swim with the dolphins! Discovery Cove is one of the
most relaxing places in Orlando, and at the same time
exciting, but it has a high admission price (over
200 dollars including a swim with dolphins and also
7 day admission to another Park such as Sea World).
The big plus about Discovery Cove is that admission
is restricted and they only allow a rather low number
of people in a day - so you won’t be fighting
for a dolphin!
6. Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach –
Disney World Water Parks
Disney World is huge and is made us of several theme
parks – Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot,
the two Water Parks and so on. Tickets for Disney
World are available online before you arrive at the
Park. The pricing is complex and depends on which
Disney parks you want to visit, how many days you
want to spend in Disney World and so on. It calls
for special planning!
Typhoon Lagoon is just one of two Disney water parks.
It has some of the rides that Wet ‘n’
Wild have, plus more, like a Surf Pool! And why not
plunge into Sandy White Beach, that’s looks
like something taken from the Caribbean. Or an alternative
to Typhoon Lagoon, why not go to Blizzard Beach, the
other Disney World Water Park (or if you’re
really into water go to both)! You can race on the
Toboggan Racers, or why not see if you have the guts
to go on the Downhill Double Dipper!
7. Magic Kingdom – Disney World
Magic Kingdom is a great attraction for the kids,
but gets packed with people, and you may have to wait
for over an hour for some rides, even so, you can
tell this place is filled with Magic! Among many attractions
in this section is Space Mountain, the Haunted House,
Mickey Mouse presentation, Buzz Lightyear and many
other fabulous experiences. New in 2005 is planned
a Cinderella Celebration and a Night-time Spectacular.
Definitely one for younger children.
8. At the Pool
Be sure and take a time off from the Theme Parks and
laze around doing nothing – beside the pool.
You’ll need to recharge your batteries every
now and then. It’s a good idea to go to a Park
at 8 or 8.30 am and leave around midday, spend a few
hours at the pool before heading back to the Park
around 4pm – this way you avoid the heat of
the midday sun and get in some relaxing hours.
This is the Park with a Science and Engineering theme
and it will appeal to teenagers in particular. Part
of Epcot has pavilions for the different countries
in the world covering the different cultures and highlight.
It has a Test Track, a section for Space Mission,
Turtle Talk with Crush (Nemo’s friend), etc.
At nightime, the World Showcase is where the fireworks
are (it’s a good idea to dine at one of the
international restaurant attached to the country pavilions
and watch the fireworks while you eat – see
section on Nightlife – Rose and Crown pub).
10. Busch Gardens - Tampa
This is a little outside Orlando but well worth the
trip. From African Animals, Birds of Prey and Rhinos
to the Budweiser Clydesdales, Busch Gardens has almost
3000 animals and is set amidst wonderful green landscape,
this park also has superb rides and roller coasters
(Sheikra the latest and scariest addition). Busch
Gardens is about an hour from Orlando but there is
a Shuttle bus if you don’t want to drive –
about $10 a head.