Nicknamed the theme park capital of the world, Orlando is synonymous with fun and entertainment. The city has a theme park for every taste, whether you’re into exhilarating roller coasters, live animal acrobatics, or childhood stories and fairytales.
With over a dozen theme parks in Orlando alone, it can be confusing to know which ones to visit. That’s why we put together this definitive ranking of all the parks in Orlando.
10: SeaWorld Discovery Cove
Unlike most theme parks, Discovery Cove offers animal lovers a unique immersive experience to see their favorite marine creatures up close and personal. During your visit to this tropical world, you’ll be able to play with dolphins, snorkel with otters, and even feed exotic birds. However, animal experiences are only part of the fun here. This is also a relaxing water park with sandy beaches, freshwater pools, and lazy rivers.
Your ticket to Discovery Cove is all-inclusive and includes snorkel gear, towels, and unlimited food and drink. Most animal experiences are also included, although premium experiences like ray feeding, swimming with sharks, and being a “trainer for a day” will cost extra.
9: Fun Spot America
If you’re more into classic theme park rides, then Fun Spot America should be at the top of your list. Reminiscent of an old-school carnival, Fun Spot America is known for its nostalgic rides and games. Think wooden roller coasters, go-kart tracks, Ferris wheels, carousels, and more! And as with any good carnival, Fun Spot America also has an arcade and midway games where you can play for prizes.
When you buy an all-day ticket to Fun Spot America, you’ll also get to visit the nearby Gator Land park for free. This 110-acre animal park has crocodiles, birds, snakes, lizards, and the extremely rare white alligator.
8: SeaWorld Orlando
This iconic marine life park is the best of both worlds regarding adventure on land and at sea. There are numerous rollercoasters and wild rapid rides to get your heart racing, including Mako, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Orlando. Younger guests can also participate in the fun at Sesame Street Land, an interactive neighborhood with child-friendly rides.
In addition to the thrilling rides, SeaWorld is also known for its live shows and animal presentations. Marvel at killer whales in Orca Encounter, watch playful bottlenoses in Dolphin Adventures or learn about the furry critters in the Sea Lion and Otter Spotlight show.
While SeaWorld Orlando doesn’t have the same magic touch as the Disney or Universal parks, it’s still a great option for animal enthusiasts or budding marine biologists.
7: Legoland Florida
With over 55 different rides, shows, and attractions, Legoland Florida is aa fun outing for families or kids. Although most things will appeal to a younger crowd (Legoland is designed for kids between the ages of 2 to 12), the imaginative themes and interactive shows can be enjoyed by people of any age.
In Legoland, you’ll find classic attractions like roller coasters, playgrounds, dark rides, and 3D and 4D shows. And what would Legoland be without scale models? Take a trip to Miniland to see Lego replicas of New York, Las Vegas, Washington DC, and Florida.
If your little ones want to build something themselves, then a visit to the Imagination Zone is a must. They can build Lego racing cars, program computerized Lego robots, or even play different Lego video games.
6: Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Part zoo, part amusement park - Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the most unique attractions in the country. Not only is it the largest theme park in the world, but it’s also one of the only places dedicated to animal and environmental conservation. As such, you’ll find thousands of wild animals in the Asia and Africa-themed reserves (make sure to do the Kilimanjaro Safari ride to see them up close).
Animal Kingdom is also home to the fictional world of Pandora, which is based on the Avatar movie franchise. Here, you’ll find thrilling rides (including the visually stunning Avatar Flight of Passage), live entertainment, and themed shops and restaurants.
5: Universal Studios Florida
For movie buffs and film lovers, a visit to Universal Studios Florida is a bucket list attraction. Once a production backlot for Nickelodeon, CNBC, and other famous movies and TV shows, Universal Studios is now an action-packed amusement park with nine different themed worlds.
Most rides are based on popular Universal Studios movies, like Despicable Me, the Mummy, E.T., and Men in Black. You’ll also find interactive live shows which offer a behind-the-scenes look at the film industry and movie production.
Universal Studios is also home to part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which also expands into the adjacent Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure park. Harry Potter fans will be able to shop for Quidditch supplies in Diagon Alley, fight Voldemort in the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts’s ride, or enjoy a ride on the real-working Hogwarts’s Express.
4: Disney’s Epcot
Centered around the Spaceship Earth (that iconic white sphere) is one of Disney’s most unique theme parks. While it does have its fair share of rides, Epcot is more educational, with four distinct areas celebrating technological innovation, world history, and human experiences.
Epcot is arguably most famous for the World Showcase, which pays homage to different countries and cultures from around the world. Each pavilion is a miniaturized version of the country, with rides, shows, and cuisine native to the culture. As of now, there are 11 countries represented at the World Showcase, including Canada, France, Morocco, Japan, Italy, Germany, China, Norway, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
And while Epcot is great for hungry minds and eager explorers, it can also cater to those looking for thrills and excitement. Popular rides include the high-speed Test Track roller coaster, the intergalactic Guardians of The Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and the simulated Soarin’ Around The World.
3: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Blending reality with fantasy, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is dedicated to all things related to film and TV. You’ll see this as soon as you enter and stroll down Hollywood Boulevard (with its very own version of Grauman’s Chinese Theater). Other areas in the park were also built to resemble iconic Los Angeles sites, including Echo Lake, Grand Avenue, and Sunset Boulevard.
And while the replica neighborhoods are fun to wander through, it’s the imaginative areas that really make this park shine. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is Hollywood Studio’s newest themed neighborhood, home to the popular Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run rides. There’s also Toy Story Land, a Pixar-lover’s paradise with interactive rides and fun character meet-and-greets.
Hollywood Studios is also known for its live entertainment - whether in a theater or on the street. At the moment, popular live shows include Disney Junior Play and Dance!, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, and For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.
2: Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure so popular, as each themed world seems to be more thrilling than the next. The park is broken down into different “islands” - many of which represent different blockbuster hits and iconic movie franchises.
This is also where you’ll find part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (the other half lies in the neighboring park, Universal Studios Florida). Here, you’ll find Hogwarts’s Castle, along with other rides, shops, and attractions set in the Forbidden Forest and Hogsmeade Village.
Other themed areas in the park include Skull Island (King Kong), Suess Landing (Dr. Suess), Jurassic Park, and Marvel Super Hero Island (Marvel Comics). But even if you aren’t into films, you can still enjoy the heart-racing rides and rollercoasters, including the high-speed Jurassic World VelociCoaster and the twisted Incredible Hulk Coaster.
1: Disney’s Magic Kingdom
It’s no surprise that the Magic Kingdom takes the top spot for the best theme park in Orlando. As one of Disney’s signature parks (in addition to the ones in Anaheim, Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Hong Kong), it’s hard not to fall in love with the enchanting lands, nostalgic rides, and iconic Disney characters.
Home to popular attractions like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion, the Magic Kingdom uses creative storytelling and innovative technology to give their rides that magic touch. Sprinkle in the interactive character meet-and-greets and bewildering parades and evening shows, and you’ll easily see why the Magic Kingdom is the most visited theme park in the world.
Orlando is the number one tourist destination in the United States and the true definition of amusement. While Disney World is often the first park people think of when they picture Orlando, Universal Studios, Legoland, SeaWorld, and Fun Spot America have also contributed to the city’s well-deserved reputation for fun. However, each park offers something unique, so you really can’t go wrong with any of them!