Now you can Orlando like a local your first time DisneyWorld
It is no wonder Orlando is considered the theme park capital of the world with 7 top theme parks in 1 sunlit destination. And in addition to these spectacular theme parks, it also offers an award-winning food scene, versatile shopping and hidden gems! Orlando continues to offer new, and unique experiences for visitors to create cherished memories.
Orlando is best known for some of the world’s top theme parks and water parks. No doubt, to its size and complexity as a first time visitor it can be overwhelming to plan your trip. We have put together a quick guide on what you can expect, including best planning tips. With a unique mix of legendary theme parks, water parks, spectacular museums, world-class entertainment and blockbuster rides and attractions, there’s fun for everyone visiting Orlando.
WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT THEME PARKS & WATER PARKS
Magic Kingdom Park
Magic Kingdom Park is considered the quintessential Disney theme park. By, and large this due to it featuring six magical lands with attractions, restaurants and shops based on favorite Disney themes of fantasy, yesterday and tomorrow. The New Fantasyland expansion includes
- The Storybook Circus area with
- Dumbo, the Flying Elephant;
- Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station;
- Enchanted Tales with Belle;
- Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid;
- Be Our Guest Restaurant within Beast’s Castle;
- Princess Fairytale Hall for memory-making encounters with the Disney princesses.
The 2014 completion of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train completed New Fantasyland — the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. Other popular attractions around the park include Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and The Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor.
At Epcot visitors can visit 11 nations at World Showcase and fast-forward to tomorrow in Future World. World Showcase offers a kaleidoscope of nations – The American Adventure, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway and the United Kingdom. Rides include:
- Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, Mission: SPACE, simulating a real space shuttle blastoff;
- Soarin’ Around the World, which lifts guests 40 feet (12 meters) inside a giant projection screen dome;
- The Seas with Nemo & Friends, a whimsical and visually stunning attraction. It has the stars of “Finding Nemo” swimming amid the live marine life of the huge aquarium in The Living Seas pavilion;
- Spaceship Earth, the iconic “golf ball,” which explores the history of communications beginning centuries ago.
This theme park is home to a complete motion picture and television studio. Feature attractions include:
- Toy Story Mania!;
- Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show;
- Disney Junior – Live on Stage!;
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith,
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror,
- Star Tours – The Adventures Continue,
- MuppetVision 3-D;
- Voyage of The Little Mermaid.
Guests can also step into StarWars experiences with exciting live entertainment, out-of-this-world encounters with favorite Star Wars characters. Popular are the special displays inside Star Wars Launch Bay that take guests behind the scenes of the epic saga, and a first-ever themed tour.
This theme park offers encounters with exotic animals, fictional animals and giant dinosaurs from the prehistoric world. Not-to-miss attractions include:
- Expedition Everest;
- Finding Nemo – The Musical;
- TriceraTop Spin;
- Primeval Whirl!;
- Kilimanjaro Safaris;
- Festival of the Lion King.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
At Typhoon Lagoon guests can enjoy twisting tides, roaring rapids and relaxing rivers. Whether navigating the seven water slides, swimming with shark sand tropical fish or conquering waves in the largest wave pool in the U.S.,this exotic paradise promises to be the wettest water adventure ever.
Blizzard Beach Water Park
This Water Park features one of the world’s tallest, fastest free-fall speed slides in a whimsical “winter” setting. It is the largest of Disney’s waterparks, with 22 water slides and “icy” bobsled runs that stay comfortably warm and thrillingly fast.
3 Universal Orlando Resort™ theme parks:
Universal Studios Florida™
This is where visitors can experience:
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley;
- MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack;
- TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3-D, Revenge of the Mummy;
- Shrek 4-D;
- The Simpsons Ride in the Simpsons-themed area, Springfield.
There’s also thrill coaster Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, the 3-D experience Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and The Superstar Parade.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure™
Islands of Adventure features different lands where guests are immersed in the worlds of wizards, beasts, heroes and toons. Guests can explore:
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade;
- Marvel Super Hero Island;
- Toon Lagoon;
- Skull Island;
- Jurassic Park;
- The Lost Continent;
- Seuss Landing;
- Port of Entry.
Universal’s Volcano Bay™
One of Universal Orlando’s new water theme parks, Volcano Bay opened in May 2017. The water park offers innovative, thrilling attractions like the Ko’kiri Body Plunge, which sends guests down a 70-degree fall through a drop door. This dizzying 125-foot decent ends with a watery tribute from the volcano god, Vol. The park also offers peaceful moments of relaxation, like the Kopiko Wai Winding River, where guests take a slow ride through Volcano Bay’s tropical landscape and beneath the lava rocks, while Stargazer’s Cavern reveals the magical night sky above.
SEAWORLD PARKS & ENTERTAINMENT:
Features sea-themed rides including:
- Kraken Unleashed;
- Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin;
- Shamu’s Happy Harbor.
The theme park ALSO features whale and dolphin shows and other animal exhibits.
This Water Park is home to some of the world’s most thrilling water rides, featuring 42 slides, rivers and lagoons and 84,000 square feet of sparkling white, sandy beaches. Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, a water thrill slide, is eight-stories high. Dolphin Plunge, Aquatica’s signature attraction, whisks guests through acrylic flumes amid a lagoon of jumping Commerson’s dolphins.
In spring 2018 the Park will be waving in a new family raft slide. Ray Rush will take guests on three exciting thrills as they slide, splash and soar like never before. The new attraction will replace HooRoo Run, which closed in 2017.
At Discovery Cove guests can swim with dolphins, snorkel with tropical fish & rays and hand-feed exotic birds. It is an all-inclusive, reservations-only adventure that includes a full day of activities, swim and snorkel gear, breakfast and lunch, plus a 14-consecutive-day pass to SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark.
OUTSIDE OF DISNEY WORLD RESORTS:
LEGOLAND Florida Resort caters to families with children, ages 2-12. Among the attractions, families can imagine and build a unique LEGO vessel and set afloat around the 1000-foot-long (304.8-meter-long) lazy river, slide down toddler-sized or 60-foot (106.6-meter) water slides or relax at the LEGO WavePool, featuring gentle waves big enough for all members of the family to enjoy.
Kennedy Space Centre
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers guests an educational, entertaining and comprehensive space program experience. From a Shuttle Launch Experience, to astronaut encounters, larger-than-life IMAX® films, live shows, hands-on activities and behind-the-scenes tours.
Orlando’s flourishing and local dining scene feature restaurant options from African to Vietnamese and include eateries by popular celebrity chefs, intimate cafes and wine bars, dinner shows and dining experiences in uniquely themed environments. New to the lineup are Disney Springs venues Morimoto Asia, offering pan-Asian cuisine from Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, and The BOATHOUSE, an upscale waterfront dining experience.
First time DisneyWorld details:
To assist planning your Disney World vacation visit the Disney Special Events Calendar
To plan your own itinerary visit here
For new 2018 Orlando thrills visit here
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Tracy Burrows142 Posts
If there is one thing that I have learnt, it is the more I see, the more there is to see! My name is Tracy Burrows and I am the managing editor of Out There Global, a community driven travel platform for both cost effective and luxury travel ideas around the world. From Jan 2014 - Dec 2016 I managed the LatestSightings.com blog (a United Nations World Summit Award Winner: Culture & Tourism 2016 & National Geographic partner). I was also consulting editor at MOZambique Magazine, and contributor at Sawubona. Prior to my career I obtained a tourism marketing degree, and graduated from a 2 year 'Hospitality Management in Development Program' in California. Following this I acquired a journalism diploma and since it's been all about travel and writing! And my nourishment from all those who have impacted me: family; friends; and strangers alike. Thank you for joining our journey!