Walt Disney decided in 1965 that he would build his second theme park in Orlando and since then the city was never the same again.
A city that was surrounded by swamps and groves became home to tourist attractions, golf courses, theme parks, shopping malls, hotels, and more.
Orlando now gets more than 75 million visitors annually and the city is still continuing to evolve with more attractions popping up every day.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN ORLANDO
Whether you are looking for a screaming adventure or just a quiet place to relax and chill, Orlando has them all. There are also wild things to explore, natural springs, museums, walking trails, and more. Let’s take a look at some of the top Orlando tourist attractions below.
You are missing out on a serious treat if you have not visited Disney Springs. It was previously known as Downtown Disney but has now expanded with more offerings and attractions.
With a whole new look, Disney Springs looks stunning with new entertainments like a boathouse, restaurants like Morimoto Asia, and other places like Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar.
There are also many Disney merchandise throughout the place. This is one of the best places to visit with your family for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Address: 1486 Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, United States
Timings: 10 am–11 pm
UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA
Universal Studios is another top Orlando Florida attraction that started in 1990. It quickly became popular within a short time due to its high tech rides and environments and became a challenger to Walt Disney.
Since then Universal Studios has upgraded their theme park with more rides and attractions like The Simpsons and Harry Potter.
Ride in Diagon Alley, the theme park’s popular ride based on Harry Potter, which is an indoor roller coaster with cast member performances that is sure to give you a thrilling experience.
Another high-speed rollercoaster is the Rip Ride Rockit where you have the choice to play your own song via speakers that are mounted in the headrest.
Visitors can also enjoy the E.T. Adventure ride where you mount on a bike and help E.T. escape police and NASA officials. This ride has been operating since 1990.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, United States
Tuesday to Saturday, 8 am–10 pm
Sunday, 8 am–9 pm
Monday, 9 am–8 pm
WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT
Walt Disney World Resort is home to four of the five most popular theme parks in America which are Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot. The number of visitors to this place has been growing every year.
Even with the number of visitors, the sense of wonder and excitement has never died down.
Other than the above theme parks there is also Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, three18-hole and one 9 golf course, 34 resorts and hotels, Disney Springs, and much more. With so many attractions in one place, your visit to Disney World is sure going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Address: Orlando, FL, United States
Warbird Adventures is a vintage museum that offers no-experience-required flights in WWII airplanes. For visitors who are looking for thrills, this is going to be an excellent opportunity to fly like a war hero.
The aircraft which you get to ride is the same that was used by allied pilots for their training. The ride can also be customized where you can choose between relaxed sightseeing and daring acrobatics.
The ride time ranges from 15 minutes to 1 hour. After your ride, you can also visit the Kissimmee Air Museum to learn more about its history.
Address: 4134 Aviation Dr, Kissimmee, FL 34741, United States
Timings: 9 am–5 pm except for Sundays
Epcot or the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow is a high tech concept city model that was visioned by Walt Disney. Though his dream was never realized, it later inspired a theme park.
The theme park was opened in 1982 which celebrates groundbreaking edutainment attractions. There is a geodesic sphere with a 15-minute ride that explains the breakthroughs in human communication through history.
The educational Disney theme is a trip of culture, heritage, cuisines, and more.
Address: 200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821, United States
Monday to Wednesday, 10 am–9 pm
Thursday, 10 am–10 pm
Friday, 11 am–8 pm
Saturday, 11 am–8 pm
Sunday, 11 am–9 pm
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
Kennedy Space Center is NASA’s launchpad since 1968 which is an hour away from Orlando. A trip to Kennedy Space Center will give you an out-of-the-space experience.
Here you can learn all about the USA’s space history and the important missions carried out there. There is also the Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit where the shuttle is suspended at an angle that feels like it is floating in space.
There is also a bus tour which is included in the admission that will take you to NASA’s launch sites for the Apollo and space shuttle missions. The bus will also stop at the surrounding natural reserve where you can observe alligators and bald eagles.
You will also visit the Vehicle Assembly Building, which is one of the biggest buildings in the world which is used to assemble Space Shuttle components.
Address: Florida 32899, United States
Timings: 10 am–4 pm
ICON Park is one of the tallest observation wheels in the world which was unveiled in 2015. The structure is 122 meters tall with 30 air-conditioned capsules.
Each capsule can accommodate a maximum of 15 passengers which will let you view dramatic panoramas of the International Drive and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter tower of Universal Studios.
If the skies are clear you can even watch the Kennedy Space Center far away. The structure was rebranded as Icon Orlando in 2018 and now is a center for shops, restaurants, bars, and many other attractions.
There are even outdoor events held at ICON park-like Cinco de Mayo and live DJ performances every night of the week.
Address: 8375 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819, United States
Timings: 10 am–2 pm
Orlando is known for its native alligators and Gatorland is the place to go if you want to watch them. Touted as the alligator capital of the world, Gatorland is a unique experience away from all the theme parks.
Gatorland was started in 1949 where you can conveniently watch sea creatures of various sizes. There are even four-meter little monsters that you can hold in your hands.
It is also home to the largest collection of white leucistic alligators. You will be astonished to see how these gators fight each other for food at the Jumparoo Show.
There are also other attractions at Gatorland like Gator zip-line over alligator ponds, free-flight aviary, interaction with Floridian snakes, and more.
Address: 14501 Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32837, United States
Timings: 10 am–5 pm
DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is one of the youngest theme parks at Disney World which was opened in 1998. The theme parks have over 1000 animals from 200 species which is allied with shows and rides.
It is one of the best places to go in Orlando for anyone who is a nature and animal lover. A lot of care was taken when the theme park was started so that they don’t interfere e with other rides and enclosures.
Some of the attractions at Animal Kingdom are the Kilimanjaro Safari and Maharajah Jungle Trek that are as good as any other Disney ride that will take you close to tigers, lions, giraffes, and many other wild animals.
Other attractions include Expedition Everest which is one of the most expensive rollercoasters in the world. The construction took three years to complete and was open to the public in 2006.
Address: 2901 Osceola Pkwy, Bay Lake, FL 34747, United States
Monday to Wednesday, 7 am–7 pm
Thursday, 7 am–8 pm
Friday to Sunday, 8 am–6 pm
For those who want to spend an entire vacation without straying far away, then they need to visit International Drive. This 11-mile fair in the South-west of the city is something like the Las Vegas Strip which is close to theme parks, water parks, and other attractions.
International Drive has top things to do in Orlando like visiting malls, themed restaurants, hotels, clubs, ICON Park, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, and more.
The thing about International Drive is that it is still growing with more attractions being built like the Orlando StarFlyer ride, the $250m Skyplex, and more.
Address: 4951 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819, United States
Timings: 8 am–10:30 pm
UNIVERSAL’S ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE
Universal’s Islands of Adventure was started in 2000 and it has been expanding ever since with eight themed islands and lots of fun-filled rides. It was later turned into Universal Orlando Resort.
One of the highlights of the place is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter where you can watch the location from the movies like the Hogsmeade Village, Hogwarts, and the Forbidden Forest.
There is also a train ride called the Hogwarts Express that takes people from King’s Cross Station at Universal Studios.
If you love superheroes there is Marvel Super Hero Island where you will feel like you are inside a comic book. There are rides like the Amazing Spider-man ride, Hulk rollercoaster with a top speed of 67 mph, and many other attractions.
Address: Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, United States
Tuesday to Saturday, 8 am–10 pm
Sunday, 8 am–9 pm
Monday, 9 am–8 pm
What do you think about my list of the best things to do in Orlando? If there are any other best places to go in Orlando that you think should have been on this list or any comments in general, kindly post them in the comment section below.
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