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8 Must-See Orlando Attractions

Orlando attractions could keep you busy 24/7 for a year, but unless you’ve well and truly cleared your schedule, you likely don’t have that kind of time. Instead, focus on these Orlando points of interest, all of which give you plenty of reasons to come back again.

Must-See Orlando Attractions

Any one of these Orlando attractions would be more than enough for most people on a weeklong vacation. Stay longer and you can squeeze in even more Orlando sightseeing fun.

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Walt Disney World Theme Parks

Disney world when to go
Disney World – Castle Crowd(Photo: Twenty20)

Walt Disney World Resort crowns the list of Orlando attractions. It’s a destination all its own, with four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) and two water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach). The newest addition of Toy Story Land (Summer 2018) will only add to this year’s hype.

Universal Orlando Resort

universal studios los angeles

With three distinct theme parks, Universal Orlando Resort offers plenty of choices for kids and kids at heart. At Universal Studios, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter wows, and visitors can get a serious adrenaline rush from the Fast & Furious – Supercharged ride. Marvel superheroes rule the rides and experiences at Islands of Adventure. And the Volcano Bay Waterpark offers line-free waterpark fun thanks to bracelets that tell you exactly when it is your turn. With its restaurants and retail, Universal Citywalk offers more vacation fun.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort

For families who love the creativity of those Lego blocks, Legoland is building heaven. Plan for a full day of fun at the 150-acre interactive theme park. There are more than 50 rides, shows, and attractions suited to families with kids under the age of 12. Even adults will be impressed with the incredible LEGO sculptures throughout the park and new additions including The Great Lego Race Virtual Reality Coaster and the LEGO NINJAGO WORLD section. The adjoining water park is also a hit. Up the excitement with a stay at the heavily themed LEGOLAND Hotel next door.

Sea World

Sea world

Sea World, the Orlando attraction dedicated to up-close animal encounters and thrill rides, is actually only one of three parks on site. At the water park Aquatica, you’ll find high-speed water slides, wave pools, and sandy beaches. And Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive day resort with waterfall pools where you can snorkel with tropical fish and rays.

I-Drive 360

i-Drive 360

International Drive sits at the heart of Orlando attractions, so it makes perfect sense that the I-Drive 360 entertainment complex would be a sure-fire hit. Start with the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye: At 400 feet tall, it is the tallest observation wheel on the East Coast. From your standing perch inside the observation pods, you’ll be able to get a bird’s eye view of everything from the skyline to theme parks, and even over to Cape Canaveral. When you’re done, continue your exploration with the Sea Life Aquarium, the unique SKELETONS museum—where over 400 skeletons are on display—and the always-popular Madame Tussauds.

Busch Gardens

Busch gardens

While just outside of Orlando proper, Busch Gardens is a short hop away. Between the incredible rides and roller coasters, the world-class shows and the safari animal experiences, a trip to Busch gardens offers the perfect Orlando day trip. Make sure to bring clothes you can get wet in—between the Congo River Rapids and Stanley Falls Flume, cooling off has never been more fun.

Kennedy Space Center

Blast off in a space shuttle
Blast Off in a Space ShuttleSpace Shuttle Atlantis (Photo: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex)

If you or your traveling companions have ever dreamed about what lies beyond our earthly realm, a trip to the Kennedy Space Center is bound to fascinate. Science lovers will gain a better understanding of the galaxy, engineering-inclined travelers will marvel at the development and design of the spacecraft, and everyone will want to take a taste of the “Space Food” available on-site. The chance to get nose-to-nose with the historic space shuttle Atlantis is worth the price of admission, but there are so many more reasons to visit.  Book lunch with an astronaut to meet the heroes who live the dream.


Orlando nature

Florida is known for its alligators, and at the Orlando attraction Gatorland, you’ll gain a better appreciation of their quiet strength.  With thousands of alligators living in breeding marshes throughout the property, it is one of the most accessible ways to see the animals up close. But the theme park offers more than just a peek through the fence. Hop on the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line and you can soar above them. Or join the Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure in a monster vehicle for a different vantage point. The park is also a great place to spot birds. The Gatorland Bird Rookery provides protected nesting, foraging, and roosting areas to over 20 different species of birds, many of which are listed as endangered or species of special concern. Photographers interested in an up-close look can purchase a photographer’s pass that gets them into the park early.

More from SmarterTravel:

  • Original reporting by Heather Greenwood-Davis

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