The first thing that springs to mind when I think of Orlando is Disney World. But what about all the other theme parks in Orlando? Its famous attractions draw millions of tourists every year, making it one of the most visited cities in America.
So here are 5 fun theme parks you can visit in Orlando besides Disney:
1. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
This African themed park boasts thrilling roller coasters and allows visitors to come face-to-face with exotic wildlife. The latest ride to be added to the list of attractions is the Cheetah Hunt, a launch coaster which makes you experience bursts of acceleration as if you’re moving with Cheetah-like agility and speed! Another highlight is SheiKra, a ride which climbs to a height of 200 feet and hovers over a 90-degree drop, before plunging you face first towards the ground at speeds of more than 70 miles per hour. If rides aren’t really your thing, you can take a jeep ride through bumpy African terrain to spot Rhinos on the Rhino Rally, embark on a walking safari through Edge of Africa to see hippos, lions, hyenas and crocodiles, or peer through the mists of the Myombe Reserve to get a close-up look at gorillas and chimpanzees.
2. Universal Studios Florida
Universal Studios in Orlando is an attraction with a movie and television theme, consisting of six areas- Hollywood, Production Central, San Francisco, New York, World Expo and Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone. The theme park brings the movies to life with rides, shows, movie sets and attractions inspired by popular films and TV shows. Universal Studios is also a working production facility and has been used for many major movies, shows, commercials and music videos since it opened its doors on June 7th 1990. Popular themed rides include The Simpsons Ride, The Revenge of the Mummy and E.T Adventure. The most recent ride to be installed at Universal Studios is the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, an adrenaline pumping ride where you get to pick the music you’ll listen to whilst screaming at the top of your lungs as you approach the world’s first non-inverting loop.
3. Universal’s Island of Adventure
Also part of the Universal Orlando Resort, Universal’s Island of Adventure takes you on a journey through six themed islands- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Seuss Landing, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent, Toon Lagoon and Marvel Super Hero Island. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter gives you the chance to walk through the corridors of Hogwarts school, and visit the shops of Hogsmeade, including Honeydukes and Ollivanders. You’ll also experience magical rides such as Dragon Challenge, Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
At Seaworld marine park you can experience adrenaline-pumping rides, watch spectacular shows and encounter marine animals such as penguins, beluga whales, dolphins, turtles, polar bears and stingrays. The new Shamu show One Ocean features the park’s family of killer whales performing impressive leaps and tricks. Meanwhile the Manta roller coaster introduces you to an underwater world of rays before getting on a ride that takes you spinning, gliding and soaring like a giant manta ray.
Aquatica is a water park from the team behind Seaworld and is full of state-of-the-art rides and ocean animals too. You can race along Roa’s Rapids, meet black and white Commerson’s dolphins and exotic fish down Loggerhead Lane, catch a wave or two at Cutback Cove and Big Surf Shores, or speed down the 300-foot Taumata Racer slide. The signature ride at Aquatica is the Dolphin Plunge, an underwater slide with clear tubes that allows you to whizz past the Commerson’s dolphin habitat.