5 Incredible Florida Theme Parks

Hilarious photo opportunities. Astonishing engineering. Unforgettable memories. A theme park is designed to whisk you away from everyday life to a world where anything is possible. There are more than 400 theme parks in the United States, and Florida is the unofficial theme park capital of the world.

5 Incredible Florida Theme Parks

By Katy
16 February 2018

1. Disney's Magic Kingdom

It might be the obvious choice, but what list of Florida theme parks would be complete without the Mickey Mouse ears? Disney's Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, and the 'happiest place on earth' has since grown into Walt Disney World Resort, with three more parks now contained within the 27,258 acre space.

If you're pressed for time, sidestep Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom and head straight for Cinderella's Castle. Even though it's the oldest of Orlando's theme parks, Disney's Magic Kingdom reigns supreme – it's a true icon of American culture. From daily firework displays to Splash Mountain and the costume-clad characters, no other theme park comes close.

2. Universal Studios

While Disney's Magic Kingdom boasts the highest attendance of all Florida theme parks (and indeed any park on the planet), Universal Orlando Resort has been quietly nipping at Disney's heels since the first visitors passed under the iconic archway back in 1990.

One half of the larger Universal Orlando Resort, this exhilarating theme park has been purpose-built to inspire people to 'ride the movies'. The television and film themed attraction is the perfect place to experience movie magic – adrenaline-fuelled rides such as Revenge of the Mummy, while Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter provide hours of fun for all the family.

3. Gatorland

Technically it's more of a nature reserve, but Orlando's amazing Gatorland is one of the best possible days out for wildlife enthusiasts and one of the unmissable Florida theme parks. Famous for rescuing North America’s alligators from certain slaughter, this unique attraction has been a must-see on any Florida road trip since it first opened on former cattle land in 1949.

It's the only place you can get up close to the American alligator, an amazing species of reptile native to the Southern United States – and especially around Florida Bay and the Florida Keys. Gatorland also features a breeding marsh (used in the filming of the 1984 movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom), an observation tower, fascinating reptile shows and educational sessions.

4. LEGOLAND

Located in Winter Haven, just a 45-minute drive from Orlando or an hour from Tampa, you'll find one of the most colourful and imaginative theme parks in Florida. LEGOLAND, which has been enticing the crowds since 2011, is packed with sensational rides and stunning sculptures made from bricks.

Fun fact: LEGOLAND is built on Florida's very first theme park, Cypress Gardens. To mark the original park's legacy, LEGOLAND incorporated some of the original landmark into the resort's design, including an 80 year-old banyan tree and an antique gazebo. This peaceful part of the park makes a great, shady retreat in between bouts of fun.

5. Islands of Adventure

Universal's Islands of Adventure park has been the subject of waves of praise since it first opened in 1999. Visitors are invited to depart from reality to a world of exciting themed islands – which have expanded from the original six themes to now include a The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Skull Island: Reign of Kong.

The groundbreaking 4D rides, super heroes, magical creatures, enchanting atmosphere and attention to detail come together to make Islands of Adventure a hot contender for one of the best theme parks in Florida. Don't just take our word for it though – Islands of Adventure currently holds the TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice award as the top rated amusement park in the world.

Ready to take on the thrills and spills at one of the many theme parks in Florida?

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