The Beginner’s Guide to Orlando Theme Parks


Known as the ‘Theme Park Capital of the World’, Orlando is a haven of theme parks, water parks, golf courses, and beautiful resorts. So it’s hardly surprising that the Florida destination attracts over 51 million tourists each year.

Of course, if it’s your first time visiting Orlando and it’s many theme parks, things can get a little overwhelming to say the least. So here’s our beginner’s guide to Orlando theme parks that will ensure your experience is as enjoyable as possible…

Walt Disney World Resort Parks 

Since Disney World first opened its doors in 1971, it has expanded into four distinct theme parks – Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom – and two water parks – Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

Let’s take a quick look at each of the parks:

Magic Kingdom

Perfect for all the family, the Magic Kingdom is a truly classic park centred around its iconic castle.

See your favourite Disney characters, explore world-class attractions and chown down of classic American foods in its 6 uniquely themed ‘lands’ – Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland.

orlando magic kingdom

Animal Kingdom

In the world’s largest animal-themed theme park, you’ll find plenty of attractions and over 1,700 captivating animals. Take in parades, Broadway-style shows, and animal performances, as well as African and Asian-inspired cuisine.

Hollywood Studios 

In this action-packed park, you’re able to take a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood cinema. With its areas merging together like enormous movie set, you’re able to take death-deying plunge on the Tower of Terror, explore the far reaches of the galaxy in Star Tours and relive scenes from all-time American classics on the The Great Movie Rife.


When Walt Disney was alive, the visionary planned to create an ‘Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow’, a utopian city where people would live and work that would be a testament to – and showcase of – American enterprise.

While he passed away before this lofty dream could be achieved, the idea for the ‘EPCOT’ was eventually adapted into a unique theme park concept.

Covering a massive 300 acres of land, EPCOT is divided into two sub-parks – Future World and World Showcase. Discover cultures from around the world at the World Showcase, before experiencing the thrills and delights of Future World, which is home to ample attractions focused on technological advancements, innovation, and wonder.

Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach

These are the two most popular water parks in the world, and it’s easy to see why! With waterslides, rides, attractions, and pools, the feature of these parks are great for the whole family.

typhoon lagoon and blizzar beach

Universal Orlando Parks 

If you’re looking for film and fantasy-themed fun, make sure Universal Orlando is on your agenda.

Universal Studios

Universal Studios is a working film and TV production studio that doubles up as a theme park cram-packed with rides, shows, movie sets, and hands-on attractions. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, don’t miss the Rip Ride Rocket roller coaster with its thrilling 90-degree drop!

Islands of Adventure

With its cutting-edge rides, shows and interactive attractions, it’s hardly surprising that Islands of Adventure is one of the most popular theme parks in Orlando.

Explore many of the magical worlds you’ve grown up with, including Seuss Landing and Jurassic Park, and don’t miss the park’s newest landmark attraction – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

SeaWorld Orlando 

With something for all the family, SeaWorld Orlando offers thrill rides such as Mako (the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster in Orlando), leisure rides such as Shamu’s Happy Harbour, and a busy programme of entertaining shows.

But what really makes Sea World stand out from the region’s other theme parks is its unique focus on marine life. Explore Dolphin Cove, Pacific Point Preserve, Shark Encounter, Turtle Trek, and Shamu Underwater Viewing, and come face to face with your favourite aquatic animals.

If the above primer has given you the urge to Orlando’s world-class theme parks for yourself, then there’s no better way to visit that on a cruise. Visit our dedicated Transatlantic cruises page or call or friendly team on 0808 2746 777.

Image credits: CL Photographs, Chad Sparkes, Sean Yu


About Author

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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