Beyond Disney – The Top 5 Orlando Theme Parks

On May 19, 2012 by Kennethrobinson

Think Florida, and besides the Kennedy Space Centre, the Everglades and of course the wonderful, shimmering beaches of the Gulf Coast, you’ll probably think of Disney.

The legendary Disney World is indisputably one of the planets most popular and instantly recognised brands. As a destination, it pulls in literally millions of visitors from right around the world each and every year, all of whom pass through its iconic gates, seeking out a sizeable portion of family fun. Don’t get me wrong, this resort does offer just about everything to keep you, and more importantly the kids, amused for hours, days even. Yet whilst there is more Orlando than just theme parks, there is also more to Orlando’s theme parks than just Disney. Here’s a run down of the often less well-known, top five fantastic attractions for a fun-filled getaway in this perennially popular destination.

Universal Studios

You would think that Universal Studios Florida would be tired of being Orlando’s second most famous theme park. In reality it just makes them work even harder to draw in the crowds. Their film and TV themed attractions really do make a popular alternative to the Disney magic, with the park divided into six zones: the kidzone, World Expo, San Francisco, New York, Production Central and Holywood itself.

Packed with detailed sets, displays, live shows and exciting rides, there is plenty to keep you amused here. Amazingly they also still actually shoot movies and TV here, but away from the film lot, ride favourites include E.T. Adventure and The Revenge of the Mummy.


Another Florida favourite that deserves to emerge somewhat from Disney’s shadow is the ever-entertaining Seaworld. A bit like a zoo for sea creatures, but one that features rides, shows and performances too, this destination makes for a fun-filled day out for all. Be awestruck by the performing killer whales, or come face to face with dolphins, turtles and penguins.

Alternatively jump on one of the hair-raising rides such as the Manta, a roller coaster that gracefully whirls and swoops you around like a majestic manta ray.

Busch Gardens

Combining adrenaline pumping rides with majestic encounters with some of the world’s most impressive animals, creatures that would be enough to get the adrenaline pumping themselves should you meet them on a dark night, the African themed Busch Gardens is a great place to visit. Get up close and personal with some of the world’s most spectacular wild beasts or take to the air in a thrill-inducing roller coaster. One ride, Cheetah Hunt, actually mimics the speed, acceleration and manoeuvrability of the cheetah itself.

Plummet through space on death-defying rides, or take a safari ride through a re-creation of the African savannah – encountering lions, crocodiles, hippos and rhinos.

Universal’s Island of Adventure

Another sibling in the Universal family, this spectacular park leads you on an amazing adventure through its six islands: The Lost Continent, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing, Marvel Super Hero Island and Toon Lagoon. The recently opened Harry Potter themed attraction enables visitors to enter into a dazzling re-creation of Hogwarts itself. Here you can encounter vividly depicted locations from the story that will inspire both recognition and delight. There are also loads of fantastic rides, such as Flight of the Hippogriff and the exhilarating Dragon Challenge.

Discovery Cove

Enjoy a magical day at this charming park, where you really can get up close with the action, snorkelling with vibrant tropical fish, relaxing on glorious sun-drenched, white sand beaches and even swimming with dolphins. There is a reef, packed with abundant marine life to explore as well as a unique underwater walking tour where you can encounter sharks and other colourful denizens of the deep.

If marine encounters weren’t enough, there is also the wonderful freshwater oasis, boasting sportive otters and inquisitive marmosets. With food, drinks and gear included in the admission price, this is a theme park, but it is a theme park with a difference.

So next time you book your holiday in Orlando with Kenwood Travel, take in the delights of Disney by all means, but why not look a little further for your fun-fix too?