A city of sunshine, excitement, and world-famous theme parks, Orlando is perhaps one of the nation's most visited cities for entertainment. If you're looking at the Sunshine State's most populous city for a graduation celebration, senior class trip, or simply a summer getaway, here are the top attractions that Orlando has to offer. Enjoy!
1. Walt Disney World
This one is a no-brainer. Although technically it's located in Kissimmee, Walt Disney World is still listed as an Orlando attraction. It's also the world's most visited, most popular, all-around best theme park. With four major parks to choose from plus waterparks, Disney World really is the Most Magical Place on Earth. Meet your favorite characters, see Mickey perform live at Fantasma!, ride the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror and Expedition Everest, ride through Tatooine and the Death Star with Star Tours, and much more! You'll never be bored, you'll never get tired, and you'll be eternally entertained at this dreamy destination.
2. Universal Studios Orlando
Built on the fame of the legendary studio in Hollywood, Universal Studios is a thrilling theme park founded on backstage movie action. Step inside your favorite movies like Jurassic Park, King Kong, and the Fast and Furious saga to experience the magic of movies firsthand. Ride thrilling adventures like the 3D Transformers ride or even visit Hogwarts and Hogsmeade Village in Florida's own The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. The magic doesn't end with rides, however. The shows, shopping, and dining at CityWalk are just as fabulous with performances by the Blue Man Group, outdoor movies, Superstar parades, and more!
3. SeaWorld Orlando
A marine-based zoological theme park, SeaWorld has garnered public attention and appreciation through decades of marine conservation, exciting rides, and amazing animal shows. Ride the terrifyingly fun Manta and Kraken roller coasters, slow it down with a visit to the new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin exhibit, or see the talented orcas perform the One Ocean show at Shamu Stadium.
4. Discovery Cove
Like SeaWorld, Discovery Cove is a marine-based zoological park but that's pretty much where the similarities end. This incredible destination allows visitors of all ages to get up-close and personal with the wildlife to engender an appreciation for conservation and animal care. Also amazingly fun, Discovery Cove's attractions are more experiential than SeaWorld's as you don snorkel gear and a wetsuit and walk yourselves through the wetlands and tanks of the park. Swim with the dolphins, meet tropical fish face to face underwater, or put on a SeaVenture suit and walk on the seafloor.
5. Holy Land Experience
You don't have to fly across the Atlantic Ocean to visit the Holy Land. Orlando's own Jerusalem replica brings in millions of visitors every year as a faith-based attraction filled with biblical stories, reconstructed buildings, live shows, and more. This Christian theme park has open exhibits on the Wilderness Tabernacle, Calvary's Garden Tomb, the Jerusalem Street Market, and a model of Jerusalem circa 66 A.D. among others.
6. Kennedy Space Center
You may recognize the Kennedy Space Center as the public's connection to Cape Canaveral and NASA's mission for space exploration. This amazing visitors center strives to educate the public on NASA's missions, their science and the informational evolution of our current scientific understanding. Learn from trained professionals, retired astronauts, and NASA officials on a number of subjects including rocketry, the Mars mission, the history of space exploration and more. Be sure to take the astronaut training experience while you're here and feel what it's like to become an astronaut.
7. World of Chocolate Museum and Cafe
If your favorite part of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was the giant river of molten fudge, then I think we've found your perfect paradise. Orlando's World of Chocolate Museum and attached cafe is a wonderland of cacao. Enter through the museum to learn about where chocolate comes from, how they process it, and view the many creations they imagined and molded from pure chocolate like miniature replicas of the Eiffel Tower, Mount Rushmore, and 23 more statuesque, impressive structures. Then visit the cafe and buy yourself a bushel of the best and most delicious chocolate confections in Orlando.
It can be said that the most iconic animal of Florida is perhaps the American Alligator, and they sure are in abundance. Parks like Gatorland applaud and preserve the ancient agility, power, and strength of these amphibious beasts. Here you can see professionals wrestle live alligators, take a ride on the Screamin' Gator Zip Line, become a trainer for a day, or simply take a tour of the park to see the many animals that call this place home.
9. Pointe Orlando
Orlando is not only a destination of theme parks and wildlife but a city of high society, sunshine, and luxury. Pointe Orlando is one of the area's best shopping, dining, and entertainment districts with beautifully landscaped open air venues, your favorite stores including Armani Exchange and Bath & Body Works, alongside Improv comedy clubs, nightlife venues, an ice bar, and more. Visit Wonderworks for an upside down "edu-tainment" experience or catch a movie at the Regal Cinemas after dinner at five star restaurants or down home cooking destinations.