10 Best Theme Park Rides and Attractions in Orlando
Orlando is the theme park capital of the world and is home to some of the most thrilling rides and state of the art attractions in the world. There are so many different theme parks, rides, and experiences, it’s hard to know where to start. Our Orlando holiday experts have put together their recommendations on the best theme park rides and attractions in Orlando and surrounding areas, to help you decide what to do when you get there.
Best Theme Park Rides and Attractions at SeaWorld
Mako at SeaWorld is Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster. This rollercoaster promises an extreme thrill and it delivers at every turn. Reaching speeds of up to 73mph and climbing to 200 feet above the park, Mako is not for faint-hearted.
Krakken Unleashed is a re-imagining of one of the most iconic roller coasters in Orlando. This steel floorless roller coaster reaches heights of 150 feet and a maximum speed of 105kmph (65 mph). This is an extreme ride and the sound of the winding of metal as the coaster climbs to the top of the highest drop really builds the adrenaline and excitement. There are lots of loops and steep drops and the addition of the virtual reality element really does bring the revamped Krakken Unleashed to the next level, it’s bound to be a favourite with roller coaster enthusiasts for some time to come.
Shamu Show is SeaWorld’s iconic orca show. Be prepared to get wet if you sit in the ‘splash zone’ rows 1 to 14. Guests can ‘dine with Shamu’ as an optional extra. You’ll enjoy a delicious full buffet and drinks. Trainers will talk to you about Orcas and how to train them and Shamu will do tricks behind a glass wall while you dine. This is a popular extra and numbers are limited so we advise you to book early.
Best Theme Park Rides and Attractions at Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay
Busch Gardens is about an hour from Orlando in Tampa Bay. Tickets include either a bus there and back from your Orlando Resort or free parking in the extensive on-site carpark if you travel in your hired car. Busch Gardens features world-class theme park rides and attractions and generally has shorter queuing time than the busier Orlando theme parks.
Sheikra at Busch Gardens is a floorless coaster that features a 200ft vertical drop. Climb to 200 feet then slowly inch over the 90-degree edge, hold your breath as you wait for the exhilaration of a 70mph vertical drop. This is not for the faint-hearted. The ride also includes lots of loops before you are flung into a dark tunnel then emerge for a final splash as the rollercoaster ride comes to an end.
Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens is a triple launch roller coaster. You’ll enjoy this 4,400ft long high thrill ride sitting in pairs. Cheetah Hunt emulates the animal it is named after, reach breakneck speeds as you ride through Busch Gardens on the longest roller coaster in Tampa Bay
Serengeti Safari at Busch Gardens, explore the 65-acre Serengeti Plain aboard an open-air trailer. Head out on safari with your onboard guide. Expect to get close to the exotic animals that roam the Serengeti Plain at Busch Gardens, rinos, ostriches, zebra, antelope and more. You’ll have an opportunity to hand feed giraffe, this is a real thrill and rivals any roller coaster you might like to try! Book before you go, this is a really popular tour, you’ll get to take lots of photos and make memories to last a lifetime.
Falcon Fury at Busch Gardens, experience a high-speed vertical dive on the Falcon Fury at Busch Gardens. A Peregrine falcon, the fastest animal on earth (yes – faster than a cheetah!), is one of the inspirations for this amazing theme park ride. Rise slowly to the top of the 300ft freestanding drop tower. You’ll pivot to 90 degrees and wait for the drop as gravity pulls your arms and legs, the secure harness is all that is holding you in place, you’ll feel the full weight of your body against it before you are dropped face down at over 60 miles an hour. This is a ride for extreme thrill seekers and won’t disappoint!
Best Theme Park Rides and Attractions at Aquatica
Aquatica is the SeaWorld water park and is located across the road from the main SeaWorld theme park. If you are planning a visit to SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, then combining it with a $117 three park ticket is great value. This gives you unlimited 14-day access and includes parking if you have a car or a free transfer from your hotel if you don’t.
Walhalla Wave at Aquatica is the best ride, it is a firm favourite with our Orlando travel experts. This is a really family friendly ride, 3-4 people can ride the Walhalla Wave in the same ring. This six-story maze of twists, turns and tunnels offers a good thrill factor too.
Best Theme Park Rides at Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort has three amazing theme parks, Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida, and Universal’s Volcano Bay, the newest theme park in Orlando. We’ve already covered The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Orlando Resort in a separate blog post so we’ll stick to the other rides and attractions here.
The Simpsons at Universal Studios is not like a rollercoaster, where you can see the horizon and may experience the fear of falling out. This 4D simulator makes you feel like you are flying. Keep an eye out, the experience is set in Springfield, you’ll see all your favourite Simpsons characters as you fly across the rooftops on this thrilling adventure.
Spiderman at Islands of Adventure is a high-tech 3D thrill ride. This ride has been re-imagined recently and is an experience to remember. Fly with Spiderman around Time Square and other famous New York landmarks as a battle rages, feel the heat of the flames from nearby explosions and the spray of water on your face as Spiderman causes pipes to burst. This is a high-octane simulator ride that delivers at every turn.
Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges is one of the best water rides at Islands of Adventure. It’s great fun for all the family. Remember the driest seat is not necessarily the seat you get least wet, it probably means the person sitting there took all water on themselves! Bring a poncho and try to keep your feet on the wheel if you want to stay dry – there is no guarantee that will work though!
The Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure has recently been reimagined. This big green thrill ride enjoys an iconic spot as the first major ride you encounter as you enter the Islands of Adventure theme park. The Incredible Hulk is a whirlwind adventure of multiple loops, twist and turns going so fast it feels like you will catapult out of your seat. With top speeds of 67mph and vertical loops, it’s a high-speed thrill ride – a great start to your visit to Islands of Adventure.
Best Theme Park Rides and Attractions at Volcano Bay
Krakatau Aqua Coaster is a Hawaiian themed water ride. The 4-person canoes mean it’s a high thrill ride suitable for all the family. The Krakatau Aqua Coaster twists and turns in closed tunnels through the iconic volcano that is the centrepiece of Volcano Bay Park. You do need swim gear to enjoy the ride, it ends in with a drop into a plunge pool after bursting through a waterfall.
Ko-Okiri Body Plunge at Volcano Bay will test even the steadiest of nerves. Cross your hands over your chest before being released through the trap door to experience a 70-degree 125ft drop. Water will hit your face as you plummet for 10 seconds before plunging into the pool below.
Volcano Bay is Orlando’s newest theme park, there is a great laid-back atmosphere in the picturesque park and thanks to the magic of Tapu-Tapu, (automatic ride booking technology via a wristband) there is minimal queuing time and no carrying rings.
Best Theme Park Rides and Attractions at Disney Orlando
Disney Orlando offers fun for all the family in its two water parks and 4 theme parks. But which are the best theme park rides and attractions at Disney Orlando? We asked our American Holiday Orlando travel experts.
Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is an exciting 3D ride based in Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom. This magical place is based on the Avatar movie and is truly breath-taking. Avatar Flight of Passage takes you high over Pandora aboard a Banshee as you experience the rite of passage of a Na’vi hunter.
Hollywood Tower Hotel at Hollywood Studios is based on the Twilight Zone. This elevator themed ride is set in a haunted hotel, you are in a dark enclosed space, upping the fear factor. The Tower of Terror will take you to the 13th floor before suddenly dropping you into the abyss of the elevator shaft…
World Showcase at Epcot Park features 11 to 12 countries, explore typical streets, houses, cultures, and customs as well as traditional food and drink from each country at the World Showcase. A visit here is close to visiting the country itself, you’ll certainly get a flavour of what makes each showcased country unique.
The Grand Finale at Disney’s Magic Kingdom is the perfect end to the day. A new show has been launched recently based on the theme of Happily Ever After. The fireworks and laser light show is based on the story of multiple Disney favourites such as Aladdin and the Lion King. The show starts at 9PM and lasts for 20mins, be in front of Cinderella’s Castle for the best view, you’ll need to start queuing early, but we guarantee it’s worth it!
Best Theme Park Rides and Attractions in Orlando
So, there you have it, the best theme park rides and attractions in Orlando based on the opinions of our American Holidays Orlando holiday specialists. If you want advice on theme park rides, tickets and special Orlando holiday offers, speak to one of our advisors today.