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Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s about time to start planning a family holiday. For many, Orlando is the ultimate family destination and one which both adults and children adore. With endless attractions available, it will be no surprise that this trip can come with a hefty price tag. Understandably, for many families this is a once in a lifetime holiday, so whilst you’re there you will want to make the most of it and tick everything off your to-do list.
To help, we’ve put together a guide of the best parks to visit, which are fun for all the family!
The sheer number of theme parks in Orlando can often be overwhelming and confusing. There are six Disney parks in Orlando alone: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Furthermore, Universal has three parks: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay.
Magic Kingdom is Walt Disney’s most popular park, which comes as no surprise given its endless attractions including classic such as Peter Pan’s Flight, It’s a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean, magical dining experiences, exciting entertainment- not to mention the opportunity to meet all your favourite characters! Be prepared to queue for rides, especially during the summer months when visitor numbers are at their peak. This being said, fast passes are available for most rides, so it may be worth purchasing one for your favourites. This park offers incredible shopping, parades that will have your children smiling from ear to ear, and, as it gets dark, magical projections which are the perfect way to end a day of creating memories.
Epcot is unlike any other park. With unique characteristics, such as the giant spaceship earth geosphere (looks a bit like a golf ball), Epcot park allows you to travel around the globe, ‘Under the Sea’ and even into outer space – wherever takes your fancy.
The Frozen Ever After Musical, DiveQuest, not to mention exquisite dining experiences across all 11 countries within its world showcase, make this the ideal place for both adults and children.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios showcase many of the classic films we know and still love today, and take us on a journey back to where it all began.
The studios take centre stage in the world of movies, television, music and theatre. With a Toy Story land, chance to meet characters including the beloved Mike and Sully (Monsters Inc) and even the opportunity to escape to the edge of the Galaxy and see Star Wars come to life, this park really has it all.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom, quite frankly, is brilliant. Showcasing the beauty and magic of nature, whilst providing world class entertainment, Animal Kingdom is not only fun for all the family but also very educational.
From the family friendly Avatar Flight of Passage ride to the Na’vi River Journey, there’s something to suit everyone. And for all you thrill seekers, there’s the exhilarating Expedition Everest. With fast drops, high speeds, dark places and frightening creature effects this ride is definitely not for the faint hearted.
Whilst the park is naturistic, it still symbolises Disney in everything that it does. From its Lion King themed dining experience to its Finding Nemo musical stage show, the magic of Disney is alive.
Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach are Disney’s two waterparks. As with many waterparks, they offer a variety of attractions including the lazy river, toboggan racers, wave pools and thrilling slides with dips and turns. If you’re only in Orlando for a week, we don’t recommend visiting both parks as your experience will be quite similar for both. Be prepared to queue for rides and to be charged an excessive amount for drinks. Waterparks are always fun for all the family, with something for everyone- so whether you prefer to relax on a sunbed whilst your little ones play or you fancy taking on some of the big slides- you’re sure to have an amazing day.
Universal Studios is perhaps one of the most exciting parks you’ll visit – there is so much on offer!
The incredible Wizarding World of Harry Potter is perfect for any Harry Potter fan. And given that Harry Potter is a British household name, it’s only right we explain the layout of the Wizarding World.
Diagon alley is located in Universal Studios. Its bustling atmosphere is accompanied by famous shops (based on the film), the well-known Leaky Cauldron and The Hogwarts Express, which is available to take you across to Hogsmeade in Universal’s neighbouring park, Islands of Adventure. At Hogsmeade you can ride Hippogriffs, stock up on wizarding supplies and even treat yourself to a pint of butterbeer (non-alcoholic, of course).
Universal Studios attractions include a 3-D Transformers ride, Shrek 4-D cinematic experience, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and, Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (a firm favourite amongst the little ones). Universal also includes well known classics, such as Men in Black, The Mummy, Jaws and Indiana Jones, which is great fun for adults.
Islands of Adventure is the sister park of Universal Studios, home to not only Skull Island Reign of Kong but also Marvel Super Hero Island. Here you’ll find attractions including The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Doctor Doom’s Fearfall. There is also Jurassic Park and Seuss Landing, where whimsical tales come to life before your very eyes.
Volcano Bay is Universal’s water theme park, which hosts many attractions. Krakatau Aqua Coaster, Ko’okiri body plunge and Punga Racers are just a few waterslides to name. However, those who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, will be pleased to know that Volcano Bay has it’s very own Waturi beach. The sparkling lagoon is perfect for a peaceful swim and lays base of the volcano – ideal for keeping an eye on the kids.
The park is divided into villages, consisting of river village, rainforest village and wave village. This makes it easy to locate where you are, minimising the risk of getting lost in the huge park.
There are plenty of dining options, with over 60 unique offerings inspired by flavours of the South Pacific, such as slowly smoked Hawaiian ribs, coconut curry chicken as well as fussy eaters’ favourites – chicken nuggets and chips, pizza and burgers. Within each village are restaurants and bars, so you’re sure not to be in short supply of food.
As you can probably imagine, visiting these parks is expensive, especially if you’re purchasing day tickets, beverages and snacks at the park. This being said, there are a number of ticket deals available which can make it considerably cheaper.
Disney offer a 14-day ticket which covers access to all of their parks. This costs around £395 for adults (10+yrs) and £375 for children (3-9yrs). For more information click here.
Universal offer a ‘3 Park Explorer’ ticket which allows you to enjoy 14 days of unlimited access to all of the parks. Adults (10+yrs) cost around £295, and children (3-9yrs) cost £287. For more information click here.
If you are planning a holiday to Orlando this summer, make sure you take out the right travel insurance, which offers cover suitable for your family’s needs. Our family single trip policies start from just £8.56, click here for more information.
Prices and information correct as at March 2019.
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