Orlando's Top 5 Attractions
Orlando is the theme park, attraction and amusement capital of the world. From Shamu to the Mouse to the world's most famous boy wizard, visitors to central Florida suffer an embarrassment of riches when it comes to escapist options. The Travel Channel has put together a list of the top 5 attractions in the Orlando area -- just strap on your best coaster shoes and pick a favorite.
Need more Orlando trip tips? Get more details with Travel Channel's Guide to Orlando.
If you've only got a day and want to steep yourself in vintage Disney, visit the Magic Kingdom. That's where you'll find Cinderella Castle, It's a Small World and the Haunted Mansion -- the classics.
The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival runs from late September through mid-November, and if you're into thrill rides make sure to hit the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Disney's Hollywood Studios. That said, don't try to see everything -- it's impossible. Pick a few must-do attractions and take everything slowly. It's the details that make Walt Disney World a magical place.
Muggles who can sneak away to this immersive world can soar above Hogwarts and visit Dumbledore's office on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. A pair of coasters -- Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff -- satisfy thrill-seekers, while fans can also line up for a chance to have a wand choose them at Ollivanders.
Tuck into some fish and chips, a Cornish pasty or shepherd's pie at the Three Broomsticks, and grab some pumpkin juice at the adjacent Hog's Head Pub. Islands of Adventure is also home to some of the best and most thrilling theme park rides in Orlando.
The Kraken and Manta roller coasters dangle and fly guests over the park, but it's the live shows that put this park on the map. Get personal with penguins, sharks, dolphins, flamingos and pelicans, among others. Splurge a bit and spend the day at SeaWorld's Discovery Cove park, where you'll have the chance to swim, touch and play with bottlenose dolphins, snorkel with tropical fish and stingrays
Dramatic colors and towers created from Legos greet guests at the appropriately named “The Beginning,” where you'll find the park entry and guest services. From there, choose from 10 themed areas, built around everything from pirates to medieval castles. Legoland is about 40 minutes south of Orlando in Winter Garden on the site of the old Cypress Gardens.
Gatorland also has the world's largest collection of white alligators, several of which are rather on the giant size. And if you're not careful, a little education can also be squeezed in. Gatorland is a 15- to 20-minute drive from the International Drive area.
Wherever You Go ...Tip: While a 1-day ticket to a theme park can be expensive, do not buy from roadside shacks or go to craigslist for discounted tickets. Many are unauthorized and can leave you with no entry and no recourse at the park's entrance. A safe bet is the Kissimmee Walmart, where legitimate discounted Walt Disney World tickets are sold. Or consider a visit to undercovertourist.com -- an authorized and proven reseller of discount tickets to each of these parks.
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