Unleash Your Inner Thrill-Seeker: Florida's Finest Amusement Parks Await!
There are so many reasons the sunshine state is one of the hottest destinations for epic vacations. The array of Florida amusement parks makes it a major draw for millions of visitors each year.
But when it comes to choosing the best theme parks in Florida to visit, there are so many that it could make your head spin. To help you plan out your next trip, this list has the top 14 that are worth your time and money.
Typically, people point to Disney and Universal when they think of amusement parks in Florida. But the truth is that both have several theme parks that should be considered individually when ranking the best ones. There are also a ton of parks that aren't affiliated with either.
Don't worry! This list has considered them all, so you don't have to. So, let's check out the best amusement parks in Florida.
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At the top of this list of the best amusement parks in Florida is the iconic Walt Disney World Resort. It was back in 1971 when Disney expanded to the East Coast with this fabulous park, now called Magic Kingdom.
It’s here that you’ll experience the magic and awe of Disney. If it’s your first or fiftieth visit to Magic Kingdom, nothing quite compares to seeing Cinderella’s Castle and cheering for Mickey at the nightly Festival of Fantasy Parade.
There are a total of 6 lands in Magic Kingdom, including Main Street, USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasy Land, and Tomorrowland. Each land is expertly designed to give you an immersive experience.
There are 30 different rides and attractions throughout Magic Kingdom, the most you'll find at any of the parks.
Over the last 50 years, the Magic Kingdom has withstood the test of time, making nostalgia a major plus for the Magic Kingdom.
You'll feel like a kid again riding Space Mountain, being spooked in the Haunted Mansion, and singing along with "It's a Small World". If you're an adrenaline seeker, you won't be disappointed with the TRON Lightcycle/Run.
Address: 3111 World Dr, Orlando, FL 32830
Get the full cinematic experience at Universal Studios Orlando, one of the best Orlando theme parks. Since it opened in 1990, it's been an absolute blast for visitors who love to see their favorite movies come to life.
With everything from coasters and VR experiences to food and entertainment, it's really an experience like no other.
Kids of all ages will feel like they are the star of their favorite movie in Universal Studios.
Little ones will love mingling with Minions from Despicable Me. Bigger kids will be all about doing battle with Optimus Prime and defeating aliens with the MIB. Grownups will feel like kids again on the ET Adventure.
A major draw for Universal is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Here you'll be able to Escape from Gringotts and ride the Hogwarts Express. Let a wand choose you at Ollivander's, then use its magical powers throughout Diagon Alley.
Have you ever imagined eating a Lard Lad Donut on the Simpsons? Or sip a butterbeer like Harry? Then you’re in luck! It’s all up for your tastebuds to explore at Universal.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
Universal's Island of Adventures is the other half of the insanely awesome experience Universal offers in Florida.
Don't think this is a lesser quality second sister to Universal Studios. It's been so popular since its 1999 opening that Islands of Adventure is often ranked on par or higher than Universal Studios.
So, what would you get on a day at Islands of Adventures? The whole park is designed like little islands devoted to your favorite motion picture. Each has killer rides, food, and entertainment for all ages based on the movie franchises.
Hopping from island to island, it's like you're stepping into each world. You'll be able to ride the heart-pumping VelociCoaster in Jurassic World, go on a whimsical adventure with the Cat in the Hat in Seuss Landing, and even ride with Hagrid on his Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.
Each island has tons to do and see. Don't miss the Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle or watching a Dr. Seuss story told by characters like Thing 1 and Thing 2. No wonder Islands of Adventures is one of the top Orlando theme parks.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Orlando
When considering the best Florida amusement parks, don't miss out on Busch Gardens. Since its opening in 1959, it has been getting better and better over time, perfecting itself over the decades.
At the start, it was simply an exotic garden adjacent to the Anheuser-Busch manufacturing plant. Since then, it's grown to include extensive animal habitats, amusement rides, restaurants, and live concerts.
Today, Busch Gardens is fun for the whole family. Ranked as one of the best zoos in the country, you'll see animals from around the world, like lions, kangaroos, and penguins.
If you're looking to spend the day riding insanely good coasters, set your sights on Busch Gardens. You'll find some of the best coasters in the state, like Iron Gwazi and SheiKra.
Kids will love the Sesame Street Safari of Fun with amusement rides and entertainment made just for them. They’ll light up seeing their favorite Sesame Street characters in person.
As a serious concert venue, Busch Gardens hosts nightly concerts with seriously fantastic musicians. You'll also love seeing daily shows like Turn It Up! Remix.
Address: 10165 N McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612
Also Read: Top Tampa Attractions & Things To Do
Epcot is the Disney park known for its iconic golf ball-like Spaceship Earth. Although it may not have as many heart-pumping rides as other parks in the Disney collection, it's still a serious contender as one of the best theme parks in Florida; here's why.
In its conceptual stage, Epcot was going to be an innovative community of the future. But by the time it opened in 1982, it was a celebration of the world of today and tomorrow.
Today, Epcot's 4 different neighborhoods: World Celebration, World Discovery, World Nature, and World Showcase, continue this tradition.
At Epcot, you'll step into recreations of 11 different countries like Japan, Mexico, and Morocco. Here you'll explore everything from food and shopping to architecture and music.
Epcot’s Festivals are major events throughout the year. The whole park comes to life during the Festival of the Arts, Flower and Garden Festival, Food and Wine Festival, and Festival of the Holidays.
As for rides at Epcot, you'll love ones like Mission: Space and Frozen Ever After. The new Guardians of the Galaxy is a major hit that everyone in the family will love.
Address: 200 Epcot Center Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
Also Read: Top Tourist Attractions in Florida
Animal Kingdom is Disney's version of an incredible zoo and, seriously, one of the best theme parks in Florida for animal lovers.
The largest of the Disney theme parks opened to the public on Earth Day in 1998. Disneys' Animal Kingdom is home to hundreds of exotic animals and spreads out over nearly 600 acres.
The expansive space is an important way that Disney makes sure the animals are happy and healthy. Before bringing animals to the park, Disney carefully studied the natural habitats of animals in order to recreate them at Animal Kingdom.
Staying true to the recreation of habitats, the park has distinct areas dedicated to the animals' natural homelands. So you'll see tigers in Asia and Giraffes in Africa. Avatar fans will love visiting the fictional land of Pandora too.
Animal Kingdom has a huge conservation and research program, Planet Watch. Guests can see things like food preparation, veterinary care, and science research. Proceeds from merchandise purchases at Animal Kingdom help fund Disney Conservation.
Rides at Animal Kingdom include Flight of Passage and Expedition Everest. To see the animals hop on to the Safari.
Address: 2901 Osceola Pkwy, Bay Lake, FL 32830
Also Read: The Best Zoos in the US to Visit
If you're looking to fully immerse yourself in movie magic, then Disney's Hollywood Studios is for you.
When the park opened in 1989, it was called MGM Studios, where visitors got a backstage look at how movies are made.
In 2008 the park was reimagined and given the new name of Disney's Hollywood Studios. Now, visitors experience being in the movies rather than making the movies.
Today, the park has rides, food, shopping and character interactions that make you feel like you're actually in the movies themselves. Notably, Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy's Edge are killers.
Hollywood Studios has a crazy number of thrill rides. With ones like Tower of Terror, Rock and Roller Coaster, and Rise of the Resistance, you'll get your heart pumping again and again throughout the park.
Little ones will love riding along with Lightning McQueen and going on Mickey and Minnie's Run Away Railroad.
Hollywood Studios has some of the best shows and entertainment in any of the Florida amusement parks. You’ll love ones like Beauty and the Beast, Frozen Sing-Along, Muppet Vision 3D, and Indiana Jones.
Address: 351 S Studio Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
When the Florida weather is heating up, there’s no better place to be than Universal’s Volcano Bay.
This crazy good water park has everything from a lazy river to waterslides, making it one of the best amusement parks in Florida for water fun.
Kids of all ages will find something at Volcano Bay. You can relax on the beach or float along the Kopiko Wai Wading River. For an adrenaline rush, head to the Krakatau Aqua Coaster or Ohno of Ohyah & Ohno Drop Slides.
When tummies start to grumble, there's no need to leave the park. Volcano Bay has plenty of places to choose from to satisfy everyone's cravings.
There are burgers, sushi, pizza, and ice cream. Adults can also enjoy poolside cocktails. You can even take it up a notch with delivery service straight to your private cabana if you want.
If you want VIP status, make sure to stay at one of the Universal properties. Guests have their own designated entrance and enjoy early entry to Volcano Bay. Rooms at Cabana Bay Resort even have views of the iconic Krakatau Volcano.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
Also Read: The Best Amusement Parks in the US to Visit
LEGOLAND is one of Florida's best amusement parks for kids and kids at heart. With so much to see and do, LEGOLAND does not disappoint.
The park has 14 different areas, including The Beginning, The LEGO MOVIE World, Miniland USA, DUPLO Valley, Land of Adventure, LEGO Ninjago World, and Pirates' Cove.
A totally hands-on experience, throughout the park, you'll be able to build and rebuild with LEGO.
Rides in LEGOland let you drive LEGO cars, step into the storyline with LEGO Friends, and zoom around the park on roller coasters.
It's fascinating to learn about the development of LEGO and see works by Master Builders. Replicas of the Las Vegas Strip and New York City made entirely out of LEGOs are super cool.
You’ll be entertained with LEGO shows like BrickBeard’s Water Sports Stunt Show and LEGO MOVIE 4D. And even get to meet your favorite LEGO characters.
You can buy LEGO pieces and sets that may be hard to find elsewhere. You can even get a piece engraved with your name to make it truly yours.
Address: One Legoland Way, Winter Haven, FL 33884
Also Read: The Best Theme Parks in the US
Peppa Pig Theme Park is the newest addition to the theme parks in Florida and is perfect for families with young children. Since it opened in 2022, Peppa's Park has let everyone get into the fun.
Peppa Pig rides are tons of fun for kids of all ages. They're also designed for adults to ride with little ones. This way, you'll both enjoy flying in Peppa's hot air balloon and looking for dinosaurs with George. Don't miss Daddy Pig's roller coaster; it's a lot of fun.
Play areas and amusement games throughout the park are designed for little ones and are free. The splash pad area lets kids play in the puddles, just like Peppa. It also helps you cool off in the hot Florida sun.
You'll love watching Peppa and George goes on an adventure in the live show. Meeting Peppa and George is a huge highlight.
A major plus is that the Peppa Pig Theme Park is a certified Autism Center. The trained staff and clearly marked sensory guides allow all visitors to enjoy this great park.
Address: 5546 Idlewild Rd, Winter Haven, FL 33884
The traditional, good fun theme park is alive and well at Fun Spot America, making it one of the best Orlando theme parks.
Family-run Fun Spot has a decades-long history of providing entertainment for the whole family in the South East, including at its sister park in Kissimmee. Since opening in 1997, Fun Spot Orlando has been a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
What will you find at Fun Spot America Orlando? Fun Spot's signature rides are the awesome multi-level Go Karts.
Adrenaline junkies love hitting up Fun Spot's thrill rides like Skycoaster and Headrush 360. For the little ones, rides like Fog Hopper and Kiddie Swings will keep them smiling all day.
One of the top reasons for visiting Fun Spot America is the wooden coaster White Lightning. With a 135-foot drop and max speeds of 44mph, you'll love hitting this ride repeatedly.
Fun Spot is all about good old-fashioned fun – the kind you remember from childhood. You'll feel like a kid again as you navigate the Funhouse, ride the Fun Slide, and go round the carousel.
Address: 5700 Fun Spot Way, Orlando, FL 32819
At Discovery Cove, you'll be transported to a Tropical Lagoon paradise full of beautiful water and fascinating wildlife.
Divided into three sections, Discovery Cove is easy to navigate. There's Wind Away River, Dolphin Lagoon, and the Grand Reef Habitat.
At Wind Away River, you'll love floating through the water and admiring the park's wildlife. Definitely check out the exotic birds in the aviary, as well as the marmosets and otters.
The water here is heated to 85 degrees, so you won't need to borrow a wetsuit like in the other areas. With an upgraded ticket, you can swim with dolphins at the Dolphin Lagoon.
In the Grand Reef, you'll be snorkeling with tropical fish and rays among the lush reef. You can also upgrade to go on an underwater walking tour, swim with the reef sharks, or get your own private cabana.
Food throughout Discovery Cove is quite extensive. You’ll get your fill at buffet restaurants and snack stations throughout the park. Unlike other theme parks in Florida, Discovery Cove offers an all-inclusive experience. So, it’s included in the price of your ticket.
Address: 6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, FL 32821
If you're looking for a day spent zipping down water slides and floating around the non-so-lazy rivers, consider visiting Aquatica. It's been providing fun, water-filled days since it opened in 2008.
Rides at Aquatica have everything from body water slides and tons of tube rides. You’ll get your heart pumping as you cool off on slides like Riptide Race and Ihu’s Breakaway Falls.
Hit the tube slides with your friends on ones like Ray Rush and Walhalla Wave. Little ones will have tons of water fun made just for them at the Walkabout Waters.
Aquatica uniquely provides aquarium exhibitions alongside its waterslides. Now, it's not as spectacular as its sister park SeaWorld across the street or Discovery Cove, but you will be able to see some sea life on rides like Loggerhead Lane and Reef Plunge.
You can also upgrade to join Aquatica zoological experts in an up-close look at the Commerson's dolphins.
Aquatica sets itself apart from many other water-based amusement parks in Florida with its reasonable price point. Especially when purchasing tickets ahead of time.
Address: 5800 Water Play Way, Orlando, FL 32821
Rounding out this list of the best theme parks to visit in Florida is Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.
Since its opening in 1989, Typhoon Lagoon has been consistently a great way to spend the day beating the heat. In true Disney style, the park immerses guests in the theme of a shipwrecked island.
You'll see and feel this throughout the park with lush vegetation and items washed ashore, including the ship perched high up on top of Mount Mayday.
The whole family will love riding the slides at Typhoon. Adrenaline junkies will head straight for Crush n Gusher or Humunga Kowabunga. Little ones will find everything at their speed at Ketchakiddee Creek, including slides and splash pad fun.
Consider renting an umbrella or private Beachcomber Shack for quiet time away from the energy of the park.
Go bodysurfing in Typhoon's Surf Pool, the largest wave pool in North America. If you want to take things up a notch, consider joining a surf lesson before or after park hours to really hang-10.
Address: 1145 E Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
This answer really depends on what you value in an amusement park. But when you consider everything from the number of rides to immersive themes and sheer magic, it's hard to deny Disney's Magic Kingdom the top spot.
Without a doubt, Orlando is the city in Florida with the most amusement parks. While Universal theme parks have physical Orlando addresses, Disney parks are so close they are considered to be within the Orlando Metropolitan area.
With an impressive 24 rides, Disney's Magic Kingdom has the most rides of any amusement park in Florida. It's here that you'll find classics like the Dumbo the Flying Elephant and new thrill rides like TRON Lightcycle/Run.
The majority of the Florida theme parks on the list are great for adults who consider themselves kids at heart. But when it comes to adult beverages, drinking around the world is a favorite activity at Epcot.
This answer totally depends on how you define the "best ride. But the truth is, you can't really beat Jurassic World's VelociCoaster, Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and the Incredible Hulk Coaster, which are all at Universal's Islands of Adventures.
There you have it – the 14 best amusement parks in Florida. Although Walt Disney World Resort–Magic Kingdom ranks supreme on the list, you can see this incredible state has something for everyone.
Adrenaline seekers will have a blast at Universal's Islands of Adventures, Fun Spot America, and of course, Busch Gardens. For wet and wild times, you've got your pick of Volcano Bay, Typhoon Lagoon and Discovery Cove.
Little ones will have a blast at the new Peppa Pig Theme Park, where everything is designed especially for them. At each park, you'll be in for a day of fun and adventure.