When on vacation in Orlando, Florida for a trip to Disney World, your fun and activities are not limited to Disney World attractions. You can take some time to sightsee around the Orlando area, which is home to many other attractions close to Disney World that appeal to the entire family. As much as kids love Disney World, some of the attritions close to Disney World could provide lots of fun and valuable memories for the entire family. Once you decide to visit these attractions, plan for a great stay at one of our vacation homes close to Disney or condos near Disney World.
Busch Gardens, Tampa
With a great combination of animal exhibits and thrilling rides, everyone can find something they love at Busch Gardens. Some great rides include the Kumba and the Montu, as well as Scorpion, each decorated in an intriguing cultural theme. Another roller coaster is the Sheikra, which plunges you down at 90 degrees, diving toward the ground. If you want a little rest, explore the world at Icepolration, or enjoy the rock-fueled Kinetix show or a fun-filled adventure with Elmo. There are also real animal attractions like the Edge of Africa or the Serengeti Safari Tour, which brings you up close and personal with hundreds of animals that roam free in a natural habitat. Busch Gardens is located in Tampa Florida and driving takes about 1.5 hours from Emerald Island Resort and other attractions close to Disney World.
Gatorland is another attraction that is located close to Disney and appeals to the entire family. It is the Gator Capital of the World and the home for over 5000 alligators and was one of the first theme parks in Florida. Opened as a road-side attraction in 1949, it is still owned and operated by the Godwin Family that started this attraction. Over the years this park expanded to over 110 acres. If you have an afternoon open for a park and you want to see crocodiles up-close, this park is the best option. We recommend this park to anyone who has a late evening flight as you can comfortably visit the entire park in 4-6 hours. At a day pass cost of $24.99 for adults and $16.99 for kids, this attraction provides family fun and enjoyment without breaking the bank. This place makes a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the large parks. If you want to see, feed and wrestle with live alligators then this is the place to visit.
Some of the highlights of this park include Gator Wrestling, Gator Jumparoo, and Up-close Encounters. The boardwalk around the wetlands is interesting to spot some snakes. If you feel like feeding the Gators, you can purchase some sausages and feed them. Other interesting aspects of this park include aquariums, aviary and petting zoo. And if you're tired of walking the park you can purchase their ride-all-you can train badge for $2.00. The train runs through the whole theme park with designated stops.
This attraction is open daily from 09:00 am to 06:00 pm so when you are done here, be sure to plan a family BBQ night at your vacation home close to Disney.
Universal Studios is a theme park that also teaches you a few things along the way! As the original of Orlando's two Universal Studios parks, you'll spend the day on rides that are themed to your favorite Universal movies, watching shows that give you a sense of behind-the-scenes movie magic, and testing your knowledge of film trivia along the way!
Rides range from the popular Men in Black: Alien Attack shooting ride and game, to Twister- ride it Out, where guests will be treated to a tornado recreated inside a building! There are also several 3-D motion rides, such as Terminator 2: Battle Across Time and Shrek 4-D. The newest and best attraction is the Revenge of the Mummy The Ride, which no one will want to miss!
Universal Studios: Islands of Adventure
The Islands of Adventure theme park by Universal Studios is just as much fun as the original park and is full of fantastic new rides for the whole family. The newest attraction, The Wizards of Harry Potter attracts large crowds of all ages.
At Marvel Super Hero Islands, guests won't want to miss plunging on the first weightless inverted roller coaster loop on the Incredible Hulk Coaster, and the 3-D Amazing Adventures of Spiderman Ride is a surefire hit.
Kids will love the kid-themed rides over at Seuss Landing where everything s curved, slanted or wonky like Dr. Seuss' original illustrations. Kids love the interactive play area called If I Ran the Zoo. Let the whole family be thrilled on the Jurassic Park River Adventure water ride, and ride the Dueling Dragons roller coaster above the Lost Continent!
SeaWorld Adventure Park
At SeaWorld, forget about lining up! Everything in the park is stadium-style, which allows large crowds at any given time without having to line up for attractions in the heat - what a relief! Take a look at the schedule of shows for the day, and plan your journey around it. Make sure you visit Shamu the whale and take a trip to Stingray Lagoon. Both the stingray exhibit and Dolphin Cove allow you to buy fish and feed the animals yourselves! Turtle trek is entertaining as well as educational where you get a "chance to be a turtle".
There are also two great rides at SeaWorld, the flume/roller coaster Journey to Atlantis, and the Kraken, which is one of the best coaster rides in all of Orlando! The Net Climb is a challenge for the entire family!
Kennedy Space Center
The home of America's space program, Kennedy Space Center, Florida features a variety of exhibits, shows, and tours which are both interesting and informative. An hour away from Orlando its very family friendly and whether you're of the Apollo generation or a Shuttle space cadet there's plenty to enjoy. Don't miss the stunning IMAX movie or the Spaceport USA bus tour which gets you out to the observation gantry overlooking the biggest rockets you're ever likely to see - if you're not careful this could be the most fun you ever had in a science lesson!