‘We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.’
Orlando (Florida) is known as the ‘Theme Park Capital of the World’ what i like is the fact that the theme parks cater to both kids and adults. The overall experience can be overwhelming but with proper planning the experience is incredible. If you are a 1st time traveller and love theme parks, I recommend a minimum of 5 days especially if you want to fully immerse yourself in the Orlando Magic. Walt Disney World alone has 4 theme parks and 2 water parks.
The theme parks that we went when we were in Orlando were:-
- Magic Kingdom – ‘The most magical place on earth’
The rides here are endless and there’s a ride for everyone. If you can invest in a FastPass I highly recommend it. Lines can have a waiting period of up to 60min(1hour). Having a FastPass makes the experience even more worthwhile, lines are shorter and you get to go on more rides. I have listed below the rides we enjoyed.
- Space Mountain – is an indoor dark outer space-themed steel roller coaster. It’s one of the popular rides, a pure adrenaline rush. Lines are long but they have a FastPass Line.
- Splash Mountain – is a hollowed-out log that drifts in water past rocky caves, vine-strewn swamps and sun-drenched meadows. It’s a fun ride for the entire family, you will get wet. The lines are long but there’s a FastPass line.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – a rollicking runaway mine train roller coaster that races through a haunted gold-mining town. A family fun ride with a FastPass line.
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – An indoor ride with lazer guns shooting Zurgs for points. This ride got VERY competitive with my family. The little people seem to have this ride figured out, they scored a lot of points.
- Tomorrowland Speedway – A raceway with gasoline-powered cars that travel up to 7 mph(11.2654km per hour). This ride is popular kids get to drive a car around the raceway.
There’s a new addition to the park, Pandora – The World of Avatar.
a. Avatar Flight of Passage – The ride itself is an experience that words simply cannot describe. It’s a 3D ride and you get to Fly on the back of a mountain banshee deep in the heart of the Valley of Mo’ara. The ride is so popular that it has a waiting time of 90m (yes 1HR and 30M). A FastPass is a must here, the wait time is a lot shorter. b. Na’vi River Journey – The ride takes guests through the Kasvapan River of Pandora from the 2009 film Avatar, showcasing native animals and bioluminescent flora, with inclusion of Audio-animatronics.
The other ride that we enjoyed was, Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain – Steam engine roller coaster train ride train that takes you through rolling hills, mountain. Along the way you will encounter a broken track that leads to nowhere…the train then moves backwards. A thrill ride which reaches speeds up to 50 mph.
Our best rides at this theme park were:-
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – This roller coaster is just pure adrenaline, it accelerates from 0 to 57 miles per hour (91,7326km per hour) in 2.8 seconds (making this the second-fastest attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort, behind only Test Track). We got to this ride late in the afternoon just after it rained, the lines were a lot shorter.
- The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ – is a simulated freefall drop tower thrill ride. The ride starts in the library with a short video of story of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. You then board the elevator and the madness begins. Awesome, the drop is what really get to you.
- Toy Story Mania – is an interactive 4-D theme park attraction, in which guests twist through a series of virtual carnival games while wearing 3D glasses. It’s a fun ride and very popular.
Walt Disney World is truly a magica experience, its no surprise that it remains one of the most sought-after destinations for families from all over the world. I like the fact they continue to innovate and re-invent with new rides and experiences.
The Universal Orlando Resort is the 2nd largest resort after World Disney Resort and consist of the following theme parks:-
a. Universal Studios Florida – a theme park that lets visitors ‘Ride the Movies.’
Our favourite rides were:-
i. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit™ – What Goes (Way) Up Must Come Down
- This roller coaster ride is on steroids, you strapon, pick a song & experience pure adrenaline. The ride starts going up at a calm 90° and then a ferocious drop, going through the track at 65mph.
ii. Transformers the ride-3D – You board a 12-seat passenger car, you have to protect the AllSpark against Megatron in a battle between the Autobots and Decepticons. The ride spins, bucks and dives through the streets and skyscrapers of Chicago.
iii. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™ – I never really got into the Harry Potter hype so I was very happy to give this ride a miss. My family loved the ride, its another indoor 3D experience roller coaster ride.
b. Islands of Adventure – forms part of an expansion that converted Universal Studios Florida into the Universal Orlando Resort. The slogan for this theme park, along with Universal Studios Florida, is Vacation Like You Mean It. The park’s overall theme is that of a journey of exploration, where guests depart from a main port to visit themed islands, all emphasizing adventure.
Our rides were the Incredidle Hulk Roller Coaster Ride and Dr Doom’s Fear Fall.
i. The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster Ride – It’s Loopy, with 7 inversions, the ride goes from 0-40 mph in 2 seconds with a top speed of 67 mph (108km/h) and launches upwards of 150 feet. It’s another crazy ride and not for the faint hearted.
ii. Dr Doom’s Fear Fall – You get strapped you into a seat, the ride then blast 185 feet into the sky. Great views and then—without a second to catch your breath—hurl you back down
c. Universal’s Volcano Bay™ – is the latest water theme park that replaces Wet and Wild, it opened in May. We unfortunately did not have time for this water park but it’s the park is themed around a 200-foot-tall (61 m) volcano named “Krakatau,”. There are many elements to this park, it has slides, a water village, a rainforest village and a river village. Definetely keen on giving this theme park a go.
Our annual family holiday have become something that I truly cherish, there’s really no better moments that time spent with family.