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Top 10 Orlando Attractions for Families

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Orlando family attractions lure fun-seekers to this Florida vacation mecca. The Kissimmee – Orlando Area is one of the most popular family travel destinations in the world, and for good reason. With so much to do, it can be hard to choose which activities to add to your itinerary and which to skip. Whether you’re traveling with babies, young children, tweens or teens — make the most of your holiday with this list of the 10 best things to do in Orlando with kids.

Cinderella Castle, the icon of Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort

Cinderella Castle, the icon of Magic Kingdom Park, at Walt Disney World Resort (Photo credit: YAYImages, Depositphotos.com)

1. Walt Disney World Resort

Who can think of Orlando without Walt Disney and his vision to create a magical world for families? You really can’t visit Orlando without going to at least one of the four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks. The original park, Magic Kingdom, opened in 1971 and features a fantastical world where the focus is on make believe fun. Meanwhile, Epcot takes park goers around the world and into the future through entertaining and educational worlds. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, the largest singular Disney Park in the world, is home to 1,700 animals representing 250 different species. Lastly, Disney’s Hollywood Studios brings movies like Star Wars to life with impressive shows and rides. 

Stormtroopers in Star Wars Galaxy's Edge at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Stormtroopers in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

In addition to these theme parks, Disney World offers a myriad of unique hotels and restaurants, two themed waterparks, and a miniature golf center. Two entertainment districts, Disney Springs and Disney’s Boardwalk, add to the fun. Look also for outdoorsy adventures like archery, boating, golf, and fishing. Truly, you could spend your entire Florida holiday at Disney World and still not experience everything.

In fact, Disney World is so expansive that organizing a trip can feel overwhelming. Simplify the process with these tips for planning a Disney World vacation.

The Italy Pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase

The Italy Pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

2. Universal Orlando Resort

The Universal Orlando Resort is made up of three theme parks: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay waterpark. Just outside the theme parks, Universal CityWalk features all sorts of dining and shopping options, too.

Universal Orlando Resort with kids

Universal Orlando Resort (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Universal Studios Florida

Billed as the world’s premier movie and TV-based theme park, Universal Studios Florida offers rides and movie-related attractions galore. A Curious George-themed play area and character interactions with SpongeBob SquarePants and Shrek appeal to younger guests. Meanwhile, a stunt show and the Fast & Furious – Supercharged ride will keep big kids and adults entertained.

The Lorax's Truffula trees at Seuss Landing

The Lorax’s Truffula trees at Seuss Landing (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Islands of Adventure

Islands of Adventure is split between child-friendly attractions and tween-and-up thrill rides. All feature superheroes and characters from cartoons, comics and storybooks. Children can step into the pages of their favorite Dr. Seuss books at Seuss Landing. On warm days, plan to get splash happy at Toon Lagoon. If you’ve got a comics lover in your crew, then be sure to join in the battle of good versus evil at Marvel Super Hero Island. Take heed, the Incredible Hulk Coaster is not for the faint of heart with its seven loop-the-loop inversions!

The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure

The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Islands of Adventure (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter really is the star of Universal Orlando Resort for many visitors. The Hogwarts Express magical train transports park goers between Universal’s two Wizarding lands – Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida. (A park-to-park ticket is needed to ride.) True fans won’t mind queuing up (sometimes for hours) to ride the spellbinding Harry Potter and Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Islands of Adventure. Save money on your visit and learn more with our Universal Orlando tips.

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. Kennedy Space Center

Space is the final frontier, and you can’t get closer to it on Earth than at the Kennedy Space Center. Just east of Orlando on the Space Coast, would-be astronauts get a glimpse of what it’s like to experience space flight. Walk among giant awe-inspiring retired rockets in the Rocket Garden. Then learn about NASA’s strides to understand the Red Planet in Journey to Mars. Visitors can also watch space films in an IMAX theater, explore the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, and view the actual space shuttle Atlantis up-close. For an in-depth experience, sign up for the several-hour Astronaut Training Experience (for ages 10+). Book your family’s Kennedy Space Center Day Trip with transportation from Orlando now!

Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center

Rocket Garden at Kennedy Space Center (Photo credit: Quasarphotos, Depositphotos.com)

4. Orlando Alligators

Approximately 1.25 million alligators live in the state of Florida. Viewing these huge reptiles in-person may be the closest thing to seeing a dinosaur in modern times. These descendants of dinos can reach up to 15 feet in length and weigh up to 1,000 pounds! Of course, you should steer clear of these bad boys should you come across one when out for a stroll, but there are safe ways to do some gator viewing during your Orlando family vacation.

Everglades Airboat Tour

An airboat tour of Florida’s Everglades provides a heart-pumping way to spot these incredible creatures. This unusual adventure also presents an opportunity to spend time in nature during your Orlando family vacation. Get tickets to an Everglades airboat tour from Orlando.

Everglades airboat tour

Everglades airboat tour (Photo credit: oneinchpunch, Depositphotos.com)

Gatorland

For another way to see alligators, head to Gatorland. This theme park/wildlife preserve focuses on alligators and their crocodile cousins. Be sure to take in the star event, the Gator Jumparoo Show, to see these spiny animals “jump” for their dinner.

Gator Jumparoo Show at Gatorland in Orlando

Gator Jumparoo Show at Gatorland (Photo credit: jjvallee, Depositphotos.com)

5. SeaWorld Orlando

When kids visit SeaWorld, not only do they learn about a wide variety of animals, but also they gain an appreciation of the Earth’s ocean and our need to protect it. SeaWorld Orlando aims to educate and entertain visitors about our vast oceans and the incredible life within them. Expect one-on-one animal encounters, fish-filled aquariums, thrill rides, and extraordinary aquatic shows featuring animals like dolphins and sea lions. Visiting with young children? Read our tips for SeaWorld Orlando with toddlers and preschoolers.

Dolphin Days animal show at SeaWorld Orlando

Dolphin Days animal show at SeaWorld Orlando (Photo credit: SeaWorld)

6. Legoland Florida

Visiting LEGOLAND Florida is a dream come true for any fan of the multicolored Lego bricks. Located about 42 miles from Orlando in Winter Haven, this theme park is dedicated to families with children aged 2 to 12.

Legoland Florida statues made of Lego bricks

Statues made from Lego bricks at Legoland Florida (Photo credit: sainaniritu, Depositphotos.com)

While most other amusement parks offer primarily passive entertainment, many of Legoland’s attractions are decidedly interactive. Kids drive mini cars around two-lane streets featuring a round-about and stop signs at Ford Driving School. They can also build and program computerized Lego Ministorms robots in the Imagination Zone. Plus, children get a workout romping through play areas and pulling themselves up a rope pulley on Kid Power Towers. Bigger kids and grown-ups will appreciate a few mellow roller coasters, too.

Legoland Florida Ford Driving School for kids

Legoland Florida Ford Driving School for kids (Photo credit: sainaniritu, Depositphotos.com)

The most striking attraction at this theme park, though, is the expansive Cypress Gardens dotted with Lego brick sculptures. The centerpiece of the botanical garden is a beautiful sprawling Banyan Tree. Another unique feature is the park’s waterski shows, featuring tricks and pirate plots performed by talented skiers on Lake Heloise.

Pirate-themed waterski show at Legoland Florida

Pirate-themed waterski show at Legoland Florida (Photo credit: Chip Litherland, Legoland Florida)

7. Celebration, Florida

Escape the hubbub of theme parks in Celebration, the little city created by the Walt Disney Company. This planned community in the Kissimmee – Orlando Metropolitan Area may be the most picturesque small town in America. Get a good lay of the land and learn all about the town during a guided bike ride with Celebration Bike Rental.

Guided family bike tour with Celebration Bike Rental

Guided family bike tour with Celebration Bike Rental (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Pretty Lake Evalyn sits in the town’s center and is home to ducks, alligators, and even river otters. Stroll through the sweet little downtown shops and then stop for lunch or dinner while you’re there. Opened in 1905, Columbia Restaurant makes a good choice for Spanish cuisine and a bit of Celebration history.

Lake Evalyn in Celebration Florida

Lake Evalyn in Celebration, Florida (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

8. Orlando Water Parks

Count numerous water parks among the best Orlando family attractions. These provide fantastic water play and much-needed refreshment during summers. Operating hours vary according to season, with some closed all winter. Be sure to check websites for current hours before visiting.

Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon

Disney World has two themed water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. The former features a faux wintry motif. Disney designed the attraction to resemble a ski resort that has transformed into a water park due to melting snow. Typhoon Lagoon, on the other hand, contains shipwrecks and other make-believe disarray caused by a typhoon storm in a tropical paradise setting. Both offer lazy rivers, lots of waterslides, and wave pools. 

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando with kids

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon (Photo credit: nataliafrei, Depositphotos.com)

Aquatica Orlando

The 60-acre Aquatica Orlando is located across the street from sister property, SeaWorld Orlando. This South Seas-themed water park’s signature attraction is Dolphin Plunge, in which sliders pass through pools filled with black and white Commerson’s dolphins in an enclosed tube. Park goers can also float past exotic tropical fish on the Loggerhead Lane lazy river. 

Aquatica Florida sunset view in Orlando

Aquatica Florida sunset view (Photo credit: Aquatica Florida)

Volcano Bay

Universal bills its Volcano Bay as a water theme park. Its centerpiece is the towering Krakatau. This impressive faux volcano is home to four of the park’s many attractions. The extraordinary Krakatau Aqua Coaster includes twists and turns through the volcano before plunging four-person canoes through a waterfall.

Universal's Volcano Bay in Orlando, FL

Universal’s Volcano Bay (Photo credit: Universal Orlando Resort)

Legoland Florida Water Park

The smaller-sized Legoland Florida Water Park focuses on colorful Lego-brick themed water play. Visitors can build with foam bricks as they float along the Build-A-Raft Lazy River. Bigger kids will enjoy a handful of waterslides. Meanwhile, youngsters love the Duplo Splash Safari play area with fountains and mini slides made of larger-than-life Duplo animals.

Build-A-Raft Lazy River at Legoland Florida Water Park

Build-A-Raft Lazy River at Legoland Florida Water Park (Photo credit: Legoland Florida)

9. Busch Gardens

Technically Busch Gardens is located in Tampa Bay, but in an hour’s drive from Orlando you can experience one of the top zoos in the U.S. Board the Serengeti Safari to trek across the 65-acre Serengeti Plain in an open-air touring vehicle. Riders get an opportunity to hand-feed giraffes and observe exotic animals like zebras, ostriches, rhinos and antelopes.

Serengeti Safari at Busch Gardens

Serengeti Safari at Busch Gardens (Photo credit: VIAVAL, Depositphotos.com)

In addition to over 200 species of animals, Busch Gardens features several roller coasters and other rides. Thrill seekers will love Tigris, Florida’s tallest launch coaster. Truly fearless riders will also have a screaming good time on Sheikra, a 90-degree 200-foot drop extreme coaster.

Sheikra roller coaster at Busch Gardens

Sheikra roller coaster at Busch Gardens (Photo credit: VIAVAL, Depositphotos.com)

10. Florida Beaches

What Florida vacation is complete without a beach day? Although not located on the coast, you can reach the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean within an hour or so drive from the Kissimmee – Orlando Area. Daytona Beach is closest, where you can even cruise your car on the hard-packed sand. Head to Cocoa Beach for swimming, parasailing, and windsurfing as well as shopping and dining options near its famed pier. Or, retreat from the crowds with a drive to Ponce Inlet, home to Florida’s tallest lighthouse. Clearwater Beach consistently ranks among the best beaches in the U.S. with its sugar fine sand and crystal clear water. Reserve a Clearwater Beach day trip with transportation from Orlando. Discover more about these and other beaches near Orlando.

Cocoa Beach in Cape Canaveral near Orlando

Cocoa Beach in Cape Canaveral near Orlando (Photo credit: lunamarina, Depositphotos.com)

Save Money on Your Orlando Vacation

Do you want to save money on your Disney vacation? Of course you do! Get discounts on everything from theme park tickets and Florida hotel packages to rental cars when you book with Undercover Tourist.

Disney World Discount

Learn More Orlando Family Vacation Tips

Traveling with big kids? Take a look at our tips for visiting Disney World with teens and tweens.

Choosing the right accommodations is a key part of a successful Orlando vacation. Decide where to stay with this analysis of Disney World vacation homes vs. hotels.

Be prepared for fun no matter the weather with these tips for visiting SeaWorld Orlando in the rain.

Best Family Attractions in Orlando

Remember These Orlando Family Attractions

For future reference, save this list of the best family attractions for families in Orlando. Simply pin the image above to Pinterest. We hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Do you have any questions about visiting Orlando with kids? What are your favorite Orlando family attractions? Let us know in the comments below!

Portions of my family’s most recent Kissimmee – Orlando family vacation were hosted by Experience Kissimmee, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, Celebration Bike Rental, and Columbia Restaurant. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. My family vacations I Orlando fairly often. But I haven’t ever thought of visiting the Florida’s Everglades. Now that my kids are older teenagers, who think that have seen and done it all, that sound like a perfect addition to our time down in Florida!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      An airboat tour is definitely a memorable adventure! Hope you can thrill those teens with an Orlando visit sometime soon!

  2. I have no idea that there are so much to do in Orlando apart from the Walt Disney World. I only visited Everglades at night, it would be great to see it during the day on a boat tour.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      I think I might be a wee nervous during an Everglades nighttime tour! 😂 I hope you can get to Orlando to explore some of its many fun activities someday!

  3. Christine Weis says

    We went to Disney World about 6 years ago and had a blast. I can’t wait to go back. We are looking forward to going to Universal Studies and Sea World. The Lorax looks amazing. My kids would love the water parks too. There is just so much to do!! I can’t wait to travel again!

  4. Jessica Collazo says

    These are some great money savings ideas to go and enjoy Orlando. I miss Orlando a lot. I haven’t gone in a long time and I love it and I even have family there.

  5. I would love to visit Orlando one day and tour all of the parks. I’d take a 2 week vacation just to make sure I saw everything!

  6. We were planning a massive US trip (form Australia) with 4 families with the biggest chunk to be done in Florida. And then heading off to Cuba and NYC. The kids were so upset that we didn’t get to go and truthfully so was I! But we will definitely be going one day and I hadn’t started my research so your post is so timely! I knew there was a lot of theme parks but wow!!! How will we ever get through all these? Book marked!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Amy – I’m so sorry your family had to cancel your incredible trip. I hope you can reschedule and you will get to have a wonderful time exploring Florida, Cuba and NYC! There really is so much to do in Orlando — it’s best to narrow down your focus and plan to come back someday. If you’ll be traveling with young children, Disney World and Legoland are fabulous choices. Bigger kids love the thrill rides at Universal and Busch Gardens. The outdoorsy adventures are great for all ages. Enjoy!

  7. I can’t wait to travel again! These sound like great destinations for the whole family. It would be fun to do a road trip.

  8. Orlando is on my bucket list, and would really love to visit someday. Awesome list of great attractions to visit! I can’t wait to travel again!

  9. Bhavya Gandhi says

    Orlando sounds like a fun place, my daughter will love Statues made from Lego bricks at Legoland Florida and I will love the Universal studio.This sure is marked on my bucket list !!!

  10. We have visited Orlando quite a few times and spent most of our vacations at Disney World with a few outings to Universal for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – we clearly need to branch out and see more of the Orlando area! The Kennedy Space Center and Celebration would be at the top of my wish list. I like the idea of an Everglades tour as well but alligators really freak me out!!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Lisa – It really is surprising just how many amazing attractions there are in the Orlando area! I hope you can make it back to explore further — and maybe even brave that Everglades boat tour!

  11. Those are such great suggestions! I would love to visit a few of those places with my child.

  12. This is absolutely on my bucketlist, even though I am a bit of a scaredy-cat 😀 Orlando seems to have a lot to offer!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      There’s plenty to enjoy, even for scaredy cats! 😹 Steer clear of the thrill rides and gators, and you’re good to go!

  13. Emman Damian says

    I haven’t been in Orlando, Florida yet. I can’t wait to visit Walt Disney World Resort as I always visit Disney Parks around the world. So fun!

  14. Anosa Malanga says

    I really miss traveling! Since we are limited to staying at home yet. I am researching and reading blogs to make me sane. Hopefully we could travel back normally. I have so many in my list already hahaha! Adding this up as well.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      I hear you, Anosa! I think so many of us are tired of staying at home and are ready to at least start travel dreaming. I hope it will be safe for you to visit Orlando someday soon!

  15. Keri | Bon Voyage With Kids says

    This is a GREAT list! I used to live in Celebration when I worked for Walt Disney World. It is a great place to visit for a walk or a meal. And, I love that you included Gator Land. So many people have never heard of it. You definitely covered great things to do in Orlando. I forgot about Busch Gardens – I have to give that a try!

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Keri – Lucky you to get a chance to live in Celebration – what a wonderful place to live! Truly, Gator Land and our bike tour of Celebration were two of my favorite things we have done in Orlando over the years. I feel a lot of pressure to squeeze in as much fun and rides when at some of the theme parks so it’s nice to visit more slower placed attractions, for a change of pace.

  16. Jennifer says

    This truly is the best list of things to do in Orlando! We absolutely LOVE Orlando as it is a mecca of amazing things to do together as a family! We’ve been to Legoland, Sea World, Disney, Universal, Gatorland, and several of the beaches….I’d love to go to a few of the waterparks, as this is something that we haven’t done there.

    • Colleen Lanin says

      There’s so much to do in Orlando with kids — you could come back every year and find something new to try!

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