11 Best Theme Parks in Florida To Visit in 2024

Written By: The Planet D

What are the best theme parks in Florida? It depends on what you enjoy. Florida theme parks have something for everyone. Harry Potter fans can channel their inner wizard at Universal Studios. Lego fans can head to Legoland in Winterhaven, while thrill-seekers can head straight to Universal’s Island of Adventure – home to Florida’s tallest launch roller coaster.

Florida State has many things to see and do, from amazing beaches to beautiful places to visit and of course, it is known for its amusement parks. If you are visiting Florida, you will have your choice of endless adventures but you should definitely visit a theme park on your trip. Check out 23 Interesting and Fun Facts About Florida

The Best Amusement Parks in Florida

This guide will cover all the best theme parks in Florida. Plus, we have some extra information to answer common FAQs at the end. You may also want to check out – The Top 10 Roller Coasters in Florida

1. Universal Studios, Orlando

best theme parks in florida universal studios

Universal Studios, Florida, is one of the best Orlando theme parks. It is movie character-themed with no expense spared, so you can expect extravagant film set-style settings.

Universal Studios has various movie themes to explore, including Despicable Me, Harry Potter, The Transformers, and Shrek. You can pick themed rides from your favorite movie and meet dressed-up characters that walk the park. Universal Studios is fantastically nostalgic for adults, while for children, the experience is pure magic.

fun theme parks in florida island of adventure

Universal Studio has half of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with Universal’s Islands of Adventure having the other half. Hogwarts fans should purchase tickets to both amusement parks to catch the Hogwarts Express between the two theme parks.

Universal Studios is best for movie fans. It is worth looking at the park website when deciding whether to visit, as you can see which movies the park covers. If you like one or more of the movies, Universal Studios is one of the best theme parks in Florida to visit.

Best Rides at Universal Studios

The best rides in Universal Studios are Jurassic World: The Ride, The Simpson Ride, and Transformers: The Ride 3D. We advise trying the Jurassic Park-themed rollercoaster. It is one of Universal Studios’ best water park rides, and (disclaimer) you’ll emerge soaked at the end.

Where To Stay

Since Universal Studios is located in Universal Orlando Resort, we suggest staying in the resort itself. The Universal Resort has a range of hotels on the property, so you can choose a hotel to suit your budget and preferences.

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort is ideal for those on a budget. Universal’s Aventura Hotel is a great mid-range option, and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is best for extra luxury.

Looking for where to stay in Florida? Read: Where to Stay in the Florida Keys

2. Universal’s Island of Adventures, Orlando

best florida theme parks wizarding world of harry potter

Next up, we have Universal’s Island of Adventures. Universal’s Island is one of Orlando’s most famous theme parks and is located next to Universal Studios in the Universal Resort.

You’ll find the other half of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – just a hop on the Hogwarts Express from Universal Studios. You’ll also find Marvel-themed rides like the Incredible Hulk Coaster.

Universal’s Island of Adventures is best for people who love everything superheroes and magic. Like Universal Studios, visitors who like the movie themes covered will enjoy Universal’s Island much more.

Best Rides

Universal Island’s best rides are Jurassic World VelociCoaster, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Out of these three, we recommend VelociCoaster for thrill seekers, as it is Florida’s tallest launch coaster.

Where To Stay

If you want a luxury stay, consider Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Whereas, for a mid-range option, choose Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Nearby Ramada Plaza by Wyndham Orlando is a great budget choice and is only a short walk from Universal’s Island.

3. Magic Kingdom Park, Buena Vista

best theme parks in florida magic kingdom

Magic Kingdom Park is one of the best amusement parks in Florida and is part of the Walt Disney Resort. If you have ever seen a picture of Disneyland, Magic Kingdom was probably the picture you saw.

The park is easily identifiable by Cinderella’s Castle, which is illuminated at night and often framed by firework displays. The walkway up to Cinderella’s Castle is the classic photoshoot spot and often where you’ll meet giant Disney characters like Mickey Mouse.

Magic Kingdom Park is best for visitors who want a sense of Disney magic. For an iconic Disneyland experience, we suggest choosing Magic Kingdom to explore out of all the Florida Disney parks. There are several amusement parks in one including water parks to escape the heat.

Best Rides

Of course, it isn’t just fireworks and characters. Disney’s Magic Kingdom has lots of thrilling rides and roller coasters. Magic Kingdom’s best rides are Space Mountain for thrill seekers, Haunted Mansion for nostalgia, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Space Mountain is designed to mimic a rocket launch into space and is our top recommendation for an exciting ride.

Where To Stay

We suggest staying in Walt Disney Resort to save travel time and distance. The hotels are a little pricier around Disney’s Magic Kingdom than in other areas of the resort, so keep this in mind when booking.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is an ideal luxury spot, while Disney’s Contemporary Resort is a cheaper (but still quite pricey) mid-range option. Silver Lake Resort is a good budget option.

Hot Tip: If you are staying at the Disney Resorts and looking for dining, Disney Springs is a great place for foodies. It is an entertainment complex with many celebrity chef restaurants, and boutique shopping. There is free transportation from the Disney Resort to Disney Springs.

4. Epcot, Bay Lake

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Epcot is a hugely popular Disney theme park in Bay Lake, Orlando. The park has a unique educational focus, with international and futuristic themed rides and attractions.

If this sounds far removed from the Disney you know and love, don’t worry. You’ll have rides like Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – which mixes cultural education on Parisian cuisine with beloved Disney characters and a fast-paced ride. There are also golden character statues to spot on your way.

Foodies will love the international cuisine experiences at Epcot. After trying out all the roller coasters, you can indulge in culinary exploration by attending experiences like a Moroccan dining and tasting session.

Epcot is best for those with an interest in global travel and culture. We’d recommend the park for all visitors, but families should particularly appreciate the educational element.

Best Rides in Epcot

Epcot’s best rides are Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, and Frozen Ever After. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure involves zipping through 3D animation scenes, which is bound to raise your heart rate.

Where To Stay

We recommend basing yourself in Walt Disney Resort. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is close to Epcot and perfect for those on a budget. A little more expensive, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort is ideal as a mid-range choice, and Walt Disney World Swan is a good five-star hotel for you to splash out on.

5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Bay Lake

best theme parks in florida animal kingdom

Animal lovers, this is the best theme park for you. The park hosts all the classic Disney characters and movies – just as long as they are animal-related.

From fictional animal characters to real conservation projects and animal encounters, Animal Kingdom is the ultimate experience to celebrate wildlife. You can visit the Lion King area, meet Mickey Mouse as he wanders the park, and stop by the Conservation Station.

Animal Kingdom is one of the best theme parks in Florida if you like wildlife. We’d recommend the park for any animal enthusiasts – whether you are a solo adult or a family with younger kids.

Best Rides in Animal Kingdom

The best rides in Animal Kingdom are Pandora: The World of Avatar, Avatar Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest: League of the Forbidden Mountain, and Kali River Rapids.

Pandora: The World of Avatar is a themed area within Animal Kingdom. The World of Avatar includes Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. Avatar Flight of Passage is our top ride in this theme park. The ride involves a 3D flight on a banshee, so prepare yourself to soar.

Where To Stay

Like Universal Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom also sits on a major resort. The park is based in Walt Disney World Resort, so we’d recommend that you base yourself in the resort for easy access.

There are plenty of hotels on the Disney property. However, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is the best and closest place to stay if you want to visit Animal Kingdom. The hotel is designed in African safari style and is surrounded by acres of grassland home to over 30 species of African wildlife. 

6. Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Bay Lake

best theme parks in florida hollywood studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is also located in Walt Disney World Resort. Instead of just animal characters, though, there are themed rides and chances to meet all your favorite Disney characters.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of the best theme parks in Florida if you love all things Disney. There are plenty of themed areas with special rollercoasters, from Toy Story Land to Star Wars Land.

Hollywood Studios is the best for people who are most excited about the Disney aspect than the roller coasters. It is the most focused on character experiences out of all of the Disney parks.

Best Rides in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The best rides are Twilight Zone Tower, Minnie’s Runaway Railway, and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. For adults, we think that Twilight Zone Tower is the best ride. The ride is Disney’s scariest and involves a broken lift experience in a haunted hotel – not for the faint-hearted.

Where To Stay

We’d recommend choosing accommodation in Walt Disney Resort for easy access to Hollywood Studios, and there are a few hotel options to consider.

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is a good budget-friendly option, while Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort is a great mid-range choice, and tis for luxury stays.

7. Universal’s Volcano Bay, Orlando

best florida amusement parks volcano bay

Fancy a day dedicated to water rides? The Universal Resort has one of the best water parks in Florida.

Volcano Bay is a water park built onto the slopes of a massive mock volcano. You can easily spend all day zipping down the slopes on the different water slides – whether you opt to take the lazy river or brave the Kala & Tai Nui Body Slides. Some rides you can enjoy as a group on a float, while others are solo adventures.

Volcano Bay is best suited to those who love the water and prefer slides to roller coasters. The water park is also great on a hot day.

Best Rides

Volcano Bay’s best rides are the Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides, Krakatau Aqua Coaster, and Honu of the Honu ika Moana.

The Kala & Tai Nui body slides are our top recommendation. Dropped through trapdoors, these twin plunge slides include seconds of freefall and are the most exhilarating water rides in Florida.

Where To Stay

Rosen Inn is just outside of the resort but a fantastic budget option. In the resort, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a good mid-range option, and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is best for luxury accommodation.

8. Legoland, Lakeland

best florida theme parks legoland

Legoland is one of the most famous Florida theme parks. Also located in the Legoland Resort, Legoland has both a waterpark and a theme park with themed roller coasters. If you love Lego and exciting rides, Legoland is one of the best theme parks to visit in Florida.

The best part about Legoland is the mixture of things to do. As well as the theme park, there is a kids-friendly driving school, gift shops, shows, and seasonal events. If you are visiting Legoland, we’d recommend allowing at least two days to explore the entire park.

Legoland is best for people wanting an experience, not just a quick visit for a few rides. And while some adults may enjoy Legoland, the park is definitely directed toward families with slightly older children.

Best Rides

Legoland’s best rides are Coastersaurus, Safari Trek, and The Dragon. Coastersaurus is the most entertaining ride, and the roller coaster zips around life-sized dinosaurs built of Lego bricks.

Where To Stay

Like when visiting Peppa Pig Park, we suggest choosing one of Legoland Resort’s three hotels when visiting Legoland. You’ll save yourself travel time, extend your experience, and get to stay in some fascinating Lego-styled accommodation.

Legoland Resort has three hotels. Legoland Beach Retreat is best for budget-friendly accommodation, Legoland Hotel is best for mid-range, and Legoland Pirate Island Hotel is best for luxury accommodation.

9. Peppa Pig Theme Park, Lakeland

best theme parks in florida pepe pig

If you are visiting with young children, Peppa Pig Park is one of the best theme parks in Florida. It is technically more an amusement park than a theme park, as it has a mixture of attractions, not just roller coasters, which is excellent for more nervous children.

Children can try out themed rides like Daddy’s Pig Roller Coaster and Peppa Pig’s Balloon ride. Each ride has individual rules on the rider’s height to ensure safety, and all children must be accompanied by someone 14 years or older.

Peppa Pig Park also has interactive shows running throughout the day, like Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt Adventure. Children are encouraged to actively participate in the short, ten-minute long performances. These performances are an ideal length and provide engaging entertainment that is great for holding short attention spans.

Best Rides

Peppa Pig’s Balloon Ride, Grampy Rabbit’s Dinosaur Adventure, and Daddy Pig’s Roller Coaster are the best rides. Peppa Pig’s Balloon Ride has no minimum height requirement, so it is the best ride to introduce young children to theme parks.

Where To Stay

The Peppa Pig amusement park is located in the Legoland Florida Resort. We suggest basing yourself in the resort to maximize fun time and reduce unnecessary travel.

Legoland Resort has three hotels. Legoland Beach Retreat is best for budget-friendly accommodation, Legoland Hotel is best for mid-range, and Legoland Pirate Island Hotel is best for luxury accommodation.

10. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Tampa

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Views while walking around Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida, United States

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is one of our favorite theme parks outside Orlando. The park is multi-award-winning and extremely popular with Florida residents and out-of-state visitors alike.

You can go on safari, head to the rides, or watch live entertainment. Live entertainment is scheduled for kids and adults, with kid-friendly performances at the Sesame Street Safari of Fun. Busch Garden is packed with diverse things to do across a massive 300-acre property.

Busch Gardens is best for people who want a theme park experience outside of Orlando and want a little bit of everything. Busch Gardens offers diverse entertainment and lots of ride choices.

Best Rides

The best rides at Busch Gardens are Cobra’s Curse, Sheikra, and Iron Gwazi. We’d recommend Cobra’s Curse and Iron Gwazi jointly as the most unmissable of the three. Cobra’s Curse is a rare family spin coaster, and Iron Gwazi is North America’s tallest hybrid roller coaster.

Where To Stay

Busch Gardens is in the city center and has many surrounding hotel options. Hampton Inn & Suites Tampa North Busch Gardens is perfect for budget accommodation. Hyatt Place is a good mid-range option, and Tampa Palms Golf & Country Club is best for luxury seekers.

11. Fun Spot America Theme Park, Orlando

best theme parks in florida fun spot america

Family-owned and designed for families to visit, Fun Spot America is one of Florida’s most family-friendly amusement parks.

Unlike our other Orlando theme parks, Fun Spot does not charge for non-riders – which is perfect for parents of older children. Instead, parents can watch their children enjoy the rides for free and stay safely on the ground. Gator Spot is worth a visit for non-riders and is a 15,000-square-foot enclosure home to over a hundred alligators. Peek in if you dare.

Fun Spot America is best for parents with older children or those wanting a cheaper theme park experience than Orlando’s other park options.

Best Rides

The best rides are White Lightning, Freedom Flyer, and Rip Curl. White Lightning is the only wooden roller coaster in Orlando – giving Fun Spot a traditional charm that the nearby modern amusement parks lack.

Where To Stay

Unlike the others on our list, Fun Spot doesn’t have resort hotels and isn’t affiliated with surrounding properties. However, there are still plenty of nearby options.

TownePlace Suites has good budget accommodation, Wyndham Garden is an ideal mid-range choice, and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is best for a luxury stay.

Theme Parks in Florida FAQs

Wizarding World of Harry potter at Universal Studios Orlando best  theme parks in florida

Which theme park in Orlando has the best rides?

Universal’s Island has the best rides in Orlando. The rides have popular themes, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Marvel. However, the rides have also won titles, like the VelociCoaster being the tallest launch coaster in Florida.

Which Florida theme park is best for adults?

Volcano Bay is the best Florida theme park for adults. The rides are as exciting for adults as children – especially the trapdoor plunge slides.

Which city in Florida has the most theme parks?

Orlando has the most theme parks in Florida. In fact, Orlando is even referred to as the theme park capital of Florida. If you want a holiday surrounded by some of the best theme parks in Florida, we’d suggest staying in Orlando.

Florida is one of the best theme park destinations in the United States.

Of course, don’t miss Florida’s classic attractions, but definitely squeeze in at least a day or two of theme park rides. You can easily book multi-park passes, especially in Orlando and major resorts like Legoland.

Visiting Florida’s best theme parks is a big task, as the state is full of amazing venues. Don’t be surprised if you need to book a return trip.

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Book Your Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner. We have used them for years and have found that they have the best flight deals.

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor.

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Safety Wing - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Book Your Activities: Looking for walking tours, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more? Then we recommend Get Your Guide.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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