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Top Central Florida Theme Park Rides

When it comes to theme park attractions, Central Florida is the center of the universe! After all, we have something for everybody here, from laidback experiences for the young and old to fast-paced thrill rides for the brave and bold. If you’re putting together a checklist of must-do Central Florida theme park rides and attractions, you’ve come to the right place. And to check out attraction tickets, click here for your one-stop-shop. 

Take to the Skies or the Seas

Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park is home to plenty of iconic rides. From Space Mountain to the Haunted Mansion and everything in between — if you’re looking for magic, you’ve come to the right place! But of all the rides and attractions here, there are two that most visitors just can’t get enough of, and they’re both classics!

A sign outside Pirates of the Caribbean
Photo: @whywedisney
Captain Jack Sparrow sits with his treasure
Photo: @disney_nuts

Pirates of the Caribbean has been setting sail through the Castillo Del Morro fort since 1973 when it opened in Adventureland. Making your way through the fort, you’ll quickly discover that pirates have made landfall in search of a very important treasure — and they’ll do whatever it takes to get it. Hijinx and swashbuckling quickly follow as you navigate through a spectacular pirate battle, complete with serious scallywags, mutineering mates, and some very familiar faces. After a ride through the Caribbean, you’re sure to be singing, “Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!”

A lady holds a Peter Pan pin outside Peter Pan's Flight
Photo: @carrielikely

If you prefer adventures to be sky high rather than sea level, sprinkle a little pixie dust and head for Peter Pan’s Flight. Since Magic Kingdom first opened its doors, Peter Pan’s Flight has been a favorite of young and old alike. Here, you’ll set sail across the sky from London to Neverland and Pirate’s Cove, where Captain Hook, the Lost Boys, and a certain hungry crocodile are waiting! 

Answer the Call of the Wild

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is where you’ll find all sorts of fascinating creatures, but it’s also home to rides that’ll have you roaring with excitement — including Avatar: Flight of Passage. This thrill ride transports you from Earth to Pandora – The World of Avatar, home of the Na’vi. You’ll soar on the back of a mountain banshee on an aerial adventure that explores breathtaking otherworldly landscapes in stunning 3D.

Exterior shot of Avatar Flight of Passage ride
Photo: @dreaming_of_wdw
A Na'vi Shaman from Avatar
Photo: @imaginography71

Would you rather more of an Earthbound exploration? Hop aboard Expedition Everest — Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. A rollicking roller coaster, Expedition Everest takes you through the Himalayas’ icy peaks for a fantastic view from the top of the world. But you’re not alone up here — this is the home of a growling, howling yeti, and he’s not expecting guests!

An action shot from the Expedition Everest ride
Photo: @disneyimageworks
Expedition Everest from the ground
Photo: @fairytalewondersblog

Explore a World of Human Achievement

EPCOT is a theme park unlike any other. A day spent here is a day spent touring the world — complete with attractions that are as fascinating as they are fun. One of our very favorites is Spaceship Earth. Located inside EPCOT’s iconic geodesic sphere, Spaceship Earth takes you on a ride through time to explore the evolution of mankind. You’ll travel from the stone age to the modern era and learn how communication advancements have changed the world around us (and get a sneak peek of where we might be heading to next).

A lady stands outside Spaceship Earth at EPCOT
Photo: @jennsfantasyland

When we said a trip to EPCOT is like a tour of the world, it wasn’t a joke! Just make your way to Soarin’ Around the World. This simulated hand gliding flight takes you to locations across six continents to explore the wonders of the world. From the Swiss Alps to the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Egypt to Mount Kilimanjaro, you’ll have a bird’s-eye view that feels like you’re really flying! 

Travel to a Galaxy (or a Dimension) Far, Far Away

Do you feel the Force calling you to Disney’s Hollywood Studios? It makes sense. After all, this is the home of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and the thrilling new ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Here, join the ranks of the Resistance and fight to defeat the villainous First Order in an epic battle that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in this galaxy! But don’t worry, you’re not going on this mission alone — familiar faces like BB-8 and Rey are along for the ride.

Storm Troopers at Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Photo: @whoiscliffwang

Maybe you’re more interested in another dimension over another galaxy? Prepare to cross over into the Twilight Zone with a ride on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. This unforgettable thriller takes place at the (in)famous Hollywood Tower Hotel, where a shocking event occurred on Halloween night in 1939. Since then, the hotel has stood frozen in time, waiting for unsuspecting guests like yourself to drop in and check out the mysteries hiding in the tower’s darkest corners. Are you ready for the elevator ride of your life?

Exterior shot of Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
Photo: @disneywithmar

Alien Encounters and Daring Escapes Await

You’ll be over the moon after a day spent on the rides at Universal Studios Florida, literally! On E.T. Adventure, get ready to put the pedals to the metal as you hop aboard your bike to help E.T. escape from his captors and make his way back to the Green Planet. If you’ve seen the iconic movie, you know what’s coming. And if you haven’t, well, no spoilers!

Friends stand outside ET Adventure
Photo: @karter_with_a_k_
A stuffed toy ET
Photo: @themeparkgroupie

E.T. isn’t the only one who needs a little help to escape — your favorite boy wizard could also use a little magic on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™. In fact, the only thing that might be trickier than breaking out of Gringotts is breaking into Gringotts in the first place. But don’t worry, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are coming along to help you out. And it’s a good thing, too, because Bellatrix and, um, he who shall not be named are hot on your trail throughout this spellbinding journey!

A dragon sits atop Gringott's Bank in Diagon Alley
Photo: @everythinguniversalpro

Welcome to a World of Adventure

If one Harry Potter ride isn’t enough, you’re in luck! Visit Universal’s Islands of Adventure and strap in for engine-revving excitement aboard Hagrid's Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure™. This ride takes you through the Forbidden Forest, beyond the grounds of Hogwarts. And who else but Hagrid could help you navigate through these wilds? Keep your eyes peeled for rare magical creatures and hold on tight as this motorbike adventure blasts off through seven total launches — the most of any roller coaster in the world!

Guests ride Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure
Photo: @chipandco

Universal’s Islands of Adventure is also home to the thrilling and refreshing Jurassic Park River Adventure. And as for refreshing, well, you’ll undoubtedly feel a few refreshing splashes of water on your face. As you travel through the restricted part of Jurassic Park, prepare to come face to face with a T. Rex, and make a daring getaway to remember forever. No doubt about it, Jurassic Park River Adventure offers thrills 65 million years in the making. 

A dinosaur peeks out from the trees near Jurassic Park River Adventure
Photo: @themeparkgroupie

An Underwater World of Thrills and Wonder

Did you know that SeaWorld Orlando is home to some of the most exciting roller coasters on Earth? It’s true! And one of the rides we love the most is Mako. This roller coaster is named after the mako shark — one of the fastest sharks in the ocean. And with a name like that, it should come as no surprise that this is Central Florida’s fastest roller coaster — reaching speeds of up to 73 mph. It’s also the tallest and longest to boot, making it a must for thrill-seekers.

Guests ride Mako at SeaWorld Orlando
Photo: @jcadventures2493

And if the young ones are looking for thrills of their own, give Cookie Monster’s Cookie Drop a try. On this kid-friendly ride, you’ll feel like cookies tumbling out of Cookie Monster’s snack jar, bouncing up and down on a sea of crumbs. Don’t worry, though – Cookie Monster knows the difference between cookies and kids! Maybe you can go and get some treats of your own after the ride is over.

A child and cookie monster take a photo together
Photo: SeaWorld Orlando (Masks are now required)

Build the Perfect Adventure One Brick at a Time

LEGO is all about using your imagination. So rest assured some really cool rides are waiting here at the LEGOLAND Florida Resort — including the LEGO Movie Masters of Flight. This ride puts you aboard a triple-decker flying coach (yes, you read that right) and whisks you away alongside favorites from the blockbuster LEGO Movie and LEGO MOVIE 2: The Second Part. One thing’s for sure, when this ride is over, the kids will be cheering “LEGO again!”

Entrance to LEGO Movie World
Photo: @amcvetty

If mastering the elements is on your vacation checklist (as it obviously should be), then check out LEGO NINJAGO The Ride. Here, it’s your family and friends versus villainous baddies and powerful foes. You’ll need to work together and harness the powers of fire, water, earth, and air to save the day and become one of the chosen ninjas. Do you have what it takes? There’s only one way to find out!  

Kids ride LEGO NINJAGO The Ride
Photo: LEGOLAND Florida Resort (Masks are now required)

Is there a Central Florida theme park attraction you love most? We want to hear about it. Share your must-see, can’t-miss, worth-waiting-in-line-twice pick with us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. And if you’re looking for all the latest theme park news you can use here in Kissimmee, be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter

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