I just want to start off by saying that I’m truly blessed to be able to live in Florida, this beautiful place that I call home. Just like every other family, we go on a vacation every year. Since I live in Florida, we’re able to typically stay in state to vacation! I live in Southwest Florida and have at least 4 theme parks located within a 3 hour drive of my house. We love attending our local theme parks!
When I lived up north, people would have to plan for a trip to Disney or other parks for weeks, months even. It was often a once in a lifetime opportunity. But now that I live in Florida, theme parks are more affordable because we’re paying only for our park tickets and for the hotel. There’s no airfare to worry about, no rental cars, and since we live in Florida, we get the Florida resident discount often at both hotels and theme parks.
People in Florida treat theme parks like weekend getaways. When I ask my friends or neighbors if they have plans for the weekend, it’s not even unusual to hear “Oh yeah, I’m staying at Disney this weekend” or “We’re driving up to Busch Gardens for the day!” It’s amazing to be able to have the opportunity to take these trips, whether they are planned for months, or for days! Check out our comparison on the most popular Florida theme parks!
Oh Disney – the most nostalgic of them all. If you’ve been to Disney as a child, just let me tell you that it never loses it’s magic. Returning to Disney is like reliving your childhood all over again. In the Magic Kingdom, those same rides that you loved as a kid – It’s a Small World, Teacups, and Peter Pan – they’re all still there! In addition to the classic rides, you can check out the newer rides as well, based on your favorite movies like Star Wars and Avatar. Disney is a place you just never outgrow and every year they’re adding bigger and better rides and attractions. Get your fast passes if you’re going! They’re absolutely FREE and you can head directly to the front of the line at your designated time. Be sure to visit the Animal Kingdom to see amazing shows like the Lion King and Finding Nemo. The list goes on. If you’re only going to one theme park, and especially if you’ve never been before, put Disney on the TOP of your list!
Click here to visit Disney World’s Official Website
I personally love Universal for it’s variety of cool movie-centric rides and attractions. This theme park has two separate sides – Islands of Adventure and Universal, itself. You can research each side to decide which one is the best fit for you and your family. Universal is known for it’s special effects and amazing themed parks – you can check out rides based on your favorite movies like Indiana Jones, Twister, Men in Black, Jurassic Park, etc. And did I mention that Universal is the place to go if you’re a Harry Potter fan. Play Quiddich in the Hogwarts Castle ride or shop in Hogsmeade. It’s all there – bringing the books to life. I could go on and on about a Harry Potter themed park (BIG FAN!!), but there are other parks to discuss!
Click here to visit Universal’s Official Website
Legoland was my six year old daughter’s favorite theme park. Why? Because it’s perfect for younger kids. If you’re looking for attractions for little ones, they are chalked full of pint sized rides that the littles will enjoy. This theme park is great for families with young kids because of their variety of preschool friendly rides and attractions. If you have older kids, you may want to consider a different park. If you have a preschool aged child who loves Lego’s, mini roller coasters, and bumper boats, then this is the park for you!
Click here to visit Legoland’s Official Website
I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I’ve never been to Busch Gardens. I suppose I need to put it on my bucket list, especially considering that it’s less than 2 hours from my house. But, from what I’ve heard about it, it’s a great park for teens and older kids. Busch Gardens has a massive amount of roller-coasters and larger rides. They also have an amazing safari that you can see for an additional price. Busch Gardens is located in Tampa, as opposed to all the other parks here, which are all located around the Orlando area. If you’re staying on the west coast of Florida, then Busch Gardens is the place for you.
Which is Your Favorite Park?
Hopefully this will give you a little bit more of an idea of what to expect in each theme park. Not every theme park is perfect for every person. And, of course, we all have our favorites! Which theme park is your favorite? Why is it your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
Return to Travel Blog