The Hands-Down Best Rides At The Orlando-Area Theme Parks

February 10, 2023

The Orlando area has beaches, museums, restaurants, and many more attractions. You and the family can stay for weeks and not see everything. However, maybe you came for just one thing. The Disney theme parks beckon, and perhaps you cannot wait till you are strapped into a rollercoaster or enjoying some cotton candy while taking pictures with Goofy or Mickey.

Disney has four theme parks in the Orlando area. They include Epcot Center, Hollywood Studios, The Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and The Magic Kingdom. You might also include the two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon.

We will discuss the best rides you must try while you are there. First, though, let us review why grabbing a vacation rental near the parks makes a huge difference.

Why Stay Near The Parks?  

Benefits of staying in Orlando near the theme parks include shorter walking or driving distances in the morning. You will also like the swimming pools and room service. Most rooms have TVs, so you can watch Disney movies with the kids during your downtime.

Getting accommodations near the parks usually costs more, but you will not face an hours-long drive getting there each day. You can get up early and hit the best attractions when the parks open.

Mostly, though, you want the rides, so let us discuss some of the best ones you should hit during your trip. You must brave the lines, but waiting increases the enjoyment when the attendant straps in you and the kids, and you lurch forward with the first hill in sight.

Space Mountain

Space Mountain has been around for many years, but it remains a cannot-miss Magic Kingdom attraction. It has an outer space theme. This is an indoor coaster you will find in the Tomorrowland section.

Space Mountain has changed over the years, adding new trains back in 1989 and 2009. The park added modern rollercoaster technology for extra speed and more thrills. Expect blue strobe lights, spine-tingling plunges and dips, and planetary images all around you as you slowly climb the hills.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is another Magic Kingdom attraction. You can find this coaster in Frontierland. You will notice a mine car theme with this one.

This is not the biggest or flashiest coaster, but it is another classic that your kids should love. The tight curves flatten you against the seat as you hear miners rambling about making their fortunes in the background.

Peter Pan’s Flight

The Peter Pan’s Flight ride at The Magic Kingdom does not have huge hills or scary drops, but it is a fanciful option you should not miss. It is a dark ride, and you can spot thematic elements from the movie version, including pirates, the crocodile, the Lost Boys, and Tinkerbell.

The ride takes two minutes, and the line sometimes approaches an hour, so getting to this one early in the day makes sense. Since the Disney Peter Pan movie came out many years ago, some parents probably rode this ride as kids. It opened back in 1971.

The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion ride in the Magic Kingdom might frighten your kids, but in the best possible way. This haunted house ride piles you and the family into vehicles the staff calls “Doom Buggies.” You can enjoy a walk-through style show while waiting in line for the ride itself. You hear about the house’s ghostly backstory and get some hints regarding the spirits and specters you will see.

The ride should not scare kids about five or six years old. The ghosts might seem a bit spooky, but they are also rather jolly. This idea spawned a movie, but it did not get widespread acclaim like the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

It Is A Small World

The It’s a Small World ride is not a roller coaster. You sit in a boat that bumps slowly along while you visit different countries with their inhabitants waving at you. You also hear a song that immediately gets stuck in your head for days afterward.

This ride targets mainly smaller children, but it is a classic, and you should not skip it when visiting the Magic Kingdom. It takes about 15 minutes, making it one of the park’s longest. If you would like a rest after walking around all day, this pick makes sense.  

You might also check out the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Your kids should make some pleasant memories, and they will doubtless beg you for future trips.   

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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