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Disney's most-visited theme park welcomes you with a barbershop quartet serenade and the fragrance of fresh-baked cookies. Cinderella Castle beckons, and magical lands have classic attractions—from Adventureland's Pirates of the Caribbean to Tomorrowland's sleek Space Mountain. Wide-eyed children meet Mickey Mouse, ride their first roller coaster, and fly high with Peter Pan and Dumbo. It's irresistible for adults, too.
Top reasons to visit begin with the hands-on Innoventions exhibits and end with the not-to-be-missed Soarin' "hang-gliding" adventure. History is entertaining at the American Adventure and Spaceship Earth. Count down to launch on Mission: SPACE. Dine at Via Napoli or another great restaurant. End a day with fireworks at IllumiNations.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
Film- and TV-inspired adventures lure audiences to the American Idol Experience, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Star Tours, and Toy Story Midway Mania! Thrill seekers get their kicks at Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. The Magic of Disney Animation highlights Walt and his cartoons.
Animals from several continents share the spotlight in habitats that mimic native environments. You'll see some critters from the open-air safari vehicles of Kilimanjaro Safaris; you'll spot others along landscaped trails. Shows like Festival of the Lion King draw crowds. Rides like DINOSAUR and Expedition Everest push the adrenaline envelope.
Universal is known for action, adventure, and a touch of irreverence. From Terminator 2: 3-D to Revenge of the Mummy, attractions score points with fans of contemporary film. City-street reproductions set the movie back-lot scene. Younger kids love Woody Woodpecker's Kid Zone.
Islands of Adventure
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter packs in the crowds at this park, which is already known for such draws as the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk Coaster. There's also whimsical Seuss Landing.
SeaWorld and Discovery Cove
Lagoons are populated by all manner of sea creatures, and shows are well done. Kraken and Manta are first-rate coasters, and Shamu's Happy Harbor makes young kids gleeful. Discovery Cove lets you swim with dolphins.
International Drive, 7 miles northeast of Disney, is a busy commercial strip with attractions like Ripley's Believe it or Not! Odditoruim, WonderWorks, Wet 'n Wild water park, and Fun Spot.
Kennedy Space Center
About an hour's drive east of Orlando, the center has exhibits about space exploration, interactive rides like the Shuttle Launch Experience, an astronaut memorial and a hall of fame, and an IMAX theater.
Busch Gardens Tampa
It's a 335-acre adventure park with free-roaming animals. It's an amusement park with six roller coasters. It's an entertainment venue with Broadway-style theater extravaganzas and 4-D movies. It's all in Tampa, just 84 miles southwest of Orlando.Updated: 09-2013
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