Thrills and chills: a guide to Orlando’s top attractions

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Get ready for the ultimate thrill-seeking adventure, as we take you on a journey through the heart of Orlando, where magic and excitement await at every turn!

A view of Orlando Universal Studios
Enter a world of enchantment and adventure in Orlando – where imagination knows no bounds and every moment is pure magic. Image credit: Aditya Vyas/Unsplash

Orlando, Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, attracting millions of visitors each year with its world-class theme parks, attractions, and activities. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or solo, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in this vibrant city. Here’s our list of the top things to do in  the “theme park capital of the world” that promises to leave you spellbound and craving for more.

Wondering how you’re going to comfortably get around the city? Download the Blacklane app to enjoy stylish rides all over Orlando and forget about the hassle of getting a rental and trying to find parking, which is notoriously difficult in this city.

Disney World

No trip to Orlando is complete without a visit to Disney World. With four theme parks, two water parks, and a wide variety of entertainment and dining options, there’s something for everyone at this resort. 

Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Image credit: Wikimedia

Let’s start with theme parks which are unparalleled and renowned globally, offering an unforgettable experience like no other. From the classic charm of “Magic Kingdom”, where you’ll step into a world of fairy tales and adventures with your favorite Disney characters, to the high-speed thrills of Disney’s “Hollywood Studios”, where you’ll experience some of the biggest and best rides and attractions in the world, the fun never stops. And with the exciting and immersive worlds of “EPCOT” and Disney’s “Animal Kingdom”, you’ll be transported to new and exotic lands and discover the wonders of nature and technology. 

“Typhoon Lagoon” and “Blizzard Beach” water parks let you escape the Florida heat and enjoy some of the most fun water activities in the world.

Aside from its thrilling theme parks, Disney World boasts an extensive collection of dining and entertainment offerings to cater to all visitors. You can enjoy a variety of world-class dining experiences, from the award-winning “California Grill” to the classic Italian cuisine at “Tutto Italia Ristorante“. You can also be mesmerized by captivating performances like the nightly “Happily Ever After” fireworks display and the energetic “Festival of the Lion King” show. And with the Disney Springs shopping and entertainment complex, you’ll have access to a wide variety of shops all within walking distance of your Disney resort.

Universal Studios

At Universal Studios, you’ll enter your favorite movie, TV show, and comic book worlds. With “The Incredible Hulk Coaster,” known for its high-speed excitement, and the interactive and captivating “Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts” ride, you’ll be on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Adrenaline junkies can join the Fast & Furious crew on an exciting and dynamic ride, “Fast & Furious – Supercharged.”

Universal Studios Orlando, Florida.
Universal Studios Orlando, Florida. Image credit: Timo/Flickr

Universal Studios Orlando is not just about the theme parks, it has much more to offer in terms of dining and entertainment. Dine at the classic Italian cuisine “Louie’s Italian Restaurant” or immerse yourself in the nightly extravaganza of “Universal’s Cinematic Celebration,” a show that boasts pyrotechnics, lighting, and projections on the lagoon.

Looking for more? Check out Universal CityWalk, a shopping and entertainment hub featuring a wide range of shops, dining spots, and attractions.


If you’re looking for a special and unforgettable experience, visit Gatorland, a theme park that celebrates all things gator. Here you’ll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the biggest, baddest alligators and reptiles in the world. See these powerful beasts in action with the exciting “Gator Jumparoo Show” and the captivating “Gator Wrestlin’ Show”, where expert handlers showcase their skills in wrangling these impressive reptiles for a non-stop entertainment experience. 

Gatorland Orlando, Florida.
Gatorland Orlando, Florida. Image credit: Brent Moore/Flickr

The thrill of gator encounters continues with fascinating exhibits such as the “Gator Nest Rookery”, where you can observe baby gators hatching. Also, the park’s boardwalk worth exploring. Here you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and biodiversity of Florida’s wetlands. As you take a walk along the wooden boardwalk, you can witness gators, birds, and other wildlife in their natural habitats, giving you a unique and up-close perspective on the diverse flora and fauna of this region.

SeaWorld Orlando

For a more educational and interactive experience, head over to SeaWorld Orlando, where you can learn about marine life and enjoy up-close encounters with a variety of animals, from dolphins and sea lions to sharks and rays. You’ll not only have an unforgettable time, but you’ll also learn about the importance of protecting our oceans and the amazing creatures that call them home. There are also some captivating shows like “One Ocean” and “Dolphin Days” that showcase the beauty and grace of sea creatures.

Additionally, SeaWorld Orlando is a must-visit for thrill-seekers. The park features heart-pumping rides like “Mako” and “Kraken”. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a peaceful escape, SeaWorld has something for everyone.

Kennedy Space Center

If you’re interested in space and science, be sure to check out the Kennedy Space Center, located just a short drive from Orlando. From touring the iconic “Vehicle Assembly Building”, where NASA’s largest rockets were assembled, to the “Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex”, where you’ll have the opportunity to see real spacecraft, touch a moon rock, and even meet an astronaut, you’ll be transported to the front lines of space exploration. With interactive exhibits, hands-on experiences, and live demonstrations, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the amazing technology and bravery it takes to explore the final frontier. 

Harry P. Leu Gardens

Harry P. Leu Gardens is a world of stunning greenery, colorful blooms, and tranquil lakes. Have a stroll through a variety of themed gardens, including a tropical garden filled with exotic flora, a rose garden abloom with fragrant blossoms, and a butterfly garden filled with fluttering friends, and take in the serene beauty of the natural world. With guided tours, educational programs, and special events, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the history, ecology, and horticulture of these stunning gardens and the unique flora that calls them home. 

Harry P. Leu Gardens, Orlando
Harry P. Leu Gardens, Orlando, Florida. Image credit: Scott Zona/Flickr

Orlando Science Center

Unlock a universe of knowledge at the Orlando Science Center, where science meets play and discovery. With exhibits covering a wide range of subjects, including biology, physics, technology, and engineering, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the world around us in a fun and engaging way. 

Take a journey through the human body in the “Our Body” exhibit, explore the mysteries of the universe in the “Space and Planetarium” shows, and get hands-on with the latest technology in the “Technology Center”. Children also are not forgotten with the “Kids Town” exhibit. It provides an educational experience as kids learn about science through interactive play. Meanwhile, the giant screen theater takes everyone on a journey to new worlds through breathtaking films.

Church Street District

The downtown area of Orlando is often overlooked, despite the international acclaim of its neighboring attractions. The Church Street District, located in the center of downtown, boasts a vibrant blend of top-notch dining, professional sports, live entertainment, nightlife, and theater. This historic neighborhood dates back to the 19th century and showcases elements of its rich history, such as wrought-iron balconies, bridges, and cobblestone streets.

Instead of sprawling malls, the Church Street District offers visitors a unique experience with a diverse selection of small boutiques, independent stores, and locally owned restaurants that stand in contrast to the widespread chain and big-brand establishments prevalent in other parts of the city. 

With its variety of shopping, art galleries, and an abundance of entertainment options, the Church Street District provides a refreshing escape from the artificiality of theme park life and offers a chance to immerse oneself in the essence of a thriving city.