The 6 Best Orlando Theme Parks for Adults

April 8, 2022

As it turns out, you’re never too old for the riveting rush of a roller coaster. Adrenaline junkies of all ages flock to Orlando for one main reason: theme parks! Even adults have many great parks to choose from.

Millions of families travel to Orlando each year for a magical meeting with a certain mouse. However, you have so many other great theme parks to choose from when visiting Orlando! The list of the best Orlando theme parks for adults is loaded. 

While Orlando may be a fantastic family destination in the United States, it's also a top vacation spot for adults! Between the nightlife, shows, and endless attractions, grown-ups have a world of fun at their fingertips in this happening city.

Thrilling rides, delicious food, and even some unique animal encounters are all in-store when you visit the Theme Park Capital of the World. Read on for our list of the best Orlando theme parks for adults so you can start to narrow down the options and plan your trip to the City Beautiful!

Walt Disney World Theme Parks

What's a list of the best Orlando theme parks for adults without including the Happiest Place on Earth? A Walt Disney World theme parks ticket gives you everything you could want from a park:

  • Thrill rides
  • Character meet-and-greets
  • Shows
  • Quick-service and sit-down meals
  • Fireworks displays

With four theme parks to experience, there's something for every type of traveler -- whether you're a grown-up or a kid!

Pro Tip: While the main four parks will keep you on dry land, Disney has a water park called Blizzard Beach if you're looking to get wet 'n' wild!crowd of people and balloons in front of cinderella's castle at walt disney world magic kingdom in Orlando, Florida, USAMagic Kingdom

This enchanting park is full of your favorite childhood stories and characters, with nostalgia around every corner. Ride classic Disney rides such as "It's a Small World," Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, and Peter Pan's Flight. Additionally, you can't miss the out-of-this-world fireworks display each night!

Related Post: Insider's Guide to Walt Disney World

Pro Tip: Stressed about seeing all of Magic Kingdom because you only have one day at the park? Tripster is here to help! Our handy guide is filled with all the tips and tricks you need to make the most out of your day.

EPCOT

EPCOT invites you to experience the cuisine and cultures of countries around the world. Eating and drinking in another country, anyone? Count us in! The World Showcase is a must-see spot. Don't forget about the legendary rides like Test Track and Soarin' Around the World, too!

couple standing with food in epcotDisney's Hollywood Studios

This park celebrates the world of Disney movies, television, and music through immersive rides and experiences. For adults who love thrill rides, this is the Disney theme park for you. Check out the Tower of Terror, Rock' n' Roller Coaster, and Star Wars: A Galaxy's Edge! 

Animal Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom lets guests embark on thrilling safaris and learn more about our animal neighbors through engaging rides and exhibits. Don't miss your chance to ride the towering roller coaster, Expedition Everest. Plus, the Pandora area of the park boasts radiant colors and jaw-dropping flora for an unbelievable experience.

Lake in foreground and people riding Expedition Everest at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom - Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Visit Orlando via Facebook

Tips for Visiting Disney World

When visiting one of the most popular Orlando theme parks, you'll want to do it right. Follow our advice to make your visit as magical as it can be:

Explore Disney Springs

There's more to Walt Disney World than just theme parks! Spend a night or two exploring Disney Springs. The area is filled with entertainment, restaurants, and shops. It also boasts a lively nightlife atmosphere!

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

Check Out the BoardWalk

For more after-hours fun, head to Disney's BoardWalk, where you'll find bars such as AbracadaBar, Big River Grille & Brewing Works, and the ESPN Club. This resort area is also one of the best places to watch the fireworks shows!

couple standing by water watching fireworks over Disney's Boardwalk in Orlando, Florida, USACelebrate!

Are you going to Disney World for your honeymoon? Birthday? Anniversary? No matter the occasion, let a Disney cast member know! You can thank us later for all the swag and surprises you'll receive.

Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

Everyone knows how much work goes into planning the perfect trip to Disney. To help you get started, we've created an easy guide for organizing your dream Disney World vacation.

Universal Orlando Resort

From The Walking Dead to Spider-Man, Jurassic Park to Dr. Seuss, all your favorite TV and movie characters come to life at Universal Orlando Resort.

Related Post: Top 12 Must-Sees at Wizarding World of Harry Potter

You'll go beyond the screens while riding epic coasters, watching mind-blowing shows, and interacting with iconic characters throughout the park.

With three theme parks and CityWalk, the park's 30-acre entertainment complex, you're in for quite an adventure!

Thrill enthusiasts will ride roller coasters and rides over and over again, such as:

  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Doctor Doom's Fearfall
  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon™

And, of course, Harry Potter fans will flip for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Enter this captivating fantasy world of Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley. If you're a self-proclaimed Potterhead, you have to check out the top 10 must-sees at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! 

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Universal Orlando Resort: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

Oh, also, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is hands-down one of the best rides in the park. To find out why you'll just have to ride it!

Wide shot of the Hulk roller coaster at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Universal Orlando Resort via Facebook

Tips for Visiting Universal Orlando Resort

As with any theme park, a bit of up-front advice will come in handy when organizing your trip:

Decide Which Ticket Type You Need

Those considering visiting Universal Orlando Resort often think it's a single park. It's three different theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay.

Related Post: Insider's Guide to Universal Orlando Resort™

Pro Tip: Volcano Bay is Universal's water park, so it stands out from the rest. Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure, however, are similar in the types of rides they offer. If you're stumped about which one to choose, we break down the best of each park in this guide! The bottom line is, you're in for a great time no matter which Universal park you choose.

To access all parks in a single day, you'll need to purchase a multiple-park ticket. Otherwise, you will be limited to one park per day. Additionally, if you wish to ride the Hogwarts Express to the different Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter, you will need a multiple-park ticket.

View of Diagon Alley at night with the dragon on top of Gringotts Bank breathing fire at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Universal Orlando Resort via Facebook

Take Time to Explore CityWalk

If you're visiting Universal Orlando Resort as an adult, find time to explore CityWalk! This world-class entertainment complex houses state-of-the-art stores, restaurants, and bars, including Pat O'Brien's. Plus, the complex hosts live music sets with DJs, dance parties, and more throughout the night.

Put on a Brave Face

Each fall, Universal Orlando Resort is also home to the ever-popular Halloween Horror Nights event. However, for a thrill that's sure to make you scream, you'll need to purchase an additional event ticket!

three skeletons in dark scary costumes standing in front of entrance of Universal Studios during Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, Florida, USA

SeaWorld

The awe-inspiring aquatic theme park SeaWorld Orlando combines educational exhibits and shows with exhilarating rides. Dive into the world of marine mania with animal encounters and aquarium explorations.

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to SeaWorld Orlando: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

In addition to all the fun, you'll discover more about SeaWorld's rescue and rehabilitation efforts. Pay attention to the exhibits and signs throughout the park detailing its mission and work. To learn more about the park's conservation efforts, read the SeaWorld Insider's Guide.

If you're wondering which of the best Orlando theme parks for adults has the top thrill rides, you might not expect SeaWorld to be a contender. Think again! Those who are into roller coasters and extreme thrills love SeaWorld rides such as:

  • Mako
  • Manta
  • Kraken
  • Infinity Falls
  • Journey to Atlantis

Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld OrlandoTips for Visiting SeaWorld

Before you visit SeaWorld, keep these tips in mind:

Go to the Rides First

As with any Orlando theme park, the lines at SeaWorld rides can be lengthy. Rather than visiting the marine animals right when you enter the park, hop in line for a ride. This allows you to ride all the attractions and take advantage of the shortest wait times.

Don't Skip the Animal Experiences

SeaWorld's mission is to help visitors learn about marine life and how we can help conserve it for future generations. Take time out of your day to visit the various animals throughout the park and hear from the marine biologists, too.

Close up of three orcas jumping into the air with rocks and screen behind them that says Orca Encounter at SeaWorld in San Diego, California, USA

photo credit: SeaWorld via Facebook

Take in a Show

The shows at SeaWorld are fantastic! On top of being educational, they're designed to wow audiences with fascinating effects and captivating aquatic knowledge. So, arrive at least 20 minutes early for a good seat. And, if you sit in the splash zone, you know what you're in for!

Gatorland

Did you know one of the best Orlando theme parks for adults is themed around Florida alligators? As a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, Gatorland lets guests see thousands of alligators and crocodiles. In addition, visitors can check out the free-flight aviary, a petting zoo, a zipline ride, and rookie gator wrestling.

Related Post: 10 of the Best Things to Do in Orlando for Couples

Be sure to check out the live gator shows while visiting Gatorland. Visitors often express that the shows were the highlight of their day!

Tips for Visiting Gatorland

For a safe and enjoyable trip to Gatorland, follow these expert tips:

Wear Proper Attire

If you wish to go zip lining (which you should), you must wear proper clothing. Pants or shorts and closed-toed shoes are required for participation. If you have long hair, bring a hair tie to pull it back and out of your eyes.

Don't Pay for Parking

Bringing a few extra bucks for parking? No need! The on-site parking is free for guests.

Buy Tickets in Advance

As with any Orlando theme park, the ticket lines at Gatorland can be long. Save your time and sanity by buying discount Gatorland tickets online instead.

Several gators laying down in the mud with trees and water in the background in Orlando, Florida, USABusch Gardens Tampa

Just a short drive from Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa is home to more than 12,000 animals, making it one of the largest zoos in North America. On top of endless animal experiences, the theme park offers insane thrill rides, including Cobra's Curse, Montu, and SheiKra. 

Add to your day a behind-the-scenes tour, exclusive animal encounters, and top-notch shows throughout the park. Adults also love Busch Gardens Tampa's dining and sipping options!

Advice for Visiting Busch Gardens Tampa

A few helpful Busch Gardens tips can take your trip from good to excellent:

Choose a Theme for Your Day

Between the animals and rides, there's so much to do at the park. It's ideal if you can find time for both elements during your visit, but deciding to focus on either the rides or the animals can help you prioritize which attractions to experience if time is cramped.

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Busch Gardens® Tampa: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

Visit the Animals in the Morning

For those who do not enjoy thrill rides, visiting the animals first thing in the morning is key. The animals are typically out and about during the early hours, while the Florida heat is more manageable.

Use the Skyride

Whether you need a break from thrill rides or need to travel between the Egypt and Congo sections of the park, the Skyride will come in handy. Plus, this cable car-style ride offers gorgeous views of the park.

Close up of people upside down on Iron Gwazi, a new coaster at Busch Gardens Tampa on a sunny day in Tampa, Florida, USA

photo credit: Busch Gardens Tampa

Discovery Cove

If water parks are more your thing, you'll love all that Discovery Cove has to offer. It's like a water park deluxe, complete with live animal experiences!

This immersive aquatic dreamland lets you snorkel with tropical fish, come face-to-face with dolphins, and simply kick back and relax in paradise.

Some of the top interactive Discovery Cove experiences include:

  • SeaVenture
  • Snorkeling
  • Swimming with dolphins
  • Bird feeding

Even better, almost everything at Discovery Cove is included with admission! So, you don't need to worry about purchasing food, packing snorkel equipment, or even bringing sunscreen. It's all there waiting for you!

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Discovery Cove: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

Plus, you can upgrade your day by purchasing a drink package. An aquatic oasis, drinks, and ample sunshine? Sign us up!

aerial view of Discovery Cove pool with palm trees in Orlando, Florida, USA

Discovery Cove

Tips for Visiting Discovery Cove

Like the rest of the Orlando theme parks, knowing these Discovery Cove tips ahead of time will ensure you have a memorable trip:

Leave the Beach Bag Behind

Seriously, it's all included! No need to worry about packing a huge bag for your Discovery Cove trip. Your reservation price covers everything, including:

  • Masks
  • Snorkels
  • Towels
  • Beach chairs
  • Wetsuits
  • Life jackets
  • Sunscreen
  • Food and drinks
  • Lockers
  • Parking
  • Shower amenities
  • Prescription masks

Pro Tip: You can get unlimited admission to SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Busch Gardens during your trip with the purchase of specific packages!

Related Post: 13 Most Romantic Restaurants in Orlando

Know What Not to Bring

The following items are prohibited from entering Discovery Cove:

  • Jewelry (with the exception of watches and wedding bands)
  • Outside food and drinks
  • Diving or flotation equipment
  • Personal sunscreen

These rules are in place for the safety of guests and marine life. Leave these items back at the hotel or in your car.

Visit the Conservation Cabana

Throughout the day, the Conservation Cabana has a variety of animal encounters. You might get to meet an exotic bird, a furry mammal, or another type of marine creature!

Plan Your Trip to the Best Orlando Theme Parks for Adults!

Now that you know the basics of some of Orlando's best attractions, it's time to start planning!

You may be young at heart, but not so young that you're not a little budget-conscious. Everyone knows Orlando theme parks can be a little pricey. Save money by purchasing discounted tickets or even bundling your Orlando theme park tickets and choice of hotel with Tripster!

Which Orlando Theme Park is Your Favorite?

Share your thoughts with us below.


michaela smiling holding magazine with body of water in background

Written By Michaela

Michaela is a journalist who views every story she writes as an adventure, leading her to explore new places and meet new people. She is based in the Midwest ...

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