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The Best Orlando Theme Parks by Age Group

Victoria Gardens at Epcot®Without a doubt, all of the Orlando theme parks offer something for everyone, but some of them are better suited to a particular age group or two. If you’ve ever wondered, “Would this theme park be good for my …?” then this post is for you!

Now, this isn’t the definitive guide — there are exceptions! For example, while I haven’t listed Epcot® in the tween category, Tad loves Epcot® because it has his all-time favorite ride — Test Track® Presented by Chevrolet. He also loves Mission: SPACE® Attraction and Sum of All Thrills. He would die if we made a visit to Orlando and didn’t visit it at least once! If you can, our recommendation is to visit each of the parks at least once, and then pick your favorites to revisit. With that said, here are the recommended parks by age group.

Toddlers

Dumbo the Flying Elephant®Best: Magic Kingdom® Park

Hands down, Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom® Park offers the most magical experience of all the Orlando theme parks. Guests of all ages, but especially the toddler set, will be able to enjoy a large number of rides, meet their favorite Disney characters (when they still believe they’re real) and wonder at the sights and sounds in each of the different lands. For children who are easily scared, there are plenty of rides where they can sit with Mom or Dad.

Other good choices:

  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch® LandDisney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park — This park is ideal for anyone who loves animals, but toddlers especially will enjoy seeing them up close in a lush, jungle-like setting. Pint-sized shows such as “Finding-Nemo: The Musical” and “Festival of the Lion King” are perfect for the wee set.
  • SeaWorld Orlando — Like Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, the animals truly are the focus of the park, and little ones will love feeding the sea lions and experiencing the feel of a sting ray gliding beneath their finger tips. A whole section of the park — Shamu’s Happy Harbor —  is devoted to the little ones and features wee versions of spinning tea cups, a carousel and a gentle tug boat.

Elementary Age

Stingray at SeaWorldBest: SeaWorld Orlando

Who says learning isn’t fun? Kids of all ages, but especially young children, can test their knowledge of aquatic life while exploring the exhibits and getting up close and personal with baby dolphins, sea lions and sting rays. The younger end of this group will love Shamu’s Happy Harbor, especially Net Climb — four stories of nets linked together by tunnels.

Other good choices:

  • Miniland USA at LEGOLAND FloridaLEGOLAND Florida — The whole park is geared toward 2- to 12-year-olds, and for LEGO fanatics, the themed lands are second to none! The water park within the park will keep everyone cool on the hottest summer days.
  • Magic Kingdom® Park — This is the place where fairytales come true, and princesses and pirates will love the opportunities to indulge in a little make-believe and maybe work up the nerve to try out Space Mountain® Attraction or Splash Mountain® Attraction.

Tweens

Dudley Do-Right's Ripsaw FallsBest: Islands of Adventure

Tweens will love the amazing 3-D effects, especially on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man, and the water rides, which are guaranteed to get you soaked! The theming at this park is second to none, particularly at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and Toon Lagoon.

Other good choices:

  • SeaWorld Orlando — The daringest of tweens will love the thrill rides, especially Journey to Atlantis, Kraken and Manta, as well as the animal encounters.
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of TerrorDisney’s Hollywood Studios® — It’s three biggest attractions — Toy Story Mania!® Attraction, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ’n Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith — are perfect for the tween set.

Teens

The Wizarding World of Harry PotterBest: Islands of Adventure

Teens will love the high number of true thrill rides, including the Incredible Hulk Coaster and Dragon Challenge. Harry Potter fans will feel like they just stepped into the book in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and even those who aren’t fans will be mesmerized by the incredible attention to detail.

Other good choices:

  • China Pavilion at Epcot®Epcot® — Teens will love traveling the world in a single day, sampling the cultures — plus eating and shopping! — in the different countries. Test Track® Presented by Chevrolet and Soarin’™ Attraction remain perennial favorites and make this park a must-visit.
  • Magic Kingdom® Park — While parents and teens rarely agree, they seem to share the same nostalgia for visiting the most magical place on earth.

Adults

Epcot®'s World ShowcaseBest: Epcot® – The most non-traditional theme park of them all offers the chance to experience many of the world’s cultures through sight, sound and taste. Shopaholics like me will love strolling through the world showcase shops, and Epcot® is the only place in the U.S. where some of these items can be found!

Other good choices:

  • Islands of Adventure — This park is a thrill-seeker’s paradise with two fantastic coasters and tremendous theming on 3-D rides Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man.
  • Hollywood Rip Ride RockitUniversal Studios — A working studio, this park offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Hollywood movie making, a truly intimidating coaster in Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit and 3-D fun for kids at heart in The Simpsons Ride and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem. Belly up to the bar inside Finnegan’s in New York and order a Guiness, or enjoy waterfront dining at Lombard’s Seafood Grille.

Seniors

Sea lions at SeaWorldBest: SeaWorld Orlando

This pristine park is known for its fantastic shows, particularly One Ocean and Blue Horizons. Seniors will enjoy the animal encounters, the 360-degree view of Orlando from Sky Tower and the numerous places to cool off.

Other good choices:

  • Epcot® — The pavilions of World Showcase offer the chance to shop, eat and drink in the history and architecture of 11 countries.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios®Disney’s Hollywood Studios® — This park provides a trip back in time through Hollywood’s Golden Era and includes full-scale replicas of many California film and TV landmarks.

Whew — this was a long list! Now, it’s your turn. Which park would you recommend for each age group? Share thoughts below!

Related: Rides, Shows & More – What to Do in Orlando!

Hoppy theme parking!
– Mommy Frog 


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4 Responses to “The Best Orlando Theme Parks by Age Group”

  1. Carmen Maritza Marrero says:

    A mi me encantan todos y tengo 47!!!! Pero no podria dejar de ir a Magic Kingdom, nada se compara a encontrarte frente al castillo de Cenicienta!!!!

  2. nicklaus ulrich says:

    Checking if disney charges parking all the time or do they stop charging at a certain time

    • FrogBlog says:

      Hi Nicklaus,

      There is officially no discounted or free parking for the Walt Disney World theme parks after a certain hour. That said, we did find the parking ticket booths empty on one evening visit to Magic Kingdom.

      – Mommy Frog

  3. Violaplayer says:

    I’ve been to Disneyland over 20 times (age 58), but went to Orlando for the first time this year. The fireworks over the castle at the Magic Kingdom was spectacular. We were very impressed with the shows at the Animal Kingdom! Epcot was our least favorite. The Harry Potter section of the Islands of Adventure was great but the rest was unimpressive compared to Disney quality.

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