Spring is upon us, and it’s time to plan your summer vacation. The possibilities are endless, really, so it’s going to take me more than one article to tackle all the options! This month, let’s focus on theme parks: Disney, Legoland, Sea World (including Discovery Cove) and Universal Studios. All offer multi-day experiences and on-property resorts.
- Legoland is located in both California and Florida. It is fun, colorful and fuels the imagination of children, with interactive family rides, live shows, building workshops and amazing attractions. The park is designed especially for families with children ages 2-12 years old. Plus, families can stay in the Lego-themed accommodations, which include a free breakfast buffet.
- SeaWorld, located in California, Florida and Texas, has changed its focus to education over the past several years. In Orlando, families are immersed in wonder at SeaWorld, where the aquatic world comes alive. Experience one-of-a-kind attractions; learn about whales, dolphins, sea lions and more; plus find up-close animal interactions and thrilling rides, including Mako, Orlando’s fastest, tallest and longest roller coaster! Beginning this spring, enjoy Sesame Street, a new fully-immersive area coming to SeaWorld.
- SeaWorld Aquatica and Discovery Cove. Aquatica is a water park with high-speed water slides and exhilarating wave pools, but also tranquil beaches, making it a good fit for all ages. At Discovery Cove, guests can enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, rays and tropical fish. This all-inclusive park includes unlimited food and drink from 7:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Alcohol is included for adults age 21+.
- Universal Studios Orlando has two parks offering attractions for all ages — though it is more driven to guest who like thrills, with rides like Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. However, one of the biggest draws to Universal Orlando is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where fans can have an immersive experience in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. Make sure to get a Park to Park ticket, so you can ride the Hogwarts Express, the train that links the two parks.
- Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., is very large — 40 square miles, in fact. Navigating between the 25+ resorts, four themed parks, two water parks, Disney Springs and hundreds of attractions and restaurants is daunting, and why you should always work with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. Walt Disney World is “Where Dreams Come True!” There is something for every age, regardless of the park you choose, and you can feel like a kid again.
- Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., is compact, with only two themed parks, but every bit of the magic — of course, as Walt Disney himself actually lived here. Though smaller, most every Disney World attraction can be found in Disneyland, as well as some exclusive attractions. Plus, for some families, smaller is better — especially those with young kids, seniors and people who have mobility issues. Plus, Disneyland is the most Instagrammed location in the world. Why? It’s the “Happiest Place on Earth!”
Tricia Scott is owner of Visit Mickey Vacations, the exclusive travel planners of Northeast Ohio Parent magazine. For a free quote, go to visitmickey.com/quote-neoparent.