Thrilling Attractions in Florida’s Theme Parks

Rides Aimed at Adrenaline Junkies

Central Florida is often seen as a family-friendly destination, with attractions aimed primarily towards children. Here are some essential attractions for thrill-seekers.

Whilst the Central Florida theme parks, in particular those in Walt Disney World, aim to please visitors of all ages in recent years the parks have added a host of big thrills attractions to their parks. Here’s a list of five essential high-octane attractions in Orlando and Tampa.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has the complete package when it comes to a Disney thrill ride. The attraction offers a faster-than-gravity, thirteen-story fall in an abandoned Hollywood hotel.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror - Walt Disney Studios Paris
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Disney’s Hollywood Studios by wrayckage

What sets this attraction apart from other thrill rides is its amazing theme. The 1930’s Hollywood Tower Hotel sits perfectly at the end of Sunset Boulevard with something interesting to see all along its queue line. Guests often comment on the highly themed lobby, with a host of real antique furniture, covered in cobwebs and showing signs of their age. The special effects whilst riding really enhance the experience and the random drop sequence leaves visitors wanting to ride again and again. The optimal time to ride the Tower of Terror is in the morning when the park first opens or late evening, especially during showings of Fantasmic.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (Universal’s Islands of Adventure)

This Spider-Man-based attraction, opened in 1999, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure is one of the most technologically advanced theme park rides anywhere in the world. As with the Tower of Terror, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man offers a great theme that visitors of all ages will remember from the films and comic books based around the Marvel character. Whilst the attraction isn’t as intense as some others in the area it still packs a punch and will leave even the biggest adrenaline junkies desperate to ride again.

Spiderman Islands of Adventure
Spiderman Islands of Adventure by Brian Marshall

Islands of Adventure is a very popular theme park and lines get long quick, the optimal time to ride is first thing in the morning, or consider using Universal Express.

Kraken (SeaWorld Orlando)

Making its debut in the year 2000 Kraken has become a favorite of coaster fanatics around the world. With its smooth ride and exciting mix of inversions, Kraken is a dream ride for any thrill seeker. Kraken isn’t as focused on the theme as the first two attractions, but what it lacks in story it makes up for in thrill. This coaster is huge, towering over the rest of the park at a height of 149 feet and speeds of up to 65mph this coaster isn’t for the faint-hearted, and those who find Disney coasters like Big Thunder Mountain intense may want to give Kraken a miss.

Kraken SeaWorld Orlando
Kraken SeaWorld Orlando by Roller Coaster Philosophy

Riding early in the morning is the best way to see Kraken with the lowest wait time possible, however, SeaWorld isn’t as popular as the other Orlando parks and during less busy times of the year, this attraction may have short lines all day.

Expedition Everest (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)

Expedition Everest is Animal Kingdom offering to the thrill ride scene in Central Florida. The coaster is set in and around Forbidden Mountain, supposedly close to Mount Everest. Upon boarding a train set for Everest guests experience a little bit more than expected on this train ride. Riders twist and turn around a smooth track as well as going backward and encountering a huge animatronic Yeti. Whilst the attraction has no inversions its smooth track and thrill-filled layout has made this relatively tame coaster a hit with coaster aficionado’s around the world.

Sunrise on Expedition Everest
Sunrise on Expedition Everest by NormLanier – Publisher

As with most headline attractions at Walt Disney World, the best time to ride Expedition Everest is as soon as the park opens in the morning, or consider using Fastpass.

SheiKra (Busch Gardens Africa)

SheiKra is the tallest coaster in Central Florida and cranks the intensity up to ten. This isn’t one for those scared of heights. Boasting a 90-degree drop from the height of 200 feet this coaster is considered to be one of the best in the United States. Although the ride is short and only contains one inversion riders aren’t going to forget about this amazing coaster until long after their vacation, it’s a truly breathtaking coaster. As with Kraken Sheikra does not have many themes to speak of, but the thrill makes up for that and as there’s only a handful of other dive machines around the world SheiKra is a worthwhile ride for any thrill-seeker. SheiKra sees long lines, especially around midday, consider riding this coaster early in the morning or using Quick Queue.

SheiKra Busch Gardens
Sheikra – Busch Gardens by hyku>

As far as high-intensity, big thrill rides go I could make a world-class list with just the coasters at Busch Gardens and SeaWorld. However, this list meets the needs of tourists with varying tastes in attractions, mixing highly-themed attractions with fully-fledged scream machines designed to do nothing but a thrill. The list also includes an attraction from each park chain in Central Florida, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Adventure Parks. All of these attractions will keep thrill-seekers coming back to Central Florida for years to come, hopefully, there will be some more to add to the list in the next decade.

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