Last year a record-breaking 72 million people flocked to Orlando, one of the world’s most sought after vacation destinations. Besides beautiful beaches and warm weather, the theme parks are definitely the biggest draw to the Sunshine state. We have 21 theme/amusement parks in Florida alone, each park unique, offering its own special brand of entertainment. As for the thrill seekers, well, you won’t want to miss these rides.
SheiKra- Busch Gardens
One of the coolest things about parks like Busch Gardens and SeaWorld are their rides. Most of them are designed to simulate the movements of certain animals. SheiKra is based on a bird of prey found in Africa and Asia known for its hunting technique of diving off cliffs to swoop down on unsuspecting prey. On this roller coaster, you’ll find yourself suspended 200 ft. in the air, dangling off the edge for what seems like an eternity before plunging straight down at 70 miles per hour. The suspense is what makes this ride one of the most thrilling in Florida.
Manta – SeaWorld Orlando
Sometimes the uniqueness of a ride is what attributes to the thrill factor of a ride. Such is the case for Manta. Like SheiKra, this ride is meant to simulate the swimming patterns of manta rays. This coaster features lots of corkscrew turns, loops, and tall hills with great drops. But the thrill of this ride is that the ride restrains guests in a “prone position” meaning you lie flat with your chest downward facing the ground, just like a manta ray!
Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts –Universal Studios Florida
Of the two current Harry Potter themed rides at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, we vote this to be the more thrilling. Not only is your journey down to the vaults exciting, even more thrilling is your escape on the back of a Ukrainian Ironbelly as Bellatrix Lestrange stalks you through dark caverns and your very own encounter with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Highly themed with breathtaking visuals and practical effects, this is certainly one of the most thrilling rides around.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Stepping away from thrilling coasters, our next pick is the classic drop tower. Stepping back in time (and into the fifth dimension), riders find themselves checking into the Hollywood Tower Hotel, where something extraordinary is about to occur just before reaching the top floor. With heights reaching 199 feet, drop speeds at almost 40 miles per hour, and the promise of never experiencing the same drop sequence twice, this attraction is a must for any thrill seeker.
Honorable Mention- Orlando StarFlyer at ICON 360
This is not your average carnival swing ride. At 450 feet, this is the tallest swing ride in the world. As one of the newest attractions on International Drive, this amazing ride can swing up to 60 miles per hour! This combination of height and speed make the StarFlyer not only one of the most thrilling rides in the area, but also one of the most unique as it does not reside in any of our theme parks. Riding during the day and night offer different experiences, so take into consideration the time of day you decide to try the new swing ride. During the day you can see miles of Orlando skyline. At night, if you catch it at just the right time you can get one of the best views of all the fireworks shows happening at the various theme parks.
Enjoy complementary transportation to local theme parks as well as the thrill of being close to all the action on International Drive and the Walt Disney World area when you book your stay at the Clarion Inn, Lake Buena Vista!