Editor's Note: This post was initially published in May 2014, and has been updated to reflect the most current information.
There are few places in the world that reduce a mature adult into a giggling, joyfully screaming pre-adolescent. Of these places, one would have to be Orlando, Florida.
Orlando is home to heart-stopping, white-knuckling, cold-sweat inducing, gravity-defying rides -- and that’s just the Interstate Highways! (Only joking.) The theme park capital of the world, Orlando is among our most popular family vacation spots, but it’s just as much a destination for daredevils.
Without any further ‘ups and downs,’ we present what we think are the best rides in Orlando, Florida for definite chills and infinite thrills.
1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an area in Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure theme park, is a mecca for fans of the wee bespectacled wizard. And what a spectacle this ride is! Both nerve-wracking and highly entertaining, journey through realistic simulations of Hogwarts Castle and other environments featured in the beloved film and book series. Sudden movements and state-of-the-art animatronics leave riders under the spell of this thrilling experience.
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is an absolute must do for thrill-seekers and brave Potter fans alike. In the words of Dumbledore, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” If this is something you’re dreaming of doing, you know what to do!
2. The Mako/ Kraken– Sea World Orlando
It seems Sea World is moving more away from its original porpoise, er purpose, and becoming a thrill ride destination in its own right. Its roller coaster roster includes Kraken, a terrifying 144-foot drop that inverts riders seven times, and 113-foot Manta, where riders are face down in the prone position for the ultimate exhilaration – including sideways-facing encounters with a motion-activated fountain of water.
It’s the newest “hypercoaster” however, that really makes a splash – Mako, named after the ocean’s fastest shark, is the park’s largest and fastest roller coaster, at 200 feet tall and reaching speeds of 117 km an hour.
3. The Incredible Hulk Coaster - Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure
This mammoth green beast, located in Universal Studio’s Islands of Adventure area, is not for the faint of heart. Its track was designed to be louder than other coasters, adding to the frightening intensity. Like the Hulk, this powerful ride propels its riders upside down at a high-speed rampage. Experience 0-40 mph, seven inversions and two eerie subterranean trenches, throughout this 2-minute and 15-second ride, you’ll really feel the Hulk’s infamous rage!
4. Expedition Everest - Disney's Animal Kingdom
Leave it to Disney’s incomparable magic to recreate the world’s highest mountain. Naturally, this model is significantly less in scale, but its verisimilitude is astounding. At 200 feet tall, the “snow”-capped behemoth is a definite jewel in the Disney World theme park crown. From close encounters with a dangerous beast to the feeling of going reverse, await you within this beautifully-crafted and immersive experience.
5. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith - Disney's Hollywood Studios
Rock out in the dark in this thrilling, enclosed coaster. At 0-60 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds, you’ll be looping and flying while the adrenaline – and music – is pumping. For those faint in the knees, the giant red Fender guitar replica is a sight to behold and much easier to photograph than the supersonic speeds of the ride itself.
Have these Orlando rides got your heart racing? Keep up the momentum and visit an Orlando Expert Traveller at a Flight Centre store near you. Or, connect with us online or at 1 877 967 5302