Theme Park Thrills in Orlando


Although Walt Disney World rarely discounts its tickets, deals can often be found for other popular attractions, so shop around. Ticket sellers like offer discounted passes, but the parks themselves sometimes have the best rates. "Universal Orlando posts amazing deals on their website," says Bob Sehlinger, coauthor of The Unofficial Guide: Walt Disney World 2013. And SeaWorld Orlando offers $10 off if you buy tickets online. Bob's tip: Sign up for e-mail newsletters from the attractions you want to visit, and check their sites often.

Another money-saver: skip ticket add-ons. Unless your family can go, go, go all day, Walt Disney World's Park Hopper pass, giving you access to more than one Disney park in a day, may not be worth it. Same for the Express Passes at Universal Orlando, which offer front-of- the-line access to most rides (excluding Harry Potter).

4 Family Favorites

1. At Walt Disney World, don't miss the Magic Kingdom's new Enchanted Forest, home to Beast's Castle and the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Down- load the free My Disney Experience app to locate characters, get wait times, and more. (Admission starts at $89 adults, $83 kids;; 407-934-7639)

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

2. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the most popular areas of Universal Orlando Resort, so when the gates open, head right to the Forbidden Journey ride to avoid long lines. (Admission starts at $88 adults, $82 kids;; 407-363-8000)

SeaWorld Orlando

3. SeaWorld Orlando's animal shows and splashy rides are awesome, but the smaller, interactive experiences, like feeding stingrays and dolphins, can make a big impression on kids. Other high- lights: the new TurtleTrek exhibit and the adventure ride Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, which opens this spring. (Admission starts at $89 adults, $81 kids; save $10 online;

Legoland Florida

4. The recently opened Legoland Florida in nearby Winter Haven wows younger kids with amazing Lego creations and rides, plus an on-site water park (additional fee). (Admission starts at $75 adults, $60 kids;; 877-350-5346)

Go-to Guides Trip-planning advice, links to apps, and a free discount card. Insider tips, hotel and rental-car deals. Deals, apps, and a YouTube channel.

The Unofficial Guide: Walt Disney World 2013: Unbiased reviews with a hint of attitude. ($19.99; Wiley)

Fodor's Walt Disney World With Kids 2013: With Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and Aquatica: Cost-saving ideas and insider tips. ($18.99; Fodor's Travel)

Originally published in the February 2013 issue of FamilyFun

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