Do You Know About These Underrated Theme Parks Near Disney World?

in Park Secrets, Theme Parks

Aerial view of ICON Park_feature image

Credit International Drive Orlando

Walt Disney World Resort may rule the roost where Florida theme parks in Orlando are concerned, but don’t overlook the many other great, albeit underrated theme parks and destinations near Disney.

Disney World often steals the show as the primary Orlando theme park destination for so many visitors to Central Florida every year, but it isn’t the only one. Perhaps the most well-known competitor among theme parks near Disney World is Universal Orlando Resort—a destination that’s been increasingly rising to fame in recent years and is perhaps the only true threat to rivaling Disney’s status. Other renowned theme parks nearby include SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa. But there are so many other awesome alternative theme parks in the area you probably haven’t even heard about—those hidden gems that often get overshadowed by the glory of Disney World and the other standout theme parks we just mentioned. But here at Inside the Magic, we feel that those “other” parks are worth learning more about, and that’s why we’ve compiled this list highlighting our favorite underrated theme parks in close range to Disney World.

Related: Orlando Has a New Favorite Theme Park, and It’s Not Disney

LEGOLAND

Roughly an hour’s drive from Disney World, you’ll find the LEGOLAND Florida Resort and Theme Park, based in Winter Haven. Established in 2011, this marks the second LEGOLAND installment in the United States. At 150 acres, it is also the second-largest in the Resort chain worldwide.

LEGOLAND features a vast range of onsite rides and attractions, centering around those iconic LEGO building blocks and focusing primarily on visitors between ages 2 and 12. In addition to family-friendly LEGO-themed rides, an impressive Miniland U.S.A. setup, and other activities, LEGOLAND Resort boasts a five-acre water park and an impressive resident LEGOLAND Florida Hotel, ideal for out-of-town visitors.

Characters at the entrance for LEGOLAND
Click the image to purchase LEGOLAND tickets! Credit: LEGOLAND

Peppa Pig Theme Park

Just a short walk away and adjoining the LEGOLAND grounds sits the world’s first-ever Peppa Pig Theme Park, which opened in 2022. Encompassing 4.5 acres and featuring six interactive rides, this Park primarily caters to kiddies. In addition to low-key, calmer rides and attractions, tyke likes on location here also include playgrounds, Character shows, and other activities. Even though the Peppa Pig Theme Park adjoins the grounds of LEGOLAND, it is an independent theme park that requires separate admission, unless you grab a package from Undercovertourist.

Folks enjoying a roller coaster at Peppa Pig Theme Park
Click the image to purchase Peppa Pig Theme Park Tickets w/ LEGOLAND package. Credit: Peppa Pig Theme Park

Related: One Hour Away from Disney World – Peppa Pig Is Moving In!

Old Town Orlando Theme Park

A truly traditional, classic amusement park experience awaits active seekers at this 10-acre establishment in Kissimmee. Here, you can enjoy various rides, attractions, and other diversions catering to the young and young at heart. The plentiful pastimes range from traditional easy-going endeavors to intense thrills like their five-story Hurricane roller coaster of great acclaim. But their iconic Ferris Wheel is what often grabs the attention of eager onlookers from afar.

In addition to carnival classics, Old Town operates as a combined entertainment, shopping, and dining district. So, there’s plenty to satisfy everyone in your group.

View of entrance and Ferris Wheel of Old Town.
Click the image to get an Eat and Play DIscount Card that can save you money at shops and restaurants across Orlando. Credit: Old Town

Fun Spot America

There are currently three Fun Spot America Theme Park locations, all family-owned and operated. While the Atlanta, Georgia, designation isn’t too far off, the Kissimmee and Orlando operations are the more convenient options for those near Disney World. Each one provides Guests with the same wholesome quality experiences while presenting a unique range of attractions exclusive to the specific locations. The Orlando site even offers an onsite Gator Spot exhibit and a Splash Pad Wet Deck. Both Florida designations are renowned for their myriad ride offerings, like go-karts, bumper cars, Ferris Wheels, and even daring thrill rides.

Side by side comparisons of roller coaster attractions at the two Florida Fun Spot locations.
Thrill rides and coasters abound at Fun Spot America, click the image to purchase discount tickets! Image: Fun Spot America

Related: Roller Coaster Shuts Down After 6-Year-Old Discovered Underneath Tracks

WonderWorks Orlando

Here is a one-of-a-kind indoor amusement park alternative, which you will find conveniently located on International Drive in Orlando. Spanning 28,000 square feet, the wonderful rides and interactive activities to delight in here make the perfect addition for EPCOT fans looking for something new. That’s because the attractions in-house are all educational, interactive, and explorative—true “edu-tainment,” according to them.

WonderWorks is divided into six themed sections—the Extreme Weather Zone, Physical Challenge Zone, Space Discovery Zone, the Wonder Art Gallery, Light & Sound Zone, and Imagination Lab. There’s plenty to keep visitors of all ages and interests entertained for countless hours.

A simulated coaster experience at WonderWorks
Click the image for discount All-Access tickets to WonderWorks. Credit: WonderWorks

Related: Walt Disney World Announces New International Drive Location

ICON Park

ICON Park Orlando is one of those best-kept secrets that still attracts a major fan base. In fact, the question “Is ICON Park part of Disney World?” is surprisingly common with folks not familiar with the greater Orlando theme park scene. Located on International Drive in Orlando, ICON Park spans an impressive 20-acre entertainment complex featuring beloved rides, games, and conventional attractions, plus many novelty experiences. Some must-do endeavors include Madame Tussauds (wax museum), Museum of Illusions, Max Action Arena, 7D Motion Theater, Pearl Express, the Carousel, and their impressive 400-foot Ferris Wheel. The ICON Park Aquarium—SEA LIFE Orlando is another major draw for folks. The aquarium hosts over 5,000 sea creatures worldwide and even features a stunning 360-degree underwater tunnel that lets visitors get up close and personal with all forms of marine life.

Family arriving at the entrance for ICON Park
Click the image to get discount tickets to all the attractions at ICON Park. Credit: ICON Park

Whether you want to go to one or all of the other attractions in Orlando, The Go City All-Inclusive Pass and Eat & Play Digital Discount Card can get you into most of them at huge savings.

Do you know of any other underrated theme parks within driving distance of Walt Disney World Resort? Tell us about them in the comments.

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