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

Best Orlando theme park
Credit: Universal

Voters have again disregarded Disney when deciding which park offers the best experience in Florida. A new champion has emerged in the “Best Theme Park in Orlando” competition, and it marks the second time in two years that a different place has snatched Disney’s crown. This park has been getting great feedback with its cutting-edge attractions lately. While EPCOT has harnessed the title many times, guests are not as impressed anymore.

VelociCoaster

Credit: Universal

Universal Islands of Adventure Wears the Crown

Central Florida is home to some absolutely amazing theme parks. Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Magic Kingdom, and many more have offered fantastic experiences for visitors over the years. However, a Disney World park did not take the crown this year.

Orlando Weekly’s “Best Orlando Theme Park for 2023” poll announced Universal’s Islands of Adventure has risen to the top of Orlando’s theme park hierarchy. This is no accident. While Disney has been a dominant force for years, recent trends suggest a changing of the guard.

One key factor in Universal’s triumph is the roaring success of its latest attractions. The VelociCoaster, inspired by the Jurassic World franchise, has become a sensation, drawing thrill-seekers from around the globe. This high-speed coaster lets riders race alongside velociraptors and has set a new standard for adrenaline-pumping experiences.

Another star attraction at Universal Islands of Adventure is Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. This unique and fun journey into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has a lot of charms not seen in any other coasters. This ride has captivated fans with its immersive storytelling and groundbreaking ride technology.

Admittedly, Disney has found success with its Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind coaster introduced at EPCOT. It took the title of “Best Theme Park Ride in 2023. However, it wasn’t enough to secure the most coveted victory.

Hagrid ride

Credit: Universal

Best Orlando Theme Park

But it’s not just the new attractions that have won Universal this title. The park’s consistent dedication to creating immersive themed lands and experiences has resonated with its visitors. From the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Marvel Super Hero Island, each corner of Universal’s Islands of Adventure offers a unique adventure.

Disney, on the other hand, has faced criticism in recent years. The rise in ticket prices has left many long-time visitors feeling priced out of the magic. Additionally, concerns about EPCOT’s drinking culture have sparked controversy. Incidents of disruptive behavior due to excessive alcohol consumption have cast a shadow over the park’s family-friendly image and lessened its appeal.

EPCOT Monorail

Credit: Disney

While Disney remains a beloved institution in the theme park world, Universal’s Islands of Adventure’s 2023 win reflects a shifting landscape. It’s proof that Disney’s biggest competitors can channel innovation, immersive storytelling, and thrilling experiences arguably better than the entertainment giant. As Orlando’s theme park rivalry continues to evolve, one thing is clear: Universal’s Islands of Adventure is a force to be reckoned with right now.

About Michael Stoyanoff

Michael is a Disney fan with an entertainment background and passion for writing. Living in Orlando, he has been around the theme parks for over a decade. In his free time he enjoys running, playing video games, and traveling the world. He also loves hanging out with his dog, Mr. Pippers the Pug.

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