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Florida Theme Park Guide to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Busch Gardens and more


By Michelle Stark, Anne Glover, Amber McDonald and Kelly Stefani, Times Staff Writers
Illustration by Steve Madden, Times Staff Artist
Developed by Alexis N. Sanchez

Are you a Florida theme park fanatic? Send your favorite memories, horror stories (we all have them) or park insider tips to our Things to Do editors at or post to the official Things to Do Facebook page.

  1. Universal Orlando follows Disney in breaking $100 ticket barrier


    As expected, once Disney broke the $100 barrier for ticket prices, Universal Orlando followed, on Thursday hiking a one-day, one-park ticket price to $102 from $96. A two-park ticket is now $147, an $11 increase.

    Cheering fans prepare to rush the entrance of Diagon Alley during the grand opening at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida in July. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)
  2. Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival opens Wednesday with 'Frozen' scene


    Wednesday is opening day for the springtime Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, running daily through May 17 with elaborate topiaries and gardening presentations by HGTV stars.

    The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Photo by Disney
  3. Disney ticket prices rise, others may follow; $139 Florida resident deal still on


    Sunday Walt Disney World broke the $100 barrier, announcing a $6 price hike that puts Magic Kingdom admission at $105, but other prices at the world's most popular tourist destination also spiked.

    Fireworks and confetti fly over Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, in 2012. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)
  4. Ticket prices announced for Orlando Eye observation wheel


    Merlin Entertainments announced Tuesday that the colossal Orlando Eye observation wheel on International Drive will open May 4. The neighboring Madame Tussauds wax museum and Sea Life Orlando Aquarium will also open the same day.

    Workers at The Orlando Eye installed the final passenger capsule on the 400-foot tall observation wheel Thursday, Feb. 5. (JIM DAMASKE   |   Times)
  5. Legoland offering Florida resident deal on ticket price


    Legoland is offering Florida residents an early Valentine present: almost $30 off admission to visit the Winter Haven theme park and its adjacent water park. One-day tickets are normally $87, or with the water park combo $102 for adults and $95 for kids. Now through Feb. 22, Florida residents can get a one-day Legoland …

    The family pool looks out to the historic Lake Eloise. [Legoland]
  6. Time-waster of the day: Watch Busch Gardens' meerkats online


    You didn't think you were going to get any work done today did you? Busch Gardens' adorable meerkats are now streaming online. Just go to — the online portal that was already wasting valuable work time with a live camera on SeaWorld's penguins …

    Times files (2007)
  7. With some assistance from Busch Gardens, Westside Elementary students mark Literacy Week


    SPRING HILL — The Westside Elementary School visitor walked onto the stage and looked around at the children sitting on the floor. The skinny-legged guest didn't do much else. The children were delighted anyway.

    Third-grader Kira Dibble reaches out, perhaps with a bit of trepidation, to touch an alligator held by Busch Gardens educator Beth Genrizi at a Literacy Week event at Westside Elementary School.
  8. Epcot seeds Flower & Garden Festival with new features


    Like a topiary in need of shaping up, Epcot is branching out with some new music and garden features for its springtime series, the International Flower & Garden Festival.

  9. Disney will live stream New Year's Eve fireworks from Magic Kingdom


    The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve is always the busiest of the year at Walt Disney World, so this year you can avoid the crowds and still see the Magic Kingdom fireworks show online. Disney announced Monday that it will live-stream the New Year's Eve fireworks from the Magic Kingdom on the Disney Parks Blog, …

    Disney fireworks light up the sky on Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom on July 3, 2008.  (Disney)
  10. Why the CEO of SeaWorld, parent of Tampa's Busch Gardens, stepped down


    Was it declining theme park attendance? Weaker profits and a plunging stock price? The nagging impact from the animal rights Blackfish film against keeping killer whales in captivity? Perhaps the long delay by Tampa's Busch Gardens to get this year's big new attraction — the Falcon's Fury ride — up …

    Orcas during January a show at the Shamu Up Close attraction at Sea World in Orlando. [Orlando Sentinel]