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The Best Theme Parks for Toddlers in and Around Orlando

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If you’re heading to Orlando with little ones, then you’re probably wondering about the best theme parks in and around the area. Of course, you have the very well-known Walt Disney World and Universal Studios parks (which I will touch on briefly), but there are also a few lesser-known attractions that your little ones will love just as much. 

This article is going to uncover the best theme parks for toddlers in the Florida area, including all their top rides, attractions, and restaurants. So, if you want to avoid Disney and Universal altogether, or if you just want an additional theme park to fill in one or more of your free days, you’ll want to keep on reading as included today is the ultimate lowdown of Florida’s most toddler-friendly theme parks. 

Cinderella at Magic Kingdom

Best Theme Parks for Toddlers in and Around Orlando: Walt Disney World and Universal Studios

Quite possibly, the most well-known theme parks in Orlando, and the entire world for the matter, are the Walt Disney World parks and the Universal Studios parks. I don’t want to go into too much detail on Disney or Universal in this article, as I’ve already put together in-depth reviews of the best rides, restaurants, and attractions in all of the parks. 

So, if you plan on visiting Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, then you can also check out those articles down below. 

Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom has so much for toddlers with rides, attractions, character meets galore. In terms of rides, it has the most in any Disney Park. Strollers are easy to rent, and a Baby Care Center is available for all those last minute items or as a respite to change and feed little one.

Animal Kingdom 

Hollywood Studios

Epcot

Toddler rides at Universal
Water ride for kids at Universal Studios

Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure

Universal is closing many of the toddler attraction at Universal including Fievel’s Playground and Curious George water play area so from January 2023 there will not be a great deal for younger ones. It has not been announced what will take it’s place but we hear family friendly so hopefully toddler friendly too!

Peppa Pig Theme Park Sign
Peppa Pig World

Best Theme Parks for Toddlers in and Around Orlando: Peppa Pig World

If you have Peppa Pig fans in the family, then you’ll be happy to know that a new Peppa Pig-inspired theme park opened up in Florida in February of 2022. This park is solely dedicated to Peppa and all of her friends, and with numerous rides and other activities, your little ones are guaranteed to have an absolute blast. 

Location and How to Get There

Peppa Pig World Florida is located right next to Legoland Florida, so if you’re in the area, I highly recommend checking out both. With that being said, although the two parks are extremely close, Peppa Pig World is its own stand-alone park, and you’ll need a separate ticket to enter. 

Address:

Legoland Way, 

Winter Haven, 

FL 33884, 

USA

Directions:

  1. If you’re setting off from the Disney area of Orlando, you’ll want to get on I-4 W from W Osceola Pkwy.
  2. Take exit 48 from the I-4 W
  3. Follow Co Rd 557 to Shinn Blvd in Lake Alfred
  4. Take Hwy 17 S to FL-540 E/Cypress Gardens Blvd in Winter Haven
  5. Continue on FL-540 E/Cypress Gardens Blvd. Drive to Legoland Way in Cypress Gardens

Things to Do

As Peppa Pig World is designed for young children, all of the rides and attractions will be suitable for your little one to explore. The rides and attractions include:

  • Daddy Pigs Roller Coaster
  • Grandad Dog’s Pirate Boat Ride
  • Grampy Rabbit’s Dinosaur Adventure
  • Peppa Pig’s Balloon Ride
  • Mr. Bull’s High Striker
  • Free Fun Fair
  • George’s Fort
  • An Indoor Cinema
  • Muddy Puddles Splash Pad
  • Peppa’s Pedal Bike Tour
  • Grandpa Pig’s Greenhouse Playground
  • Peppa Pig’s Outdoor Treehouse Playground
  • Rebecca Rabbit’s Outdoor Playground
  • Pirate Island Sand Play
  • George’s Tricycle Trail
  • Mr. Potato’s Showtime Area

For more information on all of these rides, check out Peppa Pig Theme Park Florida Review and Tips

Restaurants for Toddlers

There is only one restaurant (for now) in Peppa Pig World, Florida, and that is Miss Rabbit’s Diner. The park is slowly opening up pop-up stores for snacks and drinks, with one already open at the time of this writing.

The kid’s menu at the diner consists of PB and J sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and a chicken salad. Alternatively, you can take your own picnic to Peppa Pig World and enjoy it under a shaded area in the park. 

Other Important Information

Strollers

If you weren’t able to bring your own stroller to Florida, you can rent a stroller at the Peppa Pig World park. Plastic single strollers are $18, and double strollers are $28. The park is small and manageable for toddlers, however, so you may find that you don’t even need one.

Restrooms

The restrooms in Peppa Pig World all have baby change areas, and there are even teeny-tiny toilets for the little ones to independently do their business. 

Bring Swimwear and a Towel

Something that always gets forgotten is your kid’s swimwear, and boy, you’ll be reminded of it when they set their eyes on the splash pad. You can’t hire towels at Peppa Pig World, so be sure to pack your own, as well as sunscreen and a sunhat. 

Legoland Safari Orlando Florida
Legoland Safari ride

Best Theme Parks for Toddlers in and Around Orlando: Legoland Florida

As I mentioned previously, Legoland Florida is situated right next to Peppa Pig World, and the park is every Lego lover’s dream. Florida’s Legoland is the largest Legoland in the world, and with over 150 acres to explore, your kids won’t want to leave.

Location and How to Get There

Address:

Legoland Way, 

Winter Haven, 

FL 33884, 

USA

Directions:

  1. If you’re setting off from the Disney area of Orlando, you’ll want to get on I-4 W from W Osceola Pkwy.
  2. Take exit 48 from the I-4 W
  3. Follow Co Rd 557 to Shinn Blvd in Lake Alfred
  4. Take Hwy 17 S to FL-540 E/Cypress Gardens Blvd in Winter Haven
  5. Continue on FL-540 E/Cypress Gardens Blvd. Drive to Legoland Way in Cypress Gardens

Things to Do

Many Legoland attractions are aimed at slightly older children, but one of the 14 fun-themed areas, Duplo Valley, is specifically designed for the littlest members of the family. The rides and attractions in Duplo Valley include:

  • Prepaid Schoolhouse
  • Splash and Play
  • Tot Spot
  • Tractor
  • Train

There are also some other rides in different areas suitable for toddlers, which are:

  • The Grand Carousel in Fun Town
  • Lost Kingdom Adventure in Land of Adventure
  • Pharoah’s Revenge in Land of Adventure
  • Safari Trek in Land of Adventure
  • Boating School in Lego City
  • Rescue Academy in Lego City
  • Tot Spot in Lego City
  • The Forestman’s Hideout in Lego Kingdoms
  • Merlin’s Challenge in Lego Kingdoms
  • Technic Tot Spot in Lego Technic
  • Battle of Bricksburg in The Lego Movie World
  • Brickbeard’s Watersport Show
  • 4D Theatre Show

Restaurants for Toddlers

There are a few different kiosks dotted around Legoland that serve up a variety of snacks, however, there is only one sit-down restaurant in the entire park which is the Fun Town Pizza and Pasta Buffet. 

Similar to Peppa Pig World, you can also take a picnic with you for a budget-friendly option.

legoland water park
Legoland Waterpark

Other Important Information

Legoland Water Park

Legoland also has a separate waterpark that you can add on to your day at Legoland. You cannot purchase a waterpark ticket on its own, but it makes a great cool-down option after a long day in the Florida sun. 

Strollers

Strollers at Legoland work in the same way as they do at Peppa Pig World, with single strollers being $18 and double strollers being $28.

Hotels Near Legoland

Legoland has its own resort that consists of three themed hotels. All three, The Legoland Beach Retreat Villas, The Legoland Pirate Island Hotel, and The Legoland Florida Resort, are all extremely kid-friendly and a great option if you want to stay close to Legoland and Peppa Pig World

Download the Legoland App

The Legoland App is a fantastic little tool that shows you the wait time for rides, the show schedules, and an interactive map to help you get around the park. 

Bring Swimwear and a Towel

Legoland also has its own splash pad, so pack a swimsuit or spare change of clothes along with a towel.

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld is a mixture of a theme park and an aquarium making it an ideal option for families with both younger and older children. The little ones of the family can marvel at the incredible underwater marine life, while the teenagers can get their adrenaline pumping on the park’s six (soon to be seven) larger rides. 

Location and How to Get There

SeaWorld is only a 10-minute drive from Walt Disney World and a 15-minute drive from Universal Studios, making it incredibly easy to get to by car or by shuttle. 

Address:

7007 Sea World Dr, 

Orlando, 

FL 32821, 

United States

Directions:

  1. If you’re setting off from Disney, take I-4 E to Sea World Dr.
  2. Then use the left 2 lanes to turn left onto Sea World Dr.

Things to Do

You really get the best of both worlds at Sea World, with rides and attractions and animal enclosures and shows. SeaWorld opened a Sesame Street Land just for toddlers and younger children where your little ones can meet the Sesame Street characters, watch the Sesame Street Party Parade, and ride the Sesame Street Themed rides.

The rides in Sesame Street Land include:

  • Abby’s Flower Tower
  • Big Bird’s Twirl ‘N’ Whirl
  • Elmo’s Choo Choo Train
  • Sunny Day Carousel
  • Interactive Play Throughout the Land

Other attractions and animal shows in the park include:

  • Rubber Duckie Water Works Splash Pad
  • Dolphin Adventures Show
  • Orca Encounter Show
  • Sealion and Otter Spotlight Show
  • Numerous animal exhibits

Restaurants for Toddlers

You’ll be spoilt for choice with restaurants in SeaWorld as there are numerous all over the park that serve up a range of different foods. You can expect to find burgers, Mediterranean cuisine, hot dogs, BBQ favourites, and pretzels, amongst other things.

Other Important Information

Strollers

Single and double strollers are available for rental at the rental shop near guest services. You can also rent a stroller ahead of time to ensure you secure one on the day.

Bring Swimwear and a Towel

As with most parks in the Florida area, SeaWorld has a splash pad, so bring an extra set of clothes or a swimsuit. You may also get wet watching the animal shows, especially the orcas, so if you don’t want to walk around in wet clothes, bring an extra pair.

Plan Your Day Around the Shows

The animal shows are one of the main attractions at SeaWorld, so I highly suggest noting down the show times and planning your day around them. The shows do fill up fast, so it’s best to get there early for a good seat. 

Best Theme Parks for Toddlers in and Around Orlando: Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens is a subsidiary of SeaWorld, and similar to the popular aquarium theme park, Busch Garden has a ton of rides, animal exhibits, and shows that both big and little kids would love. 

Location and How to Get There

The Busch Gardens park is around an hour’s drive west of Disney, and if you’re staying in the Clearwater or Tampa area, it is a great alternative to the state’s most famous parks. 

Address:

10165 McKinley Dr, 

Tampa, 

FL 33612, 

United States

Directions:

  1. If you’re setting off from Disney, get on I-4 W from W Osceola Pkwy.
  2. Follow I-4 W to FL-582 W/E Fowler Ave in Hillsborough County. Take exit 265 from I-75 N.
  3. Continue on FL-582 W/E Fowler Ave to Busch Gardens.

Things to Do

Busch Gardens is mainly home to some extremely thrilling rollercoasters, but just like their sister park, SeaWorld, they have a Sesame Street-themed area for the babies of the family. The Sesame Street Safari of Fun includes:

  • Splash with Zoe-Patra and the Hippos of the Nile
  • Rosita’s Djembe Fly Away
  • Bert and Ernie’s Splash and Play Pad
  • Sesame Street Show – Let’s Play Together

The park also has the Turn It Up! show, the Cirque X-Scream, and more than 200 species of animals that you can see in different enclosures or from the Serengeti Express train.

Restaurants for Toddlers

There are six restaurants in the Busch Gardens park, all of which serve up typical theme park foods of burgers, pizza, chicken tenders, and ribs. There is even an on-site Chick-Fil-A with all your usual Chick-Fil-A favorites. 

Other Important Information

Strollers

You can rent strollers upon arriving at the park, or you can reserve a stroller before heading to Busch Gardens. A double stroller is $30 for the day.

Bring Swimwear

There is a splash pad in the Sesame Street-themed area for little ones, so I suggest taking a swimsuit to avoid meltdowns or soggy clothing.

Gatorland
Gatorland

Best Theme Parks for Toddlers in and Around Orlando: Gatorland

A fairly different take on a theme park that your little ones will love is Gatorland. Gatorland is, you guessed it, home to Florida’s prehistoric residents, the alligators. The park is mainly made up of animal exhibits, including wild cats, snakes, birds, and of course, alligators and crocodiles, but there are also shows that will peak the whole family’s attention. 

Location and How to Get There

Gatorland is only a 20-minute drive from the Walt Disney World parks, and if you’re looking for a morning or afternoon activity, then Gatorland is a great option as it only takes a couple of hours to make your way around the park.

Address:

14501 S Orange Blossom Trl, 

Orlando, 

FL 32837, 

USA

Directions:

  1. If you’re setting off from Disney, get on FL-417 Toll N from W Osceola Pkwy.
  2. Follow FL-417 Toll N to US-17/US-92/S Orange Blossom Trl/US-441 S in Hunters Creek. Take exit 11 from FL-417 Toll N
  3. Continue on US-17/US-92/US-441 S. Drive to S Orange Blossom Trl.

Things to Do

As I mentioned before, Gatorland has numerous animal exhibits, including rare giant white alligators, newly hatched baby gators, bobcats, servals, venomous snakes, and a range of beautiful bird species. 

But, the real reason people flock to Gatorland is for the thrilling gator shows where staff feed the gators by hand, get up close and personal with them in a ring, and tell the crowd interesting facts about these incredible but also terrifying animals. 

Gatorland also has a small petting zoo where your little ones can hand feed goats and other friendly animals. And if they’re brave enough, they can even throw a few frozen sausages to the gators down below.

Restaurants for Toddlers

Gatorland has a restaurant, Pearl’s Good Eats, that serves up family favourites of hot dogs, chicken tenders, hamburgers, and sandwiches. But, what their real delicacy is, are fried gator nuggets.

Other Important Information

Strollers

Stroller rental is available at Gatorland, with singles being $11 and doubles $16.

Don’t Bring Any Outside Food or Drinks

Gatorland doesn’t allow guests to bring in any outside food or drink as there are birds in the park that will happily swoop and steal your belongings. Try to be minimal when entering Gatorland to prevent your belongings from being stolen by pesky birds.

T Rex at Dinosaur World Florida
T-Rex at Dinosaur World

Best Theme Parks for Toddlers in and Around Orlando: Dinosaur World

A fun dinosaur-themed theme park with huge life-sized dinosaur statues is Dinosaur World which is a must-do for families with dino fans. The park isn’t the largest, but it’s a nice little attraction where you can learn about dinosaurs and play amongst the dino-themed playgrounds.

Location and How to Get There

Dinosaur World is all the way down in Tampa making it a 50-ish minute drive from the Walt Disney World Parks. The drive down there is very straightforward, however, and if you’re in the Tampa area, then you can kill a few hours strolling around gazing at the dinosaurs or pretending you’re in a Jurassic Park movie.

Address:

5145 Harvey Tew Rd, 

Plant City, 

FL 33565, 

USA

Directions:

  1. If you’re setting off from Disney, get on I-4 W from W Osceola Pkwy
  2. Follow I-4 W to Branch Forbes Rd in Hillsborough County. Take exit 17 from I-4 W
  3. Take Harvey Tew Rd to Dinosaur World

Things to Do

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that all attractions in Dinosaur World are dino themed, and most of them are suitable for kids of all ages. The attractions in Dinosaur World include:

  • 200 life-sized dinosaurs
  • Bone Yard
  • Dino Gem Excavation
  • Fossil Dig
  • Prehistoric Museum
  • Skeletal Playground

Restaurants for Toddlers

There aren’t any restaurants in Dinosaur World which is slightly annoying, however, it does mean that you don’t have to fork out on expensive theme park food. You can take a picnic in with you and enjoy it in the shaded grass areas throughout the park. 

Strollers

Strollers are available in dinosaur land at a reasonable price of $5 plus tax.

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