Enjoy 11 Theme Park Experiences That Are Uniquely Orlando
To celebrate the unparalleled collection of unique experiences that can be found in the Theme Park Capital of the World, we've compiled a list of the 11 most unusual — and sometimes unknown — activities for visitors at Orlando's most popular theme parks. Try these one-of-a-kind experiences in person the next time you're in town!
Uniquely Orlando Experiences at Walt Disney World Resort
1. Get a Haircut at Disney: Visit Magic Kingdom's Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street U.S.A. for a once-in-a-lifetime trim, or even a whole new look. Welcoming all ages, the shop also has a special "First Haircut" experience for little ones, complete with commemorative Mickey Ears and a certificate.
2. Become Your Own Avatar: In Pandora — The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom, head to ACE Avatar Maker to get the ultimate Avatar souvenir. You can have your face mapped and printed onto a Na'vi action figure, complete with blue skin and traditional garb like the aliens in the blockbuster film.
3. Dine With Princesses at Epcot: Join Disney princesses for Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway pavilion of Epcot's World Showcase. While many visitors flock to Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle for princess dining, this lesser-known option includes a meal with several of the most-loved princesses in another, equally beautiful medieval castle.
4. Play I-Spy With Mickey: Embark on a scavenger hunt for Hidden Mickeys, a famous "secret" of the Disney parks. Everything from rides to décor and even walking paths at Disney properties feature subtle Mickey shapes, some easier to spot than others. While books have been published to help guests find them all, half the fun is in the discovery.
Uniquely Orlando Experiences at Universal Orlando Resort
5. Grab a Cold One With the Simpsons: Grab a glass of Homer Simpson's favorite beverage with three varieties of Duff Beer available only at Universal Studios Florida. They include Duff (a lager), Duff Lite (a light beer) and Duff Dry (a stout).
6. Perform "Real" Magic: Spell it out with the wave of a wand at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. Objects suddenly move, water spouts and secrets reveal themselves throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade when you use one of the interactive wands available from Ollivander's Wand Shop.
7. Send a Letter From Hogsmeade: Send a real letter from Hogsmeade's Owl Post at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Special postage, a Hogsmeade postmark and even unique, wizardly stationery makes for a one-of-a-kind love letter, pen-pal dispatch or postcard.
8. Snap a Dinosaur Selfie: Perfect for a daring photo-op, a nearly 9-feet-tall velociraptor awaits at Raptor Encounter at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Although these creatures, which have a reputation as the most clever dinosaur in Jurassic Park, are quite excited to meet outsiders, they can't escape their electrified paddock ... probably.
Uniquely Orlando Experiences at SeaWorld Orlando
9. Pet and Feed Stingrays: Guests of all ages — even tiny tots — can experience one of SeaWorld's most unusual animal encounters at Stingray Lagoon. Dip your hands directly into the pool, feel the velvety texture of the rays and delight as the gentle creatures suck fish from your hands at lightning-fast speed. (Don't worry — the stingrays' barbs are trimmed, just like human fingernails.)
10. Meet Pets That Went From Shelters to Stars: In addition to rescuing aquatic animals, SeaWorld provides a second chance for cute critters rescued from animal shelters, including dogs, cats and even ducks. These adopted animals now steal the stage — and hearts — in Pets Ahoy, a funny, fast-paced, animal-training show that supports local animal shelters. You can also meet the animal ambassadors and their trainers after the show.
11. Make Friends With Rescued Manatees: Visit SeaWorld Orlando's Manatee Rehabilitation Area to learn more about the plight of these vulnerable animals, which have been rescued from illness or injury in the wild. You can get a close look at some of the world's most gentle creatures, including calves, "teens" and adult manatees, all of which are undergoing treatment with the goal of successfully returning them to the wild.
Cover image © Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. JAMES CAMERON'S AVATAR is a trademark of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
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