7 things to see and do in Orlando, FL

With Disney's four major theme parks, Universal's two, and marine adventure parks SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove Orlando, plus more than 90 other area attractions, fantasy is always on tap in Orlando. AAA Travel experts have compiled a list of 7 essential things to see and do on your next Orlando vacation:

Without question, Walt Disney World Resort is the king of family entertainment in central Florida. Four large theme parks beckon, but first-timers and annual repeaters alike know that there is only one place to begin a visit to Disney's magical world—through the gates of Magic Kingdom Park.

Universal Orlando Resort has two action-packed theme areas and Universal CityWalk, a vibrant, evening entertainment district. Universal Studios Florida, the ultimate movie- and television-based experience, features rides that are equal parts exciting, exhilarating, frightening and fun.

Become friends with a bottlenose dolphin and hang on to his fin for an unforgettable ride; swim in a lazy river replete with waterfalls, sandy beaches and an underwater cave; or snorkel in a cool lagoon filled with coral reefs and stingrays at Discovery Cove Orlando.

Gatorland, a slice of roadside Americana since 1949, features alligators galore, live flamingos, a petting zoo with barnyard critters and an aviary filled with friendly lorikeets. Don't leave without having your photo taken between the gigantic alligator jaws at the park's entrance.

Meet an astronaut, experience a simulated space shuttle launch, tour launch headquarters, watch space footage filmed by astronauts and relive Neil Armstrong's historic moon landing at Kennedy Space Center. This escape to reality is well worth a daytrip to the Space Coast.

Cool off at a water park—a must in summer, when the mercury routinely moves into the high 90s. Choose between Aquatica, Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park or Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.

Catch glimpses of Florida wildlife such as alligators, eagles, turtles and birds while your airboat scoots through wetlands and across the headwaters of the Everglades. Boggy Creek Airboat Rides offers this exhilarating “wild Florida” encounter.

As a travel resource, AAA TourBook Guides provide free travel information on attractions and points-of-interest. To access this resource, visit AZ.AAA.com/travel .

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