Entertainment

The best theme parks in the world are in your backyard, travel rankings say

Orlando theme and amusement parks top the international charts in TripAdvisor’s 2019 Travelers’ Choice rankings.
Orlando theme and amusement parks top the international charts in TripAdvisor’s 2019 Travelers’ Choice rankings. Miami Herald File

It’s the beginning of the end of summer. School is around the corner.

So now’s the time to get in a last-minute vacation with the family.

If you’re stuck on where to go, TripAdvisor’s 2019 Travelers’ Choice rankings may make it easier. The rankings are made based on reviews on TripAdvisor.

Central Florida is at the top when it comes to the top 25 amusement parks in the world.

The No, 1 pick is no surprise because the winner has stayed in that spot since 2015: Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure.

Islands features iconic rides like The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Jurassic Park River Adventure. It is also the original home of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

This ranking may seem a bit confusing compared to how rides and rider moods have been going at Islands.

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in Islands has been plagued with frequent problems and wait times since opening earlier this year.

On the first day, the ride had 8-10 hour wait times and its closing schedule needed to be extended to accommodate all the riders. A month later, the park announced that the ride would open later and close earlier for needed repairs and maintenance.

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Island’s next-door neighbor, Universal Studios, also made the list at No. 3.

As expected, the “Happiest Place on Earth” also sweeped up some top spots on the international stage. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom came in second, Animal Kingdom was fourth and Hollywood Studios was 15.

Disney World will be seeing the addition of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios on Aug. 29. The Star Wars themed land has already opened in California.

SeaWorld also found its way on the list at No. 10. For those thinking about going to the aquatic theme park, here’s a fun fact: You can go see Kora, the newborn Pacific walrus.

SeaWorld Orlando’s animal care and veterinary teams announced Friday the birth of a 150-pound, female Pacific walrus calf on July 3. Her mother is 16-year-old Kaboodle and her dad is Garfield.

Although not as big as its amusement park counterparts, FunSpot America in Kissimmee also made it on the international list at No. 22.

The city of Orlando was also number five on TripAdvisor’s top 5 destinations in the United States. Miami Beach was 11.

With all these prime destinations at your fingertips, the only thing that should be stopping you how is much vacation time you have — and how much money.

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Miami Herald Real Time Reporter Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, Florida theme parks and general assignment. He attends the University of Florida and grew up in Miami. Theme parks are on his mind in and out of the office.
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