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Universal Studio Orlando
Epcot Center (Disney Theme Park)

Since 1982, visitors to Disney's 'Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow' have been exposed to Mickey's vision of world culture and technological progress through two exhibits: Future World and World Showcase. Future World features a number of interactive exhibits pertaining to communication, science and the imagination. Mission: Space, Epcot's latest attraction, takes guests on an unbelievably realistic journey to the red planet, while Test Track edifies visitors on automobile safety before culminating in a 65mph, whirl around around the oval track. The 11 pavilions in the World Showcase -- France, Italy, England, Germany, Norway, Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Morocco and the U.S. -- aren't exactly representative of the world's continents and cultures (South America, the Middle East, Australia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian Subcontinent are all noticeably absent), but the exhibits do offer a mix of edutainment, humour and kitsch. The "American Adventure," predictably, is the centerpiece combining patriotism with a healthy dose of commercialism. Be sure to stick around for the spectacular fireworks and laser extravaganza of Illuminations.

Magic Kingdom (Disney Theme Park)

Seven lands of fantasy and wonder await you at Disney's most famous theme park. Journey through jungles and swamps in Adventureland; encounter aliens in Tomorrowland; explore history along Main Street U.S.A.; relive Disney moments in Fantasyland; enjoy Southern hospitality in Liberty Square; go west in Frontierland; and visit Mickey and the rest of the gang at Mickey's Toontown Fair. In addition to classic rides such as Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean, you'll find plenty of other attractions, such as Cinderella's Castle and story time with Ariel. Use the park's Fastpass system to skip long lines at the most popular rides.

MGM Studios (Disney Theme Park)

A trip to Disney-MGM Studios will show you everything that goes into making a movie: writing the screenplay, casting the actors, filming the action, producing the final edit and even promoting the film after its release. Watch for opportunities to star as an extra in movies being filmed in the park. Movie-themed attractions include the stage set of 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,' the Star Wars ride and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. For classic roller coaster action, try the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Kids will like the 3-D Muppet movie and the Broadway-style 'Beauty and the Beast' live show.

Animal Kingdom (Disney Theme Park)

Giving hope that reality can be as thrilling as fantasy in the land of the Mouse, Animal Kingdom became Disney's first live animal attraction when it opened in 1998. With the usual blend of entertainment and education, the park aims to teach visitors about animals and their habitats, while providing enough thrill rides and virtual reality aspects to keep things cutting edge. The highlight for folks who come for the critters is the safari ride, which takes guests on a jeep journey through the African savanna, where giraffes, lions and wildebeests appear to be roaming free. The fabricated scenery, including baobab trees and termite mounds, is impressive. But the park is still Disney, so it's not all reality. Animated characters get prime time in 'The Lion King' and 'Pocohantas' shows. There's a roller coaster in the Jurassic Park section, and you can go on a roaring rapids ride, too.

Universal Studio (Universal Theme Park)

In addition to being a hugely popular theme park, Universal Studios Florida is also the largest motion picture and television production studio outside Hollywood. Visitors can observe the taping of movies and television shows, and some are even lucky enough to secure a spot as an extra. At Nickelodeon Studios, children can participate in a number of game shows, and Animal Planet hosts live shows daily. You'll find thrill rides -- many using 3-D technology -- based on movies such as 'Men in Black, ' 'Terminator, ' 'Twister, ' 'Back to the Future' and 'E.T. ' Fans of Barney the Dinosaur and Curious George can meet both characters in their own special areas of the park.