Tourist Traps To Avoid When Visiting Orlando, According To Reviews

Many travelers have been lucky enough to visit Orlando, Florida, whether to meet beloved characters at Walt Disney World Resort or visit the home of our favorite blockbuster movies at Universal Studios Resort. But let's be honest here — none of us were heading to Orlando for the culture. That's because this city is known as the theme park capital of the world— as well as the tourist trap capital of the world. It all began when Walt Disney announced he was bringing his famous theme park here in 1965, and many other theme parks followed. In 2023, Orlando attracted over 74 million visitors — more than the number of people who went to all of Italy that year.

To no one's surprise, the tourist traps have followed the tourists. These days, the city is full of attractions ready to take your time, money, and sanity. However, these Orlando tourist traps take the cake. The spots chosen have garnered the most reviews declaring them tourist traps, and they tend to be the most crowded and overpriced. Good luck trying to avoid them — you're going to need it. You'll also need luck traversing it, as Orlando is the least-walkable tourist destination in America. But hey, at least the rides are fun, right?

Discovery Cove

Florida is a paradise of marine life, full of stunning islands, beautiful bays, and amazing creatures that call these blue waters home. So, if you travel all the way to the Sunshine State, why would you want to spend even a minute of it at a fake water retreat? That's the point one reviewer made on Fodor's about Discovery Cove, and it's a good one. "I know I wouldn't like snorkeling in a manmade, imitation lagoon when I could snorkel in the real thing 260 miles south of Orlando in the Florida Keys," she said. That's exactly what countless tourists do every year, coughing up hundreds of dollars to play at a pretend marine park. Maybe this contraption would make sense in Kentucky or another landlocked state, but not Florida.

At Discovery Cove, visitors pay the (astronomical) entrance fee before being admitted to various attractions, like a pool where they can swim with dolphins, a fake reef where they can snorkel alongside tropical fish, and an aviary where they can feed birds. They can also float down a faux river or take a breather from the hordes of screaming children at Serenity Bay. "They enlarged the park making it look a lot less like a tropical island and more like a tourist trap," said one Tripadvisor user. "We got kicked in the ribs and stomach while snorkeling because it was so OVER crowded."

Volcano Bay

With humid, sticky weather and an average high temperature of 91 degrees Fahrenheit in July, everyone is always looking to cool off in Orlando. The best place to do it? Definitely not Volcano Bay, a Universal Orlando Resort water park with a poor three-and-a-half stars on Tripadvisor. "You can only be in one line at a time and can do no other rides while you are waiting. How long were the wait times? Over 300 minutes! We got to ride one slide in the entire day for $600," said one user. Unfortunately, that sentiment is shared by many past visitors, as the price per person to visit Volcano Bay starts at $80, but the ride wait times can be long.

All of the rides at Volcano Bay are centered around a 200-foot-tall bogus volcano called Krakatau, which is allegedly haunted by a spirit named Vol. Some of the more adventurous rides that keep visitors waiting for hours include the Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides, which are two twin body slides that send riders down via trap door at the same time, and the Honu of the Honu ika Moana, a raft ride that can send up to a family of five through a colossal flume. However, with the long wait times, you're much more likely to spend your expensive day hanging out on lazy rivers such as the sluggish Kopiko Wai Winding River.


Florida is chock-full of tourist traps, but according to Business Insider, there's one that's the absolute worst — Epcot. "Unless you're a college student looking to "drink around the world" (for hundreds of dollars nonetheless), this theme park offers nothing," the publication said of the Disney park. Granted, just a ticket to Epcot costs anywhere from $89 to $109 for the day, which doesn't include the wads of bills you'll have to shell out for a meal, let alone a few drinks around the world.

Epcot includes 11 countries for visitors to check out, which sounds impressive, but Tripadvisor reviews suggest that most of the park is just shops and restaurants with a lack of fun rides. The park also hasn't been updated like some of the other Disney parks have, making it feel like "the neglected back yard of all other Disney parks," according to one review. It's a sad chapter in Epcot's story, as the park, which dates back to 1982, was Walt Disney's attempt to assist cities all over the world. He dubbed his efforts — which cost $1 billion, equating to more than $3 billion today — an "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow." Some of the best rides visitors can at least try to look forward to are Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, a family-friendly attraction home to one of the biggest indoor coasters on the planet.


We can all agree that any attraction with a "land" at the end of its name is bound to be cheesy. That's particularly true about Gatorland, which, for some reason, celebrates the dangerous animal that has bitten over 450 people in Florida since 1948. Here, you'll pay $25 to $35 per person to see crocodiles and alligators ranging from babies to 14-footers, which is a strange choice considering you can often spot one in a Florida body of water for free. Still, sounds cheap for Orlando, right? Unfortunately, you'll pay much more to do any of the activities at Gatorland. "Most activities (other than the shows and looking at the animals) will cost you extra. I felt like I was in a huge tourist trap," said one Tripadvisor user.

Some of those activities you can tack onto your bill include the Screamin' Gator Zip Line, which takes visitors 1,200 feet over 130 alligators, in case you wanted another reason to worry about the zip line breaking. It also costs $70 per person. There's also the $12 Adventure Hour, which takes visitors as close to the alligators as they can get during feeding time before allowing them to pose for an Instagram-worthy photo and sounds like a steal. However, one Tripadvisor user said it was more like Adventure 10 Minutes. "Terrible place intentionally misleading, adventure hour is only 10 minutes of that," they said. Unsurprisingly, Gatorland is considered one of the most bizarre tourist attractions in America

International Drive

It's a tough crown to land, but lined with every chain restaurant and tacky attraction you can imagine, International Drive is truly the king of Orlando tourist traps. The strip is packed with people all the time, and you can bet that no matter where you go, you'll pay more than you would if you were anywhere else. "Garish, tacky, in your face, and lacking any sort of originality, international drive exists for the sole purpose of cutting a hole in your wallet and watching it drain," said one Tripadvisor user. "Orlando is a beautiful city, with many things to offer, and tourists should do well to avoid this tacky strip of tourist baiting concrete."

Otherwise known as I-Drive, the strip houses everything from the restaurant mecca of tourist traps (Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville) to a cringey pirate show paired with dinner and a glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course. One plus is that all three, as well as other I-Drive attractions, make for indoor ways to escape the Orlando heat. If you're finding that the traffic cruising through I-Drive is just too much to bear, you can also hop on the trolley, which costs just $2 per ride — perhaps the best value for money on the entire street.

Madame Tussauds

Do we even have to explain this one? Whether it was in Orlando or Times Square, we've all been to a Madame Tussauds, an attraction full of sometimes comically inaccurate wax figures of celebrities that costs a minimum of $30 to enter. For that price, visitors can spend an afternoon taking lame photos next to their favorite "celebrities." It's no surprise that the Orlando branch is located on International Drive, right by its tourist trap siblings Ripley's Believe It Or Not! and Pirates Cove Adventure Golf.

Plus, $30 per person might not be all you'll pay at Madame Tussauds. "They try to make you do photo shoots at various points so that you'll buy photos from them at the end," said one Tripadvisor user. "My 4-year-old was crying to leave before we even made it halfway through." You'll likely need about an hour to see all of the celebs taking up residence here, such as Bad Bunny, The Rock, Ariana Grande, Chris Pratt, and Lady Gaga. But despite its now-laughable reputation, Madame Tussauds actually had a storied beginning. The wax museum was created by Madame Tussaud, born Marie Grosholtz, who made death masks for a living and owned a wax exhibition since 1794. The family company began opening locations all over the world in the 1970s before the Orlando location opened in 2015.

Hash House A Go Go

Have you ever felt the need to twist any piece of food that wasn't a forkful of spaghetti? Apparently, the founders of Hash House A Go Go did, since that's the entire premise of this chain restaurant with locations all over the country — and all in spots prime for tourist traps, like Las Vegas, Orlando, and Atlantic City. Here, diners can order Midwestern and American comfort fare twisted (often with a knife stuck through the center) for no other reason other than it looks cool in an Instagram post. To add to the Instagram appeal, many dishes are also embellished with unnecessary colors. Unfortunately, the food leaves a lot to be desired, according to some reviews, although your friends might think it is fantastic judging by your social media posts. "This was a first class tourist trap," said one Tripadvisor user. "My impression of this place is a Cheesecake Factory with foods that are rather randomly put together."

Unlike many other tourist traps, there is value here if you're looking for quantity over quality. Many reviewers say that the portions are out of control, but don't eat the whole thing unless you're looking for a meal with more calories than you're supposed to consume in an entire day. Just one plate of the meatloaf is 1,850 calories. Then again, it's not like anyone visits Orlando because they're interested in a healthy week away.


In the entertainment mecca of Orlando, spending an afternoon at WonderWorks might seem like a fabulous idea. The indoor, 28,000-square-foot amusement park was designed to help kids learn while having fun through more than 100 exhibits. Unfortunately, after shelling out $37 per person over 13 and $28 for kids under 13, parents learn that they've actually stepped foot into a tourist trap housed in an upside-down building aptly situated on International Drive. According to many Tripadvisor reviews, many exhibits are often out of order, while the rest are occupied by other kids, making for a quick yet expensive excursion. "Basically $65 flushed down the drain plus $6 for parking," said one review. "It was overcrowded and many of the activities were not working. We went through the whole thing in 45 minutes to an hour."

Plus, you might leave WonderWorks with more than a disappointing afternoon. According to many reviews, the place is dirty — some people have even reported getting sick after a visit there. "Beside the overly expensive cost of admission, the entire establishment looks like it has never been cleaned. My husband was the first to point out the INCHES OF DUST AND DANDER THAT COVERED THE CEILING!!!!" said one visitor. If you do go, here's what you need to know before visiting this weirdly popular tourist trap

Ripley's Believe It or Not!

Ripley's Believe It Or Not! is another attraction on this list that needs no introduction — we've all been to one of these establishments in one city or another. The Ripley's in Orlando is no different, as it also houses weird artifacts that one could only expect to find in Florida, including a shrunken torso owned by Ernest Hemingway (who lived in Key West) and a footprint found in the Sunshine State that may or may not belong to a Sasquatch. And just like other Ripley's Believe It Or Not! "museums," this one is a tourist trap. It costs $28 per person over 12 and $20 per person under that age, which adds up quickly if you're bringing the family and expecting a long afternoon full of fun.

"I would rather have lit the money on fire," said one Tripadvisor review. "What an absolute disgrace. Tiny building, half the exhibits were broken and we did it in less than one hour." Plus, if you want to extend your experience at Ripley's, you'll need to pay plenty more out of your wallet, as an admission ticket plus the mirror maze with LED lights and mirrors costs $40 per adult and $28 per child. Instead, skip this Florida tourist trap and visit these visitor-approved spots — you won't regret it. 


As if Orlando needed another amusement park, the city is also home to ICON Park, which has boardwalk-esque rides such as the seemingly endlessly-touted Orlando Eye. From this 400-foot-tall Ferris wheel, you can see all of Orlando, just in case you're in the mood to spot more crowds and fluorescent lights from a different viewpoint — and with a $30 per person price tag. From up high, you'll also have the displeasure of learning that, much like International Drive, ICON Park is home to plenty of Orlando's worst tourist traps, such as Madame Tussauds. On the plus side, ICON Park doesn't have open container rules, so you can assuage your cringe with a cocktail while navigating the crowds. Plus, it's home to Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips, which is one of the best Gordon Ramsay restaurants around the world.

"This is nothing more than another overpriced tourist trap," said one Tripadvisor comment. "Worse than all of the others in Orlando because you pay for everything separately at exorbitant prices." So, no, you're getting out of this one with your credit card intact. Many attractions here cost around $30 per person, like a ride that catapults you into the air for $35 per person, while admission to the SEA LIFE Aquarium costs $30 per person. We're betting a meal at onsite chain restaurants like Carrabba's Italian Grill and Outback Steakhouse aren't cheap, either.

Señor Frog's

Señor Frog's has proudly dubbed itself the best restaurant in Orlando — a mighty claim considering that this restaurant is known for its sugary cocktails served in neon-colored, yard-high containers. We're guessing you won't find Andrew Zimmern here. The Mexican restaurant serves typical fare like nachos and tacos, but no Michelin star is on the way. Many Tripadvisor users had less-than-complimentary things to say about Señor Frog's food, describing it as "average at best," "edible," and "very bland." One review, titled "No Bueno Touristo Trapo," talked of "Overpriced food and drinks, with disinterested staff and overdone decor, it is a pretty good example of a tourist trap."

It's not surprising that a chain restaurant like this has made an appearance at every tropical locale that attracts willing, sunburned tourists, like Cancún and Nassau. It's been that way since Señor Frog's opened its first location in Mexico in 1969 before spending the next two decades expanding throughout the country and the Caribbean. Its website even acknowledges that some of its branches were here "for a good time, not a long time." No one seems to be super sad about that fact. Royal Caribbean said that the chain has "mastered the art of the tourist trap," and Cruise.Blog called it one of the tourist traps to avoid on a cruise.


It's a tough job to decipher the biggest tourist traps in a city known worldwide for the things, but someone had to do it. To get the job done, we read through countless Tripadvisor reviews to see which Orlando attractions were straight-up called tourist traps and left visitors missing the many overpriced dollars they spent, and even left them wondering how they spent so much when sticker prices claimed otherwise. We also evaluated which attractions had the most colossal crowds, resulting in even more visitor annoyance, as well as the biggest promises that were quickly turned into let-downs through gimmicky, kitschy elements. You'll be even more upset with your trip to Orlando if you visit during spring break, as it's in the absolute worst state in the U.S. to fly into during spring break