There’s always something exciting launching in Orlando, “the family fun capital of the world!” This year promises more fantastic new attractions, thrilling theme park additions and amazing amusements than ever, from Universal Orlando® to the new Downtown Disney Springs and SeaWorld® Orlando, too! Discover vacation ownership with your very own summer family getaway!
MakoTM, SeaWorld® Orlando’s tallest, fastest, and longest coaster is the park’s fifth thrill ride, Set on a two-acre, shark-themed plaza, MakoTM is designed for speed and “relentless air time.” The hypercoaster gets its name from the ocean’s fastest known sharks. Accelerating up to 73mph and climbing 200-feet-high, this new coaster screams along 4,760 feet of track where it surges through the water, chasing prey through a massive reef. MakoTM is set to debut summer 2016!
Disney SpringsTM is Walt Disney World’s ambitious re-imagineering of Downtown Disney. Now doubled in size, there are 150 shops and restaurants located in three areas called “neighborhoods”. Remember Downtown Disney? It’s now called the West Side. Visit favorites like the Cirque du Soleil®, House of Blues, or take a balloon ride at the new Characters in Flight. At Marketplace, you’ll find free live entertainment and shops like The LEGO® Store. Last, but certainly not least is The Landing, a rebirth of Pleasure Island that features several new restaurants with gorgeous waterfront views. Wondering why they call it “Disney SpringsTM”? The Town Center is oriented around a series of bubbling natural springs that first attracted settlers to the area!
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios® All Things Star Wars come into full swing this year, awakening the force in every fan’s Orlando vacation. Celebrating the entire epic saga, you’ll interact with your favorite light and dark side characters, get trained in the Jedi arts under the guidance of a Jedi Master, or take a Star Tour of Kashyyyk, and Nahoo. At Star Wars Launch Bay, shop for exclusive artwork, models, costumes and collectibles including life-sized statues of Darth Vader! The park’s Star Wars attractions are a just a preview of the upcoming excitement of Star Wars Land set to open at the end of the decade.
Skull Island: Reign of KongTM Universal Studios Florida® honors the larger-than-life cinematic icon of King Kong. Board your expedition vehicle to journey into mysterious jungles and ride through ancient temples. This multi-sensory “dark ride” combines massive 3-d screens, colossal animatronic figures, and larger-than-life physical sets. Fend off hostile natives and come face to face with Kong in the massive lair of the gargantuan beast–all from the safety of your all-terrain safari vehicle.
Frozen Ever After at EPCOT® opens in the early part of the year. Ana, Elsa, and Arandelle treat you to their beloved Winter Festival, where Olaf and other favorite characters celebrate the animated feature in a whole new way. And the moment visitors are sure to be waiting for won’t disappoint when the lovely Elsa sings “Let It Go” from the balcony of her shimmering blue ice castle. Cutting-edge technology will transport you to a world of sparkling blue lights and frozen magic that kids just can’t seem to get enough of!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom® is expected to see the most changes this year. Two nighttime shows are ready to debut! Rivers of Light features Bollywood music, World of Color style fountain technology, and a storyline that promises to tug at your heart. And the iconic Tree of Life will come alive with a projection mapping show to tie-in with the River of Light. The park is also adding a unique Kilimanjaro Sunset Safari that includes spectacular lighting that simulates the colors of the setting sun.
The City of Orlando: What’s New Outside of the Parks
Downtown Orlando is getting in on the fun. This year will see the opening of the Orlando City Stadium, a multipurpose soccer stadium to be completed by the summer. Home to the Orlando City Lions soccer team, fans will rally at the stadium to be located in a developing entertainment center just a block from the Amway Center, which will seat up to 28,000 fans.
International Drive has also seen transformations and is set to come of age this year. Mango’s Tropical Café® is a new addition that serves Latin-themed dishes, while guests enjoy exciting Vegas-style dinner shows. Even more additions are planned for the famous tourist strip, including two indoor skydiving centers and a zombie laser tag venue. Additional attractions are in the works, transforming International Drive into an exciting new entertainment mecca.
Just when you think the thrills can’t get any better, Orlando surprises you with more amazing things to add to your vacation must-see-and-do list!
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