Orlando is constantly improving. In fact, the theme park capital added so many new attractions in 2017 that, even if you’ve visited recently, you probably haven’t seen them all — and you’re really in for a thrill if it’s been a year or more. From the theme parks to beyond, here’s your guide to brand-new ways to have fun in Orlando!
New at Walt Disney World:
Pandora — The World of Avatar: Featuring floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and flying Banshees (as shown in the lead photo), this imaginative land based on James Cameron’s hit film joined Disney’s Animal Kingdom last May. Its attractions include Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, while Satu’li Canteen and Pongu Pongu Lounge serve themed food and drinks. Plus, you can get your face mapped and printed onto a custom Na’vi action figure at ACE Avatar Maker.
Miss Adventure Falls: Head to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon for this family-style raft ride, which takes you to the top of the attraction before plunging you into a white-water adventure. It’s also one of the lengthiest attractions at a Disney water park.
Coming Soon: On Jun. 30, Toy Story Land will debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Based on the hit Disney-Pixar films, it will feature new dining options and attractions, including Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers.
New to Universal Orlando Resort:
Volcano Bay Water Park: If you’re looking for pulse-pounding adventure and tranquil relaxation, head to Orlando’s newest water park. It features the all-new TapuTapu wearable technology, which lets you wait in a virtual line for the park’s attractions.
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon: At Universal Studios Florida, join the host of NBC’s The Tonight Show for the ultimate ride through New York City’s deepest subway tunnels and tallest skyscrapers. Once you’re done, hit up The Tonight Shop for themed merchandise.
Coming Soon: Based on the blockbuster film series, the new Fast & Furious — Supercharged attraction is scheduled to open at Universal Studios this spring. And in the summer, the park will debut an all-new, nighttime lagoon show featuring popular characters from its attractions.
New to SeaWorld Orlando:
Kraken Unleashed: Formerly known as the Kraken, this ride received a virtual-reality (VR) upgrade last June. With an assist from VR headsets, you’ll embark on a deep-sea mission alongside real and imagined sea creatures from the past, including the titular monster.
Dolphin Nursery: SeaWorld enhanced one of its most popular attractions last year, adding bigger windows and more viewing levels. As a result, it’s easier than ever to spend heartwarming quality time with mother and baby dolphins.
Coming Soon: Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, will premiere the all-new Ray Rush attraction this spring, giving you three ways to slide, splash and soar. And in the summer, SeaWorld will unveil Infinity Falls, an exhilarating journey down a jungle river full of fountains, waterfalls and the remains of a lost civilization.
New to Legoland Florida:
Coming Soon: The park’s newest attraction, The Great Lego Race, opens on Mar. 23, inviting kids to blast their way through a world made of Legos. In addition to being the first virtual-reality (VR) roller coaster designed just for kids, the new ride also marks the first time the Lego brand and mini-figure characters have been integrated with VR technology in a theme park attraction.
Also in 2018, the new Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens MiniLand Display will feature several scenes re-created with thousands of Lego bricks, including memorable movie moments with Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren and BB-8, enhanced with lights, sound effects and animation.
Beyond the Theme Parks:
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games: Spearheaded by racing legend Mario Andretti, this indoor go-kart facility is in the International Drive entertainment, dining and shopping district, adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center. It also features bowling, racing simulators, indoor zip-lining, arcade games, laser tag and rock-climbing, as well as gourmet food and beverage options.
Gatorland‘s Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure: In December 2017, Gatorland unveiled this new, separate-ticketed ride, marking the completion of a $2.2 million expansion. After boarding a custom-made, 12-ft.-high, off-road vehicle, you’ll blast through a rugged and hilarious adventure filled with wacky characters and, of course, alligators.
iFly Indoor Skydiving: This attraction, which provides the excitement of skydiving without having to jump out of an airplane, moved into a new facility on International Drive last May. iFly’s vertical wind tunnel creates a wall-to-wall cushion of air on which guests as young as 3 can float safely.
Topgolf Orlando: Also in the International Drive area and adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center, this venue features an innovative game that blends traditional golf with scoring similar to darts or bowling. It boasts 102 climate-controlled hitting bays that can host up to six players each, advanced technology to track shots, 230 HDTVs, and a chef-driven food and drink menu.
No matter how little time passes between your visits, chances are you’re going to find something new when you visit Orlando, including restaurants, shopping, arts & culture, outdoor activities and other surprises.