Orlando sizzles with new openings and deals
Orlando, Theme Park Capital of the World, is the world’s top summer destination according to AAA. And with new theme park expansions, hotels and unique dining adventures, 2019 is set to be one of Orlando’s biggest summers yet.
“Orlando is always innovating, with immersive new experiences and unbeatable hospitality that keeps visitors returning year after year,” said Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel. “It’s this memorable combination that keeps Orlando the most-visited destination in the country, with a record 75 million visitors in 2018.”
The new immersive adventures
• At Universal Orlando Resort, Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure coaster opens on June 13. This ride, described as Universal’s most highly-themed coaster to date, takes guests deep into the Forbidden Forest, to check out the various fantastic beasts that call the woods home.
• Walt Disney World Resort opens Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on Aug. 29. Set on the planet Batuu, the new land features two thrilling galactic rides, immersive shops, a restaurant and a character meet-and-greet spot.
• Aquatica Orlando’s new attraction KareKare Curl debuted April 12. This new slide is styled after a curve-shaped wave and welcomes two riders at a time, climbing the vertical wave wall for a high-adrenaline, weightless adventure.
• Walt Disney World Resort brings baller excitement to Disney Springs on August 12 with the opening of the NBA Experience, offering 13 hands-on games and activities for basketball fans in a one-of-a-kind attraction.
• Wild Florida is set to open an all-new 75-acre safari park, an expansion that will result in the park growing six-fold. Guests will have the option to drive their own vehicles or ride on a guided buggy tour. Over 100 animals native to Florida will be on this land, along with a zip-line that lets visitors fly over the park.
New for little kids
• Walt Disney World Resort’s new Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy is a live show now open in Hollywood Studios, featuring beloved characters from the Cars movie series like Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater.
• SeaWorld Orlando brought a beloved world to life with the opening of Sesame Street in March, just in time for the show’s 50th anniversary. Families can explore 6 acres of the iconic neighborhood, enjoying story time with Big Bird and SeaWorld’s first daily parade with Elmo and other characters.
• LEGOLAND Florida Resort debuted Lego Movie World, one of the largest additions ever made to the park, with three new attractions based on worlds within the film.
• Fun Spot America will add a 4,000-square-foot splash pad this summer, offering 30 interactive features from fountains to moving sprays for little ones to enjoy.
• Crayola Experience will add three new experiences to spark creativity in kids, including the opportunity to take larger-than-life interactive silly selfies, color and customize their own Scribble Scrubbies, a handheld washable toy, and enjoy kid-safe games as part of the Crayola Create & Play app.
• Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites, a new beach-themed value hotel, debuts June 27. Surfside will feature spacious, two-bedroom suites that sleep six, with rates starting at $170.10. Its sister property, Dockside Inn and Suites will join the value resort in March 2020.
New & Notable Dining
• Disney Springs welcomed Jaleo by José Andrés, featuring Spanish cuisine paired with a premier selection of Spanish wines.
• Bigfire, the next original concept at Universal CityWalk, will open this summer featuring woodfire cooking amid the decor of a lakeside lodge. Guests will also be able to make fireside s’mores right at their table and play lawn games on the patio.
• Universal Orlando Resort opened The TODAY Cafe on May 16. Guests can stop by for seasonal dishes inspired by Al Roker’s favorite recipes and dine amid immersive TODAY Show stage lights and theming. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and even wine and beer are available.
Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World, and most visited destination in the United States. An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels.