New Year means new attractions, new hotels and impressive expansions in Orlando! 2013 it's truly a lucky year in Orlando, giving you more reasons to add a visit to your bucket list. Here's an illustrated snapshot of all the "new news" in Orlando this year:
A state-of-the-art interactive ride will take guests on an exciting journey through the dangers and wondrous beauty of the Antarctic as they follow and mimic a young penguin's adventures. Attraction will open on May 24th.
Its first phase expansion includes the new White Lighting wooden coaster, the world's biggest SkyCoaster, a new suspended family coaster called Vekoma and a wide range of family-friendly racetracks and rides. Phase two will open by 2015 with the addition of a water park, dinner show and food court.
Guests looking to be pampered can find relaxation at the Senses spa at the Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. Senses at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort is temporarily closed for renovation and is due to reopen in the summer.
This will host ten local, independently owned food enterprises, including a butcher, seafood merchant, produce vendor, and baker. Inside the market, James Beard Nominated Chef Henry Salgado, along with his wife Michele, will open Txokos Kitchen, a dine-in restaurant featuring farm-fresh lunch and dinner options.
This attraction will combine the larger-than-life TRANSFORMERS characters and an exciting storyline with life-like HD CGI media, state-of-the-art 3-D technology and amazing special effects to place riders right in the middle of an epic battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons.
Space Shuttle Atlantis, retired in 2011, found a new home. A new exhibition, opening June 29th, will provide up close views of the vehicle, along with interactive features that reflect the Space Shuttle Program's major accomplishments.
The new 118 guest-room property, set to open September 26th located within walking distance of the Amway Center, Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts and a variety of restaurants and nightlife options, will feature a bar with cocktails and music, a lounge, free Wi-Fi and more than 5,000 square feet (464-square meters) of meeting and banquet space.
Guests will have the opportunity to interact with princesses Aurora, Cinderella and others in the Castle Courtyard located in the heart of Fantasyland.
Clothing retailer Michael Kors, along with accessory and jewelry retailer Tous will be added to the more than 250 retailers at The Florida Mall.
Ranked in the top ten among the world's most successful shopping centers by Shopping Centers Today, the mall will debut open a new wave of internationally-recognized retailers including Prada, YSL, and Swiss watchmakers Hublot, Omega, and Breitling.
This 80,000-square-feet (7,200-square-meters) expansion will be anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, will include additional dining and an Information Center.
The boutique inn on the property of nationally ranked liberal arts school, Rollins College, will offer 110-rooms aside from a swimming pool, fitness center, restaurant, lounge and 9,000 square feet (836-square meters) of meeting space.
Fans of the characters from the Universal Superstar Parade including the Minions from Despicable Me, SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer will have the opportunity to dine with them at this new experience. Guests will also watch the parade at a special viewing area.
Guests will enjoy dinner at Lombard's Seafood Grille and top it off with dessert in a private viewing area for Universal's Cinematic Spectacular nighttime lagoon show.
Another cool addition this year is Walt Disney World Resort's MyMagic+, a new Web site and free app (available at the iTunes Store, Google Play and Amazon) will give you opportunity to lock in seating for parades, fireworks and character interactions or even coveted FastPasses before leaving home. Once in Orlando, you'll wear MagicBand, a wristband that will be your room key at a Disney hotel and your theme park ticket/FastPass. The optional system also allows for changes through the app and customization so that characters may even be able to provide personalized greetings.