By Jessica C. Northey
Experience all that's opening in Orlando in 2017. From new theme park attractions, an entirely new water park to new entertainment and a full year of unforgettable sporting events, a whole new lineup of family fun awaits next year in Orlando. You'll want to plan your visit to be among the first to enjoy these new adventures.
NFL Pro Bowl Game
The NFL Pro Bowl game returns to the traditional NFC - AFC conference matchup with the inaugural game scheduled at the Camping World Stadium in downtown Orlando on Sunday January 29, 2017. Along with the game the NFL is also introducing a brand new Pro Bowl Week, which will include accessible team practices at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, along with a variety of youth football and family fun activities across Orlando
Pandora - The World of AVATAR at Disney's Animal Kingdom
The highly anticipated new addition to Disney's Animal Kingdom is the recreation of the mythical world Pandora, which is the largest expansion in the history of Animal Kingdom. This AVATAR-inspired land is a visual experience of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests, and soaring Banshees for guests to see, hear, and touch. In addition, Pandora includes a family-friendly attraction called Na'vi River Journey. Take an adventure and set out in a canoe to explore a mysterious, sacred river hidden within the bioluminescent rainforest. Gaze your eyes upon the exotic glowing plans, amazing creatures, and even experience an encounter with a Na'vi shaman!
Universal's Volcano Bay Water Theme Park
Universal Orlando Resort is well underway with building a new water park opening in 2017, called Volcano Bay. This new breathtaking water park will offer innovative, thrilling attractions, peaceful moments of relaxation, and an entirely new guest experience. A highly themed, completely immersive environment is planned, inspired by postcard-perfect tropical islands. The new park will be located within Universal Orlando Resort, just south of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.
SEE ALSO: Universal Orlando Opens Caribbean Inspired Sapphire Falls Resort
Universal's Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
Universal Orlando Resort announced a new ride set to open in 2017: "Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon". The ride will invite guests to join the Tonight Show's studio audience on the ultimate race through the streets-and skies-of New York City, from the deepest subway tunnels to the tallest skyscrapers with colorful characters, famous landmarks and more from the mind of Jimmy Fallon.
SeaWorld Orlando Expansions 2017
As virtual reality continues to grow in popularity, SeaWorld Orlando will be the first in Florida to apply the technology to a roller coaster ride experience. Beginning next summer, guests can have the option to wear specially designed headsets and take part in an digitally immersive deep sea mission and encounter mythical sea creatures, including the Kraken itself. The ride vehicle itself will also be getting a facelift with the debut of the new experience in the summer of 2017. Better get Kraken!
Enhancing the way that guests can see the park's youngest dolphins, SeaWorld's Dolphin Nursery will also get new enhancements next year. Guests will be able enjoy above water and under water viewing of the baby dolphins and nursing mothers through newly installed acrylic windows designed for young children to get up close and personal encounters. Included in the expansions will be all new educational and conservation elements.
The Edison Restaurant at Disney Springs 2017
One of the most exciting restaurants at Disney Springs is nearly ready to open! The Edison is currently under construction inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, which has a lavish "Industrial Gothic" style restaurant and bar. The Disney Springs location will replicate the themed 1920s-period power plant for a nighttime destination recreating era of invention and imagination. In addition, it will have classic American food, crafty cocktails, and live entertainment such as cabaret and musical acts.
Miss Fortune Falls Attraction at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
Orlando's newest family-friendly raft attraction will be located at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, which is set to be among one of the longest in duration at any Disney water park. This new high seas adventure is called Miss Fortune Falls. Once aboard their treasure rafts at the entry point, guests will take an adventure through Captain Oceaneer's past right before they plunge into a white-water rafting voyage! Guests will see rare artifacts that Miss Fortune collected on her many worldwide treasure hunts!
LEGO NINJAGO® World at LEGOLAND Florida
Coming to LEGOLAND Florida early next year is a new immersive land and dark ride. LEGO NINJAGO World is where guests can live their ninja LEGO adventures. The interactive ride will include opportunities for gests to blast fire, lightning and ice with their hands.
LEGOLAND Beach Retreat at LEGOLAND Florida
New over-night accommodations are coming to LEGOLAND Florida. Opening spring 2017, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat will feature 83 single-story duplexes. The property will include a themed pool, sandy play area and new restaurant.
Orlando City Soccer Stadium
Attention all American soccer, football if you prefer, fans! One of the leading teams in Major League Soccer will be getting their very own multipurpose Soccer Stadium right before the 2017 Major League Soccer season. It will be located in downtown Orlando around the corner from the Amway Center, which is quickly becoming an epic entertainment center! The new soccer stadium will seat 19,500 fans and serve as home to the Orlando City Lions soccer team.
Margaritaville Resort Orlando
Orlando's continued expansion of leisure resorts welcomes the Margaritaville Resort Orlando with much enthusiasm! This massive waterfront destination resort is a welcomed addition to Central Florida's thriving attraction and tourism scene. This resort is unique in that it not only boasts a 175-room hotel but also 700 Margaritaville-themed vacation homes, 30,000 square-feet of function space, 200,000 square feet of festive retail space, a dining and entertainment district, a 12-acre water park, a wellness center, miles of fitness trails and a destination water taxi system. The resort will also host destination weddings. Once you arrive you will never want to leave.
The new openings continue even after 2017. Get a sneak peek at what's coming to Orlando in 2018!
SKYPLEX Orlando (Opening 2018)
A new entertainment complex on I-Drive, is set to break world records by bringing the world's tallest roller coaster to Orlando in in 2018. The 570-foot-tall (174 meter) structure will be the tallest in Central Florida, and feature the first Polercoaster, a vertical ride dubbed the Skyscraper, weaving in and around the whole tower on coaster-length tracks. The SKYPLEX tower will also offer views of the city via an observation deck, restaurant and lounge at the top. Additionally, a second ride, called Skyfall, will be the world's tallest drop ride once it opens, rising up to 460 feet (140.2 meters) and then dropping riders at 90 miles (144.8 km) an hour.
SEE ALSO: 3D Animation Video of SKYPLEX
Fast & Furious Races to Universal Orlando (Opening 2018)
Universal Orlando Resorts reeves up the thrills with the new action-packed ride experiences inspired by one of the most successful film franchises of all time, The Fast & Furious! The official name is "Fast & Furious: Supercharged" and will join its remarkable lineup of attractions in 2018, adding to the unprecedented growth of the destination.
Written by Jessica C. Northey, a Multimedia Content Producer for Visit Orlando. She enjoys the arts culture, photography, and creative writing about entertainment and travel destinations.