Orlando Sets Another U.S. Travel Record With 72 Million Visitors

Get a look at the unforgettable new experiences that helped Orlando attract a record-breaking 72 million visitors in 2017.

Get a look at the unforgettable new experiences that helped Orlando attract a record-breaking 72 million visitors in 2017. Photo by Preston Mack.

By Nate Shelton

Visit Orlando has announced a historic milestone in the travel industry, with Orlando becoming the first U.S. destination to surpass 70 million annual visitors. We welcomed a record-shattering 72 million travelers in 2017, once again making us America's most visited destination!


Speaking at the official announcement, Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel credited the unforgettable new experiences we've added in recent years for the increased visitation numbers. Keep reading for a look at how much we've grown since 2013, and a peek at what's still to come this year.

How Long Has It Been Since You Visited Orlando?

In the past five years, Orlando has added more than 100 rides, resorts, restaurants and retailers, and even more are coming soon. If it's been awhile since your last visit, here's a rundown of what you've missed.

If It's Been One Year Since You Visited Orlando...

You'll be amazed at how much we've grown in such a short time! At Walt Disney World Resort, you've missed Pandora — The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom and Miss Adventure Falls at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon. Earlier this year, Animal Kingdom also premiered Up! A Great Bird Adventure.

Learn more: Discount Orlando Theme Parks & Attractions Tickets

Universal Orlando Resort just rolled out Fast & Furious — Supercharged at Universal Studios Florida, which gained Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon in 2017. That year also marked the debut of Universal's Volcano Bay water park, providing all-new ways to get wet and wild in Orlando.

At SeaWorld Orlando's main theme park, you can look forward to the revamped Kraken Unleashed virtual-reality (VR) roller coaster. And LEGOLAND Florida Resort has two new thrills for kids and their families: The Great LEGO Race VR coaster and LEGO NINJAGO World.

Other new or updated attractions include Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, Drive Shack, Extreme Dinosaurs, iFLY Indoor Skydiving, Orlando Watersports Complex's Aquapark and Topgolf Orlando. We've also gained new dining options, including The Edison and other inventive eateries at Disney Springs, with more on the way.

United States Tennis Association National Campus in Orlando
United States Tennis Association National Campus in Orlando

And sports-lovers, take note: Orlando nabbed the hosting rights to the NFL Pro Bowl in 2017, which is the same year that the new United States Tennis Association National Campus and Orlando City Soccer Club's state-of-the-art Orlando City Stadium debuted.

Learn more: Orlando Sports, Recreation & Outdoors

More new attractions are coming this year, including Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Infinity Falls at SeaWorld, Ray Rush at Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark, the Orlando StarFlyer and Nona Adventure Park. Stay tuned to our blog for updates on these and other new reasons to visit Orlando as they become available!

If It's Been Three Years Since You Visited Orlando...

Mickey Mouse and Masaharu Morimoto at the Opening of Disney Springs’ Morimoto Asia (Photography by Patina Restaurant Group)
Mickey Mouse and Masaharu Morimoto at the Opening of Disney Springs' Morimoto Asia (Photography by Patina Restaurant Group)

Wow, are you going to notice some changes! Perhaps the biggest one is that Downtown Disney has transformed into the bigger, better Disney Springs, featuring more than 150 dining, retail and entertainment options, including Orlando's largest collection of celebrity chefs.

ICON Orlando
ICON Orlando

On International Drive, you'll find our newest landmark: ICON Orlando, which until recently was known as the Orlando Eye. It's located at the newly rebranded ICON Orlando 360, formerly I-Drive 360, a dining and entertainment hub with several other attractions.

We've also gone ape for Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Speaking of wild creatures, new evening options are available for Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney's Epcot has added Frozen Ever After and revamped Soarin' Around the World.

At LEGOLAND Florida, you can enjoy Heartlake City and The LEGO Movie: 4D — A New Adventure, and SeaWorld Orlando will thrill you with their Mako coaster. Other fresh attractions include new ways to escape at America's Escape Game, The Escape Game Orlando and Escapology, and Crayola Experience has joined The Florida Mall.

Orlando City Soccer Club
Orlando City Soccer Club

On the sports front, Orlando City Soccer is now an official MLS team. Also, the venue where it played its first three seasons, Camping World Stadium, has been completely renovated.

If It's Been Five Years Since You Visited Orlando...

How did you manage to go so long between visits? No matter — we can't wait for you to experience everything you've missed!

Back in 2013, Transformers: The Ride — 3D and Springfield's Simpsons-themed rides and restaurants arrived at Universal Studios. A year later, Hogwarts Express connected The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and Universal's Islands of Adventure.

At Walt Disney World, you can experience one of Magic Kingdom's most thrilling rides at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. SeaWorld Orlando has Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, and you can make a splash at Aquatica's Ihu's Breakaway Falls. And The World of Chima is part of the fun at LEGOLAND Florida.

You'll also discover new ways to play on International Drive, including I-Drive NASCAR, Kings Dining & Entertainment and fresh attractions at Fun Spot America.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando

Chances are you'll be amazed by how much our arts scene has grown too, thanks in large part to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Located in downtown Orlando, this state-of-the-art, multi-theater facility plays host to Broadway productions, ballet and other cultural events.

Learn more: Orlando Arts, Culture & History

Through it all, we've also added several new hotels and resorts, plus a cornucopia of fresh dining options.

How many of these recent additions have you experienced, or do you plan to experience in Orlando? Start making plans now to strike the rest from your bucket list, and help us break another record in 2018 and beyond!

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Written by Nate Shelton, Consumer Content Writer at Visit Orlando. He’s a native Floridian who appreciates the entertainment, historical and culinary aspects of Orlando and Orange County.

 

Related Categories: Top Stories , Sports, Recreation & Outdoors , Theme Parks & Attractions , Restaurants

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