Get a look at the unforgettable new experiences that continue to make Orlando the most popular tourism destination in the U.S. (The Wheel at ICON Park® pictured).
The secret of Orlando's success as America's favorite travel destination is twofold, in that we don’t just offer wondrous, unforgettable experiences you can’t find anywhere else … but also keep adding incredible things to see and do every year!
In fact, depending on how long it’s been since you visited, you could find a completely different (and better) Orlando compared to the last time you were in town. Keep reading to see how much we’ve grown in the past five years — and why you need to make Orlando a part of your travel plans in 2019 and beyond!
How Long Has It Been Since You Visited Orlando?
Since 2014, Orlando has added more than 100 rides, resorts, restaurants and retailers, and even more are coming soon. Here’s a rundown of what you’ve missed if it’s been a while since your last visit.
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 Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, featuring rides, dining and shopping based on the hit Disney•Pixar Toy Story films. This park also introduced two new shows in the past year: Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy and Wonderful World of Animation, with the latter being a nighttime spectacular, plus Disney Junior Dance Party.
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Speaking of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, for the first time ever, there’s a place where you can live your very own Star Wars™ story. A place where you can fly the galaxy’s most legendary ship, the Millennium Falcon. A place where you’ll find yourself caught in a battle between the First Order and the Resistance. With a whole new land, you can finally live your adventure in a galaxy far, far away. Welcome to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, opening Aug. 29, 2019, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort.
You’ll find another fresh nighttime show, Happily Ever After, at Magic Kingdom® Park.
In 2018, Universal Orlando Resort rolled out Fast & Furious — Supercharged at Universal Studios Florida, which also gained a new nighttime show, Universal Orlando’s Cinematic Celebration. Look for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™ to expand The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal’s Islands of Adventure on June 13.
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At SeaWorld® Orlando’s main theme park, you can look forward to the 6-acre Sesame Street Land™ expansion and the white-water raft adventure, Infinity Falls®. Meanwhile, Aquatica® Orlando welcomed two fresh rides: Ray Rush® and KareKare Curl™.
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New experiences at LEGOLAND Florida Resort include an expansive land, THE LEGO® MOVIE WORLD™, which premiered earlier this year. And in 2018, they added The Great LEGO® Race, presenting the first virtual-reality-enhanced roller coaster designed for kids.
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Other new or updated attractions that joined Orlando’s lineup since 2018 include the Orlando StarFlyer at ICON Park, an innovative take on golf at Drive Shack Orlando, the arrival of DC Entertainment’s Justice League at Madame Tussauds Orlando, the Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure at Gatorland, the Headrush 360 ride at Fun Spot America’s Orlando location, and an Aquapark at Orlando Watersports Complex.
Orlando also gained numerous high-profile eateries in the past year, starting with Chef José Andrés’ JALEO and Pepe at Disney Springs®. The latter also added The Edison, Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar & Restaurant, Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, The Polite Pig, Terralina Crafted Italian and Wine Bar George, among others. Other new Orlando restaurants worthy of your attention include The Glass Knife in Winter Park.
We’ve even expanded our accommodations, with new and upgraded options including Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Universal’s Aventura Hotel, Margaritaville Resort Orlando and The Grove Resort Orlando.
If It’s Been Three Years Since You Visited Orlando…
Wow, are you going to notice some changes! One of the biggest 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.
Speaking of Disney, you’ve missed Pandora — The World of Avatar and the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park and Miss Adventure Falls at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon®. (Rivers of Light is getting an update in summer 2019, too.) Disney’s Animal Kingdom also premiered Up! A Great Bird Adventure and introduced evening options for Kilimanjaro Safaris, while EPCOT® added Frozen Ever After and revamped Soarin’ Around the World.
In 2017, Universal Orlando debuted its Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme park, as well as Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon at Universal Studios Florida. We’ve also gone ape for Skull Island: Reign of Kong™ at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Orlando’s tallest, fastest roller coaster, Mako®, debuted at SeaWorld Orlando in 2016, and the revamped Dolphin Nursery opened a year later. And at LEGOLAND Florida, you can now enjoy LEGO® NINJAGO® World. Other fresh attractions include Andretti Indoor Karting & Games and Topgolf Orlando.
On the sports front, the Orlando City Soccer Club MLS team now plays home games at the brand-new Orlando City Stadium in downtown Orlando. The home of its first three seasons, Camping World Stadium, has been completely renovated and hosts high-profile college bowl games. And close to Orlando International Airport (MCO), the United States Tennis Association National Campus makes us the Home of American Tennis.
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!
In 2014, Hogwarts™ Express connected The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. During that same year, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, and Ihu’s Breakaway Falls® came to Aquatica. A year later, Heartlake City debuted at LEGOLAND Florida. You also missed the introduction of MyMagic+ at Walt Disney World.
On International Drive, aka I-Drive, you’ll now find one of our most recognizable landmarks: The Wheel. Previously known as the Orlando Eye and ICON Orlando, it’s located at ICON Park, a dining and entertainment hub with several other attractions, including SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, Arcade City Orlando and 7D Dark Ride Adventure.
The International Drive area also gained iFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving, I-Drive NASCAR, Kings Dining & Entertainment and fresh attractions at Fun Spot America, plus new ways to escape at The Escape Game Orlando and Escapology. And nearby at The Florida Mall, you can explore a world of color at Crayola Experience.
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 hosts Broadway productions, ballet, concerts and other cultural events.
So, what are you waiting for? Get to Orlando and experience everything you’ve been missing — before we add even more must-do’s to your bucket list!
Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and its experiences are subject to capacity. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is not available at opening and will open later in the year.
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