Orlando Travel & Tourism - What's New


OTTMMS LogoSeaWorld Orlando opened TurtleTrek, featuring a first-of-its-kind 3-D/360-degree dome-shaped theater, in spring 2012. Discovery Cove unveiled Freshwater Oasis, featuring wading adventures and face-to-face encounters with otters and marmosets, in June 2012. Opening in Spring 2013 is Antarctica "Empire of the Penguins". You'll be transported into the icy world of the penguin like never before, on a first-of-its-kind family adventure ride, and you'll walk among penguins as you explore their colony.

Universal Orlando Resort opened a new 3-D attraction at Universal Studios based on Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's blockbuster 3-D/CGI feature "Despicable Me" in July 2012. An all-new parade, Universal's Superstars Parade, features larger-than-life floats, state-of-the-art technology and hundreds of energetic street performers. In addition, a new nighttime show, Universal's Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories, presents some of the world's best and most popular films in an innovative, high-tech symphony of imagery, light, sound and special effects. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman attraction at Universal's Islands of Adventure is newly enhanced with a re-animated, high-definition experience. Universal's CityWalk added Hollywood Drive-In Golf, movie-themed miniature golf courses, in February. The two, 18-hole courses are located below the first level of CityWalk, next to the AMC Cineplex. Blue Man Group opened a brand new show combining music, comedy and multimedia theatrics.

Walt Disney World Resort unveiled Phase 1 of the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland expansion project featuring the new Storybook Circus area with dueling Dumbo attraction and Great Goofini Coaster in early 2012. Phase 2 opened in July, which consisted of the opening of the second Dumbo the Flying Elephant, an indoor interactive area serving the new double attraction and Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station. Highlights of Phase 3, opening December 6, 2012, include Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid and Be Our Guest Restaurant. Additionally in early 2012, Magic Kingdom introduced an interactive role-play adventure game. Participants become apprentice sorcerers on an adventure to defeat an army of Disney Villains.

Downtown Disney will open Splitsville, a new bowling, billiards, dining and nightlife venue in late 2012. Walt Disney World Speedway offers guests an all-new track driving experience, featuring the world's fastest and most exotic supercars with the Exotic Driving Experience.

Wet ‘N Wild opened a new Kids' Park, Blastaway Beach, on May 28, 2012, the largest of its kind in Florida. Featuring a sandcastle that towers 60 feet (18 meters) over 17 slides, two splash pools and more than a hundred soakers, water jets, cannons and waterfalls, the new water playground covers an acre (.40 hectare). Blastaway Beach is Wet ‘n Wild's first new attraction in over four years.

Florida EcoSafaris at Forever Florida recently opened The Rattlesnake, a 1,000-foot (305-meters) long zip line rollercoaster sending riders flying through the air at 20-mph (32-kph) through Central Florida's natural landscape.

Monkey Joe's play center will relocate to the Universal Boulevard side of Pointe Orlando at a 17,250-square-foot (1602-square-meter) location with wall-to-wall inflatables and separate play areas for younger and older kids.

Dinosaur World opened a 12-acre (4.86-hectare) expansion featuring a new building to house an indoor Prehistoric Museum, gift shop, dinosaur playground and additional picnic areas.

LEGOLAND Florida added an accompanying waterpark, with wave pools, build-a-raft lazy river, waterslides with 60-feet (18-meter) drops and a Duplo Splash Safari for toddlers, opened in May 2012. Star Wars Miniland will include Lego scenes from six-movie series of films as well as the animated "Clone Wars" television series. The section will follow a chronological path through the "Star Wars" timeline. Some of the 2,000 Lego models will be more than 6 feet high. Visitors will be able to activate animations throughout the scenes using interactive buttons.

CSI: The Experience is a traveling exhibition combining the entertainment of the hit show with real-life scientific and investigative techniques that recently opened on International Drive.


Walt Disney World Resort's Disney's Art of Animation Resort opened May 2012.

Drury Inn & Suites on Sand Lake Road opened July 2012.

Sonesta ES Suites Orlando, located off of International Drive, opened July 2012.

Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort is newly-renovated with two spectacular pools and the brand-new 27 Palms Pool Club.


Pointe Orlando opened The Pub Orlando, a British-inspired restaurant and bar serving classic pub fare along with a wide variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and burgers.

Burger 21 - Coming soon to the Shoppes at Millenia shopping center in southwest Orlando, Burger 21 offers a unique variety of burger creations, hand-dipped shakes, gourmet hot dogs, chicken tenders and made-to-order salads.

The James Beard Foundation "Best Chefs of the South" semi-finalists and chef-owners behind The Ravenous Pig will open their second restaurant, Cask & Larder, this summer featuring southern-infused cuisine and local seafood. The new restaurant is located in Winter Park, just north of downtown Orlando.

• New Brazilian eatery Fogo de Chão, located on International Drive, features 15 freshly grilled meats carved tableside and an extensive salad bar with more than 30 selections including authentic Brazilian sides.

• International Drive is now home to Señor Frogs, serving up fun-frozen drinks and delicious food including BBQ plates, wraps, burgers and more.

• Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar is scheduled to open on Sand Lake Road in August.

Sports & Recreation

• Orlando hosted the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend. The 61st NBA All-Star Game was played on Feb. 26, 2012, at the Amway Center. The NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by adidas was held at the Orange County Convention Center.

Disney Fantasy joined the Disney Cruise Line fleet out of Port Canaveral, Fla.

Medical Tourism

Nemours Children's Hospital opened a $400 million, 95-bed facility in Lake Nona in October.

Orlando Veterans Affairs Medical Center, a 1.2 million-square-foot (111,484 square-meter), 134-bed hospital will open in Lake Nona in the fall. The VA will be co-located with the University of Central Florida Medical School, the Burnham Institute and Nemours Children's Hospital in the Lake Nona area known as "Medical City."



Aloft Orlando Downtown, a Starwood Hotels & Resorts brand broke ground in July 2012 with anticipated completion in Summer 2013.

B Hotels and Resorts plans to expand the B portfolio to Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney resort area. Scheduled to open in late 2013, plans for the 394-room hotel in Lake Buena Vista include a total renovation to make it a four-star property.

Streamsong Resort is expected to open in the fall. The resort, occupying 16,000 acres (6,475 hectares) of land between Tampa and Orlando, will feature a 36-hole golf course.

The Spa at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort is scheduled to re-open in early 2013 following an extensive refurbishment which will see the addition of Disney Vacation Club style room accommodations.

The Alfond Inn at Rollins College is expected to open spring 2013. The roughly 100,000 square-foot (9290 square-meters) facility will feature approximately 112 guest rooms, 8,000 square-feet (743 square-meters) of ballroom and meeting space, fitness center and series of courtyards.


SeaWorld Orlando will unveil its biggest attraction expansion yet with Antarctica - Empire of the Penguin in 2013.

Walt Disney World Resort's Magic Kingdom continues its Fantasyland expansion, including new attractions and dining including the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster. Animal Kingdom will begin construction on its AVATAR themed-land expansion.

Fun Spot Action Park in Orlando will open stage one of its 10-acre (4-hectare) park expansion, including new tracks, rides and a waterpark,.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will unveil the 65,000 square-foot (6039 square-meters) home for the space-flown orbiter, Atlantis, which retired in 2011. The $100 million exhibit will provide views of the vehicle up close, along with interactive features reflecting major accomplishments of the Space Shuttle Program, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.



Four Seasons Hotel at Walt Disney World Resort is anticipated to open early 2014.

Universal's Cabana Beach Resort is scheduled to open in 2014 and will be the largest of Universal's four on-site hotels with 1,800 rooms.

Arts & Culture

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts broke ground in June 2011 with anticipated completion in 2014.

For more information about vacation experiences in Orlando, to order a complimentary vacation planning kit that includes a comprehensive Official Visitors Guide and Orlando Magicard® or to purchase discount attraction tickets, visitors can log onto Orlando's official website at VisitOrlando.com or call an Official Travel Counselor at 1-800-551-0181 (United States and Canada) or 407-363-5872. For real time updates, follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/VisitOrlando or Facebook at Facebook.com/VisitOrlando. While in Orlando, visitors may stop by the Official Visitor Center located at 8723 International Drive, at the southeast corner of International Drive and Austrian Row. The Official Visitor Center is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (closes at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 and is closed Dec. 25).



Featured Offers