All-New Reasons to Visit Orlando
No matter how many times you’ve been to Orlando, you’ll be amazed by what you find the next time you’re here. The reason is, we’re constantly improving, with new theme park additions, attractions, restaurants, resorts and other can’t-miss experiences joining the lineup on an ongoing basis.
In fact, even if you’ve traveled to Orlando recently, you probably haven’t seen all of the new tricks up our sleeve. And if it’s been a year or more since your last visit, you’re really in for a thrill.
In the past year alone, Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando® Resort, SeaWorld® Orlando and LEGOLAND® Florida Resort have unveiled new rides and features, with more on the way in 2018 and beyond. (We’re not called the Theme Park Capital of the World® for nothing.) And that’s on top of other new attractions all over town.
If you’re hungry, you’ll also find plenty of fresh dining options, including brand-new ventures from celebrity chefs and homegrown gems that locals are raving about. And when it comes to places to stay, several gleaming new resorts have joined our skyline, further ensuring the perfect accommodations for every preference and price point.
In short, there’s never been a better time to visit. From the theme parks to downtown, and many other points throughout the destination, here’s your guide to all of the newest reasons to come to Orlando!
New & Upcoming Attractions in Orlando
Searching for all-new adventures and one-of-a-kind experiences? Come to Orlando! Our world-famous theme parks have unveiled all sorts of fresh surprises, with more set to debut in the coming year, and that’s on top of other recent and upcoming attractions throughout the destination. Featuring amazing worlds, white-knuckle rides and moments of sheer wonder, here’s a peek at the latest ways to play in Orlando!
New at Walt Disney World® Resort
Pandora — The World of Avatar: Having opened in May 2017, this amazing expansion to Disney’s Animal Kingdom is inspired by James Cameron’s groundbreaking Avatar motion picture and its forthcoming sequels. Home to the Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey attractions, the new land also features themed dining and shopping, floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and after-dark entertainment.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Miss Adventure Falls: The newest ride at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is also one of the longest at Disney’s parks. Once aboard this family-style raft adventure, you’ll be taken to the highest peaks before plunging into white-water excitement.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
Star Wars Guided Tour: Head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for this new, all-access tour, which includes the “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” and “March of the First Order” productions. You’ll also be able to enjoy a nighttime fireworks spectacular, themed dining experiences, character meet-and-greets and more.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Happily Ever After: This new, nighttime spectacular at Disney’s Magic Kingdom combines the magic of Disney storytelling, beloved Disney characters and fireworks. It features moments from such hits as Aladdin, Moana, Zootopia and others.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Toy Story Land: This new land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios makes you feel as if you’ve been shrunk to the size of a toy and turned loose in Andy’s backyard. New attractions are also part of the fun, including Alien Swirling Saucers and Slinky Dog Dash. And when you’re ready for a bite to eat, Woody’s Lunchbox is serving Toy Story-themed eats and treats.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Walt Disney World Resort
New at Universal Orlando® Resort
Universal’s Volcano Bay™ Water Park: Splash into thrilling adventures and blissful relaxation at Orlando’s newest water park, which features the 200-foot-tall Krakatau volcano as its centerpiece. Inside, enjoy wild adventures on slides, water coasters and rapid rides, as well as tropical getaways on peaceful Waturi Beach and the Kopiko Wai Winding River. Plus, the all-new TapuTapu wearable technology means you’ll never have to wait in long lines for the attractions.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Universal's Volcano Bay Water Park
Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon: The star of NBC’s The Tonight Show has arrived at Universal Studios Florida! Join him for the ultimate ride through New York City’s deepest subway tunnels and tallest skyscrapers. After the fun, stock up on themed merchandise at The Tonight Shop.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Universal Studios Florida
Fast & Furious — Supercharged: Get ready for the ultimate thrill ride at Universal Studios Florida courtesy of this fast-paced adventure. Based on the blockbuster movies, the attraction features an original Fast & Furious story starring “the family,” their iconic rides — and you.
Coming Soon to Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort’s Cinematic Celebration: Universal Studios Florida will unveil this new, nighttime lagoon show in summer 2018. Enhanced with lighting and special effects, the production will feature animated characters from Universal Orlando Resort attraction properties.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Universal Orlando Resort
New at SeaWorld® Orlando
Kraken Unleashed: In 2017, the former Kraken roller coaster got a virtual-reality (VR) makeover, transforming into this thrilling new adventure at SeaWorld Orlando. After strapping on a high-tech VR headset, you’ll embark on a deep-sea mission alongside legendary and extinct creatures from the past — including the featured monster.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to SeaWorld Orlando
Dolphin Nursery: This unique attraction at SeaWorld Orlando has always been one of the park’s most popular, especially among children, and it got a major upgrade in 2017. Enhancements include bigger windows and more viewing levels, which makes it easier than ever to get up close and personal with mother and baby dolphins.
Ray Rush: New at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, this attraction gives you three ways to slide, splash and soar on a wild water adventure. The ride’s features include water jets, dives and a colossal water sphere.
Coming Soon to SeaWorld Orlando
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark
Infinity Falls: SeaWorld Orlando’s most pulse-pounding experience yet will send you via raft on a jungle river journey featuring fountains, waterfalls and the remains of a lost civilization. It will also boast the tallest drop of its kind. Look for the ride to open in summer 2018.
New at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort
LEGO Ninjago World: The newest land at LEGOLAND Florida Resort opened in January 2017. It features LEGO Ninjago The Ride, in which guests dispatch foes with fireballs, ice and lightning courtesy of the attraction’s innovative hand-gesture technology.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to LEGOLAND Florida Resort
The Great LEGO Race: Brick-lovers, start your engines! The first-ever virtual-reality (VR) roller coaster designed just for kids debuted at LEGOLAND Florida Resort in March. It also marks the first time the LEGO brand and mini-figure characters have been integrated with VR technology in a theme park attraction.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens MiniLand Display: This massive display uses thousands of LEGO bricks, lights, sound effects and animation to re-create key scenes from the hit film, including memorable moments with Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren and BB-8. It joined other displays based on previous Star Wars films.
New Attractions Throughout Orlando
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games: Part of Orlando’s International Drive entertainment, dining and shopping district, and adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center, this indoor go-kart facility is spearheaded by racing legend Mario Andretti. You can also enjoy boutique bowling, indoor zip-lining, racing simulators and arcade games, laser tag, and rock-climbing, plus a wealth of gourmet food and beverage choices.
iFly Orlando: You can get all of the thrills of skydiving without jumping out of an airplane at this attraction, conveniently located on International Drive. What’s more, guests as young as 3 can float safely thanks to the wall-to-wall cushion of air created by iFly’s vertical wind tunnel.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to iFly Indoor Skydiving
Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure: The December 2017 debut of this new, separate-ticketed ride marked the completion of a $2.2 million expansion at Gatorland. After boarding one of the custom-made, 12-foot-tall, off-road ride vehicles, you’ll careen through a hilariously high-octane adventure filled with crazy characters, gorgeous Florida countryside — and of course, gators.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Gatorland
Topgolf Orlando: Located in the International Drive area near the Orange County Convention Center, Topgolf can be enjoyed by professional golfers and complete novices alike. The reason being, the venue offers an innovative game that combines traditional golf with a scoring system similar to darts. The facility has 102 climate-controlled driving bays, which can host up to six players each and use advanced technology to track shots. Topgolf also has 230 HDTVs and a chef-driven food and beverage menu.
StarFlyer: Located at ICON Orlando 360 on International Drive, this swing ride will take you 450 feet in the air — 50 feet higher than the neighboring ICON Orlando observation wheel — before bringing you back to earth for an incredible adrenaline rush.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to ICON Orlando
New Restaurants & Nightlife in Orlando
Photography via Patina Restaurant Group
Featuring celebrity chefs, local culinary heroes and flavors from around the world, Orlando’s acclaimed dining scene never stops growing. Here’s a look at new and upcoming options you’ll want to try during your next visit to Orlando.
New Orlando Restaurants
Ace Cafe Orlando: The first U.S. outpost of the iconic, London-based motor diner can be found in downtown Orlando. Inspired by American roadside restaurants, “the Ace’s” menu features made-from-scratch comfort food, plus some British favorites, all using locally sourced, green options at an affordable price point. The venue also has a memorabilia gallery that’s sure to appeal to car buffs.
Learn more: Restaurants in Orlando
The Edison: One of the best new reasons to visit Disney Springs is this Industrial Gothic-themed restaurant, lounge and nightlife hotspot. Featuring gourmet food, craft cocktails, stellar nightlife and eclectic entertainment, it looks and feels as if it were built inside a converted power plant. The establishment is family-friendly for most of the week, but entry is limited to guests 21 and up starting at 10 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday nights.
Learn more: Nightlife & Entertainment in Orlando
El Buda: Situated in a historic building on downtown Orlando’s Church Street, this restaurant is headed by Iron Chef star Roberto Treviño. It serves dishes fusing the flavors of Asia and Latin America, and it also has a speakeasy-style lounge.
Enzo’s Hideaway: A “secret” underground tunnel leads to this imaginative concept bar and restaurant beneath The Edison complex at Disney Springs. Specializing in Prohibition-era and barrel-aged cocktails and spirits, this speakeasy also serves Italian-inspired entrees and edibles.
The Glass Knife: New to Winter Park, about 20 minutes from downtown Orlando, this eatery is headed by Executive Chef Stuart Whitfield, who previously sweetened up menus at Walt Disney World Resort’s Victoria and Albert’s, Be Our Guest and others. They specialize in artisanal desserts, but breakfast, lunch and dinner are also on the menu.
Kadence: This one-of-a-kind sushi restaurant can be found in Orlando’s Audubon Park neighborhood, about 15 minutes from downtown. With seating for just 20, they take a highly bespoke approach to sushi by specializing in multi-course tasting menus. The eatery also has a sake bar.
Luke’s Kitchen + Bar: This is the third restaurant from Brandon McGlamery, the acclaimed local chef who also heads up Prato and Luma on Park in Winter Park. Located just 10 minutes from those eateries in Maitland, Luke’s focuses on classic American cuisine using seasonal ingredients and responsibly sourced proteins.
Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante: Located next to The Edison in Disney Springs, this casually elegant trattoria offers southern Italian fare against the stunning backdrop of a 50-foot ceiling, a grand staircase, floor-to-ceiling views of Lake Buena Vista and ambience celebrating the golden age of travel.
Paddlefish: Board the iconic paddleboat anchored on Lake Buena Vista to dine at this new eatery at Disney Springs. They serve fresh seafood, steaks and chops with both indoor and outdoor seating options, including a rooftop lounge overlooking the dining, shopping and entertainment district.
Pizza Ponte: This fast-casual concept is part of Disney Springs’ new dining complex centered around The Edison. It’s all about pizza, pastries, Italian sandwiches and espresso.
The Polite Pig: Located at Disney Springs, this restaurant is spearheaded by James and Julie Petrakis, the James Beard-nominated husband-and-wife team who also run The Ravenous Pig in Winter Park. It features a variety of wood-fired, smoked and grilled items, as well as an innovative beverage program.
Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen: Presenting a contemporary version of a classic fish camp, this restaurant serves fresh Florida seafood prepared in a southern style amid a casual, family-friendly environment. You’ll find them in Winter Park, about 20 minutes from downtown Orlando.
Terralina Crafted Italian: In 2017, Disney Springs’ former Portobello restaurant received a complete overhaul, transforming into this new concept with fresh ambience, sweeping waterfront views, a new verandah bar and an updated menu focusing on authentic Italian cuisine. Like its predecessor, Terralina is headed by James Beard Award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano.
Winebar George: The only master sommelier-led wine bar in Florida, this establishment brings Master Sommelier George Miliotes’ renowned expertise to Disney Springs. The design is reminiscent of a winemaker’s home estate.
Wonderland Cookie Dough Co.: Located a short distance from Walt Disney World Resort in Celebration, this is Florida’s only scoop shop dedicated to edible cookie dough. It offers a variety of flavors and toppings, as well as vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free options.
Orlando Restaurants Coming Soon
District Gastrobar and Social Eating House: This American-style gastropub is set to open in downtown Orlando in 2018. It will serve as a gathering place for people headed to NBA games at the Amway Center and MLS games at Orlando City Stadium.
Ford’s Garage: Paying homage to the titular American auto manufacturer, this concept is scheduled to open in Winter Garden near Walt Disney World Resort in summer 2018. The eatery will have two bars and an outdoor seating area.
Heirloom Deli: This all-vegan restaurant is slated to debut in downtown Orlando in spring 2018. It will offer plant-based comfort food and beverages created by celebrity chef Mary Mattern and her husband, guitarist Neil Westfall.
Jaleo: The latest eatery from world-renowned Chef José Andrés will bring the spirit and flavors of Spain to Disney Springs in spring 2018. Like other members of the Jaleo family, the restaurant will have an extensive tapas menu. Andrés was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” and awarded “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation.
JINYA Ramen Bar: Downtown Orlando’s Thornton Park neighborhood is set to welcome this modern Japanese restaurant later in 2018. It will feature authentic ramen along with a variety of tapas-style dishes.
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill: Highlighting the best of its iconic chef’s signature dishes, this new Disney Springs eatery will feature a Mediterranean-influenced menu and ambience inspired by California. While you wait for it to open, you can get a sampling of Puck’s creations at Disney Springs’ Wolfgang Puck Express.
New Hotels & Resorts in Orlando
With more than 121,000 hotel rooms, 20,000 vacation-home rentals and 22,000 vacation-ownership properties in the area, you’d think that Orlando would be well stocked when it comes to available room supply — but again, we’re the sort of destination that never stops improving!
Take a glance at the newest and updated Orlando hotels and resorts that have opened recently or are coming soon, and you’ll see what we mean. Then, start dreaming of where you’ll do your dreaming the next time you visit Orlando.
New and Updated Orlando Hotels & Resorts
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort: This resort is gaining a new, 15-story tower, adding an additional 500 guestrooms, including suites and concierge-level services. Once renovations are complete, it will also feature a rooftop restaurant and lounge boasting panoramic views of nighttime fireworks at Walt Disney World Resort. Although the refurbishments are ongoing, the resort is still open for business.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Walt Disney World Resort
The Grove Resort & Spa: Just five minutes from Walt Disney World Resort, this new resort has 878 two- and three-bedroom residential-style suites with full kitchens, washers and dryers, as well as multiple bathrooms, providing all the comforts of home. Guests also get complimentary access to the on-site Surfari Water Park, which features a double-surf simulator, dual water slides, a zero-entry pool and a 695-foot lazy river, plus a kids’ activities pool.
Learn more: Hotels & Resorts in Orlando
Orlando Hotels & Resorts Coming Soon
Universal’s Aventura Hotel: The newest member of Universal Orlando Resort’s family of hotels and resorts, this 16-story, gleaming glass tower will have 600 guest rooms, including 13 kids’ suites. It will also offer views of all three Universal parks, Universal’s first-ever rooftop bar and grill, and exclusive amenities that include early park admission and complimentary onsite transportation. It’s scheduled to open in August 2018.
Learn more: Discount Tickets to Universal Orlando Resort
The Delaney Hotel: Slated to debut in downtown Orlando’s SoDo district in August 2018, this boutique hotel will have 54 guest rooms. High-tech conveniences will include remote check-in, smartphone room keys, digital tablet-based concierge services and smart TVs.
Margaritaville Resort Orlando: Spearheaded by music legend Jimmy Buffett, this waterfront resort will boast 175 guestrooms, 1,000 Margaritaville-inspired vacation homes and 300 timeshare units. It will also have a dining and entertainment district to accommodate guests, as well as a 12-acre water park, a wellness center, miles of fitness trails and an onsite water-taxi system.
New Sports Complexes in Orlando
Long known as a golf mecca, Orlando has a surprisingly deep bench when it comes to opportunities to watch and play sports, including the NFL Pro Bowl, several high-profile college football bowl games, the NBA’s Orlando Magic, MLS’s Orlando City Soccer, miles of running terrain, an ocean of aquatic adventures and other outdoor activities that everyone in the family can enjoy.
In 2017, we introduced two more ways to enjoy sports: the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus — making Orlando the Home of American Tennis® — and Orlando City Stadium, both of which are sure to appeal to sports fanatics of all ages.
USTA National Campus
In 2017, the USTA debuted its new headquarters in Lake Nona, approximately 20 minutes from Orlando International Airport. The 63-acre complex features more than 100 courts and a multi-use building with a fitness center, pro shop, players’ lounge, locker rooms and cafeteria. Of particular note to visitors is the Nemours Family Zone, which has professional-grade courts where kids and adults can learn and develop tennis skills for free.
Learn more: USTA National Campus in Orlando
Orlando City Stadium
Orlando City Soccer Club
Home to the Orlando City Soccer and Orlando Pride MLS teams, this state-of-the-art stadium opened in downtown Orlando in 2017. It seats 25,500 people and is located a block away from the Amway Center, home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.
Learn more: Sports, Recreation & Outdoor Activities in Orlando