Nate Shelton of Visit Orlando gives you the scoop on new rides and other features coming on stream this summer at Orlando’s theme parks and attractions.
Orlando has been named one of Travelocity’s coolest places for family travel in 2018, but we are shaping up to have a hot summer — and we are not talking about the temperature! Here’s your first look at the new thrills awaiting at Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and LEGOLAND Florida Resort, as well as other attractions throughout the destination.
Walt Disney World Resort
Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have plenty of heat this summer when it debuts Toy Story Land on 30th June. Based on the beloved Disney-Pixar films, the new land will feature two attractions – Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers – plus themed dining and shopping.
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Walt Disney World will make Orlando even hotter with their Incredible Summer, featuring all-new character entertainment and special events. At Magic Kingdom, you can party with The Incredibles‘ Mr Incredible, Mrs Incredible and Frozone, while Guardians of the Galaxy’s Star-Lord and Gamora team up with an alien band at Epcot to play tunes from those movies’ soundtracks.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon will also join the fun with Disney H2O Glow Nights, which begin after normal park hours starting 21st June. Comprising 16 select nights through to 11th August, the festivities will combine lighting effects and Toy Story characters in beach-party mode on Thursdays and Saturdays from 8pm to 11pm.
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Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Studios Florida will put you in the middle of the action with its all-new Fast & Furious – Supercharged ride, which is based on the blockbuster film series. Here, you will be invited to an after-race party with ‘the Family’ – including Dom (Vin Diesel), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), to name a few – only to find yourself in a high-speed race to escape Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his sinister cartel.
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Car buffs will be interested to know that Universal worked closely with Dennis McCarthy, who designed the movies’ iconic rides, to create 15 replica cars for the new attraction. Universal is also the only place that you can see these vehicles in real life, including Dom’s Charger, Letty’s Turbo Truck and others.
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Get ready to embark on a whitewater raft adventure like no other when Infinity Falls opens at SeaWorld Orlando this summer. Set on a lost jungle river, the journey will send you through fountains and waterfalls before dropping 40 feet into churning water – the largest drop of its kind in the world!
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SeaWorld will debut more big thrills with Ray Rush, a new attraction at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, featuring three methods of soaking fun. Water jets will launch your raft in a burst of speed, sending you spinning through a water sphere before you swoop across giant manta wings.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort
LEGOLAND Florida Resort is giving brick-lovers the chance to put the pedal to the plastic with The Great LEGO Race, the first virtual-reality (VR) roller coaster experience designed for children. The attraction features VR headsets that make riders believe they are blasting through a world made of LEGO bricks as they race against a pharaoh, a pirate, a wizard and other fun characters.
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Also new at LEGOLAND Florida is LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens MINILAND Model Display. Based on its titular hit movie, the giant display uses thousands of LEGO bricks, lights, sound effects and animation to re-create key scenes featuring Rey, Finn, Poe, Kylo Ren and BB-8.
More New Orlando Attractions
You will find even more new thrills beyond Orlando’s theme parks this summer, starting on International Drive – the walkable dining, shopping and attractions district that is close to Universal Orlando and SeaWorld.
In May, Justice League: A Call for Heroes will debut at Madame Tussauds Orlando, which is part of the I-Drive 360 dining and entertainment complex. Here, you can jump into the action as a loyal sidekick to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill’s Superman and Ben Affleck’s Batman as you fight against the evil LexCorp.
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Next door to I-Drive 360, the Orlando StarFlyer will open on 1st June at the Vue at 360 complex. Towering over Orlando at 450 feet tall – making it the tallest ride of its kind in the world – the attraction will offer open-air views of the destination for up to 24 guests at once, swinging through the air at speeds up to 60 mph.
Drive Shack in Orlando
Lake Nona, an upscale Orlando neighbourhood about 20 minutes from Orlando International Airport, is also gaining new reasons to visit. First, Drive Shack is a three-storey, 60,000-sq.ft golf-entertainment concept with 90 hitting bays, a free-play game lounge loaded with classics, a full-service restaurant and bar, and other features. It premiered in April.
Later this summer, Nona Adventure Park will open for business. Ideal for thrill-seekers and adventurers, the new attraction will feature rock-climbing towers, an inflatable water park, the world’s first solar-powered waterski and wakeboard cable park, a pro shop, a bistro, and a snack shop.
Orlando’s Official Visitor Center
Once you have arrived in Orlando, be sure to stop by the state-of-the-art Official Visitor Center on International Drive. There, you can take advantage of cool photo opportunities and immersion into some of the top attractions, as well as resources and advice from knowledgeable Vacation Guides. You can even nab a free gift bag while supplies last!