Archive | Coming Attractions

New Attractions Coming to Central Florida 2016

Instead of reflecting upon the past, let’s focus on new attractions coming to Central Florida theme parks in 2016. After all, most tourists don’t research a destination after they’ve been there! If you will be visiting the Orlando area in 2016, you have a lot to look forward to.

New Attractions Coming to Disney


Frozen Ever After is being expanded with a new boat ride within the Norway pavilion. Climb aboard and be taken away to the kingdom of Arendelle. You will sail past “Frozen” characters from many movie scenes and hear the popular songs from the soundtrack. The experience will also take guests by Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, Sven’s Winter in Summer festival, the ever popular snowman Olaf, the giant evil snowman Marshmallow, Troll Valley and of course Elsa’s palace. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: A meet-and-greet opportunity with Elsa and Anna is also in the works which will provide a great opportunity for autographs and photo ops.

Frozen Ever After - new attractions coming in 2016

The “Frozen Ever After” ride will debut at Epcot early 2016. (Disney)

A third theater and new 4K projection system will be added to Epcot’s “Soarin’ Around the World.” At this updated attraction guests will be able to fly above some of the world’s most unique locations and famed wonders. The Great Wall of China, the plains of Africa and Monument Valley have been included in that list.

Animal Kingdom

“Rivers of Light” will be introduced in 2016 even though the World of Avatar will not be complete next year. This new attraction will expand the park hours later into the evening as it combines live performers with floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. Another new ride, Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris, will feature African wild dogs and hyenas for guests that brave the after-dark trek.

The Landing (Disney Springs)

STK will open in the spring. This modern steakhouse will join several other restaurants that have opened in this newly reimagined Disney property once known as Downtown Disney. This will be one of the largest STK’s in the country spanning 14,000 square feet, with two dining floors, a main level and rooftop dining. See our complete guide to Disney Springs…

New Attractions Coming to SeaWorld

Everyone is excited about the Mako Coaster coming to SeaWorld. The 200-foot-tall roller coaster will be the centerpiece of a two-acre shark exhibit with an underwater theme. For awhile it should be the tallest roller coaster, although a taller one is in the works just down the road called Skyscraper opening on I-drive in 2017 (500 feet). Mako Coaster joins Kraken and Manta and should quickly rank in the top 10 of roller coaster rides world-wide.

Mako Coaster coming to SeaWorld

New Attractions Coming to Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure

The next generation of King Kong attractions at Universal Orlando will open next year as Skull Island: Reign of Kong. This new attraction will take riders on a 1930s expedition into the jungle island home of the beast rather than bring the ape to civilization. There will be no chained captive here! ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Also opening in 2016 is a new hotel on Universal property called Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. It is being built around a tropical lagoon and towering waterfall. Universal is already accepting reservations for the summer of 2016.

New Attractions Coming to Busch Gardens

Cobra’s Curse is a new attraction coming to Central Florida at Busch Gardens in Tampa. This family spin coaster will take guests on a ride ascending vertically then turning to face an 80-foot snake prior to being taken on a ride of your life over the Serengeti Plain. Height requirement will be a minimum of 42 inches. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Be sure to experience Falcon’s Fury while you’re there!

Cobra's Curse new attraction coming to Busch Gardens

Let’s Peek Ahead to 2017

When attending a theme park next year, count on having to deal with construction. We already know a few of the new attractions coming to Central Florida in 2017. A few are going to be huge additions! They will include:

  • Skyplex Surf Park
  • Skyscraper Coaster
  • Jimmy Fallon Ride at Universal
  • Toy Story & Star Wars themed lands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (including a ride which will place guests behind the controls of the Millenium Falcon)
  • Universal Studios Volcano Bay Water Park
  • Animal Kingdom’s Pandora, based on the movie “Avatar”

Be sure to check back here at Orlando Tourist Tips as your trip to Central Florida gets nearer. We’ll be posting news to help keep you up-to-date with our ever-changing theme park world. With so many great places to visit in Orlando and around the Central Florida area, you may have to take more than one vacation!

Happy new year, and we’ll see you in 2016!

Na’vi River Journey Canoe Ride

At the recent D23 (Disney’s official fan club) expo in Japan, it was announced that the still under-construction Pandora section of Animal Kingdom will include a family-friendly canoe ride called the Na’vi River Journey.

Na'vi River Journey

Na’vi River Journey will open with Pandora – The World of AVATAR in 2017 within Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

This new attraction will allow park visitors to get an up close and personal view of the environment and creatures first introduced in the Oscar-winning 2009 film, Avatar. As guests venture down the sacred river during the Na’vi River Journey, they will be cast in purple and blue hues as the bioluminescent rainforest springs to life around them. The journey comes to an end upon encountering a Na’vi shaman, who has a strong connection to the life force of the Pandora landscape. She will be sending positive energy throughout the entirety of the rainforest with the music she makes, a portrayal that rings true with the spirituality of the Na’vi people originally presented in the film.

Though the details surrounding Animal Kingdom’s Pandora are rather elusive, a 2017 opening date can be expected for the Na’vi River Journey, along with the rest of Pandora. Disney originally announced the Pandora Project in September of 2011, with construction beginning in early 2014.

Also recently announced for Pandora is an attraction called Avatar Flight of Passage, an experience meant to simulate flying with banshees (if you don’t remember, those are the giant dragon-like creatures the Na’vi people fly around with). Speculation has run rampant around this ride, with some saying that the technology employed with be similar to what Universal Studios used for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction. Guests with young children will probably be more apt to ride the Na’vi River Journey — the banshees and technology used for Avatar Flight of Passage does not sound like it is geared towards younger children.

Other Animal Kingdom attractions that are currently being worked on are Rivers of Light (the Animal Kingdom Equivalent to Magic Kingdom’s Wishes firework show or Hollywood Studios’ Fantasmic), a nighttime version of Kilimanjaro safaris and live performances on the park’s Discovery River.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you’re staying on Disney property, be sure to book those fast passes early! Resort guests get first dibs on fast passes up to 60 days before their hotel check-in date, while annual pass holders don’t get access until 30 days before their visit. In the past, when Disney has opened new attractions (most recently, Mine Train at Magic Kingdom), the queues have been outrageously long, with wait times regularly running higher than two hours on particularly busy days. Folks who purchase day passes have virtually no chance of snatching up the limited number of fast passes offered for these new, big ticket attractions such as Na’vi River Journey, so odds are, they’ll have to endure the lengthy wait. Resort guests, take advantage! Animal Kingdom has limited ride offerings as it is, so these new additions are bound to be swarmed!


Jimmy Fallon Ride Coming to Universal Studios

Jimmy Fallon  Ride – Race Through New York – 2017

Jimmy Fallon Ride

Folks visiting Orlando will now be able to get a taste of New York on their trip: Universal Studios has confirmed that Jimmy Fallon will be getting his very own theme park ride, set in New York. Tonight Show lovers and theme park enthusiasts alike, rejoice!

The Jimmy Fallon ride will be located in Universal Studios (not to be confused with Islands of Adventure). It will be replacing the Twister… Ride It Out experience, which closed on November 2, 2015. The SNL alum announced the ride himself on his late night TV show. (Watch the You Tube video below.)

While details are limited, Fallon wants the ride to pay homage to his hometown, New York. The ride, Race Through New York With Jimmy Fallon, is inspired partly by the crazy celebrity races that have been so popular on The Tonight Show since Fallon began hosting.

Supposedly, riders will get to embark on a journey through the infamous studio 6B for a taping guests aren’t likely to forget— where they themselves will be challenged by Jimmy to an epic race throughout the streets of New York that they will not soon forget.

Guests will find themselves shooting through the New York streets, seeing everything from the insides of subway tunnels, to Central Park, to skyscrapers, with some familiar faces and famous landmarks thrown in. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Some surprises should be expected— Jimmy likes to make detours! Smoke and water effects will also to be a part of the experience.

Fallon went as far as to compare his ride to the renowned Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, with the main difference being that “it’s New York City” instead of Hogwarts!

Fallon seemed to be biting his tongue during the announcement, so we can only imagine what other surprises are in store! Unfortunately, Universal Studios guests will have to be content with other attractions for now — Race Through New York With Jimmy Fallon isn’t expected to open until 2017.

King Kong, Skyfall & New Water Park Coming to Orlando

Waiting is difficult for those wanting to experience the returning King Kong ride at Universal Studios or the new Skyfall ride coming to the SkyPlex attraction in Orlando. We also learned recently the rumor of a new water park at Universal is most likely true. The wait has begun. These new features and Orlando theme parks will be here soon enough; a lot of preparation is required. New attractions just don’t magically appear – even in our magical vacation land!

King Kong Ride is Coming Back

You may remember the old King Kong ride. “Kongfrontation” opened in Universal Studios Florida in 1990 and closed in 2002. It involved a tram ride and a large Kong beast. As technology progresses, the new Kong ride will be an all-new experience. Comcast recently confirmed the return of the ride, but few details are being released. It’s anyone’s guess as to what features will be built into the new attraction. It will most likely be located between Jurassic Park River Adventure and Toon Lagoon in Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Details will be announced as the year progresses – stay tuned to Orlando Tourist Tips. It may not open until 2016, but the push is on to get it out prior to the release of the movie “Skull Island.” Legendary Entertainment is expected to release the film in 2017, maybe sooner. This movie tells a tale of King Kong’s home – before westerners intervened. The story will be something to look forward to and could very well be incorporated into the new attraction.

New King Kong ride coming to Universal


Submitted plans tipped off rumors concerning a new Water Park at Universal Studios in Orlando

Universal’s New Water Park

Plans have been submitted for a new water park, and rumors are spreading like wild fire. Where’s the water to put them out? Near Cabana Bay Beach Resort, that’s where. The new water park will include a volcano with slides, a lazy river and rapids ride, a wave pool and many other features packed within the 25 ± acres.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you hear of “Volcano Bay” or “Wondersea Island” or another new water park coming to Orlando, this is the Universal Studios Water Park. The documents that helped spread the rumor earlier this year, project the construction continuing through November of 2016.

SkyFall and StarFlyer Rides Coming to SkyPlex

As written in an earlier post, the I-drive area is seeing a boom in new Orlando attractions. It is hard to keep up with it all. I-Drive 360 is an entertainment complex just south of the intersection of International Drive and Sand Lake Drive. It is set to open to the public on May 4, 2015. We know in addition to the Orlando Eye, another attraction complex called SkyPlex is adding new rides across the road. Orange County will need to seriously consider a pedestrian overpass, because these attractions go so well with each other.

The Skyscraper Polercoaster (the world’s tallest roller coaster), StarFlyer (swing ride) and the SkyFall (drop tower) are in the plans for SkyPlex. There will also be an observation deck at the top of the giant structure. The view from 535 feet off the ground is sure to show a growing Orlando.

SkyFall will be built inside the Polercoaster ride. It will drop 16 people at a time from 450 feet up. Be sure to look around on the 40 second ride to the top, because after the 15 second hold at the top, the 10 second ride down may be spent with your eyes closed! That’s 90 miles per hour! This new Orlando attraction is expected to be complete in 2017.

SkyPlex in Orlando

With so much to do in Orlando already, many people return to Central Florida each year trying to fit in what is already open. Sounds like the coming months and years will offer tourist even more reasons to return again and again. The new attractions will be thrilling, but waiting for them is so difficult!

Action Sports & Entertainment Resort Coming to Central Florida

Most visitors to Florida, especially in the Winter months, are trying to escape the snow, however, developers of a newly proposed Action Sports & Entertainment Resort wish to change that. Developers have unveiled a $309 million resort near the intersection of U.S. 192 and S.R. 535 that might include a 14-story ski and snowboard mountain. The 75-acre site being considered would also include many other action sports activities. Forget about the ride-oriented theme parks! This one is going to get you moving!

Xero Gravity Action Sports LLC plans to develop this large resort, however, they are still investigating the property. The location being considered is a previously wooded area just east of the Target store at 4795 West Irlo Bronson (U.S. 192). It is about four miles east of Celebration, near Disney World and other primary Orlando theme parks.

It is estimated that over one million guests would attend the resort each year, and they would employ 1,000 people. A study performed also projects approximately $1.97 billion taxable sales would be generated over a ten-year period. The developers are looking to Osceola County for incentives and financing.

Action Sports & Entertainment Resort

Proposed layout of a new Action Sports & Entertainment Resort coming to Central Florida in 2018.

Action Sports & Entertainment Resort

So what would an Action Sport Resort look like? Not only would it include the huge ski/snowboard mountain (with fake snow), it will also have nine snow tubing lanes. Another portion of the park would offer a 25,000 square foot indoor/outdoor skateboard park, a BMX sanctioned race track, a rock climbing course, zip line, water slides and more. For the Entertainment Resort side, plans are to offer sports shows and clinics, as well as daily competitions. That’s not all. Additional features of the Action Sports & Entertainment Resort include:

  • 250-room Hyatt branded hotel with roof top pool and bar
  • International Action Sports Hall of Fame
  • Two “skydiving pods”
  • 20,000 square foot indoor dodge-ball trampoline arena
  • Challenge course, rock climbing up to 140 feet and zip lining throughout the park
  • A “rapid river” and two 14-story waterslides by WhiteWater
  • 2,000 seat amphitheater
  • Swimming pools, cabanas, day spa
  • Restaurants

“We are developing a one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment resort which provides unique hands-on experiences. We will be hosting televised pro and amateur competitions, think X-games, with sports shows and clinics, and we will have daily competitions at all venues for visitors who like to compete.”
               -Larry Walshaw, CEO and founder of Xero Gravity

New Resort Details

The costs to participate and many other details will come at a later date as they are announced. Up until recently, the new project had been kept secret. It’s not a secret any longer! Now that the news is out, some people are skeptical that the new resort will ever be developed. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: A fairly large deposit ($50k) has already been made for the property with another due by April 20, 2015. Once that date arrives, we’ll have a better idea if snow skiing is coming to Florida. Stay tuned!

Don’t put away your snowboard just yet. On your next vacation to Central Florida, you may want to bring it with you! The first action theme park may open early 2018. So you have plenty of time to work on your landing switch. If you’re not comfortable on the slopes, don’t worry. There will be over 27 exciting adventurous activities for the entire family. I’m already looking forward to a vicious game of dodge-ball. Are you ready to play?