Fireworks over Walt Disney World. Photo courtesy of Laura Begley Bloom.
Orlando recently announced that it is the most-visited destination in the United States: 72 million people came here in 2017 alone. And it's no wonder. This city is a family-friendly playground that's home to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and so much more.
Orlando is constantly adding attractions, hotels and restaurants, so there is always something new for visitors to experience. In fact, in the last five years, more than 100 new attractions, resorts and themed restaurants have opened, and this summer, another 10 family-friendly attractions will be added to the already dazzling list.
My 5-year-old daughter Lucy and I went on a recent jaunt to Orlando to get a sneak peek at the news and check out some of the classics. Here's what we're most excited about right now.
Where to Play
Whatever gets your motor racing, you'll find it in Orlando, from heart-thumping rollercoasters to mind-blowing 3D rides to drenching (and thrilling!) waterslides. These are the latest and the greatest.
Toy Story Land 2. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World.
- 1/23 Toy Story Land 2
Do the names Buzz Lightyear, Sheriff Woody and Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl ring a bell? Everyone's buzzing over Walt Disney World's big news: the opening of Toy Story Land 2, inspired by the Pixar films. This massive new land sprawls across 11 acres at Disney's Hollywood Studios and will make you feel like you have shrunk to the size of a toy. We can't wait to ride Slinky Dog Dash, a roller coaster inspired by Slinky’s coils, and Alien Swirling Saucers, which incorporates rocket ships and the green aliens from Pizza Planet.
- 2/23 Disney Skyliner
If you've been to Walt Disney World, you know that getting around is no easy feat. So the soon-to-open Skyliner will be a welcome addition. These gondolas will whisk you between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as well as three resort hotels: Caribbean Beach Resort, Pop Century and Art of Animation.
- 3/23 Legoland Florida Resort
Legoland — it's not just for Legos. The resort is unveiling Great Lego Race VR Coaster, its first virtual reality roller coaster. Designed specifically for children, it's loaded with mind-bending special effects.
- 4/23 The Lego Ninjago – Master of the 4th Dimension
Newly opened in January 2018, this attraction features a short film that combines 3D computer animation with 4D real-world effects, all adding up to an amazing ninja adventure.