The Latest, Greatest and “Can’t Miss” for Your Orlando Family VacationSponsored
Known as the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” Orlando has plenty of new, incredible experiences for the whole family to create lasting memories. From thrilling theme parks to outdoor escapades, there’s adventure waiting for every member of your family. Here’s what you need to know.
New at the Theme Parks
Theme park aficionados can enjoy several new attractions and expansions across multiple parks.
Make a splash at Volcano Bay, Universal Orlando Resort’s new water theme park. Volcano Bay offers innovative, thrilling attractions such as the Ko’kiri Body Plunge, which sends you down a 70-degree fall through a drop door. This dizzying 125-foot decent ends with a watery tribute from the volcano god, Vol. The park also offers peaceful moments of relaxation, like the Kopiko Wai Winding River, where you can take a slow ride through Volcano Bay’s tropical landscape and beneath the lava rocks, while Stargazer’s Cavern reveals a magical night sky above.
Dig deep into a new world and explore Pandora – The World of AVATAR at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort. The new Avatar-inspired land is the largest expansion in Animal Kingdom’s history, featuring floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and a Banshee flying attraction, as well as new after-dark entertainment.
Thrillseekers can take in Kraken Unleashed, SeaWorld’s first digitally enhanced ride experience. The legendary ride was transformed into a virtual reality (VR) roller coaster in summer 2017. Using new technology, this experience takes you on a deep sea mission alongside creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past, including the mighty Kraken.
Beyond the theme parks, new attractions along Orlando’s popular International Drive promise to deliver a fun day with a dash of friendly competition
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is a new $30 million indoor go-kart attraction located on Universal Boulevard near the convention center. The new facility features electronic go-karting, zip lines, bowling, racing simulators, a sky bar, rock climbing, laser tag and a full-service restaurant.
Ever wanted to skydive without the anxiety of jumping out of an airplane? iFly Indoor Skydiving opened in a new facility with two all-glass wind tunnels in an open single-story floor plan, the facility is conveniently located where I-Drive passersby can see you take flight!
Main Event Entertainment Orlando is located in the retail, dining and entertainment complex, Pointe Orlando. The 45,000 square-foot entertainment mecca offers everything from American fare and handcrafted cocktails, to more than 100 virtual and interactive games, state-of-the-art bowling and the first free roam multi-player virtual reality game in the U.S.
Swing by Topgolf Entertainment Group, one of the top golfing entertainment complexes in the world. The new 65,000-square-foot venue includes 230 high-definition flat-screen TVs, more than 100 climate-controlled hitting bays that can host up to six players at one time, and advanced technology to track the accuracy and distance of players’ shots.
Orlando’s unique outdoor adventures make hearts race and spirits soar. Adventurers looking to fly high can ride the first zip line roller coaster in the U.S. at Forever Florida. Pedal through the treetops over forested wetlands, conquer Central Florida’s biggest zip line adventures or explore 4,700 acres of pristine conservation lands by horseback or Wild Coach.
Orlando’s new tennis paradise at USTA’s National Campus offers lessons for all skill levels for kids and adults. This game-changing campus is designed to enhance the sport at every level and create an unparalleled playing, training and educational experience for all players, coaches and spectators.
Did you know Orlando has more than 150 miles of paved trails? There’s no better way to explore the views by cruising along on two wheels. Rent a bike (or bring your own own) for guided tours along the West Orange Trail and ride through some of Central Florida’s historic towns, including picturesque Winter Garden.
Head over to Rock Springs and take your water activities to the next level. Get Up & Go Kayaking provides clear kayaks that offer stunning views of the crystal clear water, as well as otters and colorful fish as they swim by. Be sure to pack your swimsuit and a snorkel mask as the water stays a refreshing temperature of 70 degrees all year long.
Orlando like a Local
See another side of Orlando, like the locals, by exploring neighborhood hidden gems, relaxing on a boat tour or by indulging in Orlando’s flourishing dining scene.
Held at the old train depot, year-round every Saturday morning starting at 7 a.m., the Winter Park Farmers market is a popular community gathering place that provides local vendors and farmers a place to sell their homemade and homegrown specialties, including fruits, vegetables, organic produce, plants, baked goods and more.
Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour, located on Lake Osceola, offers hour-long, guided cruises through three of the seven lakes and two narrow manmade canals on the tranquil Winter Park chain. Participants will also learn the history of Winter Park, Central Florida’s oldest community originally founded by wealthy Easterners in the 1800’s.
Take in the sights, sounds and — most importantly — the delicious scents of Orlando’s newly dubbed Bakery District. Located in Orlando’s Audubon Park neighborhood, these independently owned shops offer a fresh take on baking. The district offers everything from artisan bread from Olde Hearth Bread Company to locally-famous giant cookies at Gideon’s Bakehouse to six-inch small pies at P is for Pie, made from locally-sourced, in-season fruit.
Theme parks make Orlando stand out and local hidden gems make the city shine. Families can enjoy a wide variety of activities from the leisurely stroll in the city’s neighborhood to thrilling rollercoaster experiences across seven theme parks.
For more information on special year-round events or discounted attraction tickets, go to VisitOrlando.com.