Florida’s theme parks are getting ready for their busiest season with new rides, shows and perks, and we have rounded up a guide to the best new things to see.
With more than 112 million visitors in 2016 (a record), Florida remains the top travel destination in the world. We have some of the world’s prettiest beaches and waterways, but also five of the 10 most-visited theme parks. Record sales have inspired the industry to spend millions on ever-more-exciting attractions.
Two of the year’s most expensive new attractions are opening for Memorial Day weekend. Read on for our previews of what to expect at Pandora — The World of Avatar, based on the 2009 James Cameron film. The huge new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is estimated to cost $500 million. Meanwhile, Universal Orlando opens its third theme park, a new water park named Volcano Bay with an estimated $200 million investment.
We’re also taking a look at Florida’s other theme parks and attractions, from Busch Gardens in Tampa to Legoland’s new ride based on the TV show Ninjago, to the zoos and aquariums around Tampa Bay. They are all clamoring for a piece of the more than $67 billion in vacation dollars spent in the Sunshine State, so we keep an eye out for what that money gets you. And just for good measure, we’ve thrown in an insider tip in all our previews.
Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle as we venture into this summer’s top attractions.
Also, learn what apps can help you skip lines and how theme parks are going digital.
Animal Kingdom takes visitors to an alien world of Pandora.
A 30-acre water park, Volcano Bay, opens for thrill- or chill-seekers.
Kraken will reopen in June with a virtual-reality twist.
You can ride some rides after dark when Summer Nights Dance Party reopens.
Kid-friendly Legoland opens a Ninjago ride, a new play area.
You don't have to drive far: Enjoy new features near your home.