We look forward to what is coming our way in Orlando and its theme parks in 2017.
2016 was a phenomenally exciting year in the Orlando theme parks.
Big new launches included:
• the superfast and twisty Mako rollercoaster at SeaWorld Orlando
• Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
• A spellbinding new Frozen Ever After ride at Disney’s Epcot World Showcase’s Norwegian Pavilion (complete with nearby Ana and Elsa meet and greets)
• A fab new – and much anticipated – Tree of Life light show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
• Star Wars Meet and Greets in Disney’s Hollywood Studios plus a thrilling new Star Wars themed fireworks and lights show
• Great new shopping and dining experiences at the newly revamped downtown Disney area which was relaunched at Disney Springs.
I know what you’re thinking… How can 2017 top that? Well, judging by the news coming out of the parks and elsewhere in Orlando, 2017 is shaping up to be another exciting year of new rides and experiences.
Here’s our pick of what we’re looking forward to!
1. Lego Ninjago
LEGOLAND has already beaten everyone else to the punch and kicked off the year with an exciting new opening on January 12.
Its popular Ninjago range is the theme of the new area of its Florida park, which includes a kid-friendly dark ride.
2. Volcano Bay
Tickets for Universal’s new water park went on sale at the end of last year with gates due to open in June 2017. Universal says Volcano Bay’s mix of rides, slides, cafes, pools and chill out areas will reinvent the waterpark – and we can’t wait!
3. Miss Fortune Falls
Meanwhile Disney is enhancing its Typhoon Lagoon waterpark with a new raft-style ride called Miss Fortune Falls due to open in Spring 2017. When it opens, it will be the longest ride at either of Disney’s Orlando waterparks.
Disney’s biggest news this year, however, is Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, set to open in the summer.
This new area is based on the world featured in the Avatar movie. It will include two rides: AVATAR Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey, plus a Satu’li Canteen restaurant, Pongu Pongu drink location and Windtraders merchandise shop.
6. SeaWorld Dolphin Nursery
SeaWorld is continuing to re-position itself with a greater focus on conservation and changes to the dolphin nursery to allow greater visibility are part of this.
7. A Virtual Kraken
SeaWorld’s also continuing to invest in rides to shift the focus of the park and its Orlando park will debut its first digitally enhanced ride experience in 2017. Its Kraken rollercoaster will be transformed into a virtual reality rollercoaster experience, the first of its kind in Florida.
Outside the parks…
8. Top Golf
This chain of sociable driving ranges is opening a new location in Orlando in Fall 2017. It will include more than a hundred climate-controlled hitting bays, a full-service restaurant and bars, private event spaces and a rooftop terrace with fire pit.
9. Andretti Karts
Also on Universal Boulevard, Andretti Karts is due to open in June 2017. It will feature a 160,000+ square feet indoor climate-controlled facility with high-speed electric super-karts on a two-level track. Plus, bowling, a ropes course, a rock wall, zip line, arcade games and racing simulators, Laser Tag, a dark ride interactive motion theater and a restaurant, the Andretti Grill.
10. New homes!
We’re adding to our range of homes all the time, so you can be even more confident that we can find you a home you like in the area you want, backed up by the Ellis Exclusive Villas commitment to excellent service and all the added extra services you choose.
Even further ahead, the biggest news outside the parks remains the SkyPlex Rollercoaster.
At 501 feet tall, it will be Orlandos’s – and the world’s – tallest rollercoaster, but you will have to wait until 2019 for it to open its doors. In the meantime, watch this: