Abracadabra! New Orlando Attractions For Summer

Abracadabra! New Orlando Attractions For Summer

By Georgina Cruz

Treasure Coast families considering a summer vacation in Florida may
wish to consider Orlando. The city knows a trick or two when it comes
to new attractions: it keeps revealing them, one after another, like
the bunnies that come out of a magician’s top hat. Here are some new
attractions for families this summer:

·       In the heart of the city’s tourism corridor, on International
Drive, I-Drive 360 is a recently opened retail, dining and
entertainment complex with a trio of new attractions from Merlin
Entertainments. Highlights are The Orlando  Eye, a 400-foot-tall
observation wheel providing views of Central Florida in all directions
within  enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules; Madame Tussauds, the
celebrity wax attraction, that offers visitors the ultimate fame
experience with its signature red carpet treatment; and SEA LIFE
Orlando with displays of colorful fish, sharks, jellyfish, sea horses
and more. The Yardhouse, Tin Roof and more retail, restaurants and
entertainment add to the experience.

·       At Walt Disney World, new experiences have arrived from a
galaxy, far, far away to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These include
Star Wars Launch Bay, a central locale for fans to celebrate the
popular series, new scenes from the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens
in the park’s Star Tours – The Adventures Continue ride, a re-imagined
Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, where youngsters can “train” with
lightsabers and “fight” Darth Vader, Seventh Sister Inquisitor from
the Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels. Also new at Disney’s Hollywood
Studios is a nighttime fireworks show featuring lasers, special
effects and video projection themed to the entire Star Wars saga. The
First Order seizes the park with its show of force in a procession of
Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma and guests can also encounter Kylo
Ren inside the Star Wars Launch Bay. Fans can also feel the full power
of the force with the new live stage show, “Star Wars” A Galaxy Far,
Far Away.”  This celebration of the iconic Star Wars moments features
movie vignettes and popular characters such as Chewbacca, BB-8, R2-D2,
C-3PO, Kylo Ren, Darth Vader and Darth Maul. At Disney’s Animal
Kingdom Park new nightly entertainment began on Memorial Day Weekend
including a new nighttime show projected onto the park’s Tree of Life,
featuring visual effects and sounds, along with a new
limited-engagement show on the Discovery River based on Disney’s new
feature film, “The Jungle Book.” Also at Animal Kingdom Park, The
Kilimanjaro Safaris extends their tours into the night with enhanced
sunset and moon glow lighting effects along the animal tour. The
experience becomes entirely new at night as the animals become
nocturnal along with the additions of hyenas and African wild dogs to
the collection. In Epcot, the Norway Pavilion becomes the new home for
Queen Elsa and Princess Anna of the animated movie Frozen. Guests are
transported into the kingdom of Arendelle and visit Elsa’s ice palace
in a new boat ride attraction and then meet the royal sisters in a new
Royal Sommerhus, modeled after a traditional Norwegian cabin. Also, in
Epcot, beginning on June 17, guests can take “flight” on a new Soarin’
Around the World experience at The Land Pavilion. A third theater has
also been added to the attraction taking even more guests on an aerial
above many of the world’s wonders.

·       Walt Disney World Resort has transformed Downtown Disney into
Disney Springs doubling the number of shops, restaurants and other
venues. The new area started opening last year and novelties include,
Morimoto Asia, a one-of-a-kind dining experience created by Chef
Masaharu Morimoto, of Iron Chef America fame. For the master chef’s
first pan-Asian dining experience, Morimoto Asia’s 36-foot tall,
two-story layout includes a vast range of areas including open
terraces, a grand hall, private rooms, long bar, cocktail lounge,
waterside seating and more. The BOATHOUSE is another new  upscale,
restaurant at Disney Springs that immerses guests with experiences
beyond the cuisine (their seafood, by the way, is delectable). Guests
can listen to live music or take a Captain’s guided tour aboard The
Venezia, a 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi featuring champagne
toasts and chocolate-covered strawberries. The BOATHOUSE has three
distinctive bars, one built over the water. Guests can enjoy a gourmet
menu served daily until 2 a.m. and featuring steaks, chops, the
aforementioned fresh seafood and a raw bar.

·       At Universal Orlando Resort, the Harry Potter attraction has
been expanded and now encompasses the Hogwarts castle and Hogsmeade
village at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and next door in Universal
Studios Florida theme park visitors can enter Diagon Alley, to go on a
multi-dimensional thrill ride and other experiences. Also Universal
Orlando Resort has announced a new groundbreaking attraction opening
this summer at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. “Skull Island: Reign
of Kong” honors one of the most monumental figures in movie history,
King Kong. Guests will board large vehicles and explore ancient temple
structures while encountering “hostile natives” and fending off
“unspeakable terrors.”

·       At SeaWorld Orlando, Mako, a brand new 200-foot-tall coaster
opened on June 10. Named for one of the ocean’s fastest known sharks,
it is billed as Orlando’s tallest, fastest, and longest roller
coaster, reaching speeds of 73 mph as it races along 4,760 feet of
steel track. It will be the centerpiece of the newly themed two-acre
plaza. The surrounding realm will be shark themed, providing guests
with the opportunity to learn about the impact humans have on sharks
and why these animals are critical to the environment.

·       IF YOU GO –

·       Lodging: Our family chose the Wyndham Orlando Resort
International Drive, a comfortable property convenient to the Orlando
Eye and other area attractions including theme parks. Visit

·       Orlando information: For details on Orlando, log on to


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