Life is a Rollercoaster: Exciting Experiences Heading to Orlando in 2024
By Richard Jones
With its world-class theme parks, famed restaurants and sprawling family resorts, there’s no wonder Orlando is the most visited holiday destination in America.
Are you planning on breaking your Florida duck next year, or revisiting the Sunshine State that already holds some special memories?
Either way, here is what’s happening in the Theme Park Capital of the World in 2024.
Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will take guests on a musical adventure inspired by Princess and the Frog. Picking up where the hit animated movie left off, guests will join Tiana, Naveen and jazz-loving alligator Louis on an adventure through the bayou as they prepare to host a Mardi Gras celebration. Along the way, they will encounter familiar faces, make new friends and travel along to original music inspired by the film. WDW’s new speed coaster TRON Lightcycle Run opened in April 2023, and as Walt Disney Company celebrated its 100th anniversary, it also splashed out on Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana.
With the likes of Mako and Ice Breaker, SeaWorld Orlando already has a reputation as the Coaster Capital of Orlando. The theme park is about to take visitors’ breaths away once again with its all-new attraction Penguin Trek. Arriving in spring 2024, SeaWorld’s eagerly awaited eighth coaster features unique snowmobile-styled ride cars from which riders embark on an exhilarating journey through the breathtaking vastness of Antarctica as they join a research mission unlike any other. But what sets this experience apart is its unparalleled finale, as guests find themselves among the feathered inhabitants in a penguin colony.
Universal Orlando Resort
After focusing on its Harry Potter and Jurassic World attractions in recent years, Universal Orlando Resort is set to unveil an enchanting new world dedicated to the cherished characters of DreamWorks Animation. Encompassing beloved figures from Trolls, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Gabby’s Dollhouse, this exciting addition on the site of the former KidZone area is aimed at families with younger children, but teenagers and adults are sure to enjoy it too.
Epcot, Walt Disney World
Anyone who’s been to Epcot will tell you that their night-time spectaculars are legendary. The park’s new show, Luminous: The Symphony of Us, makes its debut this December. It features dazzling fireworks, fountains, lights and music, and is made up of a series of movements, each representing life experiences. Punctuating these movements are two original songs specially written for the spectacular, as well as new arrangements of Disney songs we all know and love, including You’ll Be in My Heart, You’ve Got a Friend in Me, Friend Like Me, Remember Me and I See the Light.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort
Earlier this year, LEGOLAND opened its newest attraction – Pirate River Quest. The family-friendly treasure hunt, takes guests through the uncharted waters of the legendary Cypress Gardens to discover the secrets protecting its canals. In addition, it will be race time next year as guests take part in the new LEGO Ferrari Build & Race Experience. Opening in the spring, the attraction will feature three interactive zones – in which you create your own Ferrari race car, test and digitally build it, and race it on the virtual track.
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Expect a blaze of excitement in Tampa Bay this spring, as Busch Gardens, the theme park about an hour from Orlando, brings a legend to life. Based in its Pantopia area, Phoenix Rising sees guests soaring above the Serengeti Plain before going on an exploratory journey. Riders will feel the rush of the wind and thrill of the flight as they travel at speeds up to 44mph and swing side to side while listening to a one-of-a-kind soundtrack. Throw into the mix the new Iron Gwazi and Serengeti flyer rides, and you’re in for a thrilling day out.
Where to stay
Evermore Orlando Resort
Opening in late 2023, this enormous 10,000-bedroom hotel complex and beach paradise offers holidaymakers an array of accommodations. It’s all centred around the stunning Evermore Bay (top image), an eight-acre crystal-clear lagoon with 20 acres of beach, where activities include swimming, kayaking, golf and much more. Also onsite, is the new Conrad Orlando with its meeting spaces, spa, numerous dining options and rooftop experiences.
Hotel Flor, Tampa
Formally known as the historic Floridian Palace Hotel, which opened in 1926, the amazing Hotel Flor has been completely transformed and is now part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton. Following its major $30million renovation, the Roaring Twenties come alive with The Dan, a modern take on an old-school speakeasy with a menu inspired by local Floridian Gulf Coast cuisine. The hotel is centrally located in Downtown Tampa with easy access to the Tampa Riverwalk, as well as the Port of Tampa.
For more information on holidays in Florida, go to visitorlando.com and visittampabay.com
Virgin Atlantic flies all year round to Orlando from Edinburgh, Manchester and London Heathrow. For more information and to book, visit: virginatlantic.com