OPENING IN 2024

 

ATTRACTIONS

Walt Disney World Resort

  • Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, the all-new attraction evolving from the reimagining of Splash Mountain, will open at Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World in the summer of 2024. Guests will join characters from “The Princess and the Frog,” including Princess Tiana, Naveen and jazz-loving alligator Louis, on an adventure through the bayou as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where everyone is welcome. Guests will travel through the bayou to original music inspired by songs from the film as they are brought into the next chapter of Tiana’s story.
     
  • The Country Bear Jamboree at Magic Kingdom Park will debut a reinterpretation of its iconic Disney songs in different genres of country music that pay tribute to Nashville’s musical revues in the new show, “Country Bears Musical Jamboree.”
     
  • Magic Kingdom Park’s Adventureland will extend the story of Pirates of the Caribbean with a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge featuring the return of Peg-Leg Pete, also known as the Barker Bird, who was once stationed outside the attraction.
     
  • Star Tours - The Adventures Continue at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios will debut new additions featuring characters and locations from the new Disney+ series “Ahsoka,” “Andor” and “The Mandalorian,” beginning April 5.

Universal Orlando Resort

  • Universal Orlando Resort’s new Dreamworks Land will open at Universal Studios Florida this on June 14. The new family-friendly area, inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s characters, including Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Trolls, will feature a family-friendly roller coaster, Trolls Trollercoaster; multiple interactive play areas, including Shrek’s Swamp for Little Ogres, Poppy’s Playground, and Po’s Kung Fu Training Camp; character meet-and-greet zones; and live entertainment.
  • Universal Orlando Resort will debut a collection of experiences this summer including the all-new nighttime show, CineSational: A Symphonic Spectacular, celebrating the emotional power of music by leveraging the scores and scenes from blockbuster films that have inspired Universal Orlando’s past, present and future attractions, at Universal Studios Florida; Hogwarts Always, a new projection show at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade located at Islands of Adventure, that will take guests on a journey through moments of a school year at Hogwarts, all set against the backdrop of Hogwarts castle; and Universal Mega Movie Parade at Universal Studios Florida, a celebration of movies, and Universal’s largest daytime parade featuring 13 new floats, nearly 100 performers and special effects for guests to relive classic film moments in a new way.

SeaWorld Orlando

  • SeaWorld Orlando will debut an all-new immersive family coaster, Penguin Trek, in spring 2024. The unique attraction will be the park’s eighth roller coaster, featuring snowmobile-style cars transporting riders on an expedition through the Antarctic wilderness. The ride includes two exhilarating launches, a maze of twists and turns and a grand finale arrival at the park’s penguin habitat. 
     
  • Aquatica Orlando’s Tassie’s Underwater Twist, the world’s most digitally immersive waterslide experience, opened in March. Guests will glide through a vibrant digital underwater world full of seagrass meadows and the marine life of Australia's Shark Bay, all while twisting, turning and swirling through the 129-foot-long attraction.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort.

  • LEGOLAND Florida Resort debuted the new LEGO® Ferrari Build & Race Experience on March 8. The interactive experience puts guests in the driver’s seat to build, test and race their very own LEGO Ferraris. The cutting-edge digital technology brings guests’ creations from their imagination to the racetrack and inspiring creativity through the power of play.

Beyond the theme parks

  • AREA15, an award-winning immersive and experiential art, entertainment, dining and retail district, will debut in the heart of Orlando’s tourism corridor in 2024. Designed for visitors of all ages, the new complex will feature distinctive attractions, interactive art installations and ground-breaking technology, along with an ever-changing roster of concert events and much more.
     
  • Velocity Esports will open a new Orlando location inside Society Orlando, a 26-story downtown tower. The arcade bar will offer a vast selection of arcade and table games, esports lounges, bowling, video game tournaments and more.
     
  • Crush Yard Pickleball Club & Restaurant, a new pickleball-centric food and entertainment concept backed by NFL stars, including Rob Gronkowski, is expected to open in Kissimmee.  The new concept will feature healthy and indulgent options with a Southern flair, a large selection of self-pour beer, wine and mixed drink selections, opportunities to enjoy a game of pickleball, leagues tournaments and more.
     
  • The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts opened its fifth venue in February. The Joyce & Judson Green Room, known as Judson’s Live, offers an intimate music space that brings international, national and regional artists for audiences up to 150. 
  • Panerai by watchmaker Giovanni Panerai is now open at The Mall at Millenia, offering a range of timepieces. 
     
  • Nona Adventure Park launched The Board Room, a new family-friendly live music space, on March 8. The indoor venue will feature live entertainment and host the “Songs at Sunset” series on Friday evenings featuring local favorites, including Anthony Rouhana.
     

DINING & NIGHTLIFE

Walt Disney World Resort

  • 1900 Park Fare reopened at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World Resort on April 10. The restaurant features a new look, offering new and classic dishes for its breakfast and dinner buffets, alongside characters like Princess Tiana, Prince Aladdin, Mirabel and Cinderella.

Beyond the Parks

  • Summer House on the Lake has officially opened its doors at Disney Springs West Side at Walt Disney World Resort. The newest restaurant is by Lettuce Entertain You, offering coastal-chic vibes, a California-inspired menu and the brand’s first-ever “Cookie Bar” serving 15 differing varieties of the restaurant’s signature oversized cookies and bars in flavors like sea salt chocolate chip, birthday cake, oatmeal scotchie, apple oatmeal and vegan snickerdoodle, along with other house-made cakes and goodies available for dine-in and to-go.
     
  • EET, an all-new, modern Indian restaurant by the James Beard Award-winning chef and Food Network star, Maneet Chauhan, opened at Disney Springs in November.
     
  • Pointe Orlando will open an all-new immersive dining and entertainment experience featuring new concepts, Sports & Social and PBR Cowboy Bar, in 2024. Sports & Social will offer elevated food and wine offerings, premier sports watching, live music and social games, including skee-ball, foosball, shuffleboard and more.  PBR Cowboy Bar will feature a professionally endorsed mechanical riding bull, multiple signature bars and private VIP booths.
     
  • The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers, an Indiana-based table service restaurant and bakery, will open a new location at Disney’s BoardWalk in Walt Disney World Resort. The restaurant will offer savory and sweet options, along with afternoon tea service, in a whimsical atmosphere.
     
  • Schmankerl Stub’n, a new German restaurant, will open in downtown Orlando. The German Scratch Kitchen, formerly Bavarian Takeout, will feature German classics and modern dishes.
     
  • Lamp + Shade Craft Kitchen and Cocktails will open in 2024 in Mills Avenue's old Lamp + Shade Fair building. The restaurant will offer an Asian-influenced, tapas-style menu and a beverage menu featuring “riffs of tiki classics.”
     
  • Chuck Lager America’s Tavern, from Top Chef alumnus Favio Vivani, will open a location on International Drive. The menu will include nachos, burgers, flatbreads and tacos along with an offering of bourbons.
     
  • Big Chicken, a chicken chain owned by NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, will open in the SODO district in mid-2024. The restaurant will feature some of the star’s favorite home-cooked meals and his namesake dish, The Shaq Attack, a crispy chicken sandwich stacked with pepper jack cheese, jalapeno slaw and spicy chipotle BBQ sauce.
     
  • Bar Kada, a new concept by Michael Collantes, chef and owner of Michelin-starred Soseki, opened in March. Bar Kada will be an intimate 30-seat sake and wine lounge with a focus on small plates, ancient sakes and low-intervention wines overseen by Michelin "Sommelier of the Year" Benjamin Coutts and offer experiences like classes and pairing dinners.
     
  • Flûtes Champagne Bar, a 40-seat French-inspired champagne bar, celebrates the timeless art of champagne-making and brings the elegance, culture and flavors of France to Winter Park.
     
  • Debonair Supper Club, an all-new restaurant and lounge concept, opened in downtown Orlando. The new dining and entertainment venue will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, featuring a large collection of art, a wraparound patio, VIP lounge, wine lockers, a DJ booth, a central stage and more.
     
  • BANDBOX Orlando, the spirit-free speakeasy in Orlando’s Ivanhoe Village district, will expand in the new year. The 1920s-inspired venue is partnering with a local coffee company to offer a variety of coffee and tea options by day, and a sober speakeasy by night. The expansion will also feature a larger bottle shop and retail selection.
     
  • Moso Nori, a new concept by James Beard Award finalist and Michelin-recognized chef Henry Moso, is expecting a summer opening in Winter Park. The new restaurant will feature a hand-roll bar, serving a variety of temaki, sake, beer, wine and sake-based cocktails.
     
  • Natsu Omakase, an exclusive 10-seat sushi omakase concept, opened in downtown Orlando with an innovative and seasonal menu. The restaurant is also among the latest One-MICHELIN-Star venues in the third edition of the MICHELIN Guide Miami, Orlando and Tampa.
     
  • Mid Drive Dive, a locally owned midcentury-inspired bar and restaurant serving elevated American classics, will open in the heart of Orlando’s College Park neighborhood.
     
  • Arcade Monsters, a video game bar and restaurant, will open its fifth location on International Drive in 2024. With the purchase of a wristband, guests of all ages will be able to play unlimited classic arcade games or consoles. Classic bar food will include hot dogs, loaded fries, and pizza.
     
  • The Bao Spot, a family-owned Asian fusion restaurant, is now open at Church Street Market, offering a variety of appetizers, “space burgers,” rice bowls, churros, baos, boba teas and more.
     
  • Jack & Honey’s, an all-new upscale American diner in the heart of Thornton Park, is now open, offering all-day brunch, craft cocktails, milkshakes and more.
     
  • Ômo by Jônt, by chef Ryan Ratino, the owner of two Michelin-starred restaurants in Washington, D.C., opened Feb. 1 in Winter Park. The Japanese-French-inspired menu will present guests with 18-22 courses experienced throughout three rooms – first in a salon, second at a tasting counter and ending in a "pastry parlor." Two dinner seatings, each accommodating 16 guests, will be offered Thursday to Sunday for $245 per person, with beverage pairings starting at $195. A 14-course lunch will be offered on Saturdays. 
     
  • The Stadium Club, a new sports bar and entertainment venue, opened at the Caribe Royale Orlando Resort. The new venue features sports simulator suites offering 13 immersive sports and games to choose from, along with high-end bar food classics and signature cocktails by “Top Chef” star Janine Booth.
     
  • Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar opened its first Central Florida location in the Winter Park Village shopping center. Located next to the brand’s store, the new restaurant serves signature cocktails and menu items, including tacos, quesadillas, sliders, flatbreads and salads.
     
  • Parlor Doughnuts will open Central Florida’s first location in College Park this year. The Indiana-based chain, famous for its layered cronut-style doughnuts, will offer handcrafted beverages and 23 different flavors of doughnuts, ranging from strawberry shortcake to decadent bourbon caramel, with specialty options for gluten-free, vegan and keto dietary preferences.
     
  • Pinstripes, a Midwest-based venue, will open its doors near International Drive this month. The new space will feature made-from-scratch dining, full-service Italian/American bistro food, bowling, bocce, and more.
     
  • Birria1983, a new L.A.-style Mexican restaurant serving all things birria, has opened in downtown Orlando. The menu features items from quesabirria to birria ramen and more.
     
  • Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar opened its first Central Florida location in the Winter Park Village shopping center. Located next to the brand’s store, the new restaurant serves signature cocktails and menu items, including tacos, quesadillas, sliders, flatbreads and salads.
     
  • Drake Kitchen & Bar, a new concept by College Park’s Duck and Drake food truck operators, opened in downtown Orlando in February. The restaurant features a seasonal menu of unique international dishes made with local ingredients.
     
  • Sorekara, a new high-end Japanese concept, has opened in Baldwin Park in March.  The multi-layered restaurant experience comprises of 20-plus tasting plates, with food inspired by the 72 micro-seasons of Japan, and lasts a few hours as guests are ushered through multiple rooms. The opening will be the first of a multi-phase opening series to be completed by 2025.
     
  • The Fry Shoppe, offering Dutch-style cone fries with customizable options, opened on March 28 in Winter Park. The shop aims to provide a unique, affordable fast-dining experience with a menu featuring a choice of skin-on or crispy fries with over 10 sauces/topping options.
     
  • Curious Cork Wine & Provisions, a new wine bar concept, opened in Lake Nona. The new spot features an extensive collection of wine and beer with 64 wine taps and 18 beer taps, along with a variety of small plates and desserts.
     
  • Crispy Cones, the Idaho-based concept backed by “Shark Tank” star Barbara Corcoran, opened in the Curry Ford West Main Street District on April 5. The shop serves ice cream and extras inside a grilled dough cone where guests can build their perfect dessert with choice of cone, spread, ice cream, toppings and sauces.
     
  • Tom’s Watch Bar, a new two-story sports bar and restaurant, will open on International Drive on May 13. The venue will feature a 360-degree viewing experience and rooftop views for guests to watch games on stadium screens or from more than 150 TVs that will line the walls. The menu will include elevated game day favorites, such as Deep-Dish Nachos, Tom’s Famous Prime Rib Dip and Korean BBQ Wings, along with an extensive drink menu, featuring numerous beers on tap and a vast selection of specialty cocktails. In addition, guests can explore several Topgolf Swing Suites, featuring several virtual games paired with comfortable lounge seating; HDTVs; and food and beverage service.
     
  • Live! at The Pointe Orlando, the dining, entertainment, nightlife and social experience, will open at Pointe Orlando this fall to create a unique block party atmosphere centered around the outdoor Live! Plaza. The new development will bring immersive indoor and outdoor spaces featuring several venues, including Houndsmen English Lounge, a cocktail lounge offering a curated list of expertly crafted drinks featuring fine spirits, dark whiskeys and diverse inspiration; Shark Bar, offering a spacious interior that blends retro surf with retro cool; Sports & Social, a premier restaurant and bar concept that brings food and drink offerings, premier sports watching, live music, social games and more; and PBR Cowboy Bar, offering an authentic country western experience featuring a professionally endorsed mechanical riding bull, multiple signature bars and private VIP booths.
     
  • Corazón by Baires, a new dining concept, will debut inside Mango's Tropical Cafe on May 24 as a collaboration with Baires Grill. The partnership will feature globally inspired Latin American cuisine with menu highlights including a 40-ounce Tomahawk; 18-ounce Certified Angus Ribeye; Andean Branzino with potatoes, chickpeas, and chorizo hash; and more.

HOTELS & RESORTS

Walt Disney World Resort

  • Walt Disney World Resort will replace and upgrade all 365 cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground with new permanent structures featuring a modern, rustic aesthetic, updated amenities and larger windows. Scheduled for completion in March, the new cabins will be available to both Disney Vacation Club members and non-members.

Beyond the theme parks

  • Aloft Lake Nona opened in December 2023 with 205 loft-style guestrooms, 15 suites, a sports-themed restaurant, and a 10,000-square-foot Althea Lake Nona Events Center. 
     
  • Villatel Orlando Resort, situated within the iconic International Drive area, began a phased opening in late 2023, offering private villa rentals with hotel-style standards and amenities. The property will eventually include an adventure waterpark with multi-story slides and a lazy river, a fully equipped fitness center, a full-service restaurant and children’s playgrounds. Upon full completion in 2025, the entire resort will have 526 units with apartment-style suites and single-family homes.
     
  • Evermore Orlando Resort opened in January as Orlando’s first beach-like property with an 8-acre Crystal Lagoon and a 20-acre sandy beach with hammocks, cabanas and recreational activities. Guests can enjoy family paddleboarding, mixology classes, sandcastle-building lessons and more. Evermore, which has the world's first touchless sunscreen application system, is thoughtfully built for large groups and families offering a range of 2- to 11-bedroom vacation homes.
     
  • Conrad Orlando, the destination’s first Hilton luxury brand, opened on Jan. 9 with 433 rooms, a spa, numerous dining options – including its signature rooftop experience – and 40,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space. Located at Evermore Orlando Resort, the property overlooks a golf course, a two-story boathouse for private events and Evermore Bay’s crystal lagoon and sandy beaches.
     
  • Caribe Royale Orlando Resort will debut its all-new, sports-centric facility, Stadium Club, in January 2024. The two-story, 500-seat sports bar area will be an interactive, immersive sports entertainment destination featuring eight pro-level sports simulators, two bars, two 165-inch XHD projector displays and a 110-foot-long ribbon display television.
     
  • Waldorf Astoria Orlando unveiled a property-wide reimagination that includes a floor-to-ceiling transformation inclusive of all guestrooms and suites; the lobby arrival experience; new design and culinary innovations at restaurants Bull & Bear and Peacock Alley; enhancements to The Waldorf Astoria Spa; and a complete restoration of the esteemed 18-hole Waldorf Astoria Golf Club. The reimagination emphasizes the resort’s unique geographic position located within the 482-acre Bonnet Creek Nature Preserve.
     
  • The Terraces at The Grove Resort, an all-new, four-story luxury condo hotel on The Grove Resort & Water Park Orlando campus, will open in May 2024. The Terraces at The Grove will feature studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites, access to all the amenities the resort has to offer, along with the condo hotel’s own lounge, fully equipped gym, pool with private cabanas and more.
     
  • The DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando—Disney Springs Area completed a multimillion-dollar renovation on Jan. 30. The property’s revitalization project includes updates to all aspects of the hotel, including its meeting space, accommodations, Evergreen Café, lounge, pool bar, DoubleTree’s signature Made Market, pool, splash pad, tennis court and fitness center. 

 

WHAT’S NEXT: 2025 AND BEYOND
 

ATTRACTIONS

Walt Disney World Resort

  • Magic Kingdom Park’s Adventureland will extend the story of Pirates of the Caribbean with a Pirates of the Caribbean-themed lounge featuring the return of Peg-Leg Pete, also known as the Barker Bird, who was once stationed outside of the attraction.
     
  • At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Dinoland U.S.A. will be reimagined into a new land inspired by a region referred to as the “tropical Americas” that has inspired many magical stories over the years. A new show based on Zootopia will take over the Tree of Life Theater. Guests will visit the different biomes from the film and travel along with Judy Hopps, Nick Wilde, and other characters.

Universal Orlando Resort

  • Universal Orlando Resort’s fourth theme park, Universal Epic Universe, will debut in 2025, transporting guests to expansive worlds featuring more than 50 attractions, entertainment, dining and shopping experiences. Celestial Park, the first world guests will encounter, and the gateway to exploring the four additional worlds, will take guests on a journey of discovery and thrills as they wander through living gardens surrounded by architecture inspired by astronomical and mythological elements. Here, guests can take in the sights and sounds, board a shooting comet for a roller coaster adventure, dine, shop and more. Additional worlds include:
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Ministry of Magic, where guests will discover a different era of the wizarding world in an all-new land that blends 1920s wizarding Paris from Warner Bros. Pictures Fantastic Beasts films with the iconic British Ministry of Magic from the Harry Potter series.
  • SUPER NINTENDO WORLD, where guests will enter the iconic green pipe and discover a new way to play as they step into the worlds of beloved characters like Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Donkey Kong.
  • How to Train Your Dragon Isle of Berk, where guests can soar with dragons in a colorful world filled with Viking adventures based on the wildly popular How to Train Your Dragon film franchise.
  • Dark Universe, where guests encounter everything from the experiments of Dr. Victoria Frankenstein to the shadowy landscape where monsters roam in a world of myth and mystery. 

Beyond the theme parks

  • The Orlando Magic’s, mixed-use sports complex, dubbed the Sports + Entertainment District, is expected to break ground this year. The complex is slated to include a hotel tower and more than 420,000 square feet of office space, alongside restaurants, shops and other amenities.
     
  • The Canopy, a new 10-acre park planned to be built under I-4 in downtown Orlando, will begin construction in 2025. The project will serve as a connection between the east and west sides of downtown and feature parking, walking trails, lush landscaping, immersive art installations and event spaces.
     

DINING & NIGHTLIFE

  • Shoma Bazaar, an all-new food hall from Miami-based developer Shoma Group, is expected to debut in South Eola in 2026. The upscale food hall-like bazaar will feature 14 food stalls, together with communal areas for live music, game nights, happy hours, cooking classes, movie nights, pop-up events and more. 
     

HOTELS & RESORTS

Universal Orlando Resort

  • Universal Orlando Resort will add 1,500 guest rooms to the destination’s hotel portfolio, with Universal Stella Nova Resort opening January 21, 2025 and Universal Terra Luna Resort opening February 25, 2025. The new property rates will start at $147 (per night, plus tax), based on a stay of four nights or more, featuring 750 double-queen guest rooms with spaceship-styled windows, a variety of dining options and amenities including resort-style pools, fitness centers, game rooms, recreation rooms and more.

Beyond the theme parks

  • Sports Illustrated Resort, a new premium and lifestyle resort concept from the Sports Illustrated Brand, is set to open in Orlando. The new interactive property is expected to include a host of attractions, from live-action sports and entertainment to quality dining, wellness and relaxation.
     
  • Nobu Hotel Orlando, an all-new property expected to open in 2025, will feature 300 accommodations, including eight stunning villas, a Nobu restaurant, 50 stylish residences and meeting and event space.
     
  • Fairmont Orlando, a new Fairmont Hotels & Resorts-branded hotel, is slated to open in early 2025 in the heart of Orlando’s entertainment district. The new seven-story property is expected to include 550 rooms; seven elevated dining experiences, including a specialty Mediterranean restaurant, an upscale steakhouse and gourmet cafe; a 12,000-square-foot spa and wellness center; more than 44,000 square feet of meeting space; and three swimming pools. 

 

NEW WITHIN THE PAST YEAR

 

ATTRACTIONS

Walt Disney World Resort

  • TRON Lightcycle / Run, opened at Magic Kingdom Park in April 2023. The new attraction is one of the fastest coasters at any Disney theme park in the world. Based on the Disney sci-fi film TRON: Legacy, guests will speed across a world with no horizons in a high-stakes race in their very own Lightcycle.
     
  • Walt Disney World updated its nighttime spectaculars with the return of “Happily Ever After” at Magic Kingdom Park, featuring all-new projections down Main Street, U.S.A., and “EPCOT Forever,” a limited-time spectacle of lasers, lighting, special effects, and fireworks at EPCOT on April 3.
     
  • Journey of Water, inspired by Moana, was brought to life in October within World Nature - the EPCOT neighborhood dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty, awe and balance of the natural world. The all-ages attraction allows guests to explore and engage with water as it travels from the skies to the oceans and back again.  
     
  • A new nighttime spectacular, “Luminous The Symphony of Us,” debuted in December, replacing “EPCOT Forever,” which featured fireworks, fountains, lasers, lighting effects, and music. This December, World Celebration will unite the front of the park, tying together the other two new EPCOT neighborhoods, World Discovery and World Nature.

Universal Orlando Resort

  • Universal Orlando Resort debuted Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast, a first-of-its-kind diabolical family attraction inspired by Illumination’s Minions Franchise in August 2023. The all-new interactive, blaster game experience invites guests to put their villainous skills to the test as they compete to join the ranks of the franchise’s infamous supervillains. The new attraction opened within a new Minion Land on Illumination Ave, which will also feature the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction.

SeaWorld Orlando Parks & Entertainment

  • Pipeline: The Surf Coaster, SeaWorld Orlando’s seventh roller coaster, debuted in May 2023 as the world’s first “Surf Coaster.” It offers immersive design elements, including a dynamic surfing launch and “wave jumping” motions. Riders are secured on the roller coaster in a surfing position and are launched at top speeds, reaching 60mph, and feel like they are catching a wave – offering a one-of-a-kind ocean adventure.
     
  • SeaWorld Orlando opened its all-new Coral Rescue Center to park guests in June 2023. The center provides an important way to view living corals up close, learn more about conservation and understand the steps everyone can take to make a difference in ocean health.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort

  • LEGOLAND Florida opened its newest attraction – Pirate River Quest – in January 2023. The family-friendly treasure hunt adventure, led by a pirate in search of a lost treasure, takes guests through the uncharted waters of the legendary Cypress Gardens to discover the secrets protecting its canals.

Beyond the Theme Parks

  • Orlando Fringe opened “Fringe ArtSpace,” a year-round performing arts venue, in downtown Orlando in January 2023. The 9,100-square-foot space will include two performing theatre spaces: a mainstage with 166 seats and a black box with 40-60 seats. The programming will feature a mix of traditionally programmed theatre and concerts as well as a studio series with weekly, monthly, and pop-up events like workshops, classes, readings, performances, and artistic explorations.  
     
  • Gatorland opened Croc Rock, a new, three-in-one outdoor adventure, in March 2023. The interactive experience allows visitors to climb, zipline and cross a swing bridge located next to Bobcat Bayou.
     
  • Dezerland Park Orlando opened two new family-friendly attractions, Virtual Reality Arena and Laser Tag Maze, in March. In the VR Arena, guests can play against family and friends in player vs. player mode or team up against a variety of enemies, like aliens and zombie versions of hot dog mascots, football players and clowns, in player vs. enemy mode. The Lazer Tag Maze features an inflatable course that can host up to 20 players in over 20 different game modes, including a free-for-all and team-match option.
     
  • The Orlando Eye at ICON Park debuted “The Great Florida Road Trip,” an all-new interactive enhancement and the first gaming experience inside of an observation wheel, in April. The experience takes visitors on a nostalgic holiday through midcentury Florida before the era of theme parks and resorts. Guests will help capture snapshots of Florida vacation spots through a camera-esque device through a collection of billboards. A special prize will be given to whoever achieves the highest score by capturing the most snapshots.
     
  • The Lonely Dog Immersive Experience, an immersive storytelling exhibition based New Zealand artist Ivan Clarke’s artwork and novel that followed, debuted in May 2023. Located on International Drive, the exhibition lets audiences jump into the world of the stray hound turned guitarist in the show that combines the art of storytelling with animated paintings, 3D imagery, and original music.
     
  • Luminary Nights on the Green, a new 20-minute show at the city’s newest park, Luminary Green, debuted in May 2024. The show turns the iconic Orlando sign into a canvas with projected animations and lighting set to music. The display, running from dusk till 10 p.m. nightly, showcases Orlando’s unique and authentic features, such as nature, innovation, thrills and hospitality.
     
  • Ripley’s Mirror Maze opened next to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando in June. The new attraction offers an adventure filled with mirrored rooms and winding hallways, challenging anyone's sense of direction and depth perception as they attempt to find their way out of a mirage.
     
  • Escapology Orlando opened a new location at the Promenade at Sunset Walk in June. The attraction features immersive escape games, including Batman: The Dark Knight Challenge, Scooby-Doo and the Spooky Castle Adventure, A Pirate’s Curse and Who Stole Mona?
     
  • Verse Orlando, an all-new, immersive interactive and augmented reality experience, opened in Lake Nona near Boxi Park in May. Guests can explore a treasure hunt, take a magical journey, witness historical events and more exciting adventures as they walk around wearing fully transparent headsets while interacting with the story.
     
  • Fun Spot America Kissimmee reopened Mind Blower, the only wooden coaster in Florida with a Zero-G Barrel Roll, with smoother thrills than ever before in June. The retracking project improved the six-year-old coaster, focusing on the most dynamic sections of the ride’s track.
     
  • Funtastic Depot, Orlando’s largest indoor amusement park, opened in October. The 30,000-square-foot family entertainment center features an inflatable concept park, climbing walls, a ninja obstacle course, a giant multi-level playground, a toddler zone area, arcades, a karaoke booth and live entertainment on weekends. The venue offers a full menu, including pizza, sandwiches and more.
     
  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex partnered with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to become a Certified Autism Center™ in July. This collaboration aimed to ensure that autistic and sensory-sensitive individuals can visit with confidence and pave the way for inclusive experiences. As a Certified Autism Center, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has trained and knowledgeable team members, on-site sensory guidance, designated low sensory areas and a sensory guide.
     

DINING & NIGHTLIFE

Walt Disney World Resort

  • Roundup Rodeo BBQ, the world’s first “Toy Story” table service restaurant, opened in March, at Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The restaurant features barbecue-inspired comfort foods served family style and miniature sweet surprises.

Universal Orlando Resort

  • Minion Land on Illumination Ave., the immersive area, opened on Aug. 11 at Universal Studios Florida. This land is home to the new Minion-themed dining experiences, including Illumination’s Minion Cafe, a highly-entertaining dining experience that features three themed areas designed after beloved Minions Kevin, Stuart, Bob and Otto; Bake My Day, a whimsical retail location and bakery featuring a selection of Minion-themed sweet treats, including cupcakes, macarons, s’mores and more; and Pop-A-Nana, a whimsical retail location and bakery featuring a selection of Minion-themed sweet treats, including cupcakes, macarons, s’mores and more.

Beyond the Theme Parks

  • Sampaguita Ice Cream & Desserts, an all-new Filipino-inspired ice cream shop from the owners of Greenery Creamery, opened in the Mills 50 district in January. The shop currently features ice cream, soft cream, halo halo, shakes and sundaes, along with vegan options, and plans to offer traditional Filipino baked goods in the future.
     
  • Haan Coffee, a Korean-style beanery, opened in the Mills 50 district in January and offers beverages like matcha, tea, coffee and “croffles” (croissant-waffles).
     
  • Dolly Llama, an L.A.-based waffle and artisanal ice cream shop, opened in Winter Garden in January 2023, featuring ice cream and bubble waffles. 
     
  • Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, a Southern breakfast and lunch chain, made its Orlando area debut in Winter Park in 2023. The location is the first in the state to feature Southern comfort food, including chicken sandwiches, biscuits, and donuts.
     
  • Brew Theory Marketplace, an all-new food hall that opened in Apopka in the summer of 2023, will feature Greater Orlando’s favorite restaurant concepts, a full liquor bar, a Brew Theory taproom, a beer garden and various retail tenants. 
     
  • The Moderne, a new upscale, late-night lounge serving Asian-inspired tapas and craft cocktails, opened in the Mills 50 district in January 2023. The restaurant, from Maki Hibachi’s Michael Nguyen, features an Art Deco design.
     
  • JoJo’s ShakeBAR, the Chicago-based 80s and 90s-themed diner, opened its first Florida location at Pointe Orlando on International Drive in March 2023. JoJo’s offers a full menu of diner classics, hand-crafted cocktails, and decadent desserts, including milkshakes, milk bars, gourmet cookies, and infused milks.
     
  • Norman’s, acclaimed chef Norman Van Aken’s new restaurant on Sand Lake’s Restaurant Row, opened in February 2023. The restaurant features an all-new menu with familiar flavors that draw on its predecessors and present personality all its own.
     
  • Smoke & Donuts opened its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Orlando’s Milk District in February. The new location will continue to combine savory and sweet flavors in unexpected ways and feature smoked barbecue and cake donuts on the chef-created menu. Fan favorites include the Bar-B-Cuban sandwich, served with cucumber and cabbage slaw and mac and cheese.
     
  • Foreigner Restaurant, the interactive culinary concept by chef Bruno Fonseca, opened a 10-seat restaurant in the Audubon Park district in February. Previously a pop-up, the experience will offer guests a five-course menu “confiance-style” ("trust the chef") dinner, where patrons will have the opportunity to watch the inner workings of an active kitchen.
     
  • Nami, a new Japanese-inspired concept, opened at the Lake Nona Wave Hotel in September 2023. The restaurant’s intimate, 10-seat omakase counter offers a modern approach to the traditional chef-curated experience. Its energetic cocktail bar and dining room feature thoughtfully prepared menus offering an interpretive take on Japanese ingredients and flavors.
     
  • MILK The House of Cereal, an all-you-can-eat cereal bar experience, opened at Dezerland Action Park Orlando in April 2023. The new concept offers custom bowls of cereal to guests for $5, featuring a variety of toppings and over 100 cereals to choose from, including some options no longer sold in stores.
     
  • The Dough Show, a restaurant specializing in Egyptian stuffed pies and cuisine, opened in April near the University of Central Florida. The eatery serves kebabs, lavash-wrapped shawarma, koshari and various sweet pies and desserts. 
     
  • Wayback Burgers, an all-new restaurant serving hand-made burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes, opened on May 6.
     
  • HighT, an Alice in Wonderland-themed bar, opened in downtown Orlando in May. The immersive experience includes crafted cocktails, decorated rooms for adults to enjoy and a traditional high tea experience.
     
  • Mongolorian BBQ, a quick-service Mongolian barbecue joint, opened in the Mills 50 District in May. The new spot features customized bowls cooked on high-tech, tabletop stir-frying machines.
     
  • Camille, a French-Vietnamese pop-up, opened a new space in Baldwin Park in June. The restaurant offers a 10-course tasting menu and bar area pouring a fine selection of wine, sake and beer curated by an in-house sommelier, along with an intimate eight-seat chef's counter.
     
  • Zymarium, Orlando’s first meadery, opened in Mills 50 in August. The shop, owned by one of the top 10 mead makers in the world, specializes in alcoholic beverages made by fermenting honey and mixing it with water, fruit, spices, grains or hops. The new meadery will boast more than two dozen meads, including options brewed with pineapple, mango, raspberry, blueberry and coffee, as well as meads brewed in the style of IPAs and smoothie beers.
     
  • Primrose Lanes Restaurant and Bowling Club opened in the summer of 2023 in the space previously known as Colonial Lanes in the Milk District. The space has been revamped with many of the materials from the original building to include eight bowling lanes, a cocktail bar, an elevated restaurant featuring smash burgers and crispy ribs and a coffee shop.
     
  • Turci Panino, a new restaurant, from the owners of Turci Pasta, specializing in Italian sandwiches, salads and meats, opened in College Park in July 2023.
     
  • Sushi Saint, Central Florida’s first handroll bar and sushi lounge lead by former executive chef of Komodo Miami, Lwin Siss, opened in the Brew Theory Marketplace space in October 2023.
     
  • Fluffy Fluffy Dessert Café, the Toronto-based Japanese pancake house, opened its first stateside outpost in the Mills 50 District in October 2023. The menu features a variety of mouth-watering options, from award-winning soufflé pancakes to fun and creative flavors like matcha, cookies and cream and more.
     
  • Bakery 1908 opened in the Mills 50 District in October 2023. The new bakery serves a full roster of steamed, pan-fried and soup dumplings, as well as a rotation of dim sum items, coffee and boba offerings.
     
  • KungFu Kitchen, the famed NYC restaurant known for its hand-pulled noodles and soup dumplings, opened an outpost in the Vista Center Shoppes in October 2023. In addition to noodles, homemade soup dumplings, pan-fried and steamed dumplings will be served out of the space.
     
  • Zaru, the all-new udon noodle house by James Beard Award-nominated restauranteurs Johnny and Jimmy Tung, opened in October 2023 in the Mills 50 District. Offering an intimate 25-seat dining room, the restaurant’s menu will feature udon noodles made from Japanese flour sourced from Kagawa Prefecture, the birthplace of udon, offered as both hot and cold options with and without broths, along with freshly fried tempura and a host of add-ons for a custom-built bowl. Beyond the noodles, the menu will offer miso-grilled eggplant, marinated okra, chicken chashu and warabi mochi.
     
  • Mister 01 Extraordinary Pizza opened its first local restaurant location in Lake Mary in November. Pizza styles at the Miami locations have included their famous star-shaped pizzas such as Star Luca, Star Carlos, Star Beckam and more.

HOTELS & RESORTS

Walt Disney World Resort

  • Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando — Disney Springs® Area, the newest official Walt Disney World Partner Hotel, officially opened in February 2023, offering complimentary hot breakfasts, shuttle service to all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks, evening snacks and beverages and more.
      
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort completed the redesign of its 14 Park View Deluxe suites, located on the 6th through 12th floors of the resort. The updated suites have been fully refreshed in a modern design, with playful elements that pay homage to the resort’s location at Walt Disney World Resort.

Beyond the theme parks

  • The Alfond Inn at Rollins completed its property expansion and opened its new wing in August 2023, as it celebrated its 10th anniversary. In addition to the renovation of the existing 112 rooms and suites in the hotel, the expansion included an additional 71 luxury guestrooms and suites; a lobby café; and The Spa at The Alfond Inn, offering a wellness component through signature treatments, steam, sauna, fitness area, the hotel’s second swimming pool, with private cabanas, and an extensive outdoor living room that is available for private events. 
     
  • Grande Lakes Orlando unveiled the completion of its newly reconfigured and expanded Grande Lakes Water Park at JW Marriott Orlando in February 2023, featuring six distinct zones including a signature lazy river; Headwaters Slide Tower with three waterslides; an Aquaventure obstacle course with climbing and slide features; and Knife Burger, a new poolside dining option from award-winning Chef John Tesar. With its recent renovation, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando debuted a new Solaire heated pool, lined with luxury poolside cabanas featuring a private butler, wireless internet, HDTV, a refrigerator, and other amenities.
     
  • Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando debuted new additions – including the upscale Altira Rooftop Pool Lounge – that debuted in early 2023 - where guests can savor seasonally influenced dishes and specialty cocktails – and reimagined spaces like the property’s signature restaurant, The Boheme; the Bösendorfer Lounge; and guest rooms. 
     
  • Legacy Vacation Rentals debuted its newly designed suites at its Lake Buena Vista location in 2023. The eco-friendly renovation project and includes a new solar panel array, elimination of single-use plastic amenities, eco-friendly building materials like carpet tiles made from recycled fishing nets, low-flow plumbing fixtures, Verdant smart thermostat system, Energy Star rated appliances, high-efficiency windows, and more.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Brightline Orlando trains officially opened in October 2023, carrying passengers from Miami with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, to Orlando International Airport.

About Visit Orlando    

Visit Orlando is The Official Tourism Association® for Orlando, the most visited destination in the United States, Theme Park Capital of the World® and No. 1 meeting destination in the country. A not-for-profit trade association that brands, markets and sells the Orlando destination globally, we represent more than 1,500 member companies comprising every segment of Central Florida’s tourism community. 

Visit Orlando connects consumers and business groups with all facets of Orlando’s travel community, whether for a vacation or meeting. Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks — as well as refreshing water parks, nature and outdoor adventures, vibrant neighborhoods, a dynamic dining scene with Michelin-recognized restaurants, and a robust calendar of entertainment and sports events — Orlando is a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community for all travelers. Find more information at VisitOrlando.com, VisitOrlando.org or OrlandoMeeting.com. 

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