Updated: June 23, 2014
The Sunshine State is putting its best foot forward in 2014 with a variety of new attractions, new and renovated hotels and resorts and plenty of Florida fun and fantasy. Here's what's happened so far and what to expect in the future.
Florida's attractions are rolling out new rides and attractions and revamping old ones this year at a record rate. Here's what's happening:
Busch Gardens is taking the next ride to new heights... 335 feet, to be exact! Scheduled to open in the Spring of 2014, the opening has been delayed until later this summer. The "drop tower" named Falcon's Fury will hurdle riders some 60 m.p.h. toward the ground... face down!
At Disney's Magic Kingdom Fantasyland the much anticipated Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened in the late spring. The roller coaster that completes Disney's makeover of Fantasyland and it's a big hit!
Disney has also introduced a new Fastpass system called Fastpass+ and a new wristband called MagicBand that will keep all your ticket information as well as Fastpass selections and room access in an easy-to-use bracelet-like gadget.
Universal Studios will be rolling out its newest Harry Potter expansion — Diagon Alley. The official opening should be sometime during the summer, 2014.
Event Dates Announced
Plan now to attend these very popular events:
- Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party - Select Nights September 1 thru October 31, 2014
- Disney's Night of Joy - September 6 & 7, 2014
- Universal Orlando's Rock the Universe - September 6 & 7, 2014
- Busch Garden's Howl-O-Scream - Select Nights - September 13 thru October 27, 2014
- Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights - Select Nights - September 19 thru November 1, 2014
- Epcot International Food & Wine Festival - September 19 thru November 10, 2014
- Pensacola Seafood Festival - September 26-28, 2014
- Daytona's Biketoberfest - October 16-19, 2014
- Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party - Select Nights November 7 thru December 19, 2014
In case you missed it, here's some of what happened in 2012 & 2013:
The Space Shuttle Atlantis began a new mission on June 29, 2013 with the opening of Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit at Kennedy Space Center. The historic space vehicle is the centerpiece of the new $100-million exhibit featuring 60 interactive exhibits and high-tech simulators, including the true-to-life Shuttle Launch Experience!
While the nighttime Main Street Electrical Parade continues at the Magic Kingdom, Fantasyland has expanded. In the makeover, Cinderella's Carrousel got a new name Prince Charming's Regal Carousel and with an emphasis on princesses... there will be more ways to interact with your favorite characters and some awesome new attractions, including a newly imagined Dumbo duo. >More of What's New at Disney World 2014.
While Cypress Gardens suddenly closed the park in November of 2009, LEGOLAND Florida opened the fall of 2011 on the property and the new theme park is a huge hit. In fact, it has already expanded... more than once! The adjacent LEGOLAND Water Park opened last summer and an addition to the popular Miniland was unveiled in November 2012 featuring Star Wars!
The major expansion to Dinosaur World opened in time for summer 2012. The park's expansion includes a 22,000 sq. ft. pre-historic museum that features everything dinosaur, a new playground, more parking and restrooms. Dinosaur World is located along I-4 in Plant City.
Universal Studios rolled out a new Superstar Parade and Cinematic Spectacular on May 8, 2012 and the parade is still thrilling crowds this summer! The parade features more characters from beloved stories and the nighttime spectacular highlights some of the more memorable movie memories. Universal Orlando also unveiled its Despicable Ride that replaces the Jimmy Neutron attraction. Additionally, the entertainment giant has reanimated one of the most popular rides at Universal — The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man.
Upcoming news from Universal Orlando brings the announcement that TRANSFORMERS: The Ride - 3D will open June 20, 2013. That opening at Universal Studios coincides with Universal's Summer Concert Series that runs from June 1 through July 6, 2013.
Disney opened its new Art of Animation Resort in stages through the summer and fall of 2012! (See the photos!) In other Disney resort news... look for the newly re-imagined Princess rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort.
Gaylord Palms unveiled its new Cypress Springs Family Fun Water Park in spring 2012. The new pool area features a multi-level tree house with four twisting water slides, plenty of gushing springs, a tiny tots area, outdoor theater and more! Also, this summer look for special 1- or 2-night Summer Fun with Shrek and Friends packages with lots of value-added extras.