Florida Travel

Planning summer vacation? Here’s what’s happening at Florida’s theme parks

Here's what it's like to ride SeaWorld's new roller coaster

The track for Mako, SeaWorld’s shark-themed roller coaster, has been completed and the ride will open June 10. It’s now in the testing phase.
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The track for Mako, SeaWorld’s shark-themed roller coaster, has been completed and the ride will open June 10. It’s now in the testing phase.

For the last two years, Florida’s theme park guests have been confronted with construction walls that promise magic, thrills, adventure, inspiration or just plain fun are coming soon.

Now comes the payoff: This summer, many of those walls will come down, revealing new or expanded attractions based on much-loved stories, new technology, heroes and villains, animal lore, and scream-inducing thrills. A few have already opened; most will open in late May or June.

And unlike some years, when all the excitement was focused on one park, this year, the new rides and shows are scattered across many parks. They include:

▪ Four new rides: Mako, a roller-coaster at SeaWorld; Cobra’s Curse, a coaster at Busch Gardens; Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal’s Islands of Adventure; and Frozen Ever After at Epcot.

▪ Three expanded or renovated attractions: Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot, Toy Story Mania! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Incredible Hulk roller-coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

▪ A variety of new shows: two animated movies at Legoland; a Star Wars stage show at Hollywood Studios; a stage show based on The Lion King plus a light show at the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Mickey’s new stage show at the Magic Kingdom; a package of high-tech shows that celebrate astronauts and courage at Kennedy Space Center; plus new fireworks shows with special effects at Legoland and Hollywood Studios.

▪ New nightlife at Animal Kingdom.

▪ The last piece of the expansion of Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney.

Take it all in now because next year there’s more, and you’ll need to be caught up.

You’ll find details here:

▪  Disney World

▪  Universal

▪  SeaWorld

▪  Busch Gardens

▪  Legoland

▪  Kennedy Space Center

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