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New Rides and Attractions Coming to Florida Theme Parks in 2024

by Staff

Florida’s $100 billion tourism industry enjoyed a strong finish to 2023, and a slew of new attractions at various theme parks may extend the positive momentum through 2024. The most recent data published from state tourism officials revealed that Florida enjoyed record-high visitation in the third quarter of 2023 (The most recent data published), and Orlando International Airport broke a new record for Thanksgiving weekend travelers. As a result, the final tourism numbers for 2023 are expected to show an increase of at least a million visitors in 2023 compared to 2022.

According to AAA, Orlando was the most popular city to travel to this Thanksgiving holiday, followed by Anaheim, Las Vegas, New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas, Denver, Chicago and Charlotte. The influx of tourists employs approximately 500,000 residents of central Florida and pays more than $26 billion dollars in wages, according to VisitOrlando.org.

These new rides and attractions are scheduled to open in 2024:

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom

Scheduled to open in the fall of 2024, Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will replace Splash Mountain, a ride that opened in 1992. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure has big shoes to fill after Splash Mountain’s three-decade-long run as one of the Magic Kingdom’s most popular family rides. Splash A Disney film titled “Song of the South” inspired the theme for Splash Mountain, ultimately attracting criticism and public protests regarding racial undertones. As a result, Disney closed Splash Mountain and initiated a theme redesign based on their animated film “The Princess and the Frog.” During the D23 Expo, Disney provided a scaled-down preview of the ride via a model. Based on the model’s layout, future visitors can expect the 50-ft drop as the ride finale to stay in place.

Dreamworks Animation Kids Area, Universal Orlando

The former Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone section of Universal Studios Florida Universal is being converted to DreamWorks Animation Kids Area. Universal Orlando announced that DreamWorks Land will replace Curious George, Barney, Woody Woodpecker, and Fievel with new feature characters, rides, and/or attractions based on Gabby’s Dollhouse, Shrek, Trolls, and Kung Fu Panda.

SeaLife Florida, LEGO® Ferrari Build and Race, LEGOLAND Florida

LEGOLAND Florida Resort’s LEGO® Ferrari Build and Race experience is set to open this spring. The interactive attraction will put guests in the driver’s seat to build, test and race their very own LEGO Ferrari with cutting-edge digital technology. According to a press release from its parent company, Merlin Entertainment, the expansion of Merlin’s global partnership with Ferrari builds on the company’s successful multi-territory collaboration with the IP, which includes the recently opened LEGO® Ferrari Build and Race at LEGOLAND® Resorts in Billund, Denmark; Windsor, UK and California, U.S.

In addition to the Ferrari experience, LEGOLAND® will also open an aquarium on site. SEA LIFE Florida will join Merlin’s global group of over 50 SEA LIFE aquariums, including SeaLife Orlando. Guests will embark on a voyage of oceanic exploration completed by the attraction’s ultimate seascape, The Theme Park Under the Sea, and have the opportunity to discover a diverse range of marine life.

Phoenix Rising Family Roller Coaster, Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens new roller coaster, named “Phoenix Rising” will offer adrenaline junkies a suspended coaster with a 1,831-foot track with a maximum speed of 44 miles per hour. The minimum rider height will be 42 inches.

Penguin Trek Roller Coaster, SeaWorld Orlando

This spring, SeaWorld will open “Penguin Trek” – the eagerly awaited eighth coaster to join the park’s ever-expanding ride portfolio. According to SeaWorld, Penguin Trek features a unique snowmobile-styled ride car where, once aboard, riders will embark on an exhilarating journey through the breathtaking vastness of Antarctica as they join a penguin research mission unlike any other.

Featuring two exhilarating launches and a maze of twists and turns, this unforgettable coaster moves at speeds of up to 43 mph across a 3,020-foot track that traverses both indoors and outside. Yet, what sets this experience apart as truly extraordinary is its unparalleled finale: as the coaster comes to a halt, guests find themselves not in a simulated penguin colony, but in the very heart of SeaWorld Orlando’s own penguin habitat.  An experience for the whole family, the ride accommodates rider heights from 42-inches to 77-inches.

Matt OHern
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