Top Reasons to Visit Orlando

Anyone looking ahead to brighter days in the future will be delighted to discover brand-new reasons to enjoy a getaway in Orlando, recently named the top trending U.S. destination for 2021 by Sojern. Ranging from fresh theme park thrill rides to tantalizing restaurants to innovative places to stay, the Theme Park Capital of the World continually evolves, and the new year will be no exception. We don’t want you to miss a second of it!

Orlando’s Theme Parks

See what’s coming to Orlando’s open-air theme parks, including new rides, shows and more!

Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort added a thrilling new show in 2020 that Jason Bourne and action fans won’t want to miss, and a brand-new ride for thrill-seekers and dinosaur fans alike. Plus, check this blog’s “New Hotels & Resorts” section for details about Universal’s Endless Summer Resort — Dockside Inn and Suites!

Save on discount tickets: Universal Orlando Resort

An artist rendering of VelociCoaster roller coaster at Universal's Islands of Adventure.

Jurassic World VelociCoaster

Based on the blockbuster movie franchise, this new species of coaster has arrived at Universal’s Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando Resort! Spanning more than 4,700 feet of track, it is now Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster, featuring a story that expands what you’ve seen on the big screen. It also boasts a series of intense maneuvers that will catapult you up to 70 mph and 155 feet in the air with the swiftest of prehistoric predators, including two pulse-pounding launches and a 360-degree barrel roll, a zero-gravity inverted stall, and going airborne during the towering “Top Hat,” propelling you 155 feet in the air before an 80-degree drop. Brave the hunt!

SeaWorld® Orlando

Save on discount tickets: SeaWorld Orlando

Ice Breaker roller coaster at SeaWorld Orlando cropped square
Rendering of Ice Breaker, Coming to SeaWorld® Orlando

Ice Breaker

Although it’s debut date was recently pushed back to February 2022, SeaWorld Orlando’s first launch coaster will feature four airtime-filled launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond-vertical drop in Florida — a 93-foot-tall spike with a 100-degree angle!

Riptide Race, Aquatica® Orlando's first-ever dueling waterslide
Riptide Race, Opening April 3, 2021 at Aquatica® Orlando

Riptide Race

Florida’s first-ever dueling waterslide is now open at Aquatica Orlando! You and a family member or friend can race side-by-side at top speeds, navigating tight loops and accelerations through indoor and outdoor sections of nearly 650 feet of splashing slides.

Learn more: Orlando Water Parks

A couple walking on the beach with flamingos at Discovery Cove
Flamingo Mingle at Discovery Cove® in Orlando

Flamingo Mingle

Now available at Discovery Cove, this exclusive animal experience invites you to feed and learn about flamingos in an outdoor setting.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance

Billed as one of the most ambitious, immersive experiences ever undertaken by Walt Disney Imagineering, this groundbreaking attraction at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will place you aboard a Resistance transport that’s captured by an Imperial Star Destroyer. Accordingly, expect plenty of action when you visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Learn more: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Promotional Art for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, Part of Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando (©Disney)

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

Believe it or not, Mickey Mouse never starred in his own ride at a Disney theme park until the premiere of this attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Using cutting-edge technologies to transform classic 2-D cartoons into immersive 3-D adventures, it’s your ticket to entering the worlds of Mickey and Minnie’s beloved animated films.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure

Everyone’s favorite “Little Chef” is cooking up something really big for Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary, because the grand opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT is set for October 1 of this year — coinciding with the anniversary’s exact date! In this delicious new attraction, you will feel like you’ve shrunk to the size of Chef Remy as your scurry through Gusteau’s famous restaurant on a wild adventure for the whole family (no height requirement!). When rounding the corner into this new portion of the pavilion, you will be transported into a fanciful version of Paris that feels straight out of the animated film.

Based on Disney and Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning Ratatouille, the experience will be part of a newly expanded France pavilion inside EPCOT that will also open October 1. Joining the pavilion on the same day, La Crêperie de Paris will be a new restaurant offering both table- and quick-service options, featuring sweet crepes, savory buckwheat galettes (naturally gluten friendly), and authentic French hard cider.

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort

Live the pirate’s life at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort with a brand-new stunt show that’s already available!

Save on discount tickets: LEGOLAND Florida Resort

Brickbeard Stunt Show at Pirates’ Cove in LEGOLAND® Florida Resort
Brickbeard’s Watersport Stunt Show at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort Near Orlando

Brickbeard’s Watersport Stunt Show

Ahoy! Watch Brickbeard’s buccaneer recruits pass swashbuckling skill tests on the high seas at this epic water stunt show, new at LEGOLAND Florida Resort! Thrill to a never-before-seen female LEGO® pirate character, original music, and gravity-defying water stunts that include wakeboarding, barefoot-skiing, jump acts and an iconic ski pyramid. Plus, an all-new flyboard act takes this show to heroic heights above the legendary Lake Eloise!

Planet LEGOLAND

This immersive new experience invites kids and their parents to build, unbuild and rebuild the world of their dreams with LEGO bricks! Inside, you’ll find a 6-foot-wide LEGO globe built out of more than 200,000 bricks, plus four themed stations where you can create your masterpieces: Vehicles, Ninjas, Creatures and Animals, and Dragons, Knights and Princesses. There’s even a DUPLO station for younger guests! Once complete, you’ll have the chance to take a selfie with your model and share it on social media using #RebuildTheWorld.

New Experiences Beyond Orlando’s Theme Parks

See what else is new in Orlando for 2021, including attractions, restaurants, resorts and more!

A couple posing for a selfie in front of The Wheel at ICON Park

ICON Park®

ICON Park is adding four more reasons to visit in 2021! Located on International Drive, the open-air entertainment, dining and shopping hub on International Drive is already home to The WheelOrlando StarFlyer and other popular attractions, as well as enticing restaurants such as Blake Shelton’s Ole Red (which opened in 2020), Tapa Toro Tapas Bar & Paella Pit, and more.

museum of illusions infinity room millennial girls masks
Museum of Illusions at ICON Park® in Orlando

Museum of Illusions

Now open, Museum of Illusions is a mind-bending “edutainment” experience with 50 interactive, immersive and mentally deceptive exhibits based on math, science, and psychology. Fun for all ages!

Learn more: Museum of Illusions

ICON Park Slingshot and Drop Tower renderings
Rendering of the ICON Park Slingshot and ICON Park Drop Tower at Street Level, Coming to ICON Park® in Orlando

In the Game ICON Park

This brand-new, 7,000-square-foot family entertainment center and arcade features 70 games, an interactive mirror maze, interactive virtual reality experiences, themed escape rooms and more.

ICON Park Slingshot

Set to open later in 2021, this 300-foot-tall, two-tower attraction will be the world’s tallest slingshot ride! Expect to be launched out of an “exploding volcano” 450 feet straight up into the sky while reaching speeds up to 100 mph.

ICON Park Drop Tower

This new attraction will become the world’s tallest free-standing drop tower at 430 feet when it opens later in 2021, tilting you forward 30 degrees to face the ground before free falling nearly 400 feet at speeds exceeding 75 mph.

The Auto Experience at Dezerland Park Orlando James Bond cars
See Cool Cars and More at Dezerland Park in Orlando

Dezerland Park

An all-new indoor entertainment center on International Drive, Dezerland Park offers several experiences, including the longest indoor dual go-karting tracks in Florida, bowling, arcade games and a trampoline park. Its signature attraction, The Auto Experience at Dezerland Park, is home to over 2,000 vehicles featuring the world’s largest collection of Batman vehicles, plus James Bond vehicles, micro cars, motorized bikes and more.

Axecelsior Axe Throwing thrower
Axecelsior Axe Throwing at Dezerland Park in Orlando

Axecelsior Axe Throwing

Part of Dezerland Park, Axecelsior Axe Throwing puts a fun twist on the standard activity with moving targets, a variety of games and end-grain wood. They also have traditional-style scoring targets for competitive throwers, and kids can even get in on the fun with safety axes for little ones. It’s a true axe-perience!

Sky Hawk at Fun Spot America

In May 2021, Fun Spot America’s Orlando location has added a new, 90-foot family swing ride, Sky Hawk, featuring both traditional, side-by-side, two-passenger ride seating, as well as side-by-side, two-passenger horizontal (prone) seating. Also boasting a programmable LED package with vivid colors such as purple, magenta, yellow and orange, the new ride will elevate you to new heights while spinning at 10 RPMs.

Save on discount tickets: Fun Spot America

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Frontyard Festival
Frontyard Festival™ at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando

Frontyard Festival at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Through December 2021, enjoy the country’s first socially distanced music festival with this innovative series that keeps safety top of mind while providing world-class entertainment that includes music, comedy, movies and more. Taking place at downtown Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and presented by AdventHealth, the outdoor Frontyard Festival series invites you to book a private, elevated box for up to five people, spaced 6 feet apart from other boxes, where you can order food and drinks from local restaurants while watching the show.

Learn more: Orlando Events

Personal Experiences at The Mall at Millenia

Close to Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando, The Mall at Millenia is now offering complimentary Personal Stylist and Personal Shopping experiences. The two-hour Styling sessions are available during mall hours, and Personal Shopping experiences include in-person hotel delivery, if desired.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex boys at rocket capsule
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Near Orlando

Planet Play at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Located on Florida’s east coast about an hour’s drive from our tourism districts, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has opened a fully immersive, multiple-story play experience. Designed for a younger generation of space explorers ages 2 – 12, Planet Play is an indoor, interactive activity and learning area that brings space right here to Earth.

New Places to Eat in Orlando

Many high-profile eateries opened in Orlando over the past year and will still be new to you if it’s been a year or more since your last visit — including these standouts!

Ole Red stage on first floor
Blake Shelton’s Ole Red at ICON Park® in Orlando

Ole Red

Part of ICON Park, Ole Red is a restaurant headed by country superstar Blake Shelton, merging southern hospitality, good food and live country music.

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, Disney Springs steak
Steak at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at Disney Springs®, Part of Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando (Photo Courtesy Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group)

Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill

Highlighting the best of its iconic chef’s signature dishes, Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill at Disney Springs® features a Mediterranean-influenced menu and ambience inspired by California.

Learn more: Top Orlando Chefs

Whole snapper at the Knife + Spoon Restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes
Whole Snapper at Chef John Tesar’s Knife & Spoon at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

Knife & Spoon

A fresh addition at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, this restaurant is a new concept from Chef John Tesar, a James Beard Award semifinalist and Top Chef contestant.

The Hampton Social shrimp tacos
Shrimp Tacos at The Hampton Social, Part of Pointe Orlando on International Drive

The Hampton Social

Offering lively dining experiences that seamlessly transition from day-to-night, The Hampton Social features exceptional food, cocktails and live music in a beautifully designed atmosphere. Located at Pointe Orlando on International Drive, this is Florida’s first outpost of the famous Chicago original.

Learn more: Pointe Orlando

City Works Eatery & Pour House exterior
City Works Eatery & Pour House at Disney Springs®, Part of Walt Disney World® Resort in Orlando

City Works Eatery & Pour House

New to Disney Springs, City Works Eatery & Pour House is a premier sports restaurant and bar boasting unique menu items and 90 craft beers on draft.

Fish & Chips

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has brought his take on classic English street food to ICON Park.

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