It’s almost 2016, which means you’re probably wondering what new Orlando attractions are in store. A whole new line-up of thrilling attractions, top-notch entertainment and exceptional dining is coming to Central Florida. Read on to find new things to do and places to stay, as well as get the scoop on all of the exciting new theme park attractions opening in 2016.

King Kong Universal Promo 2

Skull Island: Reign of Kong
Photo Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort
One of the most iconic movie creatures in history—King Kong—is making his debut at Universal’s Island of Adventure summer 2016. Skull Island: Reign of Kong journey deep into a mysterious island, exploring ancient temples and encountering hostile native, while the mighty beast fights to save you. It will be a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional new ride for your life.

SeaWorld Mako

Photo Credit: SeaWorld

SeaWorld Orlando
Mako, Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster, will open at SeaWorld summer 2016. Named for one of the ocean’s fastest sharks, the ride will reach speeds of 73mph as it soars along a steel track of almost 5,000-feet. The hypercoaster, which induces a feeling of weightlessness, will be the centerpiece of a shark-themed two-acre plaza dedicated to educating guests on the importance of sharks to the environment.

Frozen Ever After

Frozen Ever After
Photo Credit: Disney World Theme Parks

Frozen fans are sure to love Epcot’s newest addition, a Frozen ride named “Frozen Ever After.” Located in the Norway pavilion of World Showcase, riders will travel to Arendelle during the kingdom’s Winter Festival. Through cutting-edge technology, they will share the journey and celebration with favorite character from the beloved film.


Cobra’s Curse
Photo Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa

Busch Gardens Tampa
Cobra’s Curse, a new family thrill ride, will open at Busch Gardens Tampa in 2016. This unique spin-style coaster is the only one of its kind in the world. Riders will experience a vertical lift, forward-facing and backward-facing positions, and a free-spinning position. In addition, there is a face-to-face encounter with an 80-foot snake icon and trek over the Serengeti Plain.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Photo Credit: Universal Orlando

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Universal Orlando Resort is opening its fifth resort, Lowest Sapphire Falls, in the summer of 2016. A laidback Caribbean theme gives way to a lagoon setting and towering waterfall. There are 1,000 rooms and suites, a 16,000-square-foot pool with waterslides and white sand beaches, as well as four on-site restaurant. Plus, resort guests enjoy exclusive Universal Orlando Resort privileges like early admission and shuttle services.


Orlando City Stadium
Photo Credit: Orlando City Soccer

Orlando City Stadium
One of the other new Orlando attractions set to open in summer 2016 is the Orlando City Stadium, a multi-purpose stadium home to the Orlando City Lions. Located downtown, a block from the Amway Center, the stadium will be a welcome addition to the Orlando sports scene.


Photo credit: Disney

Disney Springs
This revamped Downtown Disney, known as Disney Springs, continues to open in phases. In 2016, the remaining phases will open. The expansion, when finished, will more than double the number of shops, restaurant and other attractions which means more than 150 operators will be open for business. New tenants opening in 2016 include APEX b Sunglass hut, Art of Shaving, Chapel Hats, Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC, Havaianas, Sanuk and Sound Lion. Celebrity chef Art Smith will open Homecoming, a restaurant focused on southern specialties with a Florida twist.


Photo Credit: SKYPLEX

Come 2017, I-Drive 360 will be home to the world tallest coast—SKYPLEX. The 570-foot tall attraction will feature the first polercoaster, a vertical ride with a skyscraper-style track. An observation deck, restaurant and lounge will be at the top of the complex.


Photo Credit: Disney World Theme Parks

Bonus: Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World is meticulously working on the new Avatar-themed land, set to open in Animal Kingdom in 2017. Floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforest and a banshee flying attraction, as well as after dark entertainment, will immerse guests in the world of Pandora. Expansion on Star Wars and Toy Story attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are also in progress.

Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay
Photo Credit: Universal Orlando Resort

Bonus: Volcano Bay at Universal Orlando Resort
Volcano Bay, a new Orlando water park, has opening date set for 2017.  The highly-themed, immersive topical environment will be located within Universal Orlando Resort south off Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

These are some of the highlights of new Orlando attractions in 2016. Start making vacation plans now to be one of the first to experience these world-class additions to Central Florida.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Epcot_flower_gardenDates for the 2016 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival have been set. From March 2 – May 30, 2016, Walt Disney World will host the 23rd annual event which is expanding from 75 to 90 days.

Each year, the fresh flavors of the festival’s Outdoor Kitchens, new Disney topiaries, rockin’ concerts and interactive play gardens entice visitors. 2016 will be no different. Visitors can look forward to Donald duck’s mischievous nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie, will be making their topiary debut. They will appear with Donald and Diary near Epcot’s front entrance. In addition, Ranger Mickey Mouse will make his first appearance in honor of celebrating the centennial of the National Parks Service.

Outdoor Kitchens returns for the fourth year, and World Showcase will still let guests eat their way around the globe. Disney-led gardening seminars and the Garden Rocks concert series (previously known as Eat to the Beat) are two other Food & Garden Festival events park goers can enjoy.

Check back for more updates soon.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Take a look inside Gatorland, the Alligator Capital of the World, in Orlando. The 110-acre theme park has not only gators, but other wildlife, a petting zoo, and even a zipline. Gatorland in Orlando has lot to explore. Get a sneak peek of what’s in store with my helpful video.

Bianca is a travel professional, and prides herself on her knowledge of vacation destinations big and small. With 8 years in the tourism industry, she brings you updates on how to make the most out of your time, money and energy in her favorite cities throughout America.

january_eventsCheck out these Orlando events happening January 2016:

January 1-2: Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort
Celebrate the holidays at Universal Orlando Resort including great events like Grinchmas, Macy’s Holiday Parade, and holiday concerts by Mannheim Steamroller.

January 1-3: The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
Disney’s Hollywood Studios become aglow in light during the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights. Presented at the Disney Park every holiday season since 1995, this stunning light show adds an extra dose of festive fun to any Disney World vacation.

January 4 – March 5: Real Music Concert Series at Busch Gardens
This longest running concert series returns Wednesdays through Saturday’s beginning in January. Listen to live music that will span the decades from the 1930s-1970s. Concerts are held each day at 11:30am, 1pm, and 3:30pm. Concerts are included with regular Busch Gardens admission, but reservation tickets are required to guarantee a seat.

January 6-10: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
Events include the Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, Family Fun Run 5K, runDisney Kids Races, Disney’s Health & Fitness Expo, Pasta in the Park Party, and the Cool Down Party. For more information and to sign up, visit their website.

January 23-31: Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts & Humanities
This multi-day, multi-disciplinary event celebrates the life and work of 20th century writer, folklorist and anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston, her hometown, Eatonville, the nation’s oldest incorporated African American municipality, and the contributions people of African ancestry have made to the United States and world culture.