So thrilled to be partnering with Eileen from TakingtheKids.com, today. Eileen is an “Orlando with kids” expert! I’ve been taking copious notes, as we are planning our first vacation there this fall! Leave a comment if you’ve ever visited these sites, or if you are currently planning a trip to the Orlando area!
You can’t see it all in Orlando — no matter how hard you try — especially because there’s always going to be something new. That includes places to stay. In late March, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort opens with moderately priced family suites and rooms in an elaborately retro-themed hotel while in August, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney Resort will open its doors for those seeking a luxe experience.
Here’s just a sampling of what’s new at the Orlando parks this year:
- DUPLO Valley at LEGOLAND Florida brings LEGO’s DUPLO characters to life with an entire new farmed-themed area designed for kids ages 2-5 with miniature tractor rides, water play and a place to build with DUPLO bricks. The central feature will be a DUPLO Train that toddlers can board on their own (or with parents.) LEGOLAND Florida also recently unveiled The World of Chima.
- Universal Orlando is expanding The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by building a Hogwarts Express train to the London Harry Potter fans know from the books and movies. London’s Diagon Alley will be located within Universal Studios Florida, adjacent to Universal’s Islands of Adventure where the Wizarding World, complete with Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, exists. Younger kids will love the new 3-D Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride where you can join Gru, his daughters and the minions on a new adventure.
- Walt Disney World Resort is set to finish the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history –the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster at the New Fantasyland. The Coaster will tell the story of Snow White with mine cars that rock back and forth, animated figures and music from the movie. At Magic Kingdom, a new Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade featuring characters and music from classic movies including Peter Pan, Cinderella and more recent ones like Brave and Frozen.
- SeaWorld Orlando celebrates its 50th anniversary with A Sea of Surprises, such as animal ambassadors going through the park offering special encounters, Surprise Squads giving away free souvenirs, and spontaneous pop-up entertainment around the park.
May is an especially good time to visit Orlando; great weather, travel deals and fewer crowds so you can see more for less. The hardest part is deciding where to go first — your tried and true favorites or the new attractions?
Eileen is the author of the syndicated column Taking the Kids and the “Kid’s Guide to Orlando,” part of the Kid’s Guide Series from Globe Pequot Press.