If you’re heading off to Orlando with the little ones, here are the latest theme park additions to consider for your holiday plans. Combine the magic of the parks with some off-the-beaten track favourites for the perfect blend of adventure, relaxation and entertainment for everyone.
Finding your roar
When you visit Orlando’s parks you’re guaranteed to encounter a scream or two, and there are a whole host of places to find your roar. Opened earlier this year, park guests can now explore the mythical world of Avatar as a visual experience.
Pandora - The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom stars floating mountains and bioluminescent rainforests. In Na'vi River Journey, set off in a canoe to discover the mysterious and sacred river, and the creatures that lie within.
After dark, Rivers of Light is an evening show of multi-sensory entertainment, combining live performances with innovative light installations.
Over at Hollywood Studios in May 2018, there will be a new dog in town at Toy Story Land with the Slinky Dog - rollercoaster, made for little screamers.
Toy Story fans can board vehicles shaped like the namesake, and zoom around the Pixar animated land.
One for the teens and grown-ups too, fans of the Fast & Furious franchise can join in high octane adventure Fast & Furious: Supercharged at Universal Orlando, which opens up the world of underground racing.
Hot foot it to SeaWorld for the new eel-themed coaster, promising to be the tallest and fastest ride yet. Launching early 2018, The Electric Eel will be constructed with loops, twists and a 45-metre ascent, so it’s certainly one for the thrill seekers in your group.
If that packs a little too much adrenaline, young souls will enjoy pretending to be ninjas at LEGOLAND Florida with the new LEGO NINJAGO® World. A dark and interactive ride, guests can shoot fire, ice and lightning from their hands.
The best of both worlds
For parents and grandparents that need a little relaxation, and those looking to expel some more energy, Universal’s Volcano Bay™ will serve everyone’s interests.
Featuring rafts, body slides, water coasters and body plunge rides, the children and young at heart will love to splash their way around the park. And gone are the days of long queues with the TapuTapu™ wearable for stress-free ride access.
Meanwhile the Wave Village is a peaceful lagoon to swim and relax in, while the teens go off and explore.
It seems as if every city across the globe now has an escape-themed game attraction. This might sound a little exaggerated, but even Orlando is now home to four of them.
A more sedate option for the whole family, you can work together and play detective to solve a mystery within an hour and escape from a locked room.
Escapology features six different games, including Budapest Express where you must solve a mysterious murder on a train and a hunt to find a journal which unlocks the treasure in the Lost City.
Situated on International Drive, make a day of it and pit your wits to see who makes the best Sherlock.
Shopping may not be everyone’s idea of fun, but Orlando throws up so many designer bargain outlets and mall options, that it would be sacrilege not to venture into at least one.
Plus, being in the Sunshine State, it provides some much-needed relief from the heat - or at least that’s one way to convince the non-shoppers to tag along!
A universal option is The Florida Mall, which houses child boredom busters such as the Crayola Experience Orlando. The little cherubs will enjoy letting off steam by colouring, sculpting and drawing to their heart’s content. We especially like the Drip Art section which lets you create swirled masterpieces to take home.
After an hour or so of channelling their inner Van Gogh, bide some time browsing a few designer shops and US department stores, such as Macy's, to pick up a few treats for mum, dad or your grandparents.
If you find you start to flake in the afternoon, either grab a fast food bite in the food court, or pay a visit to the famous Carlo’s Bakery from hit TV series Cake Boss for some indulgent sweet treats. Opt for the popular cannoli or the lobster tail - a pastry oozing with smooth French cream and a dash of Irish cream.
After dark delights
On a Saturday night, take the whole family to Old Town Kissimmee to catch the classic car show as it loops around the park. Packed with quirky shops, bars and live entertainment, it’s a relaxed way to spend an evening, and keep restless minds occupied.
Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament is another great place to visit after dark. Book a cab or a shuttle to the venue for a night of stunts, and epic jousting battles between knights in the form of immersive entertainment set in Medieval Spain.
Enjoy a dinner that’s fit for a king, and with unlimited soft drinks and table service for alcoholic beverages, you can sit back, relax, enjoy a few drinks and join in all the fun.
To really capture everyone’s imagination, La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil at Disney Springs will fit the bill. There are two shows every day from Tuesday to Saturday, and the storyline presents an unforgettable journey where two worlds collide between the circus people and urbanites.
It’s impossible to not feel enraptured by the performance featuring live music, acrobatics and interpretive acting.
Fine tune your very own roar in the land of thrills and spills, whether whoops of delight, adrenaline-fuelled fear or belly-aching laughs, it’s all waiting for you and the whole family to discover.
If you're already an RCI member and would like to get some ideas as to where you could be staying, check out the 156 resorts in Orlando that are available in the RCI Holiday Exchange programme...
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