Posted by: Sophie M. | 18/12/2011

Orlando 2012 – a new year, new rides, new attractions and a whole lot more fun!

With only a few days to go until the New Year, 2012 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for the theme parks of Orlando. All the big players have something in the works and for those visiting Orlando in 2012 there are plenty of  new attractions to look forward to.

January 2012

Animal Care Center logo

Busch Gardens Tampa – Animal Care Center

The new Animal Care Center in Busch Gardens Tampa will allow guests to observe and take part in animal care, including treatments, X-rays, nutrition and surgeries. With most of the animal care conducted within view of guests, this new facility provides education and entertainment for the whole family.

The Animal Care Center is expected to open on 16th January 2012 (subject to change).

February 2012

Busch Gardens Tampa – Iceploration


Starting on 2nd February 2012 the Moroccan Palace Theatre in Busch Garden Tampa will debut a new daily 30 minute ice show. Combining talented skaters, amazing costumes, giant puppets and spellbinding storytelling, explore the African Serengeti, Great Barrier Reef, the Arctic and the Amazon Rainforest.

May 2012

Walt Disney World – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

May sees the first opening stage of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort with the family suites scheduled to open. Themed around The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Cars and The Little Mermaid, guests will be able to immerse themselves within these favourite films. Providing extra value for families, 1120 of the 1984 suites will be able to sleep up to 6 guests, featuring 2 bathrooms, a master bedroom for mum and dad, coffee-making facilities, a microwave and fridge. Prices start from $249 (£155) per room per night. Make your reservation now!

'The Little Mermaid' bedroom in the Art of Animation resort

Walt Disney World – Magic Kingdom: Fantasyland expansion (Phase 1)

The first phase of the Fantasyland expansion in Magic Kingdom is due to open in mid-2012, featuring the Storybook Circus. This area features The Great Goofini, a junior sized coaster ‘piloted’ by Goofy, Casey Junior Train, a stationary water play feature and a double Dumbo The Flying Elephant  ride. The queue for Dumbo is always big so Disney has decided to build a second, identical ride. The queue will also be air conditioned and feature hands-on games to entertain children while they are queuing.

Storybook Circus concept art showing the double-Dumbo ride.

June 2012

SeaWorld Orlando – TurtleTrek

TurtleTrek is a 3-D film and marine life exhibit opening in the summer of 2012. Featuring sea turtles, fish and manatees along with the film Turtle: The Incredible Journey shown in 360-degree 3-D (projected onto the ceiling and walls of the theatre!) this attraction is sure to be popular with visitors to SeaWorld.

Discovery Cove – Freshwater Oasis

Freshwater Oasis

Ever wanted to get up close and personal with otters and marmoset monkeys? Well Discovery Cove will soon be giving its guests the opportunity to do just that in its new freshwater area that will add to the unique appeal Discovery Cove already has.  Swimming through waist deep water you’ll be able to watch as marmoset monkeys swing through the tropical rainforest canopy above you before encountering Asian-small clawed otters as they play in the environment around you. Discovery Cove always provides a nice break from the fast-paced theme parks and this new attraction will only add to its appeal.

Freshwater Oasis

October 2012

Walt Disney World – Magic Kingdom: Fantasyland Expansion (Phase 2)

October sees phase 2 of the Fantasyland expansion open featuring 2 new castles, Beast’s Castle (Beauty & The Beast) and Prince Eric’s Castle (The Little Mermaid). Guests will also have the opportunity to meet Ariel in Ariel’s Grotto, play interactive games in Scuttle’s Scavenger Hunt, and dine in the Be Our Guest Restaurant and Gaston’s Tavern before venturing onto the star attraction, “Journey of the Little Mermaid”, an undersea journey into the world of Ariel and friends.

Phases 3 and 4 are not scheduled to open until 2013.

Fantasyland expansion concept art

Summer 2012

Legoland Florida – Water Park

Legoland Florida Water Park concept art

A small, family friendly water park will be opening next to Legoland Florida in the summer of 2012. This will not be a water park for thill-seekers; the rides are distinctly child friendly, and will certainly not provide much competition for the big water parks already established within Orlando, but for those with young children and a passion for Lego this will provide a few fun-filled hours.

Unknown opening date – 2012

Universal Studios – Despicable Me ride

Featuring 3-D CGI animation in 4K high definition, Despicable Me will be a beautiful and exciting 3-D simulator ride situated within Universal Studios. Guests will be ‘transformed’ into one of Gru’s minions before embarking upon an exciting family-friendly adventure.

Islands of Adventure – The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man (refurbishment)

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man is getting an update for 2012, including 4K high definition technology to improve the quality and brightness of the projected images. Universal has also commissioned all-new CGI animations for the attraction which mean that while the ride will remain essentially the same, it will be bigger, brighter and bolder for 2012.

The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

2012 is definitely shaping up to be a very exciting year in Orlando and we can’t wait to be part of it! With news already of further expansions in 2013 (Phases 3 & 4 of Fantasyland and the expansion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to name two) the future is looking bright and sunny for Orlando.


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