What's new in Orlando for 2012?

Posted by Sue Anderson, 18th May 2012

With an area of 101 square miles, Orlando has plenty of room for its millions of visiting tourist each year, and with visitors in mind it's unsurprising that the theme parks continue to get bigger and better. Here are some of the new features opening in 2012.

SeaWorld - Turtle Trek

Turtle Trek features a 3D/360° dome theatre; a unique experience where you follow from a turtles point of view its journey from hatching on a beach to the dangers they face as they mature and returning to the very same beach to lay their own eggs.

Opening: Spring 2012 - open

Universal Studios - Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

A new 3-D adventure featuring Gru, his daughters and the mischievous minions, a fun experience for all the family to enjoy.

Opening: Summer 2012

Disney's Magic Kingdom - Fantasyland expansion

When finished Fantasyland will be almost double its original size, offering many new rides and attractions, featuring two new themed areas; Storybook Circus and Fantasyland Forest.

Some of the new attractions will include a larger Dumbo ride, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, The Little Mermaid ride, a new area to meet the Disney princesses in Fairytale Hall and an area themed on Beauty and the Beast, with Beast's Castle restaurant, Gaston's tavern and Belle's cottage.

Opening: phase one, the first half of Storybook Circus opened March 2012, with stage two set to open in July. The entire expansion is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

Wet 'n Wild - Blastaway Beach

Set to be the largest waterpark playground in Florida, Blastaway Beach is ideal for families of all ages. An acre in size, the beach themed water play area has a 60 foot sandcastle, 15 slides through the upper and lower pools and more than 160 soakers, water jets, cannons and waterfalls.

Opening: June 2012

Legoland Florida - New Water Park

Legoland is located in Winter Haven, Florida just 45mins drive from Orlando. Its new Water Park will feature a wave pool, build-a-raft lazy river, tube and body slides, Duplo splash safari and an interactive water-play structure.

Opening: Summer 2012

Walt Disney World - Art of Animation Resort (accommodation)

The Art of Animation Resort is a new 2000 room hotel themed on some of Disney's and Disney Pixar's most popular films.

The hotel will feature family suites for up to 6 guests, themed from Finding Nemo, Cars or Lion King and The Little Mermaid standard rooms which accommodate up to 4 guests.

Facilities will include 4 playful courtyards (one for each film), children's play areas, 3 swimming pools, the largest is located in the Finding Nemo courtyard and also features a pool bar, and the two smaller pools are located in the Cars and The Little Mermaid courtyards.

Opening: phase one Finding Nemo from spring 2012, phase two Cars - June 2012, Lion King - August 2012 and The Little Mermaid - September 2012

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