New Attractions in Orlando: Summer 2014

From Harry Potter to the Seven Dwarfs, enjoy new experiences with old friends at Orlando’s theme parks.

Attractions are really heating up for summer. From an amazing new Wizarding World of Harry Potter to family fun with the Seven Dwarfs, you’ll find plenty of new experiences at Orlando’s theme parks this summer.

1. Disney’s Newest Gem—It’s off to fun you go. Head inside the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, where you’ll discover jewels in a rainbow of colors. Then, hop aboard an entry-level roller coaster where Sleepy, Doc, Grumpy, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy and Dopey are off to work. A lively intermission breaks up the two thrilling rides, and then you end finally at a Disneyesque cottage with Snow White and her little friends. But watch out … there’s someone knocking on the door. From $99 for adult admission, 1180 Seven Seas Drive, 407.939.5277

2. Take the Plunge—Orlando’s newest waterslide opened in May at SeaWorld's Aquatica. Ilu's Breakaway Falls is the area’s tallest, steepest and only multi-drop tower slide of its kind. Riders step into one of three clear breakaway boxes and watch each other fall one-by-one as the floor underneath them disappears. 5800 Water Play Way/888.800.5447

3. Right Up Your Alley—Muggles and magicians take note: Universal Studios’ Diagon Alley may just be their best attraction yet. Universal’s creative minds have spared no expense in making sure you feel fully immersed in Harry Potter’s world. Just behind an ordinary street in London awaits an alley of pure imagination. Visit a wand shop, dine at the Leaky Cauldrun and venture inside Gringotts Bank for a thrilling, 4D ride. Then, follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter as you leave his London flat and head to the Platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross Station, where the Hogswarts Express will take you on an action-packed ride to Hogsmeade at Universal Adventure Islands for even more magic. Park-to-park pass from $130; 6000 Universal Blvd., 407.363.8000

4. Hakuna Matata—Through Aug. 9, Disney’s Animal Kingdom invites you to Harambe Nights, a dinner theater like no other. At the opening reception, you'll start with savory appetizers and cool beverages like Jungle Juice and beer and wine imported from Africa. Inside the Harambe Theatre, enjoy a one-hour performance of “The Lion King Concert in the Wild.” While celebrity narrators and movie clips are fun, it's the amazing dancers and musicians that steal the show. Afterward is a lively street party featuring Afro-pop rhythms, live performers and a buffet of African-inspired culinary creations, featuring everything from spicy vegetable samosas and seared lamb chops to a flavorful rice pudding. Starting at $119 ages 10 and up; $79 ages 9 and under. 2901 Osceola Parkway, 407.939.1319

5. Block Some Time at LEGOLAND—Calling all tots! LEGOLAND’s DUPLO Valley opened in May, bringing preschool toys to life with new farmed-themed attractions. Kids can hop aboard a train or a mini tractor or cool off inside the barn or at the splash park. Kids can put their minds to work as they build with their very own DUPLO bricks. From $69. One LEGOLAND Way, 877.350.5346 Legoland

Laura Lee
About the author

“A Southern hostess at heart, I love sharing all the best places, from restaurants, beaches and theme parks to ...