ORLANDO, Fla. — If there’s ever been a summer to visit a theme park — or two, or three — this is it.
High speed wooden roller coasters? Thrilling, sense-assaulting rides? Penguins?
Yes, yes and most definitely.
In Orlando alone, four of the area’s big parks — Disney, Universal, Legoland and SeaWorld — have opened, or are about to open, new attractions. Cedar Point in Ohio unveiled a new roller coaster a few weeks ago and in Las Vegas, a $50 million water park debuted on Memorial Day weekend. In California, visitors to Disneyland can meet all of the Disney Princesses in one place. Elsewhere in the Golden State, four different parks boast new roller coasters.
“Wherever you live, that park is likely to have something new,” said Jeremy Schoolfield, the senior editor of Funworld Magazine, the trade publication for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). “There’s lots of innovations, what we call immersive experiences.”
There’s been an onslaught of new attractions in Orlando in recent months.
Back in December, Disney World opened a newly expanded Fantasyland, the largest project in the park’s 41-year history. There are two sections: Enchanted Forest, where visitors will find Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” and Ariel from “The Little Mermaid,” and Storybook Circus, which is inspired by the Disney film “Dumbo.”
A new ride called Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid and Enchanted Tales With Belle, a walk-through experience that features a magical mirror and costumed characters, will impress movie lovers. And the popular Dumbo attraction is now a little less crowded, because Disney built a second, identical ride.
The new spaces are built on what was once the site of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea experience, and the expansion doubles the size of the original Fantasyland.