Orlando Lines Up A Blockbuster Summer

Orlando , Expert View Column
By AttractionTickets.com’s Florida Experts, Susan and Simon Veness
There’s a LOT to look forward to in the theme parks in the next few months.

Every year here in Orlando marks a new round of rides and attractions, a new array of excitement and fun to experience. Every year.

But, every now and then, the stars align to produce a super-abundance of “new stuff” for our visitors to enjoy. 2024 is just one of those years.

It has kind of crept up on us, as the theme parks have been a bit (deliberately) vague about the opening dates for their latest attractions, keeping us largely in the dark as to the exact moment when we can rush out and sample their newest offerings.

But the unknown has recently been replaced by certain knowledge, and each of Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld all have confirmed dates for their latest unveilings – and they have pretty much lined up a blockbuster summer of exciting additions to our theme parks.

From the bayous of Louisiana to the snows of Antarctica, the scene is now set for a bonanza couple of months as we charge into June! And, for those heading to Central Florida anytime soon, here is the essential run-down of all that’s in store for you from this summer extravaganza.


Universal Orlando

This first one is primarily for children, but the grown-ups might well want to get in on the action, too, when DreamWorks Land opens in the original Universal Studios park on June 14. This huge interactive play area, with its shows and character meet-and-greets, has just been previewed for local media and it looks absolutely beautiful. 


Concept art of Shreks swamp in DreamWorks Land


The central features are Shrek’s Swamp Meet, a hilarious interaction with Shrek, Fiona and Donkey outside Shrek’s cottage; the Trollercoaster, a junior-sized coaster ride on the caterpillar-like Caterbus from the Trolls films; Po Live, an animated meet-and-talk with that mischievous Kung Fu Panda; and DreamWorks Theater, with a chance to enjoy a show from some of these key characters. This area takes over from the old Woody Woodpecker’s KidZone, and the transformation is quite immense, so we think this is well worth everyone taking a look at this summer.

That isn’t the only new Universal arrival, either. June 14 will also mark the debut of CineSational: A Symphonic Spectacular, their latest film, fireworks and special effects show on the central lagoon at Universal Studios, as well as Hogwarts Always, a completely original night-time event in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure, updating the projection show on the Castle with brand new imagery and special effects. Finally, July 3 will mark the start of an exciting new feature at Universal Studios. The Universal Mega Movie Parade will showcase the likes of Jurassic World, Jaws, Ghostbusters, Back To The Future, E.T. and more in a scintillating line-up of 13 novel floats and more than 100 performers on a daily basis. It should be an absolute highlight, so don’t miss it!


Concept art of CineSational


Walt Disney World Resort

Disney’s latest ride opening has been a long time coming but looks to be well worth the wait. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure takes over from the old Splash Mountain log flume ride, which closed in January last year, and provides a whole new story-telling experience along the way. Opening on June 28, it promises to pick up the thread from the end of The Princess and the Frog film, with visitors joining Princess Tiana and jazz-loving alligator Louis on a journey through a shimmering bayou as they prepare for a spirited celebration during Mardi Gras season. Once aboard the ride, you’ll see familiar faces and make new friends as you’re brought into the next chapter of Tiana’s inspiring story. Disney has drip-fed us details of the experience in recent months, and we think we can safely say this will be a classic ride in the best film traditions.




But hold on – that’s not the only all-new Walt Disney World item on offer this summer! Over at Disney Springs, visitors can now see the nightly Disney Dreams That Soar drone show at 9 and 10.45pm. This free spectacle takes place above the main lake and showcases the joy of flight to an iconic Disney musical track that features the likes of Toy Story, Coco, Dumbo, Peter Pan, UP and the Star Wars franchise. There are 800 drones in all, creating towering elements up to 400ft tall. Viewing areas are available along the waterfront in the West Side section of Disney Springs, and the show will run until September 2. And we’re also still hoping that July or August will see the opening of the revamped Country Bears show at the Magic Kingdom. The re-imagined version will be called Country Bears Musical Jamboree and feature the animatronic bears playing well-known Disney songs in best Country style. Should be a winner!


Disney Dreams That Soar



In recent months, we had also been eagerly awaiting the opening date for the grand new Penguin Trek, a dramatic roller-coaster whirl through the Antarctica area of the park that replaces the former indoor dark ride. The newcomer was announced last October with a “spring 2024” provisional debut date, but spring has certainly come and gone with no opening, which left us a little surprised. Until this week, when SeaWorld’s PR folks filled in a lot of the missing detail for us. There isn’t a solid, confirmed date for the ride yet, but the ride and newly-revamped Antarctica area WILL be on offer later this summer, PLUS a new parade and stage show. Here’s what they say:


Penguin Trek concept art


NEW Antarctica Realm: This immersive new area will be home to the highly anticipated family launch coaster, Penguin Trek, this summer. In the realm, guests can cool off at “South Pole Sips,” the latest addition to SeaWorld’s vibrant bar scene, offering ice-cold draft beer, canned selections and frozen cocktails. The beloved Expedition Café is also reopening, boasting a diverse menu that caters from healthy grab-and-go options to delectable dishes inspired by Italian and Asian cuisines. Guests can also enjoy up-close encounters with penguins in the expansive penguin habitat, making Antarctica a must-visit destination for guests of all ages.

NEW “So Much More to Sea” 60th Anniversary Parade Featuring Shamu and Crew: In celebration of SeaWorld’s 60th Anniversary, guests of all ages can enjoy a new interactive parade featuring the park’s ocean crew and fan-favourite SeaWorld characters, Shamu and Crew, embarking on an exciting adventure of discovery! NEW Cirque-Style Show, Xceleration: Guests can catch an exhilarating live stunt show, Xceleration, featuring hip hop music, BMX bikes, roller skating and skateboarding at the air-conditioned Nautilus Theater.


So there you have it. New excitement across the board for a sizzling Orlando summer, complete with pandas, alligators and penguins! It’s going to be a good time to be in the Theme Park Capital of the World.

What are you most excited about for this bonanza Orlando summer? Tell us about it on the friendly Attraction Tickets Community Facebook page, on Twitter or Instagram.


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Orlando , Expert View Column