There is no sound quite like that of children expressing their delight for the arrival of summer – except maybe when they’re told they’re going to Orlando for vacation. The number one tourist destination in the U.S. continues to draw tens of thousands of visitors to its many attractions, the most popular of which are theme parks.
This year the big three – Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando – are prepared to entertain crowds with exciting new experiences of monstrous proportions that are definitely more than meets the eye.
1 SeaWorld Orlando – Antarctica
SeaWorld Orlando will soon debut a “cool” new way to beat that heat inside Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, a new “realm” that’s the theme park’s largest expansion in the company’s 50-year history. Featuring an iceberg-themed area, restaurant, and high-tech new immersive trackless ride that drops temperatures in the 30’s (colder than Florida gets in the winter), Antarctica will certainly turn heads when it officially debuts on May 24.
The attraction is topped with 50-foot peaks that aims to bring guests to the South Pole – a far stretch from Orlando’s tropical climate. The Empire of the Penguin ride will be filled with colorful visuals as guests soar on high-tech vehicles through icy environments, following a penguin named Puck.
“It’s unlike anything else in the world,” said SeaWorld Orlando president Terry Prather. “This new attraction is something that could only be created by SeaWorld because of our expertise with animals.” SeaWorld’s attractions are always more than just thrills, also including environmentally-conscious messages.
Each area of our park tells a chapter in the SeaWorld story through our connections to nature,” Prather said. “Antarctica’s chapter is about the strength and power of family – the human family and the penguin family. Antarctica also tells a very different visual story of scale, realism and detail yet to be seen at SeaWorld. It is completely immersive, you are entering a different continent when you walk into the space. It’s really the next chapter for our company.”
2 Universal Orlando – Transformers: The Ride 3D
Those looking for the biggest new thrills will find them at Universal Studios Florida on June 20 when Transformers: The Ride 3D opens. This highly-anticipated attraction has already been a hit at Universal’s parks in Singapore and California, and is now set to debut in Orlando as the best of its kind.
“It’s been such a phenomenon in our two other parks,” said senior vice president of Universal Creative, Thierry Coup. “The response has been tremendous. There’s a huge fan base for Transformers. […] It brings us the ability to put our guests in that world.”