Orlando, the Theme Park Capital of the World continues to embrace new and returning visitors in 2024 with more than two dozen new experiences. The destination — where winter doesn’t exist — is brimming with new possibilities for dream vacations, from movie-inspired attractions and a launch coaster with snowmobile-style cars to a cabaret-style music venue tucked inside a stunning performing arts center and a luxury beach-like resort with an 8-acre crystal lagoon.
With new concepts from Michelin-recognized chefs and Food Network and Top Chef celebrity chefs, alongside champagne bars, sober speakeasies, omakases and arcade bars, Orlando’s culinary and nightlife scene continues to grow to reflect the diversity of the destination with distinct new offerings.
“Year after year, Orlando sets itself apart as a travel destination with new experiences and unforgettable adventures to spark the imagination,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “Whether visitors are seeking new thrills, immersive entertainment or foodie-focused exploration, a whole new Orlando is ready to welcome you in 2024.”
Continuous updates on what’s new in Orlando are available at VisitOrlando.com, the official visitor information source for the destination. Visitors are also encouraged to sign up for Visit Orlando’s free, personalized one-on-one Vacation Planning Service with destination experts for guidance and advice on building the perfect itinerary in Orlando, a destination that enters the new year ranked as the top U.S. destination to explore in 2024 by AAA and listed among the most fun destinations in the U.S. by WalletHub.
Theme Park Attractions
- Journey of Water, inspired by Moana opened in October at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort. Through a self-guided exploration trail, guests are fully immersed in the animated film while playing, dancing and interacting with water that travels through its lifecycle, from rain falling to vapor rising to the clouds.
- The Little Mermaid – A Musical Adventure, a fully reimagined theatrical production inspired by the Walt Disney Animation Studios classic “The Little Mermaid,” will debut at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ newly refreshed Animation Courtyard theater in the fall.
- Tiana’s Bayou Adventure replaces Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park in late 2024. Guests will explore a musical adventure inspired by the fan-favourite film showcasing the beloved characters as they are brought into the next chapter of Tiana’s story.
- DreamWorks Land will debut at Universal Studios Florida in late 2024. Guests will be able to interact with their favourite DreamWorks Animations’ characters in themed, interactive play spaces and attractions that bring characters from popular movies like “Shrek,” “Trolls” and “Kung Fu Panda” to life.
- Aquatica Orlando will introduce Tassie’s Underwater Twist, a new waterslide that will transform the guest ride experience into an awe-inspiring journey through Australia's Shark Bay seagrass meadow in spring.
- SeaWorld Orlando will debut Penguin Trek, an immersive indoor/outdoor launch coaster families can ride together this spring. Guests (including children who meet the height requirement) will ride snowmobile-inspired cars going at a maximum capacity of 43 mph, ending up in the park’s penguin habitat.
- LEGOLAND Florida Resort will debut LEGO Ferrari Build & Race this spring, offering guests the experience of viewing a life-sized LEGO Ferrari car, and building and testing it in one of three obstacle-laden test tracks. Younger drivers can enjoy the LEGO DUPLO Build Zone to design their own custom creations with larger bricks.
Venue Expansions and Openings
- Judson’s Live debuts on Feb. 6, bringing a low-key, 150-seat, cabaret-style music space with unparalleled sound to the spectacular Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Guests will discover new music with scheduled 50-minute performances while enjoying specialty cocktails and a seasonal scratch-kitchen menu of shareable bites.
- AREA15 Orlando, the second location of Las Vegas’ highly themed entertainment district, is coming to the heart of Orlando’s tourism corridor. AREA15 will offer guests a robust, ever-changing roster of concert events, art exhibitions, nightlife and boundary-pushing shows, featuring an impressive indoor/outdoor event space.
- Orlando Science Center opens its newest exhibit, “Life,” this spring. Featuring three distinctive habitats – swamp, ocean and tropical rainforest – with 300 animals from around the world, the new exhibit explores the impact of humans on the environment and is designed to amaze, entertain and educate.
New Accommodations and Renovations
- The Alfond Inn, a boutique hotel in the heart of the historic Winter Park district, completed an extensive renovation in October, adding 71 guestrooms, a chic café, and a lavish spa, among other features for its 10-year anniversary celebration. Owned by Rollins College, the hotel directs all net operating income to scholarships to underscore its commitment to education, philanthropy and the Winter Park community.
- Evermore Orlando Resort, which opened Jan. 1, is Orlando’s first beach-like property with an 8-acre Crystal Lagoon and a 20-acre sandy beach with hammocks, cabanas and recreational activities. Guests can enjoy family paddleboarding, mixology classes, sandcastle-building lessons and more. Evermore, which has the world's first touchless sunscreen application system, is thoughtfully built for large groups and families offering a range of 2- to 11-bedroom vacation homes.
- Conrad Orlando, the destination’s first Hilton luxury brand, opens on Jan. 9 with 433 rooms, a spa, numerous dining options – including its signature rooftop experience – and 40,000 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space. Located at Evermore Orlando Resort, the property overlooks a golf course, a two-story boathouse for private events and Evermore Bay’s crystal lagoon and sandy beaches.
- Aloft Orlando Lake Nona, the closest hotel to the world-class USTA (United States Tennis Association) National Campus and footsteps away from the Drive Shack golf range, opens this month with 205 loft-style guestrooms, 15 suites, wellness facilities, a sports-themed restaurant, and a 10,000 sq. ft. event center. The vibrant hotel will welcome visitors with eclectic décor and design nods to its music and technology roots that give each guestroom its own character.
- Villatel Orlando Resort, situated within the iconic International Drive area, began a phased opening in late 2023, offering private villa rentals with hotel-style standards and amenities. The property will eventually include an adventure waterpark with multi-story slides and a lazy river, a fully equipped fitness center, a full-service restaurant and children’s playgrounds. Upon full completion in 2025, the entire resort will have 526 units with apartment-style suites and single-family homes.
- Waldorf Astoria Orlando ushers in a new era of sophistication in 2024 as it completes a multi-phase floor-to-ceiling transformation of its resort rooms and suites, lobby space and select culinary outlets, including its award-winning restaurant Bull & Bear and prestigious 18-hole golf course. The redesign emphasizes the resort's unique geographic position, pleasantly located within the 482-acre Bonnet Creek Nature Preserve, a perfect sanctuary for guests seeking a mix of nature and tranquility.
Dining and Nightlife
- EET, the only Indian-inspired restaurant in Disney Springs, is now open. Created by Food Network’s Maneet Chauhan, most recently known for her role as a permanent judge on Chopped, the new eatery offers traditional Indian flavours with a modern flair.
- Summer House on the Lake, a lakeside eatery with California-inspired cuisine, also opened at Disney Springs and features local and sustainable ingredients, water views, a signature Rosé cart with rotating bottles and a dedicated Cookie Bar with 15 varieties of oversized cookies.
- Arcade Monsters unveiled its fifth location of the video-game bar and restaurant in Orlando’s International Drive area offering a menu of classic bar food. With the purchase of wristbands, visitors of all ages can play unlimited classic arcade games.
- Flûtes Champagne Bar, a 40-seat French-inspired champagne bar, celebrates the timeless art of champagne-making and brings the elegance, culture, and flavors of France to Winter Park.
- Stadium Club, a new sports-themed facility located at Caribe Royale Orlando Resort, debuts later this month. The 500-seat facility will feature eight pro-level sports simulators, two bars and several areas for private events.
- Bar Kada, a new concept by Michael Collantes, chef and owner of Michelin-starred Soseki, will open in February. Bar Kada will be an intimate 30-seat sake and wine lounge with a focus on small plates, ancient sakes and low-intervention wines overseen by Michelin "Sommelier of the Year" Benjamin Coutts and offer experiences like classes and pairing dinners.
- Moso Nori, a new concept by James Beard Award finalist and Michelin-recognized chef Henry Moso, is expecting a summer opening in Winter Park. The new restaurant will feature a hand-roll bar, serving a variety of temaki, sake, beer, wine and sake-based cocktails.
- BANDBOX Orlando, the spirit-free speakeasy in Orlando’s Ivanhoe Village district, will expand in the new year. The 1920s-inspired venue is partnering with a local coffee company to offer a variety of coffee and tea options by day, and a sober speakeasy by night. The expansion will also feature a larger bottle shop and retail selection.
- Natsu Omakase, an exclusive 10-seat sushi omakase concept, opened in downtown Orlando with an innovative and seasonal menu.
- Chuck Lager America’s Tavern is opening its eighth location, and fourth in Florida, from Top Chef alumnus, Fabio Viviani. While known for its craft bourbons, the Tavern will also offer classics, like nachos, burgers, flatbreads and tacos.
- Pointe Orlando, dubbed a playground for adults with or without kids, will debut a trio of new indoor/outdoor entertainment spaces, including Sports & Social, a place to watch and play games such as Skee-Ball and Foosball; a PBR Cowboy Bar, featuring a mechanical bull and multiple bars; and Live! Plaza, a space for special events, live music, viewing sporting events, festivals and more.
- Mid Drive Dive, a locally owned midcentury-inspired bar and restaurant serving elevated American classics, will open in the heart of Orlando’s College Park neighbourhood.
- The Cake Bake Shop Bakery by Gwendolyn Rogers is coming to Disney’s BoardWalk and will feature savory and sweet options, along with afternoon tea service in a whimsical atmosphere that complements the area’s idyllic charm.
- Crush Yard Pickleball Club & Restaurant, a new entertainment complex backed by NFL stars such as Rob Gronkowski, is expected to open in Kissimmee in 2024. The complex will feature multiple indoor/outdoor pickleball courts, a food menu that services different dietary preferences and an active calendar of events, including tournaments, clinics and lessons.