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Visit Orlando: New Experiences Coming Soon in 2022

From the time I left Orlando in 2007, it has grown massively to the point where I hardly even recognize it anymore. From the food scene to attractions, it’s definitely not the same anymore…and that’s a great thing! For me, it’s fun to scroll TikTok and other social media seeing what Orlando is offering to locals and tourists alike.

According to a Visit Orlando press release, Orlando has some plans in store this year from hotel openings to dining experiences.

“Travelers in 2022 are prioritizing vacation plans to reconnect with family and friends through new experiences that create unforgettable memories, and Orlando is the perfect destination to do that,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO for Visit Orlando. “Orlando is ready for an exciting year ahead with openings ranging from a brand new Peppa Pig theme park and acoustically perfect performance hall at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts to Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary celebration festivities.”

Here’s what’s we can look forward to this year:

Theme Parks

Walt Disney World Resort 

  • The resort’s 50th anniversary celebration bought new experiences to all four theme parks. This year’s anticipated experiences include: EPCOT’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, a new storytelling coast that rotates a full 360 to give riders a focus on the action, and new show “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond” at Animal Kingdom.

SeaWorld Orlando Parks & Entertainment 

  • Ice Breaker, Sea World’s first launch coaster, opens this month. The ride features four launches, including forwards and backwards, ending in a reverse launch with a 93-ft. tall spike with an 100-degree angle, which is the highest vertical drop in Florida.
  • Aquatica Orlando has the all-new Reef Plunge water slide, launching in the spring. Guests zoom past a variety of marine life, Commerson’s dolphins, leopard sharks, and other cold water fish.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort 

  • The world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park opens in a couple weeks. Guests can expect multiple rides, interactive attractions, live shows, themed playscape and water play areas.
  • Family-friendly treasure hunt adventure Pirate River Quest allows guests to wander through the “uncharted waters” of Cypress Gardens and discover all it’s secrets.

Theme Park Alternatives

  • Art²(“art squared”) is an urban park featuring a 2-story shipping container structure coming to downtown Orlando this spring. The park will also have a café, art gallery, stage, seating, digital video walls, and gift shop plus an artificial turf courtyard, concrete patio, picnic tables, hammocks, and two food truck spaces.
  • Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex opens at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in March. The 50,000-sq. ft., multi-level attraction features a NASA showcase, immersive displays, and the opportunity to view launches.

Hotel Accommodations

  • Walt Disney World’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel opens March 1. Guests can “board” the starship Halcyon for an all-inclusive experience inside the world of Star Wars.
  • The Tuscan-inspired, 126-room ette Hotel Orlando opens this spring near Disney World. ette Hotel Orlando focuses on wellness as an alcohol-free property and offers culinary experiences with Michelin Star Chef Akira Beck. In addition to The Spa at ette, everyone from the minimalist to the unruly naturalist can enjoy its services.
  • Lake Nona Wave Hotel opens at the end of the year with over 200 guest rooms, 16 one-bedroom suites, and two penthouse suites; amenities include voice-automated in-room controls. Hotel guests can dine at three restaurants and bars. Focusing on a holistic wellbeing, access to the world’s first Chopra Mind-Body Zone at the Lake Nona Performance Club, over 400 art pieces and a 50,000-sq. ft. Sculpture Garden.

New Dining Experiences Coming Soon

  • Pointe Orlando will open two new spots this year: Kavas Tacos & Tequila, paying tribute to Mexican culinary history with savory and fresh ingredients, in spring/summer and JoJo’s Shake Bar in fall/winter.
  • New York Beer Project, built to mimic a 1900’s NYC lower East Side indoor beer garden, opens next month in Winter Garden. The brewery features a gastropub, indoor beer garden, tap room, brewery, sidewalk bistro, and three themed event spaces.
  • Café-Boutique PIANO, featuring European cuisine and live piano shows, opens in Winter Park this year.
  • The BANDBOX, Central Florida’s first alcohol-free speakeasy cocktail tasting lounge and collectibles/vintage shop, opens this spring at Downtown Orlando’s Ivanhoe Village.
  • 4Rivers Restaurant Group founder John Rivers opens the first phase of the 4Roots Farm Campus late this year. The 18-acre farm includes classrooms, a community green space, farm-to-table restaurant, and 49,000-sq.ft. of greenhouses and a range of systems dedicated to innovation, sustainability, and education.

Clearly I have a lot of things to see when I come back to visit Orlando and see my folks. Which of these experiences do you want to try?