Every captain needs a first mate. And at Virgin Voyages, the adults-only cruise line set to debut in 2020, its second-in-command will be none other than travel agents.
ORLANDO — Big things are in store for Orlando in 2018, with a slew of new attractions, hotels and dining options scheduled to debut.
“Every Orlando vacation is unique, with so many attractions and activities for visitors to mix and match, but 2018 will be an exceptional year for experiences that really stand out,” said George Aguel, President and CEO for Visit Orlando. “A great vacation lets you escape from the everyday and experience something new, and there is no shortage of that this coming year, ranging from being immersed in a high-speed car chase with the Fast & Furious to plunging down the world’s tallest river rapid drop.”
The theme park capital of the world will welcome several new thrills, including Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Opening in summer 2018, it will feature two new themed attractions: the ‘Slinky Dog Dash’ roller coaster and ‘Alien Swirling Saucers’.‘Fast & Furious – Supercharged’ is also coming to Universal Studios Florida, as well as a new nighttime lagoon show that will replace Universal’s ‘Cinematic Spectacular-100 Years of Movie Memories’.At SeaWorld, ‘Infinity Falls’, a new rainforest river rapids ride, is set to debut next summer, while ‘Ray Rush’, a raft ride featuring water jets and a colossal water sphere, will arrive at Aquatica next spring.
Over at LEGOLAND, ‘The Great Lego Race VR Coaster’ will debut as the first virtual reality roller coaster designed for children, while ‘LEGO NINJAGO – Master of the 4th Dimension’, a new short film, will debut on Jan. 12 at the LEGO Showplace Theater.
Also notable is Nona Adventure Park, a new water sports park opening next summer in the Lake Nona area of Orlando. It will boast an inflatable, floating obstacle course and a 60-foot climbing tower with ropes course.
As for new hotels, The Delaney Hotel, a 54-room boutique property in the Sodo district of downtown Orlando, will open in March with high-tech conveniences such as remote check-in, digital tablet-based concierge services, and smart phone room keys.
Universal’s Aventura Hotel, the sixth on-site hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, will open its doors in August. Guests will be wowed by its 16-storey glass tower featuring 600 guestrooms (including 13 kids’ suites), and the first-ever rooftop bar and grill on Universal property.
Margaritaville Resort Orlando is also set to debut next year as a new waterfront destination resort featuring 175 rooms, 1,000 vacation homes and 300 timeshare units. A new dining and entertainment district is also planned, along with a 12-acre water park, wellness centre and more.
Lastly, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, the largest of the six convention hotels at Walt Disney World Resort, is expanding in 2018 with a new 15-storey tower of 500 additional rooms, a new rooftop restaurant and lounge atop the tower.
Foodies will be spoilt for choice next year, thanks to a wide range of new dining experiences. These include several options at Disney Springs, like The Edison, which is themed around a 1920s-era electric company with classic American food, Jaleo, a Spanish tapas concept by world-renowned Chef Jose Andres, and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in town Center. There’s also Wine Bar George, the only Master Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida, and Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar, serving Prohibition-era cocktails along with a menu of Roman dishes. Elsewhere in Orlando, there’s JINYA Ramen Bar in the Thornton Park neighbourhood of downtown Orlando, and Heirloom Deli, opening next spring as an all-vegan restaurant.