Orlando theme park additions worth returning for

by Paul Rubio on February 23, 2010

The Manta roller coaster at Sea World in Orlando, FL

Manta roller coaster at the Sea World Resort in Orlando, FL

If it’s been a few years since you last visited Orlando, or the kids are hankering for a new adventure at their favorite theme park, there is a bit of good news. Though new attractions have been announced and completed at a slower pace since the economy turned sour, some amazing recent additions and renovations are well worth experiencing.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando Resort – The most hyped addition to the Orlando playground has been delayed for two years already. However, the wait is almost over! Universal Orlando has finally announced that Harry’s World will open to the public before the end of May 2010. Fans of J.K. Rowling’s young wizard and his magical posse can enter the bewitching world of Hogwarts Castle, Hogsmeade Village, and the Forbidden Forest in the latest addition to the Lost Continent at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure. Universal Orlando Resort is a walk or shuttle ride away from all of the Universal resorts, such as Universal’s Portofino Bay Hotel – A Loews Hotel.

Manta, Sea World Resort – The demands of modern society have forced Sea World to complement the sea life experience and marine show spectaculars with first class rides. In Sea World’s largest investment yet, the flying roller coaster, Manta, feigns the gliding movement of manta rays through an adventure of mind and sea focused on these graceful giants of the sea.  Manta will easily be the talk of the trip, but be prepared to wait between one and two hours for your aerial flight! Sea World is located on International Drive a fifteen minute direct drive from Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive.

Space Mountain, Magic Kingdom – The classic retro roller coaster, Space Mountain, begins to resemble a more modern attraction than a cheesy 1982 science exhibit. Don’t get too excited; it’s pretty much the same ride, just with some fresh paint, improved lighting, better sound effects, and a refreshed waiting area. Nevertheless, nobody ever gets tired of Space Mountain, and the kids feel all grown up, riding the Magic Kingdom’s scariest ride! Located near the Magic Kingdom property, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a short monorail ride away.

- Paul Rubio

[Flickr/Carl Jordan]

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