Are you considering bringing the family to Orlando this year? With 16 new attractions, destinations, or restaurants opening, 2016 is a great time to visit Orlando! There will be new things to do and see at the theme parks as well as in Orlando proper.

16 new reasons to visit Orlando in 2016

Photo credit: Maria Smith, TravelingMom of Many

From Universal Orlando Resort to Walt Disney World Resort to LEGOLAND Resort to Seaworld Orlando to the city of Orlando and even Kennedy Space Center, there are lots of new things happening in the Orlando area in 2016. Want to know more or stay on top of new announcements for this year and beyond? Visit Vist Orlando for all your Orlando news. But as for 2016, here are 16 exciting openings that will be new to Orlando this year!

16 New Reasons to Visit Orlando in 2016

Universal Orlando Resort

Head to Universal Studio for some great new additions in 2016.

Photo credit: Maria Smith, TravelingMom of Many

1. “Skull Island: Reign of Kong”. Yes, King Kong will be coming back to Orlando!  One of the most monumental figures in movie history will be honored at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in 2016. Guest will be able to explore ancient temple structures while encountering hostile natives and of course fending off unspeakable terrors. Skull Island: Reign of Kong debuts in summer 2016.

2. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Guests looking for a new place to stay onsite at Universal Orlando Resort are in luck! Loews Sapphire Falls Resort will be the fifth onsite hotel at Universal Orlando Resort. It will feature a casual Caribbean theme and will have 1,000 rooms and suites. The family-friendly resort will be built around a lagoon and towering waterfall. Sapphire Falls Resort will also open in summer 2016.

Walt Disney World Resort

3. Frozen Ever After. Get ready to “let it go” in Epcot this year! Lucky guests will journey on an icy trek through kingdom of Arendelle in the new Frozen-themed attraction. Opening this Spring in the Norway Pavilion, the family adventure will immerse guests in all things “Frozen”, showcasing the hit songs and new technology.


4. Soarin’ Around the World. The always popular Soarin’ attraction will now go beyond California and take Disney World guests across the globe to some of the world’s most unique places.

"Frozen" is coming to EPCOT this year!

Photo credit: Maria Smith, TravelingMom of Many

Visit Orlando in 2016 to experience both natural and man-made wonders in this epic journey.

5. Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris. Heading to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park? Get ready to experience the well-loved Safari attraction in a whole new way. Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris will be the new nighttime adventure. Guests can travel aboard  amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun. There will also be two new species added to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.

6. “Rivers of Light”.  Get ready for a new show which will be the finale to an amazing day at Animal Kingdom. This innovative experience will combine live performances, water screens, floating lanterns and swirly animal imagery, all performed on the Discovery River.

7. Disney Springs. After several long years, Walt Disney World Resort will complete the transformation of Disney Springs in 2016. Disney Springs (formally Downtown Disney) will offer an eclectic mix of food, concert venues, stores, and family-focused attractions. There will be more than 150 establishments once the transformation is complete! It will continue to be free to enter.

8. The Edison. This restaurant will be one of the new additions to Disney Springs in 2016. It will serve classic American food and craft cocktails. It will feature a number of themed areas and also offer live entertainment. The Edison will be designed similar to its sister location in Los Angeles, with a 1920s-period electric company theme.

9. Frontera Fresca. Also opening at Disney Springs, this authentic Mexican cuisine will feature specialties such as hand-crafted tortas,tacos, salads, fresh-made guacamole and classic Mexican braised meat entrees. It is the creation of celebrity Chef Rick Bayless who has crafted the menu with his time-honored recipes.

10. Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine. The third exciting addition to the restaurant scene at Disney Springs comes from renowned chef and restaurateur, Chef Art Smith. Opening in summer 2016, “Homecoming” will offer Southern classics and whimsical drinks. Chef Art Smith is returning to his home state of Florida to offer Disney Springs guests the comfort food they have loved at his other establishments throughout the country.

11. STK. Get ready to get your steak on at Disney Springs starting in the beginning of 2016. STK is an upscale steakhouse and a chic lounge. It will feature a live DJ and a sleek environment perfect for extending some Disney fun, especially for adults.

SeaWorld Orlando

12. Mako, For all thrill-seekers, get ready for a brand new roller coaster at SeaWorld Orlando. Mako will be a 200-foot-tall coaster which will open this summer. It will be Orlando’s tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster, reaching speeds of 73 mph along 4,760 feet of steel track. Those who don’t have the stomach for the actual coaster can enjoy the shark-themed surrounding area. Guest will be able to learn about the impact humans have on sharks and why these animals are critical to the environment.


Check out the new LEGO 4D movie at LEGOLAND Florida Resort in 2016.

Photo credit: Maria Smith, TravelingMom of Many

13. “The LEGO Movie 4D A New Adventure”. Guests at LEGOLAND Florida won’t have to wait long to see this high-anticipated new LEGO Movie. It will premiere at LEGOLAND Florida Resort on Jan. 29, 2016. Join Emmet and Wyldstyle for a wild new 4D animated adventure. The movie will use elements such as wind, water, smoke and special lighting effects to bring the movie to life.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

14. Heroes and Legends. For those who want a little education with their entertainment, head about an hour east of Orlando to the Kennedy Space Center. The addition of a new attraction, Heroes and Legends will showcase the heroism of the early American space program. It will let guests experience the dangers and thrills of the earliest space missions using special effects and high-tech elements.


15. DoveCote. This classic French brasserie with a twist will open in downtown Orlando this year. Opened by James Beard nominated chefs, James and Julie Petrakis, it will be their fourth restaurant and will open this Spring.

16. Cask & Larder at Orlando International Airport. For those flying into Orlando, there will be another tasty addition to the MCO! Esquire Magazine named Cask & Larder one of the Best New Restaurants in America in 2014 and this summer their airport outpost will be open!

Want to know more about what to do when you visit Orlando in 2016? Check out this post by Teresa Shaw, Wellness Traveling Mom on free things you can do in Orlando. Or are you curious about bringing little ones to the theme parks? Read “6 Reasons to Bring Toddlers to Universal Orlando” from Cheryl Leung.