Welcome to 2023, a year brimming with thrilling new attractions in Central Florida! As the heart of the Sunshine State, it is renowned for its world-class theme parks, vibrant downtown scene, and charming cultural spots. However, this year, it’s taking the excitement up a notch. From adrenaline-pumping rides at iconic theme parks to fresh culinary experiences and shopping havens, there’s an abundance of new attractions to explore.
So, buckle up as we take you on a tour of the latest and greatest additions to Central Florida’s entertainment roster for 2023. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a foodie, or a culture enthusiast, there’s something new for you to discover in Central Florida this year. Let’s dive in and check out these must-visit attractions!
Unmasking the Magic: New Thrills at Theme Parks
Prepare for an adrenaline-filled journey as we unveil the most anticipated additions to Central Florida’s renowned theme parks:
Walt Disney World Resort
The magic kingdom is expanding its enchantment with some thrilling new attractions set to launch in 2023 (Tom Bricker):
- Tron Lightcycle Run: This high-speed, immersive ride is set to be a highlight at the Magic Kingdom. It’s a must-see for any thrill-seeker visiting the park.
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind: This blockbuster hybrid roller coaster at EPCOT promises to take visitors on a cosmic adventure with their favorite Guardians characters.
Universal Orlando Resort
The Universal Orlando Resort is brimming with exciting developments. From new themed lands to refurbishments, there’s a lot to look forward to (Inside Universal):
- DreamWorks Animation Themed Land: As per Universal Orlando’s official announcement, next year will see the debut of an all-new themed land featuring beloved characters from DreamWorks Animation.
- Exclusive Beers at Harry Potter Land: Universal Orlando has introduced two new exclusive beers at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- Refurbishments and Closures: As of October 2023, several refurbishments and closures are taking place at the resort. Although temporary, these changes promise an enhanced experience for guests in the future.
Legoland Florida Resort
Legoland Florida Resort, as highlighted by travel and leisure expert Nathan Staker from Visit Central Florida, remains a fun-filled destination for families in 2023, offering a range of activities and experiences:
- Holidays at LEGOLAND: Presented by the Hallmark Channel, this holiday-themed event is set to take place on select dates from November 24 through December 31.
- Flying School Closure: The “Flying School” roller coaster is preparing for its final landing. While it will be missed, the park promises new adventures ahead.
- Pirate River Quest: Opened in January 2023, this exciting ride is a recent addition to the park’s attractions. It has proved to be a hit with visitors of all ages.
- Limited-Time Ticket Sale: The resort has rolled out a special offer, with single-day tickets available at 50% off the regular admission price.
- LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel: Alongside the park and waterpark’s reopening, the all-new LEGOLAND Pirate Island Hotel is now open and accepting reservations.
The Heart of the City: Exciting Developments in Downtown Orlando
As highlighted by renowned urban development expert Samuel Lewis, Downtown Orlando is undergoing a significant transformation with a host of exciting developments. Here are some of the projects that are reshaping the city’s skyline:
- Creative Village: A 68-acre urban innovation district, Creative Village is a vibrant “live, work, learn, and play” locale combining mixed-use residential, commercial, and educational spaces.
- Downtown Redesign: An ambitious city initiative aims to reimagine Downtown Orlando over the next decade. The first projects of this transformative plan are set to roll out soon.
- New Towers: From Crane’s Roost 18-story apartment complex to the 33-story Marriott hotel-condo, several new towers are poised to redefine Central Florida’s skyline.
- Lake Eola Park Expansion: As part of the city’s improvement projects, Lake Eola Park is set for expansion, promising more green space for residents and visitors.
- Orlando Manufactured Gasification Plant Cleanup: To enhance the city’s sustainability, a cleanup project is underway at the former Orlando Manufactured Gasification Plant site.
Embracing the Great Outdoors: Fresh Adventures in Central Florida
Central Florida is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, offering a diverse range of activities for all ages. As highlighted by travel blogger Patti Morrow from Luggage and Lipstick, here are some of the latest additions to the region’s rich array of outdoor adventures:
- The Living Water Boat Cruises: Explore the pristine waters of Central Florida on a scenic boat cruise. This activity is perfect for those who love water sports and marine wildlife.
- Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park: Experience the thrill of ziplining through the treetops or navigating challenging obstacle courses at this popular adventure park.
- Wekiwa Springs Hiking Trail: Take a leisurely walk or an invigorating run along this beautiful trail. The Wekiwa Springs offer a refreshing retreat from the city’s hustle.
- Seminole Aerial Adventures: If you’re up for a challenge, test your courage and agility at Seminole Aerial Adventures. From high ropes courses to exhilarating ziplines, this place has it all.
- Wekiva Island: Relax along the river or dive into a variety of outdoor activities at Wekiva Island. Whether you prefer kayaking, paddleboarding, or simply soaking up the sun, this island offers something for everyone.
A Cultural Renaissance: New Museums and Art Installations
Central Florida’s cultural scene is flourishing with a range of new museums and art installations. As highlighted by Megan duBois, a reputable author from Time Out, these are some of the newest additions that are adding vibrant colors to the region’s cultural landscape:
- Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art: This museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including Tiffany jewelry, pottery, paintings, and the chapel interior he designed for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
- Museum Of Illusions Orlando: Step into a world where nothing is as it seems. This unique museum offers an interactive, immersive, and fun experience for all ages, with over 50 optical illusions that will challenge your senses and provide fantastic photo opportunities.
- Appleton Museum of Art: Featuring over 18,000 objects from around the globe, the Appleton Museum of Art boasts an impressive collection of European, American, Asian, African, Contemporary, and pre-Columbian art and antiquities, providing a world-class cultural experience.
- Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens: This museum and sculpture garden offers a glimpse into the life and works of internationally known Czech-American sculptor, Albin Polasek. The museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and showcases over 200 of Polasek’s sculptures.
- Fairgrounds St. Pete: This innovative art space is like an indoor playground for culture lovers. It features a rotating collection of playful, immersive exhibits created by acclaimed artists from Florida and around the globe, offering a unique, hands-on cultural experience.
- IMMERSE: An annual event in Downtown Orlando, IMMERSE transforms the heart of the city into a sprawling canvas for creativity. The festival features epic live performances, immersive art installations, and unexpected creative moments that engage all the senses.
Shop ‘Til You Drop: New Retail Havens in Central Florida
Central Florida’s shopping scene is constantly transforming, with new and exciting retail destinations frequently appearing. As highlighted by Rona Gindin, a respected travel writer from USA Today’s 10Best, here are some of the latest additions that are enhancing the region’s retail landscape:
- The Mall at Millenia: An upscale, contemporary indoor shopping mall located in Orlando. The Mall at Millenia offers over 150 of the world’s finest stores, services, and eateries, providing an extraordinary experience for shoppers.
- East End Market: More than just a market, East End Market is a neighborhood food hub inspired by Central Florida’s local farmers and food artisans. It’s a vibrant community space that fosters creativity and collaboration.
- The Florida Mall: Recently renovated, The Florida Mall is Central Florida’s largest shopping center. It offers a diverse range of dining and entertainment options along with more than 250 retail stores.
- Winter Park’s Park Avenue: Known for its chic boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and European-style outdoor cafes, this charming, tree-lined avenue offers a unique blend of sophisticated shopping and local charm.
- Disney Springs: Formerly known as Downtown Disney, Disney Springs is an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment complex at the Walt Disney World Resort. It’s a one-stop shop for Disney-branded merchandise and a great place to enjoy a meal or catch a movie.
A Gastronomic Journey: New Restaurants and Culinary Experiences
A culinary tour of Central Florida’s newest eateries, cafes, and unique food experiences is sure to delight every foodie’s palate. As highlighted on Orlando Weekly and here, here are some of the latest additions that are enhancing the region’s gastronomic landscape:
- Bang Bang Noodle Co.: This new spot in Orlando specializes in Asian noodles with a modern twist. The menu features a variety of flavorful noodle dishes made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
- Bar Italia: A slice of Italy in the heart of Central Florida, Bar Italia offers an extensive menu of Italian classics, from handmade pasta to artisanal pizzas.
- Beefy Brazilian Pie & Co.: For meat lovers, this eatery offers a unique Brazilian twist on the traditional pie, with a range of fillings including beef, chicken, and vegetarian options.
- Birria1983: This Mexican restaurant is quickly making a name for itself with its delicious birria – a traditional Mexican dish typically made with goat or sheep in a savory stew.
- Black Magic Pizza: Serving up slices that are a cut above the rest, Black Magic Pizza offers creative toppings and a perfectly cooked crust that pizza lovers will adore.
- Pigzza: A delight for both pizza and bacon enthusiasts, Pigzza combines these two favorites in a culinary creation that’s as tasty as it is innovative.
Unveiling the Hidden Gems of Central Florida
In a nutshell, Central Florida is a treasure trove of vibrant culture, exciting shopping destinations, and tantalizing culinary experiences. With its diverse museums and art spaces, it is a haven for art lovers and culture enthusiasts.
Shoppers will delight in the vast array of retail options, from upscale malls to charming boutiques and local markets. Foodies, meanwhile, will savor the region’s innovative eateries and the array of mouth-watering dishes they offer. Central Florida truly is a region on the rise, continually evolving and offering fresh, exciting experiences for residents and visitors alike.