12 Awesome Things that Opened This Year in Orlando for Kids
It’s been a great year for new attractions in Central Florida! New in 2021 in Orlando were the openings of VelociCoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Remy's Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot, Riptide Race at Aquatica, plus more fun attractions and things to do for families. We’ve rounded up a "best of Orlando" list of what was new in 2021.
For more activities for kids in Central Florida all year-round, be sure to visit Mommy Poppins Orlando, complete with a theme park guide, indoor activities around town, local classes and camps, the best parks and playgrounds, and so much more!
New in 2021: Fun Things that Opened in Orlando This Year
Dezerland Park New Attractions — Orlando
Dezerland Action Park, which opened with an arcade and go-kart track in late 2020, added several attractions new in 2021, including a trampoline park, bowling, auto museum, and axe throwing. It is Florida’s largest indoor attraction at over 800,000 square feet.
Legoland's new stunt show debuted in 2021. Photo courtesy of the author
Brickbeard’s Watersport Stunt Show – Legoland Florida
In February, Legoland debuted its new Brickbeard's Watersport Stunt Show, which stars a female Lego pirate character as well as new water stunts over Lake Eloise, including barefoot-skiing and a flyboard act.
Buc-ee’s – Daytona
It may sound silly to get excited about a gas station, but there was LOTS of talk about the new Buc-ee’s that opened in Daytona earlier this year (the closest Buc-ee’s location to Orlando). Offering a huge variety of snacks, souvenirs, and endless rows of gas pumps, this location is a great pit-stop for a trip to Daytona Beach, and we hope to see more Buc-ee’s locations opening around Central Florida.
Drawn to Life Presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney – Disney Springs
Guests visiting Disney Springs can now book tickets to Drawn to Life, presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney. This show is the first-ever collaboration between Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Imagineering, and Cirque du Soleil. Guests are transported into the world of an animator, where the desk is a stage and the drawings come to life.
Harmonious — Disney's Epcot
Epcot opened its new fireworks show, known as Harmonious, in October. This nightly spectacular features Disney music from artists all around the world, and visuals from Disney films, including The Lion King, Aladdin, Coco, and Moana. The show includes five barges spread across the World Showcase Lagoon, each with pyrotechnics, lighting effects, lasers, and fountains.
In the Game – ICON Park
In the Game is the newest addition to ICON Park’s lineup of family-friendly entertainment. This 7,000-square-foot attraction opened in May and includes advanced arcade games that take guests on an adventure through cyberspace, as well as a mirror maze, 7D motion theater, and VR experiences.
Thrill-seeking kids will love Jurassic World VelociCoaster. Photo courtesy Universal
Jurassic World VelociCoaster – Universal’s Islands of Adventure
This highly anticipated roller coaster has definitely lived up to the hype since opening in early summer. It’s the first roller coaster based on the hit film series, and has an original storyline while incorporating familiar movie characters. It is one of the fastest and tallest launch coasters in Florida, with heights exceeding 150 feet and speeds up to 70 mph.
Museum of Illusions – ICON Park
Museum of Illusions has locations all over the world, with its newest located right here at ICON Park. It features exhibits that are designed to play tricks on the eye and mind. Guests will get a look at how optical illusions and holograms work in this interactive attraction for all ages.
There's even more to love about the Kennedy Space Center at Planet Play. Photo courtesy of the author
Planet Play – Kennedy Space Center
In early 2021, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opened its new indoor play attraction, Planet Play, and we had a chance to visit it. This interactive play space spans multiple stories and allows kids to "play on the planets." Children ages 2-12 can slide through an asteroid field, climb through a wormhole, map a constellation, and walk on Saturn’s rings, all while learning about the solar system.
Remy's Ratatouille Adventure — Epcot
This 4D dark ride is the newest addition of rides at Disney’s Epcot, and is is based on the fan-favorite film Ratatouille. Riders are taken on a pint-sized adventure in a rat-shaped vehicle across Gusteau's famous restaurant. Guests can experience this attraction via virtual queue or by purchasing a Lightning Lane entrance.
Riptide Race – Aquatica
Riptide Race is the world’s tallest dueling water racer, located at Aquatica, SeaWorld’s water park. Riders step aboard their raft at the top of a 68-foot-tall tower, and race side by side with another raft through 650 feet of tunnels and loops, rallying to see who will cross the finish line first. Guests must be 42 inches tall to ride.
Sky Hawk — Fun Spot Orlando
Fun Spot America added an attraction to its Orlando park new for 2021. Sky Hawk is a 90-foot-tall family swing attraction that provides riders with a bird’s eye view of the whole park (literally). Guests ride side by side and can choose either traditional seating or horizontal seating. Height requirement for this attraction is 48 inches.
There were many more wonderful Orlando spots new in 2021—take time to explore Central Florida, support local businesses and events, and get ready for an amazing 2022!