Memorial Day Weekend: New Park Attractions Just In Time For Summer

Published date on May 27, 2016

This content was first published 60 days ago or more

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Orlando Sentinel reveals the new park attractions that are opening up this summer. We expect Orlando to be very busy with new visitors coming to check out all the stuff!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s nighttime transformation kicks off a summer full of new attractions and additions to Central Florida theme parks.

It all starts Friday, with the official debut of nighttime offerings at the park, including nighttime outings on the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris and periodic light shows on the iconic Tree of Life.

May 28 is the debut of “The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic” show, a 20-minute, limited-run production that takes advantage of the recent release of the live-action film “The Jungle Book.”

The Jungle Book show also helps fill a void left by the postponed “Rivers of Light Show,” which was originally planned to open May 22 but now will debut sometime this summer, Disney says.

Friday also brings a blast from the past, when the classic version of Epcot’s Soarin’ returns. The original version will run from May 27 through June 16. On June 17, the updated version, Soarin’ Around the World, will debut.

Over at SeaWorld, Mako is set to open June 10. Touted as Orlando’s highest, fastest and longest coaster, the shark-inspired attraction is themed after the Mako shark, considered the fastest species of shark in the oceans. Mako is the feature attraction of SeaWorld’s expanded shark area that includes Shark Encounter aquarium and the attached Sharks Underwater Grill restaurant.

June 21 will mark the opening of the Frozen Ever After Ride at Epcot. Located in the former site of the Maelstrom ride, the boat ride will take guests to the Summer Snow Day celebration, Troll Valley, North Mountain, Elsa’s Ice Palace and other Arendelle sights.The ride anchors the Royal Sommerhus, an area where guests can meet Anna and Elsa from the blockbuster animated film.

Nearby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular,” a new fireworks spectacular, begins June 17. “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire,” a stage show at Cinderella Castle, will debut that same day at Magic Kingdom.

The final major attraction coming this summer is Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The King Kong figure in the attraction will be about three stories tall, Universal says, and guests will ride on hefty vehicles  weighing 70 tons apiece.

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The attraction marks the return of King Kong to Universal Orlando Resort. The giant ape starred in Kongfrontation at Universal Orlando (then Universal Studios Florida) from 1990 to 2002.

A media preview for Skull Island is planned for June 23, but Universal hasn’t released an official opening date.

Here’s a full breakdown of coming theme park openings:

May 27 – Animal Kingdom after dark 
What: Tree of Life projections, street parties and a nighttime version of the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Where: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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May 27 – Old Soarin’ 
What: Guests will be able to experience the old version of Soarin’ from May 27 to June 16. The attraction has been closed for refurbishment for several months.
Where: Epcot

May 28 – “The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic”
What: A 20-minute, limited-run show on Discovery River.
Where: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

June 10 – Mako 
What: A hypercoaster touted as Orlando’s highest, fastest and longest coaster.
Where: SeaWorld Orlando

June 17 – Soarin’ Around the World
What: The revamped version of the popular Epcot ride debuts, along with a third “concourse” that will increase capacity for the ride.
Where: Epcot 

June 17 – “Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire”
What: The new stage show at the base of Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle replaces the already-gone “Dream Along With Mickey.”
Where: Magic Kingdom

June 17 – “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular”
What: A new, bigger, longer Star Wars-themed fireworks show that will incorporate projections on the the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
Where: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

June 21 – Frozen Ever After
What: A “Frozen”-themed boat ride located in the former home of Maelstrom. A new Anna and Elsa meet-and-greet area opens, too.
Where: Epcot

TBA – Rivers of Light
What: A new nighttime spectacular on Discovery River that combines floating lanterns, lighting effects and “spirit guides.” The show was suppose to debut on Earth Day, but was postponed until “later this summer.”
Where: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

TBA – Skull Island: Reign of Kong
What: A dark ride that puts you in the middle of a fight between King Kong and other giant creatures.
Where: Universal’s Islands of Adventure

TBA – Cobra’s Curse
What: A spinning, family-friendly coaster featuring a 80-foot golden snake statue and a 400-cubic-foot multi-level snake exhibit queue.
Where: Busch Gardens Tampa

via Memorial Day Weekend kicks off summer full of theme park additions