Diego Gonzalez, 5, touches a zookeeper, constructed out of Lego bricks, at Legoland Florida during its grand opening celebration in Winter Haven, Florida October 14, 2011. REUTERS/Pierre DuCharme
Florida, I sometimes forget, isn’t just a winter haven for the retired. it also lures millions of families.
One reason is the almost annual appearance of new theme parks and other attractions, many of them around Orlando.
What is billed as the world’s largest Legoland has been built on property previously occupied by Cypress Gardens Adventure Park. Scheduled to open may 26 is a water park featuring wave pools, water slides, a build-a-raft lazy river and Duplo Splash Safari for toddlers.
TurtleTrek, opening at SeaWorld on April 26, features a first-of-its-kind 3-D/360-degree dome-shaped theatre. Freshwater Oasis, at Discovery Cove, offers wading adventures and face-to-face encounters with otters and marmosets.
Universal Orlando Resort’s The Amazing Adventures of Spider-man has been enhanced with a reanimated, high-definition experience at Islands of Adventure. a 3-D attraction based on the feature film Despicable me is coming later this year to Universal Studios Florida.
Walt Disney World Resort has introduced an interactive role-play adventure game at Magic Kingdom in which participants become apprentice sorcerers.
Magic Kingdom’s biggest-ever expansion, an expanded Fantasyland area, should be completed this year. Phase 1, Storybook Circus, opens this spring. it features Great Goofini Coaster and duelling-Dumbo attractions. Phase 2 will have a new attraction, under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid and be our Guest Restaurant. The new Art of Animation hotel, opening in may, promises to immerse guests in Walt Disney and Disney Pixar classics.
The Florida Keys and its wildlife can be viewed from a paddlewheel boat operated by Island Time Cruise co. that operates out of Key Largo. it specializes in 2 1/2-hour cruises for lunch, brunch or sunset dinner. Visit islandtimecruises.com.