New attractions, budget-friendly must-dos and resorts with family-focused amenities
With a host of new attractions for the smallest visitors, the upcoming summer season is the perfect time for a visit to Orlando with the little ones. Major expansions at the theme parks promise fun and excitement around every corner, kids can meet Cookie Monster or even join Emmet and the stars of The Lego Movie on a flying adventure. Families will find their perfect vacation, whether they are seeking budget-friendly activities, resorts with childcare or simply the most unforgettable family memories.
|Families can explore six acres of Sesame Street at SeaWorld® Orlando, just one of many new attractions for little ones in Orlando this summer. Photo courtesy of SeaWorld Orland|
This year welcomes more attractions than ever for little ones, at all the major theme parks and beyond. Beloved characters, exciting rides and immersive lands await, making it the perfect time for an Orlando trip. New additions include:
- Walt Disney World® Resort's new Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy is a live show now open in Hollywood Studios, featuring beloved characters from the Cars movie series like Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater. A new Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique location, which transforms kids into princesses or knights, is set to open at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa this summer.
- SeaWorld® Orlando brought a beloved world to life with the opening of Sesame Street in March, just in time for the show's 50th anniversary. Families can explore six acres of the iconic neighborhood, including the famous 123 stoop. Big Bird leads story time for children in his nest, while SeaWorld's first daily parade draws kids into a dance party with Elmo and other characters.
- LEGOLAND® Florida Resort debuted Lego Movie World, making it the perfect spot for fans of the popular 2014 film. One of the largest additions ever made to the park, the land includes three new attractions based on worlds within the film: Unikitty's Disco Drop, Battle of Bricksburg and The Lego Movie Masters of Flight, a unique 180-degree rotating theater attraction with additional 4D elements. For the smallest guests, there's a spaceship-themed playground and character interactions.
- Fun Spot America will add a 4,000-square-foot splash pad this summer, offering 30 interactive features from fountains to moving sprays for little ones to run around in. Admission will be included in the attraction's all-day arm-band pass.
TOT-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES UNDER $25
There's no need to break the bank to entertain those with short attention spans. Dozens of Orlando attractions capture the imaginations of little ones and are under $25 when purchased on VisitOrlando.com:
- SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium takes guests on an underwater adventure with over 5,000 creatures from oceans across the globe. Each Tuesday, SEA LIFE hosts Toddler Time, created specifically to connect little ones with the amazing world beneath our oceans, and costing only $14 for one adult with a toddler. Regular adult tickets are $25, kids two and under are free and over two are $20.
- At Gatorland little ones interact with a variety of animals, such as goats, llamas and giant tortoises, or feed birds at the aviary. Gator Gully Splash Park offers a water play area kids are sure to enjoy. Adult tickets are $24.99, and children are just $15.99. Kids under three are free.
- Crayola Experience brings the magic of color to children while stimulating their creativity with 29 hands-on attractions, including the newest, Meltdown, where guests can paint with melted wax. Guests three and under are free, and over three are just $19.99.
RESORTS FOR FAMILIES WITH SMALL CHILDREN
A vacation home-base can make all the difference for a memorable family getaway. Fortunately, many Orlando accommodations offer extra perks and amenities just for kids, including amazing pools that often rival standalone attractions:
- Universal Orlando Resort™ features themed Kids Suites, feature decor based on Jurassic World at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Despicable Me at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and stage space for a Future Rock Star at Hard Rock Hotel Orlando. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Loews Sapphire Falls also offer child-proofing upon request, including outlet guards, bedrails, Pack 'n Plays and cribs.
- The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort offers babysitting services for parents. Camp Dolphin features activities from arts & crafts to interactive games, movies and more, so there's plenty of fun for little ones while the grownups enjoy a nice dinner, any time from 5 p.m. to midnight, for $12 per hour. If parents dine onsite at Shula's Steak House, Todd English's bluezoo or Il Mulino New York Trattoria, or stop by Mandara Spa for a treatment, Camp Dolphin is free of charge.
- The Grove Resort & Waterpark offers complimentary entry to the onsite Surfari Water Park, just steps from guest rooms. With dual water slides, a 695-foot lazy river, a kids' activities pool and zero-entry pool, the whole family can enjoy the fun. Smaller children have a two-story play area to run around in, including three waterslides, waterfalls, spouts and a wading pool, for hours of free fun.
- At the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, kids have their own playground packed with fun. Explorer Island includes a 7,590 square foot family pool with a lazy river winding around a "ruined" mansion, climbing wall, waterslides and more. Twice weekly, guests of all ages can enjoy the on-site Disney Character Breakfast. Or take advantage of complimentary child care, where kids ages 4-12 are entertained and supervised by staff between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The Orlando Destination: Home to seven of the world's top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States. An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels.