The Capital Projects Transforming Tourism

Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Resort

DISNEY: From Orlando to a galaxy far, far away

Grabbing headlines this year will be Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the highly anticipated new land slated to open in the fall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But what other upcoming developments does Disney have planned? A nature-inspired project opening in 2022 — Reflections: A Disney Lakeside Resort — will begin transforming the long-dormant River Country property into a 900-room deluxe destination. Also under construction are Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Hollywood Studios), Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (Epcot) and the Disney Skyliner gondola system to shuttle guests between parks and resorts.


Universal’s Endless Summer Resort

UNIVERSAL: Stay, play, have fun along the way

Appropriately debuting this summer is Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites, a 750-room value hotel. Surfside’s larger sister hotel, Dockside Inn and Suites, is also underway, with 2,050 rooms scheduled to open in 2020. And later this year, a highly themed coaster experience is set to debut in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Looking further into the future, Universal Orlando Resort has acquired more than 800 acres along Universal Boulevard — but no official announcement has been made regarding the site’s possible usage.


Sesame Street

SEAWORLD: Brought to you by the letter “S”

This spring, SeaWorld Orlando visitors will be able to take a stroll down one of the most famous streets in the world: Sesame Street! Complete with Big Bird’s nest, Mr. Hooper’s store and Abby Cadabby’s garden, the themed land will be a memorable experience for families. One of the premier attractions will be Super Grover’s Box Car Derby, a family-friendly roller coaster. Every fan, big or small, will enjoy SeaWorld’s first-ever parade, the Sesame Street Party Parade, featuring massive floats and beloved characters.


ICON Orlando observation wheel

I-DRIVE: Expansion at ICON Orlando 360

Some of the “biggest” developments in the works for I-Drive are at ICON Orlando 360, home of the 400-foot ICON Orlando observation wheel and 450-foot Orlando Starflyer swing ride. In mid-2019, construction is expected to start on additional attractions like the world’s tallest double slingshot, the world’s tallest drop tower and a powered zipline ride. In addition, the Wyndham Orlando Resort at ICON Orlando 360 is being targeted for expansion that includes more rooms and another 150,000 square feet of meeting space.


Orange County Convention Center

CONVENTIONS, HOTELS & TRANSPORTATION: Improvements Across Our Destination

The Orange County Convention Center will soon break ground on its grand concourse and multipurpose venue, providing 280,000 square feet of additional meeting and ballroom space. Orlando International Airport is continuing its improvement efforts, as well, making way for more gates, guests and connectivity options, including high-speed passenger rail. Renovations at several area hotels are also making a splash: among them, a new ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress (opening this fall) and expansion of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort (to be completed in 2020).


Always Moving Forward

New construction marks progress, prosperity

From hotels and highways to theme parks and technology, our destination is always evolving to create new experiences for our visitors and residents. Investing in the future allows us to stay ahead of the curve — and nowhere is that more evident than our tourism industry.

Orlando’s leisure and business travel offerings will continue to grow at an impressive pace in 2019 and beyond. Across our destination, ongoing expansions, upgrades and new experiences will serve as a proverbial welcome mat for many years to come, inviting guests to play (and many to stay) here, then return to create even more memories.

Such progress only adds to the tremendous economic impact — upward of $70 billion annually — that tourism generates in our region. Indeed, when our No. 1 industry is strong, the positive results can be felt throughout our entire community.

About the author

Visit Orlando

Visit Orlando

Visit Orlando is the only officially recognized sales and marketing organization for the Orlando and Orange County area. Their focus is promoting Orlando as one of America's great vacation and meeting destinations and providing comprehensive, unbiased information to all travelers.

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