Innovation Matters: Orlando Tourism by the Numbers

The Global Driver of Innovation

Since Walt Disney World Resort opened in 1971, innovation has been at the heart of the attractions and rides the area features, constantly developing and championing over others. Originally based on animatronics, parks are now utilizing the newest versions of 3D imagery and advanced robotic design to make attractions lifelike.

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This spirit of innovation continues today with cutting edge rides, like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, driving new experiences for guests and in turn, bringing them back year after year to see what’s new. Orlando is continuing to evolve with new rides and attractions that set the bar in technology and imagery.



When it comes to rides and attractions, visitors want to feel like they’re part of the story. They want to interact in the queue line, be part of the experience and then see their own reaction at the end in a picture. It’s a continuous experience from the time they choose an attraction or park, to the time they go home as the story continues to linger in their mind.

Theme parks work with ride designers and engineers to bring attractions to life. At Disney, these people are called Imagineers. Universal also works with licensing teams to create attractions like Harry Potter, and SeaWorld Orlando has a team based here that works on their attractions throughout the country. U.S. Thrill Rides is the local team that is creating the planned Skyscraper roller coaster, estimated at $200 million.

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A few of the most innovative attractions that already call Orlando home include a myriad of rides and parks. At SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove, the underwater walking tour, SeaVenture, allows guests to wear a dive helmet that creates the same feeling of being a diver without having to wear a full tank and breathing apparatus. At Universal Studios, the new Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride utilizes an innovative new ride arm that allows participants to feel like they are moving inside the action along with the characters, the first to use this new technology in this manner. Other innovative attractions include Antarctica, Spiderman 3D, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and more.



In Spring 2015, the Orlando Eye, an observation wheel and sister icon to London’s world famous landmark, will be headlining Orlando’s newest entertainment complex as part of the I-Drive 360 project. The attraction will provide views of Central Florida in all directions with fully enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules that can hold 15 people.

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 3.23.33 PMThe Orlando Eye has already had an impact economically, creating 1,000 construction jobs, and will also have an impact on the meetings and conventions business as well as leisure visitors by providing new venues for off-site events and gatherings for business groups and additional options outside of the theme parks for entertainment.

Other innovative attractions that are expected to come in 2015 include the U.S. Thrill Rides’ Skyscraper at Skyplex, a 570- ft. tall coaster, and Disney Springs, a multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney. Disney has also broken ground on Avatar at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.

Since the day Walt Disney World opened, new creative ways of thinking have kept visitors coming back for more. Technology leads the way in immersive design, from new queue line interaction to rides that put guests inside the stories.



GeorgeOrlando is known around the world as a destination that’s constantly evolving. Creativity and innovation play key roles in creating that perception and that special place that Orlando enjoys in the minds and hearts of the traveling public.

Much of this is thanks to the incredible collection of creative talent that develop amazing attractions, dining and entertainment assets for our community. These men and women transform art and science into fantastic reality. Their innovations — like the multi-million-dollar attraction inspired by an early design built out of an erector set or the themed restaurants and shows that ignite imaginations — allow us to market and sell our destination in a way that’s differentiated from our competitor destinations. In Orlando, we don’t just build things bigger or faster. Instead, we focus on creating immersive experiences that leverage innovation in creative ways, offering a very special value proposition to visitors.

Across our destination, innovation creates more than flashy new attractions. It creates value in the form of new news to share about our destination. And it provides more reasons for someone to visit for the first time…or again and again, which ultimately reinforces a vibrant tourism industry for our community that generates valuable jobs, tax revenues and a quality of life that’s rarely matched anywhere else.

– George Aguel, president & CEO of Visit Orlando


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i4 Business

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