The Nemo & Friends Ride at Epcot is a favorite of preschoolers.
Loews Cabana Bay Resort at Universal Orlando is a new one!
Transformers is a bold, noisy new ride at Universal
The new penguin habitat at SeaWorld gives us Happy Feet.

With so much going on, you can’t see it all in Orlando, no matter how hard you try and especially because there’s always going to be something new. New for 2014 includes places to stay as well as places to play.  And this year, there is plenty of both. Here’s my short list of what’s hot for 2014.


Family Resort Openings in Orlando for 2014

There is big news on both the high end and the low end of budget spectrum when it comes to family lodging in Orlando. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort has just opened with moderately priced family suites and rooms in an elaborately retro-themed hotel. In August, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney Resort will open its doors for those seeking a luxe experience. At the totally renovated Villas of Grand Cypress, more removed from the themepark hubbub in nearby Lake Buena Vista, multigenerational families will like having a full kitchen, access to beautifully landscaped grounds including a Jack Nicklaus Golf course and golf academy, a tennis center and spa. This award-winning resort has been selected as one of the country’s best for women golfers.


Major New Orlando Attractions for Toddlers through Grandparents

Here’s just a sampling of what’s new at the Orlando parks this year:  

Universal Orlando is expanding The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by bringing to life places in and around London that Harry Potter fans know from the books and the movies.  Diagon Alley and London will be located within Universal Studios Florida, adjacent to Universal’s Islands of Adventure where the Wizarding World, complete with Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, exists.  When finished, you’ll be able to travel between the parks’ exhibits aboard the Hogwarts Express. Younger kids will love the new 3-D ride at Universal Studios Despicable Me Minion Mayhem where you can join Gru, his daughters and the minion on a new adventure. Older siblings will want to battle the new Transformers 3D.

Walt Disney World Resort is set to finish the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history.   Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will be the newest roller coaster at the New Fantasyland. The Coaster tells the story of Snow White with mine cars that rock back and forth, animated figures and music from the movie.  Magic Kingdom also will celebrate memorable Disney films with a new Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade featuring characters and music from classic movies including Peter Pan, Cinderella and more recent ones like Brave and Frozen.

SeaWorld Orlando celebrates its 50th anniversary with “A Sea of Surprises” with animal ambassadors through the park offering special encounters, “Surprise Squads” giving away free souvenirs and spontaneous pop up entertainment.

DUPLO valley at Legoland Florida brings Lego’s DUPLO characters to life with an entire new farmed-themed area complete designed for kids ages 2-5 with a mini tractor ride, water play and a place for kids to build with DUPLO bricks.  The central feature will be the DUPLO Train where toddlers can board a train on their own or with their parents to explore countryside-themed scenery passing through farms, fishing holes and campgrounds. LEGOLAND Florida also recently unveiled The World of Chima.


Trip Planning for a 2014 Orlando Family Vacation

Start planning now. May is an especially good time to visit — great weather, deals and fewer crowds to compete with for a seat in the first car.

The hardest part is deciding where to go first — your tried and true favorites or the new attractions?  And don’t forget to get your own family Orlando Magicard. This service courtesy of Visit Orlando provides discounts to attractions, restaurants and more, as well as a way to find promotions, special deals and seasonal family specials at area hotels and resorts. Make Orlando one of your best summer vacations ever this year.

Comment on this article

This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.