16 Exciting Things to Do in Orlando, Florida in 2024

Orlando, Florida, has always been a hotspot for travelers, but 2024 promises to be particularly thrilling. With a blend of new attractions and perennial favorites, the city is ready to offer something special for everyone. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie eager to try SeaWorld’s new “Penguin Trek” rollercoaster or looking to explore what’s new at Walt Disney World, Orlando has got you covered.

This year, visitors can look forward to fresh experiences like Tiana’s Bayou Adventure at Magic Kingdom and a slew of events ranging from music festivals to art exhibitions. New additions to the theme parks, unique dining options, and captivating exhibits make Orlando a must-visit destination in 2024. Ready to discover all the excitement? Let’s dive into the best things to do in Orlando this year.

Theme Parks

Orlando, Florida, is synonymous with theme park magic. In 2024, the city is pulling out all the stops with exciting new attractions and events. Whether you are a longtime fan or a first-time visitor, there’s something new for everyone to enjoy.

Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World Resort is rolling out several new attractions and special events in 2024.

  1. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure: This highly anticipated ride replaces the classic Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom.
  2. EPCOT’s Moana: Journey of Water: Get ready to connect with nature in this interactive water experience.
  3. Annual Events:
    • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: Blooming from March to July, offering outdoor kitchens and stunning topiaries.
    • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: Perfect for families, with trick-or-treating and special character meet-and-greets.
Tips for 2024:
  • Book early for special event tickets.
  • Use the Disney Genie+ service to maximize your experience by minimizing wait times.
  • Check crowd calendars to visit during less busy times.
Explore more about Disney World’s special events here.

Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort is packed with new adventures for 2024.

  1. DreamWorks Land: Expect an immersive area with attractions based on popular DreamWorks movies.
  2. Hogwarts Always: A new show that brings the magic of Harry Potter to life with stunning effects.
  3. Epic Universe: Set to open in 2025, but sneak peeks and early access events might be available in late 2024.

Events Not to Miss:

  • Mardi Gras Celebration: From February to April, featuring live concerts and a vibrant parade.
  • Halloween Horror Nights: A must for thrill-seekers, running from September through November.

Tips:

  • Arrive early to beat the crowds.
  • Download the Universal Orlando app for live updates and wait times.
  • Consider the Express Pass for shorter lines.

Find out more about Universal’s new attractions and events.

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando has thrilling new additions set for 2024.

  1. Penguin Trek: This new rollercoaster promises high-speed thrills and a chilling experience.
  2. Rescue Tails Show: Learn about SeaWorld’s conservation efforts and meet rescued animals up close.
  3. Interactive Dolphin Encounter: Get hands-on and feed dolphins in a unique experience that’s fun for all ages.

Tips:

  • Plan your day around the showtimes to catch all the live performances.
  • Purchase animal encounter tickets in advance, as they often sell out.
  • Take advantage of SeaWorld’s Quick Queue to minimize wait times on popular rides.

Learn more about SeaWorld Orlando’s new shows and attractions.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort

LEGOLAND Florida Resort offers fantastic fun for families in 2024.

  1. LEGO Ferrari “Build and Race:” This exciting new attraction lets kids design, build, and test their own LEGO Ferrari.
  2. Holiday Events: Participate in Brick-or-Treat, a Halloween celebration, and the Holiday Bricktacular in December.
  3. Pirate Island Hotel: The new themed rooms and immersive pirate experiences make for a memorable stay.

Tips:

  • Stay at the LEGOLAND Hotel for early park access and exclusive perks.
  • Buy combo tickets if you plan to visit both the theme park and water park.
  • Participate in the park’s scavenger hunts for extra fun and prizes.

Check out more family-friendly activities at LEGOLAND Florida.

Orlando’s theme parks are constantly evolving, and 2024 is set to be an unforgettable year. Be sure to plan accordingly to make the most of your visit!

Outdoor Adventures

Orlando is not just about theme parks and attractions; it also offers a plethora of outdoor adventures. Whether you’re hiking through beautiful state parks or swinging through the treetops, there’s something for every nature enthusiast to enjoy.

Wekiwa Springs State Park

If you’re craving an escape into nature, Wekiwa Springs State Park is the perfect destination. Situated just a short drive from downtown Orlando, this park offers a serene retreat where you can immerse yourself in the great outdoors.

Hiking: With over 13 miles of trails, hikers can explore diverse ecosystems, from lush forests to tranquil wetlands. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, there are trails suited to all levels.

Swimming: The crystal-clear springs at Wekiwa are perfect for cooling off. The refreshing waters stay at a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. It’s a peaceful spot for a swim with family and friends.

Kayaking: For those who love being on the water, kayaking down the Wekiva River is a must. Paddle through scenic routes and spot wildlife like otters, turtles, and various bird species. Rentals are available on-site, making it easy to embark on your kayaking adventure.

Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park

For those looking to add a bit of thrill to their outdoor activities, Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park is the place to go. This park is a haven for adrenaline junkies, offering a variety of high-flying adventures that will get your heart pumping.

Zip-lining: Soar through the treetops on one of the park’s giant zip lines. The dual zip lines, in particular, allow you to race your friends down a thrilling 425-foot course.

Obstacle Courses: The park features 97 challenging obstacles spread across several color-coded courses. Ranging from easy to extreme, these courses include elements such as wobbly suspension bridges, swinging ropes, and vertical climbing walls. It’s a test of balance, strength, and endurance—and heaps of fun.

Whether you prefer a peaceful hike, a refreshing swim, a relaxed kayaking trip, or an exhilarating obstacle course, Orlando’s outdoor adventures offer something for everyone. Get ready to explore the wild side of this vibrant city.

Cultural Experiences

Immerse yourself in Orlando’s vibrant cultural scene. From outstanding art exhibitions to top-notch performances, the city offers rich experiences that cater to every cultural enthusiast.

Orlando Museum of Art

The Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) is set to captivate art lovers in 2024 with an array of special exhibitions and events.

Special Exhibitions:

  • INK! 50 (January 25 – October 27, 2024): This exhibition showcases the power of illustration across fifty years, highlighting influential ink-based artworks that have shaped visual culture.
  • Torn Apart: Punk + New Wave Graphics, Fashion and Culture, 1976-86 (September 21, 2024 – January 5, 2025): This exhibit dives into the punk and new wave movements, exploring their impact on graphics, fashion, and culture through iconic pieces and memorabilia.

Events:

  • Art in Bloom (April 5-7, 2024): Celebrate spring with stunning floral arrangements paired with exquisite art. This annual event by the Council of 101 supports the museum and brings together the community for a vibrant cultural experience.
  • 1st Thursdays: Every first Thursday of the month, the OMA hosts Orlando’s original art party, featuring themed exhibitions, live music, and a lively atmosphere.

For more details on upcoming exhibitions, visit the Orlando Museum of Art’s website.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is the heart of the city’s performing arts scene, offering a diverse lineup of shows in 2024 that promises to entertain and inspire.

Upcoming Performances:

  • Broadway Shows: The center will feature top Broadway hits as part of the AdventHealth Broadway in Orlando 2024-2025 season. Highlights include celebrated musicals such as The Cher Show (November 12-17, 2024), capturing the life of the iconic singer with dazzling performances and stunning costumes.
  • Concerts and Special Events: The center’s calendar is packed with diverse performances from various genres. Local artists like singer-songwriter Casey Abrams are set to perform live from July 5-7, 2024.

Special Events:

  • Access for All: An inclusive event aimed at making performing arts accessible to everyone. The next event will be on June 20, 2024, at Minneola City Hall Gym, featuring performances that cater to diverse communities.

For the latest shows and ticket information, check the Dr. Phillips Center’s event calendar.

These cultural hotspots in Orlando offer rich, immersive experiences. Whether you’re an art aficionado or a theater lover, the city’s cultural scene in 2024 is set to be unforgettable.

Shopping and Dining

Orlando offers a perfect blend of shopping and dining options that cater to every taste and budget. Whether you’re looking for high-end stores or unique eateries, the city has something to offer. Two of the most notable destinations for shopping and dining in Orlando are Disney Springs and ICON Park.

Disney Springs

Disney Springs is a haven for shoppers and foodies alike, with an impressive array of new restaurants, shops, and experiences that make it a must-visit in 2024. This vibrant area at Walt Disney World Resort has evolved significantly over the years and now offers something for everyone.

New Restaurants:

  • Summer House on the Lake: Enjoy Californian cuisine, perfect for a refreshing meal by the water.
  • Be Our Guest Restaurant (Updated): Experience the magic of dining in Beast’s enchanted castle, with a revamped menu that includes gourmet French dishes.
  • The Edison: A unique, industrial-themed restaurant offering a new late-night menu with creative cocktails and live entertainment.

Shopping Experiences:

  • M&M’s Store: Get lost in a colorful world of candy, including exclusive Orlando-themed merchandise.
  • The Art of Disney: Explore a gallery filled with beautiful Disney art, including limited-edition pieces and collectibles.
  • Levi’s Store: Find the perfect pair of jeans at this iconic denim retailer, now featuring custom embroidery services.

Disney Springs isn’t just about great food and shopping; it’s an experience in itself. From live street performances to movie theaters, there’s always something happening here.

Discover more amazing dining options at Disney Springs.

ICON Park

ICON Park is another fantastic destination in Orlando for those looking to combine dining with entertainment. Nestled on International Drive, this bustling area features the famous ICON Wheel and a wide variety of restaurants.

Dining Options:

  • Blake Shelton’s Ole Red: Enjoy Southern cuisine and live country music in a lively, welcoming atmosphere.
  • Tin Roof: A great spot for casual dining with a menu that includes burgers, tacos, and live music performances.
  • The Wheelhouse Food Hall: Explore diverse cuisines from around the world, such as Mediterranean dishes, boba tea, and Korean fried chicken.

The ICON Wheel: Standing 400 feet tall, the ICON Wheel offers breathtaking views of Orlando and beyond. Each capsule is air-conditioned, providing a comfortable ride while you take in the scenery. It’s an iconic experience that shouldn’t be missed, especially at sunset when the city lights begin to sparkle.

Explore all the dining options at ICON Park.

Orlando’s dynamic shopping and dining scenes at Disney Springs and ICON Park promise delightful experiences for every visitor. Whether you’re looking for a casual meal or an unforgettable night out, these destinations have it all.

Unique Experiences

Orlando’s magic doesn’t just lie in theme parks and shopping. Some unique experiences in the city offer an adventure like no other, ensuring unforgettable memories for everyone.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Photo by NASA

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must-visit for space enthusiasts. Located just an hour from Orlando, it offers a unique glimpse into space exploration.

Tours: Embark on informative guided tours that take you behind the scenes. You’ll visit historic launch sites and working spaceflight facilities. The bus tours are packed with insights about NASA’s space shuttle program and upcoming missions.

Rocket Launches: Witnessing a rocket launch is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The launch schedule is packed with events where you can see rockets soar into the sky. Be sure to check the calendar to plan your visit accordingly.

New Exhibits: The Space Center constantly updates with new exhibits. In 2024, highlights include the “Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex,” which features stunning displays of deep space exploration technologies. Interactive exhibits such as the Mars Rover Simulator let you experience what it’s like to drive on the surface of Mars.

Gatorland

Image by SharonPajak from Pixabay

Gatorland is known as the “Alligator Capital of the World” and offers wild experiences that you won’t find anywhere else.

Shows: Don’t miss the famous Gator Jumparoo Show, where you can watch alligators leap out of the water in their quest for food. There’s also the Up-Close Encounters Show, featuring a variety of exotic animals.

Encounters: Gatorland offers several up-close animal encounters. You can feed the gators, hold a baby alligator, or even get a picture with a giant albino alligator. These encounters are perfect for those looking for an adrenaline rush.

Screamin’ Gator Zip Line: For thrill-seekers, the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line is a must-try. Soar high above the treetops and over the alligator breeding marsh on this zip-line adventure. The 1,200-foot-long course gives you a bird’s-eye view of the park and its residents.

The Escape Game Orlando

If you’re looking for a mentally stimulating challenge, The Escape Game Orlando offers immersive escape rooms that put your problem-solving skills to the test.

Immersive Escape Rooms: Each room is uniquely themed and designed to provide an authentic, immersive experience. Themes range from “Prison Break,” where you must escape from a high-security prison, to “Mission: Mars,” where you must repair your spaceship before time runs out.

Themes: The Escape Game Orlando features several different themes, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re into mysteries, adventures, or sci-fi, you will find a room that captivates your interest. Popular choices include “Gold Rush,” “Special Ops,” and “The Heist.”

With these unique and exciting experiences, Orlando ensures every visitor leaves with lasting memories and a desire to return. Whether you’re gazing at the stars, zipping over gators, or solving intricate puzzles, the city offers a range of adventures that cater to every interest.

Conclusion

Orlando in 2024 is a treasure trove of exhilarating activities and breathtaking experiences. From the magic of world-renowned theme parks to serene outdoor adventures, the city invites you to create unforgettable memories. Dive into the rich cultural scene, indulge in diverse shopping and dining, and savor unique experiences only Orlando can offer.

Plan your visit now and discover why Orlando remains a top destination. Whether you’re after thrills, relaxation, or new adventures, 2024 is the perfect year to explore it all. Your next great adventure awaits in Orlando!

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