Last year saw plenty of great attractions open at Florida theme parks that left us open-mouthed and goggle-eyed. There was Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, the Star Wars-themed Rise of the Resistance and the family-friendly Lego Movie World to name a few.
But with 2019 done, what’s planned for 2020?
Well it’s already shaping up to impress ride enthusiasts around the world with new attractions popping up at all the major parks, including Universal Orlando, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.
So let’s have a look at what lies ahead for 2020, shall we?
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway – Disney’s Hollywood Studios on March 4, 2020
Consider it one of the most highly anticipated attractions coming to Walt Disney World in 2020. The trackless dark ride will follow the darling duo on a whirlwind adventure that features new ride technology known as “2.5D”, and from what we’ve heard will cause you to believe you’re seeing a 3D environment without wearing glasses. When talking about environment, the illustrious Chinese Theatre from The Great Movie Ride has had a makeover, with its new look highly focused on classic illustrations and cartoons. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will also come with a new logo, its very own soundtrack (including the same whistle effect from the original Steamboat Willie), and more Hidden Mickeys than any other attraction. But best of all, it opens on March 4, 2020, so there’s not long to wait.
The Bourne Stuntacular – Universal Studios Florida in Spring
If you’re into Bourne and stunt shows, Bourne Stuntacular is a combination of the two that looks back on the four-decade-old franchise that consists of 15 novels, four films and a television series. The all-new live-action stunt show will follow Jason Bourne across three continents where he comes face-to-face with “sinister characters”, leading to epic chase scenes, gruelling fist fights and, plenty of heart-in-the-mouth moments.
Impressively, the action features live performers, interactive props and one of the biggest LED screens you’ll ever see – which quite literally blurs the lines between theatre and cinema. While it helps to know a thing or two about Bourne, the fun-packed show will have you sat with bated breath even if you aren’t the world biggest fan.
There is, however, some bad news if you’re a Terminator fan, because Bourne Stuntacular has replaced Terminator 2: 3D at Universal Studios Florida.
Ice Breaker – SeaWorld in Spring
Proving an entirely different type of thrill to the previous two attractions, Ice Breaker is the first launch coaster opening at SeaWorld in spring 2020. But it’s not your average launch coaster, Ice Breaker will run both forward and backward launches, with the latter climaxing at a 93-foot-tall spike and 100-degree angle. As a result, it will be the steepest vertical drop in Florida.
The other three-quarters of the ride is a combination of twists, turns, airtime hills and, a near-vertical top hat manoeuvre – which in layman’s terms means you ascend at a 90-degree angle, level out and descend in the same way. Ice Breaker will be located across from Wild Arctic in SeaWorld.
The Secret Life of Pets Off the Leash – Universal Hollywood Studios in Spring
Secret Life of Pets is one of those films that has every viewer smiling at the screen; mouthing the word “aw”. So there’s no surprise the new ride is one of the most highly anticipated attractions opening in 2020 – on a par with Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Just like the films, the dark ride is set in New York City. The journey blends live, dimensional and animated characters with filmed media, and will see guests “zip along a track aboard ride vehicles through bustling New York City streets”. The destination: A Pet Adoption event.
Sounds simple, but of course, no journey is straightforward in the theme park world. So on the ultimate quest to finding forever homes, expect a lot of surprises. For fans that know Universal Studios park, the new ride will live in the London-themed Baker Street area between the Walking Dead and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride.
Iron Gwazi – Busch Gardens in Spring
As previously announced, Busch Gardens has its sights set on taking over and becoming the go-to theme park for thrill-seekers. Its new upcoming coaster – Iron Gwazi – is behind this.
Iron Gwazi is a Rocky Mountain Construction revamp of the former “Gwazi” coaster, and when it opens will become the world’s fastest and steepest hybrid coaster. “Iron Gwazi will highlight the best of both worlds – the classic nostalgia of a wooden coaster and the bold innovation of a steel coaster. Thriving and adapting over millions of years, this evolutionary crossroad is perfectly represented in the crocodile, the largest living reptile and the animal inspiration for Iron Gwazi.”
The new ride will take thrills to a new level, plunging riders from a 206-foot-tall peak into a 91-degree drop on a 4,075 feet track. There are also three inversions, a dozen airtime moments and, ferocious speeds of up to 76mph. It’s safe to say that Iron Gwazi won’t be for the faint-hearted, or due to the height restriction in place, anyone under 48 inches.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure – Epcot in Summer
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is your chance to “shrink down” to the size of Remy and venture through scenes from the Ratatouille films. Ironically, the ride feels very much like a cat and mouse chase, as you scurry through Gusteau’s kitchen and over Paris rooftops away from Chef Skinner.
Side by side, Epcot’s version will be almost identical to the ride at Disneyland Paris, which luckily, I’ve had chance to ride and loved. Without giving too much away, expect a lot of ducking, diving, twists and turns on this unorthodox 4D adventure.
Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along – Now open at Epcot
Speaking of France, the France Pavilion at Epcot is now showing Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along. Disney has worked closely with Don Hahn – producer of the original film – to add elements of nostalgia and bring this epic retelling to life. This 14-minute sing-along is a “twist” on a “tale as old as time”, and features brand new scenes that will captivate guests of all ages.
In no way is the new Beauty and the Beast episode anything like the Frozen Sing-along, which is very much a 30-minute mash-up of the best moments from the movies. While Disney fans will recognise all the shows sing-along moments, Beauty and the Beast Sing-along is totally different to anything we’ve seen on screen. Most importantly, it has a huge twist.
But don’t worry, there are no spoilers here.
Alongside Don Hahn returning, animators from the original film return to animate new scenes, which without giving too much away, heavily feature LeFou. The voice of Angela Lansbury – who played Mrs. Potts in the 1991 classic – also returns to narrate the new adventure. Beauty and the Beast Sing-along will alternate showings the Impressions de France, the current film showing in the France Pavilion.
Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant – Walt Disney World in 2020
Who doesn’t love Toy Story? And BBQs for that matter. So when news drops of a Toy Story-themed restaurant that shrinks you down the size of a toy and invites you to join Andy for his backyard barbecue, there’s reason to be excited.
The new artist concept image (above) emphasises the theme of the restaurant that Andy has built from his larger-than-life playsets. Much to our delight, all the films best-loved characters are present inside, there’s Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bo Peep and all her sheep. Need I remind you that this is not a walk-around character greeting, and that all the toys are well, toys – as opposed to humans dressed up. On the food front, there have been no spoilers about what we can expect, and unfortunately all we know is that it’s a BBQ-themed restaurant.
Riptide Race – Aquatica Orlando in 2020
Aquatica Orlando, Orlando’s number 1 waterpark, is leading the way in 2020 after announcing Florida’s first ever duelling waterslide. Riptide Race is a fun-packed marathon through almost 650 feet of exhilarating slide, whereby guests will board a two-person raft at the top of a 68-foot tower, before launching down side-by-side at high speeds, navigating loops both in and outdoors. To put the icing on the cake, Riptide Race has a relatively low height requirement of 42 inches, so entire families can ride together, or against each other. “Riptide Race will offer a ride experience you won’t be able to get anywhere else in Florida. Aquatica will be the first waterpark in the state to have a thrilling, and more importantly, duelling water slide”, said David Heaton, Aquatica Orlando Vice President.
Don’t forget to join our Destination Florida Facebook Group
That concludes our list of top attractions coming to Florida in 2020, but there’s more good news. Our Destination Florida Facebook Group welcomes Florida enthusiasts from around the world to share their tips, tricks and trips. Everyone is welcome, just follow this link to join.