Theme park fans play waiting game for new attractions

ORLANDO, Fla. — If you have a countdown craving, now is a crummy time in the Central Florida theme park category. Although several projects and attractions are in the works, we have an announced opening day for just one. Pirate River Quest is set to debut at Legoland Florida on Nov. 2.

There’s neither rhyme nor reason to the opening date announcements to outsiders; they’re typically double-secret. But among the possible factors are construction delays, vacation trends and timing and executive whimsy.

News can happen on this front at any second, maybe even before the end of this sentence. In the meantime, let’s look at what we’re circling around.

Return of the Revenge of the Mummy

Where: Universal Studios Florida

What: Universal has not said exactly what is being done to Revenge of the Mummy, which debuted in 2004 in the space formerly occupied by Kongfrontation.

When: The indoor roller coaster was closed in January, and it was said it would reopen in “late summer,” which could mean August or September, depending on how strict an interpretation is used.

What now: There’s been movement at the site, including relocation (then removal) of big construction walls and the addition of umbrellas in its plaza and photo desk in the gift shop.

Leaving the Lightcycle on

Where: Tomorrowland at Magic Kingdom

What: Tron Lightcycle/Run, a motorcycle-inspired thrill ride, first constructed in Shanghai Disneyland in 2016, stands next to Space Mountain.

When: Disney World’s Tron ride was announced in 2017, but the opening date remains unknown.

What else: Tron construction also messed with Walt Disney World Railroad, which circles the park. Its operation was suspended in 2019. The train, an opening-day attraction from 1971, eventually will travel through a new tunnel on fresh tracks near the Tron ride.

What now: Ride vehicles have been making the rounds on the track, and lighting effects have been tested, but heavy-machinery work is still happening on the ground of the construction site.

Wet set

Where: The World Nature neighborhood at Epcot will be home to Journey of Water, inspired by Moana.

What: Disney originally said the attraction would “let guests interact with magical, living water in a beautiful and inspiring setting.” A WDW news release calls it a “lush exploration trail.” More recently, Imagineer Zach Riddley’s Instagram post about the attraction said guests will go “through the cycle of water in fun and engaging ways to tell our story of the vital link we share with water across our planet, and inspire the important role we all share in preserving this life-giving and life-sustaining precious resource.”

When: The project was announced in August 2019. An opening date has not been shared.

What now: The project site dominates the area just beyond Spaceship Earth with construction easily seen from the monorail. There’s progress, but you’re unlikely to say “coming soon” after you pass.

Surf’s up

Where: SeaWorld Orlando

What: The park’s seventh coaster was announced in June. No name was given although promotional material uses the hashtag of #HighSurfAdvisory.

When: SeaWorld says the ride will open in 2023.

What now: Construction of the ride is going up near Bayside Stadium and clearly visible from the main parking lot.

Epic adventure

Where: Universal Orlando’s third theme park is under construction a few minutes southeast of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

What: Universal continues to be tight-lipped on the theming front, but Super Nintendo World is confirmed as an Epic land.

When: The project was announced in 2019. NBCUniversal’s CEO said earlier this year that Epic would open to guests “certainly in time for the summer of ‘25.”

What now: We wait, although construction is increasingly visible.


©2022 Orlando Sentinel. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

This story was originally published August 8, 2022 2:00 AM.

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