1. Volcano Bay opens.
Universal Orlando’s “radically-innovative water theme park” opens May 25. The 30-acre park will include Krakatau Aqua Coaster, Florida’s first “aqua coaster,” which uses induction motor technology. It takes riders through twists and turns in the 200-foot volcano’s interior, before plummeting down a waterfall.
Runamukka Reef at Volcano Bay. Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
2. Universal unveils TapuTapu wearables.
Universal’s innovative TapuTapu wearable device eliminates the need to wait in line, alerting guests when it’s time to head to their next attraction. Its “tap-to-play” feature also allows park goers to control special effects like shooting water cannons at Kopiko Wai Winding River and illuminating images inside the volcano’s hidden caves. Guests receive the TapuTapu wearable upon arrival at no extra cost.
3. Shorter entrance lines at Magic Kingdom.
Walt Disney World this week added security checkpoints at the Magic Kingdom, in an effort to reduce long lines at the park’s entrance. Some of the bag checks and metal detectors have been relocated from the front gate to the Transportation and Ticket Center, and the monorail stations at Disney's Contemporary resort.
4. Pandora—The World of Avatar makes its debut.
Disney’s ambitious Pandora—The World of Avatar opens May 27 at Animal Kingdom in Orlando. The 12-acre land—based on Pandora, the mythical world from James Cameron’s box-office hit Avatar—will feature two main attractions: Pandora on Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. The first ride will have guests flying over jungles and floating mountains atop a Mountain Banshee; on the latter, guests will sail down a river hidden inside a glowing forest.
Pandora—The World of Avatar rendering. Photo: Disney
5. Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon opens.
Universal Studios Orlando visitors can ride the new attraction featuring The Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon. “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon,” will take riders to “Studio 6B” to board the world’s first-ever flying theater, before taking off on a 3-D race through New York City against Jimmy Fallon.
Photo: Universal Orlando Resort
6. Island-inspired food comes to at Volcano Bay.
Universal’s water park will boast four dining spots: Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club, Whakawaiwai Eats, Bambu and The Feasting Frog. The food is inspired by the flavors of the South Pacific, offering dishes like Poke Poke Bowl, Mango BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich and Hawaiian Ribs. Guests will have 60 options of snacks, entrees and desserts to choose from.
7. A new food-ordering system speeds the process.
Disney’s new food-ordering system, Mobile One, will debut when Pandora—The World of Avatar opens. It allows visitors to order from the fast-casual Satu’li Canteen restaurant remotely and pre-pay using the My Disney Experience app. Alert the kitchen of your arrival by hitting the “I’m here” button, and when the meals are ready, the app will alert you to pick up the food at a designated window.
8. Ride the new Guardian of the Galaxy attraction.
Disney California Adventure will welcome a new ride based on the Guardian of the Galaxy movie, anchoring the new Marvel-themed land. The “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!” ride, opening May 27, will include randomized drop sequences, movie scenes and music from the film’s soundtrack.
“Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!” Photo: Disneyland Resort
9. See a Pixar concert.
“The Music of Pixar Live! A Symphony of Characters” will take the stage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios beginning May 26. The concert will take place at the park’s Theater of the Stars three times a night, featuring hit songs from Pixar movies such as “Toy Story” and “Cars 3,” and characters including Woody, Jessie, Mike and Sulley.
10. See Harry Potter’s new image.
Universal Studios Hollywood has upgraded the “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey" attraction to include high-definition images of Hogwarts. The flight-simulator ride now uses “4K-HD” technology, doubling the frame rate to 120 frames per second from the previous 60, to give riders the sensation they’re escaping Dementors and fire-breathing dragons.
"Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey." Photo: Universal Orlando Resort