Florida Guide > Miscellaneous
What’s New in Orlando 2013
At the time of writing this article, it is almost December 2013 so this could be entitled “What’s new in Orlando 2014”.
What will appeal to Harry Potter fans, is that towards the end of 2014 you will be able to take the Hogwarts train from The Harry Potter Experience in Universal’s Island of Adventure to the station in Waterloo – Platform 13 and a half. The station will be where the old Jaws ride used to be so will join the two parks. As yet we do not know how they will go about charging for being able to go to the other park or if they will just only sell dual tickets for the two parks
Orlando never stands still; every year new buildings appear and new areas are flattened ready for more building. When we first came to Florida in 1989, Highway 27 was just two lanes – one up and one down. Now it is an eight lane highway! Building alongside the road is a constant ongoing occupation for Floridian builders, new shopping plazas as well as more villas are being built all the time.
The first thing we noticed on driving to Sea World was the amount of new building since this time in 2012. International Drive at the very south end, used to be very barren, apart from a few holiday apartments. Now there have sprung up a raft of shops and restaurants.
At Sea World itself there is a new area called Antarctica, Empire of the Penguin. It transports you into the icy world of the penguin. You will experience this mysterious land through the penguins own eyes on a family friendly ride to connect with a colony above and below the water.
New restaurants on Highway 192 near the junction with highway 27 are a Mexican restaurant and a Joe’s Crab Shack, however Houlihans has gone – no great loss in my opinion.
Cropping up all over the place are a new chain of ice cream parlours called Twistee Treats, but they will have to go a long way to compete with Cold Stone Creamery in my opinion.
One of the best shopping plazas, a discount stores outlet, is Premium Outlets on Vineland Avenue. This has expanded a great deal since it was first built and has now taken over the site that used to house Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner Show on the other side of Vineland Avenue. At the moment only a few new stores are open, but I have no doubt it will be almost as big as the original by the end of 2014.
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