Record-setting roller coasters, technologically-advanced dark rides and a brand-new stunt show make up the slate of new attractions coming to theme parks in and around Orlando and Tampa in 2020.
After 2019 saw three new lands opened in theme parks across Central Florida, the 2020 lineup may seem less impressive — after all, nothing here is on the scale of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. But these new attractions have the potential to shake up the competition in the most crowded theme park market in the world.
Here’s a rundown of the five biggest additions coming to Central Florida in 2020:
5. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
Opening: Summer 2020 at Epcot
This may be a carbon copy of a ride that opened at Disneyland Paris in 2014, but Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will still bring notable advancements to Disney World’s second theme park. For one, it will also be a trackless ride, a technology seen more in Disney’s international parks whose Orlando use has been limited to portions of Tower of Terror and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, SeaWorld Orlando’s Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, and the tram-like vehicles at Universal Orlando’s Fast & Furious: Supercharged and Skull Island: Reign of Kong.
Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure also illustrates what’s to come in Epcot’s multi-year transformation — namely, intellectual property becoming much more prominent in a park that once excluded Disney characters.
Opening: TBA 2020 at Epcot
Speaking of injecting more Disney characters into Epcot, the park’s next permanent nighttime spectacular is expected to have plenty of them, providing a major contrast to its character-free, slightly esoteric predecessor.
“It will celebrate how the music of Disney inspires people the world over, carrying you away harmoniously on a stream of familiar Disney tunes reinterpreted by a diverse group of artists from around the globe,” Disney World public relations managing editor Jeremy Schoolfield wrote in a blog post in August 2019. “‘HarmonioUS’ will feature massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics, lasers and more.”
3. The Bourne Stuntacular
Opening: Spring 2020 at Universal Studios Florida
The first new stunt show for Universal Orlando in 21 years, The Bourne Stuntacular show isn’t based on what many would consider a hot property nowadays, but is being hyped as a new hybrid of live entertainment and screen-based technology.
“This action-packed show will feature thrilling chase scenes, punishing fistfights, death-defying leaps and danger at every turn,” wrote wrote Universal public relations representative Hailey Fitch. “And it will all happen right in front of you with live performers, interactive props and an immense LED screen – making it impossible to determine where the live-action ends and the screen begins.”
The show will be housed in a renovated show building that was previously home to the Terminator 2: 3-D attraction before it closed in 2017.
2. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Opening: March 4, 2020 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway has the unusual honor of being on Orlando Rising’s new attraction list two years in a row. Originally expected to open ahead of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in 2019, this replacement for the beloved Great Movie Ride was instead delayed until 2020.
That may be a blessing. The first-ever ride-through attraction starring Disney’s signature character will now get extra time in the spotlight by coming after the Galaxy’s Edge additions. It’s been described by Disney as a “2 ½ D” ride inspired by the newer Mickey Mouse cartoons seen on the Disney Channel, utilizing “state-of-the-art technologies and dazzling visual effects to transform the cartoon world into an incredible and immersive multi-dimensional experience.”
In a sign of confidence in the ride, Disney plans on opening an identical version at Disneyland in Anaheim, California in 2022.
Opening: Spring 2020 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
It’s not often that Busch Gardens Tampa Bay can beat the likes of Disney and Universal — but it’s also not every day that Central Florida gets a roller coaster breaking this many records.
Iron Gwazi combines a new steel track with existing wooden supports from the shuttered Gwazi wooden coaster for a new hybrid coaster, a specialty of manufacturer Rocky Mountain Construction. When completed, it will be North America’s tallest hybrid coaster (206 feet), as well as the fastest (76 miles per hour) and steepest (featuring a 91 degree drop) hybrid coaster anywhere in the world.
“Iron Gwazi is the evolution of a classic wooden coaster into a modern icon,” said Busch Gardens Tampa Bay park president Stewart Clark in September 2019. “From the bones of the original Gwazi, a new legend rises, reaching taller heights and faster speeds, delivering the next-level thrills that our coaster fans crave and expect from Busch Gardens.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected and updated to reflect that Universal Orlando has two rides that utilize trackless systems.
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