What Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld are planning for 2024

Orlando, Florida, USA - February 9, 2022:  A Walt Disney World entrance arch gate in Orlando, Florida, USA. Walt Disney World is an entertainment resort complex.
Tiana's Bayou Adventure is one of the biggest theme park ride openings coming next year.

For more than 30 years, Splash Mountain was a fan favorite at Disney World with its whimsical animatronics, catchy music and the suspense building up to the thrilling log drop.

But in those final years, at a time when the country was reexamining race and social justice, Disney announced it was closing the problematic Splash Mountain and trying something new.

Will theme park fans be satisfied with the updated ride as the controversial “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” is gone and Princess Tiana takes over? We will find out. Tiana’s Bayou Adventure is one of the biggest ride openings in Orlando in 2024. No official opening date has been announced other than sometime late in the year. (Disneyland is getting its own version of the new Tiana ride that also opens in 2024.)

As construction goes on, Disney recently teased images of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure that reveals a small wood cabin amid lush, green nature and trees. The reimagined ride is based on Disney’s 2009 animated film “The Princess and the Frog” and pays homage to New Orleans, music and food with a Mardi Gras celebration that stars Disney’s first Black princess.

“We are building upon what was done with the animated film. We’re telling a next chapter story. We have this beautiful opportunity to give the character of Tiana depth and a dimensional space,” Disney Imagineer Charita Carter told Essence.

The other major players in Orlando are also opening new attractions in 2024.

SeaWorld is on a roll with thrill rides.

Its latest attraction is Penguin Trek, a family friendly launch coaster that twists and goes up to 43 miles per hour. The ride, themed in an Antarctica snowmobile expedition, debuts in Spring 2024.

Don’t forget Universal Orlando. The most anticipated Universal project is Epic Universe, a brand new theme park on the other side of Interstate 4 that opens in 2025. But until then, something new is debuting for the youngest theme park fans at Universal Studios Florida — the DreamWorks Themed Land.

The kid-friendly area will feature IP from Gabby’s Dollhouse, Shrek, Trolls and Kung Fu Panda and is opening sometime in 2024, although again, Universal has not said exactly which month or season the land opens nor what rides will be in it.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .


  • Sonja Fitch

    December 20, 2023 at 4:30 am

    Yahoo. Bring in the tradition in Florida of hosting FUN PARKS. Bring in more tax dollars and WORK for all from health care to dollars for infrastructure ! Thank you!

  • Dont Say FLA

    December 22, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Are they planning to have more Nazis outside carrying “Vote for Ron DeSantis” signs? ‘Cause after getting rid of zip a dee doo dah, I bet Disney get a whole new slew of ’em in the parking lot. Hordes Nazis and Heathers, I bet.

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