Construction ramps up on new attractions at Central Florida’s major theme parks

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — New rides and attractions are coming to Orlando’s three big theme parks.

This is despite Disney, Universal and SeaWorld seeing massive revenue loss and lower attendance due to capacity limits because of the pandemic.

And though projects came to a stop because of COVID-19, things are now ramping up.

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At Walt Disney World, the company confirmed construction projects for three rides and a new Star Wars-themed hotel are back underway.

And Disney isn’t alone. The industry is also watching out for the release of new roller coasters at Universal Studios and SeaWorld.

Future theme park employees at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management are hoping the projects mean things will improve.

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“Pre-COVID … about 20% of our students were working in the theme park here locally,” said Jessica Wickey with Rosen College.

Shelley Caran with On the Go in MCO said jobs will eventually come back, in part, because of this work which started in the summer.

“But really right before the holiday season they hit that back to work button,” Caran said.

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There’s even a new general manager position for Disney’s new themed hotel Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, expected to open this year.

It’s one of five projects currently underway, including Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT, which is also expected to open this year.

Universal Studios announced Jurassic World: VelociCoaster is opening this summer, which catapults you 70 miles per hour along 4,100 feet of track.

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SeaWorld’s Ice Breaker may also debut in 2021. It and Riptide Race at Aquatica Orlando are in the final construction and testing phases.

“It’s a big deal for these parks,” Caran said. “These parks are reinvesting for their future.”

Cierra Putman

Cierra Putman, WFTV.com

Cierra Putman flew south to join Eyewitness News in July 2016.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.