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What's New at Florida Theme Parks in 2012

Expanded Fantasyland, New Despicable Me at Universal Studios, and More

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Legoland Florida,

A new ride based on the film, Despicable Me, will be coming to Universal Studios Florida, one of the new attractions at Florida theme parks in 2012.

Universal Orlando, 2011. Used with permission.
Are you thinking about heading to Florida's theme park mecca in 2012? You're going to have some tough decisions to make -- or at least, tougher-than-usual decisions. With the embarrassment of riches available to those making the trek to the Orlando area, it's always a challenge to try and figure out which parks merit your limited time and resources. But with all of the new attractions debuting during the year, it's going to be especially difficult to plan your itinerary.

And there is a great batch of exciting rides, shows, and experiences awaiting Florida visitors in 2012. The Florida Ride Guide is arranged alphabetically by park. Good luck deciding which ones to visit, park fans.

If you are planning a trip to Florida, here are some resources you may find helpful:

Busch Gardens Tampa
Tampa, FL
Iceploration
A new show, featuring ice skating (which only makes sense in the hot Florida climate, right?), is set to open in the park's Moroccan Palace Theater. Starting in February, Iceploration will incorporate puppets, original music, ice skaters, and live animals to present vignettes about the African Serengeti, Amazon rainforest, and other habitats. It seems a bit strange to represent tropical locales with a show on ice. Even stranger to consider: How will they get ice skates on live animals? Given Busch Gardens' impressive track record with live shows, I'd imagine Iceploration will be quite a spectacle.

Discovery Cove
Orlando, FL
Freshwater Oasis
Read about the interactive animal adventure coming to SeaWorld Orlando's upscale swim-with-the-dolphins park.

Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando
Orlando, FL
The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man

Read about the cool upgrades one of the world's best rides will be getting in 2012. Islands of Adventure is also home to one of the world's other great rides, The Forbidden Journey of Harry Potter.

Legoland Florida
Winter Haven, FL
Legoland Water Park
Opened in late 2011, the entire Legoland park will still be relatively new throughout 2012. In the summer, the park will open a separate gate water park. (Built on the former Cypress Gardens site, Legoland is appropriating the closed property's existing water park.) It will include a wave pool, water slides, an interactive Lego-themed water play center, and a lazy river which guests can navigate using a Lego-ish raft that they design and build. Read more about Legoland Water Park.

Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, FL
The Great Goofini and Dumbo The Flying Elephant
Read about the huge expansion going on at Disney World's signature park. Most of the new goodies will probably open in 2013, but there are some newish rides on tap for 2012.

SeaWorld Orlando
Orlando, FL
TurtleTrek
Read about the 3-D film and marine life exhibit coming to the park.

Universal Studios Florida
Orlando, FL
Despicable Me
Read about the 3-D motion simulator attraction that is based on the popular computer-animated film (and that is replacing the Jimmy Neutron ride) coming to the park.

The CityWalk entertainment, dining, and retail complex outside of Universal Orlando's two theme parks will be getting Hollywood Drive-In Golf, two miniature golf courses themed to the drive-in movies of yore.

Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista, FL
Let the Memories Begin
Started in 2011, the memory making will continue throughout 2012. Guests can have their images incorporated into nightly shows presented at Disneyland park in California and the Magic Kingdom in Florida.

One More Disney Day
Do you want to visit the magic Kingdom for 24 hours straight? Now you can. Plus you can win Disney World trips and take advantage of a special hotel offer.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort
Disney's newsiest Value Resort will draw inspiration from films such as Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid. See the hotel under construction in my photo preview of Disney's Art of Animation Resort.

Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Resort
Little princesses and their families can enjoy regal-ish accommodations in the new Royal Guest Rooms at the Port Orleans Resort. Get a preview of the new rooms in my Royal Guest Rooms mini gallery.

Magic Your Way Ticket Program- Info about 2012 Walt Disney World Admission Tickets.

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