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What's New at Florida Theme Parks in 2014

Potter Expansion, Seven Dwarfs Coaster, and More

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The centerpiece attraction at the Fantasyland Expansion in Disney World's Magic Kingdom will finally be completed when the Seven Dwarves Mine Coaster opens in the spring of 2014. A few weeks later, muggles will be able to visit London locales from the Harry Potter mythology when Diagon Alley opens at Universal Studios Florida. These and other new rides and developments are arranged alphabetically by park in the Florida Ride Guide. 

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

Florida Ride Guide 2014

Aquatica: Ihu’s Breakaway Falls

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The wonderful water park that is part of the SeaWorld family will get a new speed slide that will be very tall and very fast. (At the time this was written, the park hadn't revealed the exact stats, but assured its fans that it would deliver huge thrills.)

Busch Gardens Tampa: Falcon's Fury

The seats on the audacious free fall ride will rise up a 335-foot tower, tilt 90 degrees so that passengers will be facing straight down, and plummet back to earth at a gut-wrenching 60 mph. Read more about Falcon's Fury.

Disney's Animal Kingdom: Avatar Land

It's not scheduled to open until 2017, but you can get a sneak peek at the massive land and ambitious attractions on the way to the park. Read about Avatar Land.

Disney's Hollywood Studios: "Frozen Summer Fun Live!"

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Disney. Used with permission.

The Frozen phenomenon shows no sign of slowing down. Disney World has added a limited-time event to celebrate Anna, Elsa, and the gang. Learn about "Frozen Summer Fun Live!" 

Epcot at Walt Disney World: Spice Road Table

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A new waterside eatery will open at the Morocco pavilion featuring tasty small plates of Mediterranean fare such as harissa chicken and Moroccan merguez sausage.

Islands of Adventure: Hogwarts Express

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The real big Potter news will be at Universal Studios Florida, where the new Diagon Alley will open in 2014 (see below). But, in an utterly audacious development, Universal Orlando will be debuting a train that will transport guests back and forth between the two Wizarding World of Harry Potter lands. The Hogsmeade terminus will be at Islands of Adventure.

Legoland Florida: Duplo Valley

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An expanded area for the park's youngest visitors is on the way. Features will include a water play area and a train ride.

Magic Kingdom: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Now open! Read my full review of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Heigh ho! The highly anticipated dark ride/coaster E-ticket attraction will bring enchantment and mild thrills to New Fantasyland. Also, a new Festival of Fantasy Parade, which will include floats themed to Frozen and Brave and a 35-foot-tall Mickey's Airship, will debut in the spring. Read more about the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

Read more about New Fantasyland and the features that have opened over the last couple of years:

Universal Orlando: Cabana Bay Beach Resort

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Universal's fourth on-property hotel, the biggest one to date, opens with value rates and a retro 50s and 60s theme.

Universal Studios Florida: Diagon Alley

Pottermania continues with the opening of the new land which will feature a cutting-edge dark ride and coaster based on Gringott's Wizarding Bank. There will also be a Leaky Cauldron restaurant, shops, and the Hogwarts Express train, which will also be an attraction in itself, to transport visitors between the two Wizarding Worlds at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida. Read more about Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley.

Walt Disney World: MyMagic+ and Disney Side

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The ultra-sophisticated advance planning and guest management program, which includes FastPass+, My Disney Experience, and MagicBands was supposed to have rolled out last year, but some glitches during testing have delayed it. Look for a resort-wide debut in 2014. The best MyMagic+ tips. Read more about MyMagic+.

The Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts will be featuring Show Your Disney Side throughout 2014. Visitors will be encouraged to display their "Disney side" photos and more through social media.

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