Date: 1 November, 2021
British & Irish tourists returning to the Sunshine State from November 8, 2021, will have plenty of new attractions, hotels and restaurants to write home about. Florida, the U.K. and Ireland’s #1 long-haul destination, continues to evolve despite everything, bringing exciting new experiences that will give tourists plenty of reasons to keep coming back. Whilst 2020 was a non-starter for many travellers, Florida’s hotels and attractions pushed forward with renovations and new experiences, many of which are now open and ready to welcome international visitors.
Here’s a recap of what’s open and what’s to come in 2022:
OPEN | Universal’s Islands of Adventure | Orlando
In June 2021, Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park opened Jurassic World VelociCoaster, Florida’s fastest and tallest launch coaster, and the world’s first coaster based on the Jurassic World blockbuster franchise. The new species of roller coaster raises the bar in extreme roller coaster design and is the ultimate experience for coaster enthusiasts and thrill-seekers, with a series of intense manoeuvres that will send guests catapulting up to 70 mph and more than 150 feet in the air with the swiftest of prehistoric predators.
OPEN | Compass by Margaritaville | Anna Maria Sound, Bradenton
Margaritaville opened the first of its kind resort, Compass by Margaritaville, in July 2020. The brand new, boutique concept hotel is located on the beautiful island community of Anna Maria Sound in Bradenton, with stunning views of the water and Neal Preserve. Compass brings all the easy, breezy fun of Margaritaville resorts to a quaint Florida beach town steeped in history. Anna Maria Island is a private, 220-acre island escape, with their hotel now perfectly situated at its entrance. This unique, seaside destination boasts 123 gorgeously appointed rooms overlooking a stunning marina on one side and the picturesque Neal Preserve on the other.
OPEN | Central Florida Skydiving | Ocala/Marion County
See Florida from a new perspective at the Sunshine’s States most highly anticipated new drop zone. Tick one of the most popular activities off your bucket lists as you enjoy an accelerated freefall with Central Florida Skydiving. Thrill seekers can enjoy the atmosphere as they experience beautiful views of Florida for miles from up in the sky.
OPEN | Fairgrounds | St. Pete’s
Billed as a choose-your-own-adventure experience, Fairgrounds St. Pete invites visitors to escape reality and explore their interactive story-driven experience and engage in a world of art, play and joy. Featuring more than 64+ commissioned works and installations with ties to Florida in a 15,000-square-foot space in St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District, the artist-made environment is a technology experience with multiple ways for guests to participate in the narrative celebrating weird, wacky and wonderful Florida.
OPEN | Hilton Garden Inn | St Pete Beach
Providing the ultimate tropical retreat, Hilton Garden Inn, recently opened its doors in St Pete Beach, complete with 144 spacious and airy rooms, including six suites. The whimsical touches throughout the exterior showcase the work of local artists Alyssa Marie and Braden Everly of the Alyssa Marie Gallery.
West Palm Beach Food Tours Launches Happy Hour Tour
OPEN | Various | West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach Food Tours has launched a Happy Hour Tour, featuring locally owned, off-the-beaten path restaurants in Downtown West Palm Beach. Offered every Thursday between 3.30pm – 5.30pm, The Happy Hour Tour serves up creative cocktails, delicious appetizers, spirited bartenders and crazy tales of the area’s prohibition past. Guests can expect to be treated like VIP’s while they enjoy bartender demonstrations, meet chefs, see vibrant street art, and hear entertaining stories of our prohibition past, with stops including Hullabaloo, The Blind Monk and Sassafras. Once the ‘cocktail party on the move’ has finished, guests get to take home all 3 cocktail recipes.
OPEN | ICON Park | Orlando on the classic English street food promises an excellent fast
The Big Fish landed at ICON park this year, as Gordon Ramsey launched his infamous restaurant chain in Orlando. The world-renowned chef’s take on the classic English street food promises an excellent fast-casual meal with no reservations required. Serving authentic takeaway-style British fish and chips, chicken and shrimp, along with Gordon's signature shakes, you’re guaranteed a home-from-home meal.
OPEN | Alo/Element Midtown | Tampa
With 360-degree views of the Tampa, Westshore, and St. Petersburg skylines, recently launched Sal Y Mar, restaurant and bar, offers an unconventional rooftop experience, where guests can mingle effortlessly with residents and neighbours against an unrivalled backdrop. Inspired by the Riviera Maya town of Tulum, Sal Y Mar’s casual yet sophisticated vibe adds a unique flavour to the mix of dining offerings in Midtown, with a setting and menu rich in old-world influence. The menu was created by Executive Chef Stephanie Bisogne and showcases the freshest possible local ingredients in an assortment of salads and entrees.
OPEN | Daytona Grande | Daytona Beach
Opened in summer 2021, Daytona Grande, member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts LVX Collection, is a new oceanfront luxury resort in Daytona Beach. With direct access to the beach, the hotel towers 27-stories above the waves and offers 456 refined accommodations, exceptional service, and a wide variety of dining options
OPEN | Hillsboro Beach Resort | Broward County
Hillsboro Beach Resort, a luxe, coastal-inspired oasis on Millionaire’s Mile, welcomed its first guests on October 1 in sunny South Florida. Featuring breath-taking views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway, this all-new luxury upscale beachfront resort offers in-demand amenities including an oceanfront pool, a ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea, and a globally inspired restaurant, Roí – the latter of which will open later this fall. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, guests can enjoy a day of water sports from the resort’s Intracoastal mooring or head out on one of the resort’s beach cruiser bicycles to explore the surrounding areas.
LAUNCHED | Daytona Grande | Daytona Beach
Visitors can go off the beaten path, explore the rich history and experience some of the most iconic (an Instagram-worthy) points of interest in Daytona Beach with the new Cars, Craft and Culture – The Ultimate Daytona Beach Trail Guide. Interactive maps for each themed trail are available on DaytonaBeach.com including the new Share The Heritage Trail, Monuments & Statues Trail, an Iconic Trail and a Motorsports Trail to add to our already popular Hiking & Biking Trails and the Ale Trail.
OPEN | West Gate River Ranch | Central Florida
Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo this year officially introduced its newest luxury glamping accommodations – 10 Luxe Conestoga Wagons and 10 Luxury Glamping Tents. These premium offerings are the latest addition to the unique lodging experiences available at this secluded luxury glamping resort, located one-hour south of Orlando and two-hours north of Palm Beach County, Florida.
OPEN | Space 220 Restaurant | EPCOT
The new restaurant in World Discovery at EPCOT is a culinary experience offering the celestial panorama of a space station, including virtual daytime and night-time views of Earth from 220 miles above the planet’s surface. Guests board a space elevator for a simulated journey to the Centauri Space Station, where they experience the “height of dining.” Once they arrive, guests enjoy meals and drinks while taking in views that are truly out of this world.
OPEN | Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn & Suites | Orlando
Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, the newest hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, opened to guests for the first time in December 2020, with an impressively low starting rate of £59 per night. The extra-affordable resort will add 2,050 guest rooms, featuring standard rooms and spacious 2-Bedroom Suites. On-site benefits include Early Park Admission to the theme parks and complimentary shuttle bus transportation.
OPEN | JW Marriot Tampa Water Street | Tampa
The JW Marriott Tampa Water Street opened in 2021, offering luxury rooms, incredible rooftop views, restaurants and bars in the centre of downtown on Tampa Bay’s waterfront. Find wellness in the Spa by JW® with luxurious treatments and custom massages. Relax and bask in the Florida sun from the sixth-floor resort-style pools with private cabanas. Catch an awe-inspiring sunset from our outdoor terrace or savour locally inspired dishes from 6 dining outlets offering indoor and outdoor seating.
OPEN | Bellwether Beach Resort | St.Pete/Clearwater
The Bellwether Beach Resort mixes vintage-Florida charm with a modern touch. The new hotel is complete with 156 bright and colourful rooms, including 16 spacious suites. With a retro-feel throughout the hotel, the Bellwether is decorated with mid-century furnishings, vintage artworks and terrazzo tiles to set a nostalgic tone as soon as guests walk through the sprawling lobby that offers views across the Gulf of Mexico. Guests can expect complimentary use of beach cabanas, kayaks and paddleboards, plus a beach butler service bringing food and beverages directly to your chosen spot on the beach. The resort also offers daily live entertainment.
COMING IN 2022
February 2022 | Peppa Pig Theme Park | Winter Haven
Opening in February 2022, families will squeal with delight as they jump into the playful world of Peppa Pig for an unforgettable day of adventure at the World’s First Peppa Pig™ Theme Park, only at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort. Combining interactive rides and themed playgrounds with character shows and an indoor cinema for quieter moments, every corner of the charming new park is crafted with pre-schoolers in mind. From their first roller coaster rides with their parents and free fair games for the whole family, to an all-terrain course where they will pedal tricycles through a sensory-rich trail and a colourful splash pad that celebrates “muddy puddles” jumping fun.
February 2022 | SeaWorld Orlando | Orlando
Artic adventure awaits as SeaWorld Orlando’s first launch coaster, boasting the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida, set to open in February of 2022. Named after the icy Arctic summits, Ice Breaker will feature four launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida — a 93-foot-tall spike with 100-degree angle. With its 48-inch height requirement, adventure seekers of all ages will enjoy the thrills and chills of Ice Breaker.
March 2022 | Busch Gardens | Tampa Bay
March 2022 will see a new legend surface at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, with the evolution of Iron Gwazi, North America’s tallest hybrid coaster and the fastest and steepest hybrid coaster in the world. Iron Gwazi will be 206 feet tall, feature a 91-degree drop, and reach top speeds of 76 miles per hour. The journey will include three inversions and 12 airtime moments as it races along more than 4,075 feet of purple steel track.
Spring 2022 | Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences | Singer Island
Spanning over seven beachfront acres of the Atlantic shoreline on Palm Beach County’s picturesque Singer Island, Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences is a new paradigm of mindful living coming to the Sunshine State, for those pursuing the best in proactive wellness. Opening its doors in early 2022, the property’s two towers – aptly named Peace and Happiness – will be home to a resort and residential mix of 155 wellness resort guest rooms and 182 wellness residences. Amrit’s team of personal wellness coaches will create individualized programs utilizing the resort’s 100,000 square feet of wellness amenities including: the Aayush Hydrothermal water therapy circuit, indoor/outdoor treatment rooms, an ocean-view demonstration kitchen and plant-centric restaurant, float tank, IV and sound and light therapies, acupuncture, spa-centered Ayurvedic and yoga program.
March 2022 | Aquatica Orlando | Orlando
Aquatica Orlando, is plunging into 2022 with a brand-new waterslide, Reef Plunge. Guests will slide through eye-catching translucent cut-outs and rings, and twist and turn though over 330 feet of fiberglass, zooming past a vibrant array of marine life in the new dynamic habitat. Commerson’s dolphins, leopard sharks, sardines and a variety of other cold-water fish will call Reef Plunge home. Guests will dive into the fun of Reef Plunge launching Spring of 2022.
March 2022 | Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser | Disney’s Hollywood Studios
The inaugural voyage of Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World Resort will depart 1 March, 2022. Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser is an experience going beyond anything Disney has created before, inviting guests to become the heroes of their own stories during a two-night adventure where they see, feel and live Star Wars. They will travel the galaxy in style aboard the glamorous Halcyon starcruiser, known for its impeccable service and exotic destinations. They will stay in well-appointed cabins, experience exquisite dining and out-of-this-world entertainment, visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and much more.
2022 | Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind | EPCOT
Launching 2022, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, will be the first “other-world” showcase pavilion at EPCOT. The family-friendly adventure starts in the Galaxarium, a planetarium-like exhibition that explores the similarities and mysteries of the formation of Earth’s galaxy and Xandar. Guests will learn more about the treasures Xandar has to share – until the moment when the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive, and guests go on an intergalactic chase through space and time. The attraction will feature a new innovation from Walt Disney Imagineering – a storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus guests on the action, including the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
2022 | Four Seasons Naples Beach Club | Naples
The Athens Group and MSD Partners, L.P. have acquired the legendary former Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, set on 1,000 feet of white-sand beach in iconic Old Naples. The site will be redeveloped into the Naples Beach Club, a 125-acre resort and residential beachfront development offering a one-of-a-kind, luxury lifestyle destination to residents, members, and guests. This special coastal community will include a 216-room hotel managed by leading luxury hospitality company, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, up to 185 luxury residences and unparalleled club amenities curated by Discovery Land Company, the developer and operator of world-renowned private residential club communities.
2022 | Max Beach Resort | Daytona Beach
The 12-story Max Beach Resort is scheduled to open in 2022 with condo-style residential suites featuring one-, two-, and three-bedroom options, fully equipped kitchens and private outdoor living spaces. Located just south of the Boardwalk and Pier area, the property plans to combine the best that a vacation rental has to offer with the amenities of a high-end resort hotel.
CELEBRATIONS & ANNIVERSARIES
December 2021 | Everglades National Park
In 2022, the Everglades National Park will celebrate its 75th anniversary, with celebrations slated to kick off on 6 December 2021. While many Brits think of the air boating experience in the Everglades, beyond this lies a lesser-known area – Flamingo – which is part of the Florida Keys. A new four-building, 24-unit Flamingo Lodge & Restaurant and Flamingo Visitor Centre are scheduled to open by January 2022, whilst Concessionaire Flamingo Everglades Adventures, is to unveil the lodge with one- and two-bedroom units available.
Starting October 1, 2022 | Walt Disney World Resort | Orlando
To celebrate Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th Anniversary, the resort is welcoming guests to ‘The World’s Most Magical Celebration.’ The 18-month event, beginning on 1 October 2021, ushers in a spectacular array of new attractions, EARidescent décor, night-time spectaculars and much more. Guests will step into a celebratory scene with dazzling decorations, new looks for Mickey, Minnie and Friends and magical touches at all 4 theme parks and beyond, with visitors guaranteed to create unforgettable memories that last a lifetime.
LEGOLAND® Florida | Winter Haven
In October, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort celebrated its 10th birthday with brick-tastic fanfare and big announcements about the fun coming to the resort in 2022 including a new ride and new entertainment enhancements to its calendar of events. To commemorate this milestone, LEGOLAND has also debuted an all-new attraction, The LEGOLAND Story - immersing LEGO® lovers in the unexpected origin story of everyone’s favourite brick. Guests will learn about the ever-evolving theme park experience and how LEGOLAND® Parks were built, brick by brick, as history comes to life with playful, photo-worthy displays.
January 2022 | Tampa Bay
The Gasparilla Invasion in January is based around the legendary pirate Jose Gaspar who according to folklore invaded Tampa Bay and every year, this invasion is celebrated as a fully functional pirate ship sails into downtown Tampa. The Invasion kicks off a series of event and family fun known as Gasparilla Season and includes the Gasparilla Festival of Arts, Gasparilla Film Festival and the Gasparilla Music Festival.
2021 | Inverness, Florida
People in Inverness, Florida, still talk about the magical summer of 1961, when Elvis Presley came to Citrus County to film his ninth movie, Follow That Dream. The climactic courtroom scene was filmed entirely in the Courtroom - which you can still visit. Each Summer, the world’s top Elvis tribute artists head to Inverness for ELVIS: The Summer Festival; a 5-day event dedicated to The King.
OPEN | The Boca Raton | Boca Raton
The 356-acre-resort complex, previously known as the Boca Raton Resort and Club (opened in 1926) is ushering in a “New Golden Era,” starting with its new-again name: The Boca Raton, and a $175 million makeover ahead of its 100th anniversary. Phase One of the project touts upgrades to its accommodations, new culinary experiences in partnership with Major Food Group and new exclusive experiences for resort guests and club members, including a four-acre lakefront oasis complete with four pools, including an adults-only option, a 450-foot lazy river, two slides, a splash park, luxury cabanas and more.
About VISIT FLORIDA
As the Sunshine State’s No. 1 industry, tourism was responsible for welcoming 79.8 million visitors in 2020, a decrease from the record 131.4 million visitors in 2019, attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the latest economic impact study, Florida visitors contributed $96.5 billion to Florida's economy and supported 1.6 million Florida jobs in 2019. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, for every $1 the state invests in VISIT FLORIDA, the official tourism marketing corporation for the State of Florida, $3.27 in tax revenue is generated. VISIT FLORIDA promotes tourism to Florida through sales, advertising, promotions, public relations and visitor services programs. As a public/private partnership, VISIT FLORIDA serves more than 13,000 tourism industry businesses, including major strategic alliance partnerships with Busch Gardens Tampa, Disney Destinations, Hilton, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort. To learn more about VISIT FLORIDA follow @FloridaTourism on Facebook and Twitter or visit www.visitflorida.org. For inspiration from the Sunshine State, follow @VISITFLORIDA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit www.visitflorida.com. For media resources, visit www.visitfloridamedia.com.
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