Expect at least five major projects to open at Central Florida theme parks and attractions in 2013.
•Antarctica — Empire of the Penguin, SeaWorld Orlando: The ride combines a mobile-simulator platform with a trackless navigation system. Eight-passenger vehicles explore different courses through the attraction, representing the path of a young penguin. It's set to open in spring.
•Transformers: The Ride — 3D, Universal Studios: It's kind of a big deal — literally. This attraction, open at Universal Studios Singapore and Universal Studios Hollywood, introduces riders to 30-foot-tall robots, including Optimus Prime. Look for it next summer.
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•Atlantis exhibit, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex: Space shuttle Atlantis has a place to hang out for a long time. It will be suspended at a 43.21-degree angle inside a new building at KSC. It's set to open in July.
•Three thrill rides, Fun Spot USA: The location near International Drive is adding two roller coasters: White Lightning, the third wooden coaster in Florida, and Freedom Fighter, a suspended steel coaster. Fun Spot also is installing a 250-foot Skycoaster, an extreme, harnessed swing similar to one at its Kissimmee site. They are set to go in summer.
•Princess Fairytale Hall, Magic Kingdom: So far this sounds like a really regal meet-and-greet, featuring portraits of Disney princesses. The hall will be where Cinderella, Aurora, Tiana, Rapunzel and other royals will pose for photos. No specific opening date has been announced.