Groundbreaking technology at these venues around the country will fulfill your kid's vacation dreams.
1. Frozen Ever After, Walt Disney World, Orlando
Book your flights: The highly anticipated boat ride featuring lifelike audio-animatronic figures of Anna, Elsa, and Olaf is sure to become the hottest ride in Epcot. It's scheduled to open on June 21st.
2. Polk Penguin Conservation Center, Detroit Zoo
In the world's largest penguin facility, families encounter arctic blasts and waves as they walk down a series of ramps to get an underwater view of 80 of these adorable creatures representing four different species. Because of the size and depth of the exhibit (the viewing windows are up to 38 feet high) guests can watch penguins not only swim but also "deep dive," as the sea birds plunge about 25 feet from the surface.
3. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Hollywood
It must be magic! A re-creation of Hogwarts Castle and the mystical village of Hogsmeade has appeared on the West Coast. One notable upgrade: Guests wear Quidditch-inspired 3-D goggles on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride inside Hogwarts Castle, making the extra scenes filmed with the movie actors seem all the more realistic.
4. OdySea Aquarium, Scottsdale, Arizona
Go underwater with stingrays, sharks, and other marine life as you take an escalator enclosed in an acrylic tunnel through one of the main tanks—the first exhibit of its kind in the U.S. A 3-D theater, touch pools with sea turtles, and a walk-through tunnel filled with jellyfish and corals are also part of the fun at this desert oasis, which is expected to open in July.
5. Independence Plaza, Space Center Houston
Blast off to the home of NASA Mission Control for a tour of the 85.5-ton shuttle replica Independence, which is mounted on top of the original carrier aircraft—the only setup of its kind in the world. Kids can learn about careers in science and tech.
6. Ninjago World, Legoland California Resort, Carlsbad
Inspired by the popular Cartoon Network series and Lego toy, five attractions (with no minimum height requirement) will debut in May in this park about 45 minutes north of San Diego. The centerpiece: Lego Ninjago The Ride, where kids can set off fireballs, lightning, ice, and shock waves using hand gestures—rather than a controller—to earn Ninja status. New technology, called Maestro, makes it all possible.