If you are planning an Orlando vacation for 2012, you will see a few signs of construction in each of the major theme parks. Each park has announced major and ongoing projects that are designed to enhance your experience. Depending on when you travel, you may see the work in progress–or enjoy the finished product.

Artist’s rendering of Splitsville, coming soon to Disney World. Image courtesy of the Walt Disney Company

New Orlando theme park attractions for 2012 include:

Disney World:

  • Fantasyland expansion: One of the largest overhauls in Disney’s history is underway in the Magic Kingdom, as Fantasyland gets an expansion and plenty of new attractions.
  • Exotic Automobiles: The Richard Petty Driving Experience recently added a select group of new, exotic cars to its lineup, including a Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche.
  • Splitsville (pictured above): Downtown Disney will be home to a brand new bowling and entertainment emporium, with two stories of lanes and a retro theme.

Universal Orlando:

  • More Harry Potter: Universal announced an expansion of the wildly popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Expect to see construction if you travel towards the end of the year.
  • Minions!: Construction is well underway for the new Despicable Me attraction, visit now and you’ll spot the framework for Gru’s house going up outside.

Sea World:

  • Turtle Trek & Antarctica: The biggest expansion in the park’s history is underway, with a new 3d, domed attraction that features sea turtles and manatees, and Antarctica, a dip into the chilly waters for a penguin’s eye view of the world. This construction zone is right in the middle of the park, so you won’t be able to miss it; expect the new attractions to open by 2013. More details on these new arrivals here.

In many cases, the construction will cause a delay in foot traffic passing the area, some minor noise and a lot of curiosity about what’s going on behind the walls. Some lucky guests may walk into a soft opening or two (a chance to test ride the attraction before it officially debuts) later this year.

By Samantha McNesby for Orlando Vacations