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12/08/2017

 

 

 

 

Introducing Orlando's New Signature Dish:
"Orlando's Honey Nougat Glacé"

 

ORLANDO, Fla. - The most visited destination in the U.S. has a new must-taste experience: a signature dessert developed to showcase the region's culinary evolution and connection with honey. A destination-wide culinary competition involved public voting as well as a celebrity panel of judges including two-time James Beard Award winner Chef Art Smith.

The winning dish, "Orlando's Honey Nougat Glacé," is an Italian meringue prepared with honey, nougat and fruit confit, on a red berries sorbet from Chef Catherine Delrieu of Mon Petit Cheri.

"Orlando's Honey Nougat Glacé stood out because you could really taste the honey," said Chef Art Smith. "Yet it had this wonderful clean refreshing aftertaste - a total sweet honey bomb with a delicious tart fruit that soothes. Congratulations to Chef Catherine on this fabulous dish."

"I wanted to create something different and refreshing to showcase local honey, but with balanced flavors so that it does not become too overpowering with sweetness," said Chef Catherine Delrieu. "The entire process has been really exciting and challenging. I'm very proud to have been a part of this."

The culinary competition launched in August, welcoming submissions from across Central Florida with the following criteria:

  • local honey must be a key ingredient;
  • the dish must be a dessert;
  • it is available to the public in a restaurant or food venue;
  • only one entry per restaurant.
  • With more than a month-long window for trying the desserts in restaurants and submitting a vote online, the public narrowed down the field of honey desserts to the top 10 dishes. An esteemed judging panel sampled all 10 finalists' entries and rated them on the following criteria: Execution, Appearance, Taste, Creativity, Originality, Use of Honey and Representation of Orlando.

    The panel of judges included:

  • Celebrity Chef Art Smith, Homecomin' and two-time James Beard Foundation Award Winner
  • Tish Boyle, co-editor of Dessert Professional magazine
  • Lauren Delgado, multimedia food reporter for the Orlando Sentinel
  • Scott Joseph, veteran restaurant critic for scottjosephorlando.com
  • "Orlando's Honey Nougat Glacé serves as a reminder of the eclectic, vibrant and diverse culinary scene that we have right here in Central Florida," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. "I hope to see all of the restaurants and incredibly talented chefs throughout our region put their own spin on this dish."

    Why honey?

    Earlier this year, a group of area chefs and food and beverage specialists met with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Visit Orlando destination experts to consider exploring a signature dish for the region. Developed to spread awareness of Orlando's diverse dining scene, the idea to focus on a culinary competition to showcase local honey grew from that initial challenge.

    Honey is both delicious and of historical significance to Orange County. European honeybees and citrus trees entered the state together nearly 500 years ago. As the citrus trees flourished in the state's mild climate and sandy soil, so too did the bees. Central Florida has long had an abundance of local crops and plants that contribute to numerous flavors of honey such as gallberry, saw palmetto, blueberry, Brazilian pepper and popular orange blossoms.

    Find more information at VisitOrlando.com/Dish.

     

    About Orlando Dining

    From internationally renowned chefs to home-grown venues, Orlando is a destination where the culinary possibilities are both fresh and seemingly endless. Theme parks restaurants and a diverse variety of award recognized independent restaurateurs across Orlando, bring fresh concepts and experiences to the table throughout Central Florida. Whether locally owned or part of expanding franchises, many of the destination's newest restaurants mirror the national trends: American cuisine, farm-friendly menus and simple food with regional accents. Nationally, Orlando has emerged as a prominent dining destination, and continues to grow in both quantity and quality of flavors.

     

    About Visit Orlando

    Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents the area's leading industry.

     

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    Editor's Note: Find high-resolution downloadable images here.

      

     

     

     



    11/30/2017

     

     

     

     

     

    Orlando's 20 New Additions in 2018

    The Year of Unique Orlando; New Places to Stay, Play and Dine in 2018

     

    ORLANDO, Fla. - A big year awaits travelers to Orlando, Theme Park Capital of the World®. Thrilling new attractions will launch guests further and faster than ever, new resorts will feature additions like future-forward "smart rooms" and rooftop lounges for firework-watching, and unique new dining experiences will arrive, ranging from a Master Sommelier's wine bar to a 100 percent all-vegan deli.   

    "Every Orlando vacation is unique, with so many attractions and activities for visitors to mix and match, but 2018 will be an exceptional year for experiences that really stand out," said George Aguel, President and CEO for Visit Orlando. "A great vacation lets you escape from the everyday and experience something new, and there is no shortage of that this coming year, ranging from being immersed in a high-speed car chase with the Fast & Furious to plunging down the world's tallest river rapid drop."

    Visitors can get continuous updates on new attractions as well as planning tips, tickets and discounts at VisitOrlando.com, the official visitor information source for the destination.

     

    NEW THRILLS

     

  • Disney's Hollywood Studios will open Toy Story Land in summer 2018, featuring two new themed attractions, the "Slinky Dog Dash" roller coaster and "Alien Swirling Saucers."
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  • Fast & Furious - Supercharged at Universal Studios Florida will take guests on a high-octane adventure into the world of underground racing, right alongside stars from the Fast & Furious films.
  •  

  • A new nighttime show is coming to Universal Studios Florida, replacing Universal's Cinematic Spectacular-100 Years of Movie Memories. This new lagoon show will feature animated characters, a new storyline, lighting and special effects.
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  • Infinity Falls, a new rainforest river rapids ride, is coming to SeaWorld Orlando in summer 2018, featuring the world's tallest river rapid drop.
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  • Ray Rush will provide three new ways to slide, splash and soar at Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark. With wild water jets, a colossal water sphere and swoops into giant manta wings, the raft ride is scheduled to debut in spring 2018.
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  • The Great Lego Race VR Coaster will debut as the first virtual reality roller coaster designed for children. It will open in place of the Project X roller coaster at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, re-imagined with a new story plus special effects.
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  • LEGO NINJAGO - Master of the 4th Dimension will debut Jan. 12, 2018, at the LEGO Showplace Theater at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. The new short film combines 3D computer animation with 4D real-world effects, for an amazing new ninja adventure.
  •  

  • Nona Adventure Park will be a new water-sports park featuring an inflatable, floating obstacle course, wakeboarders pulled along by cables and a 60-foot climbing tower with a ropes course. The park is scheduled to open in summer 2018 in the Lake Nona area of Orlando. 
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    NEW HOTELS

     

  • The Delaney Hotel, a 54-room boutique hotel in the Sodo district of downtown Orlando, will offer unique high-tech conveniences for guests such as remote check-in, digital tablet-based concierge services in every room, smart phone room keys and smart TVs. It is expected to open in March 2018.
  •  

  • Universal's Aventura Hotel, a new value property and the sixth onsite hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, will feature a 16-story gleaming glass tower with 600 guest rooms, including 13 kids' suites, and the first-ever rooftop bar and grill on Universal property. It is expected to open in August 2018.
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  • Margaritaville Resort Orlando, a new waterfront destination resort, will feature 175 rooms, 1,000 Margaritaville-themed vacation homes and 300 timeshare units. A new dining and entertainment district is also planned, along with a 12-acre water park, a wellness center, and more. It is expected to open in 2018.
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  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, the largest of the six convention hotels at Walt Disney World Resort, is expanding in 2018 with a new 15-story tower of 500 additional rooms, a new rooftop restaurant and lounge atop the tower with panoramic views of nighttime fireworks and new meeting space.
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    DINING OPTIONS

     

  • Disney Springs will add even more new dining experiences in 2018 including:
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    o   The Edison, themed around a 1920s-era electric company with live entertainment, classic American food and craft cocktails

     

    o   Jaleo, a Spanish Tapas concept by world-renowned Chef Jose Andres

     

    o   Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, a new location in Town Center capturing the essence of laid-back California dining

     

    o   Wine Bar George, the only Master Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida

     

    o   Maria & Enzo's Ristorante, offering Sicilian cuisine and set in a 1930s abandoned airline terminal

     

    o   Enzo's Hideaway Tunnel Bar, serving Prohibition-era cocktails along with a menu of Roman dishes, all inspired by the true Florida history of rum-running

     

  • JINYA Ramen Bar, a modern Japanese restaurant featuring authentic ramen along with a variety of tapas dishes, is expected to open in 2018 in the Thornton Park neighborhood of downtown Orlando.
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  • Heirloom Deli will open as an all-vegan restaurant in spring of 2018, where everything from drinks to bakery items will be 100 percent plant-based.
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    The Orlando Destination

    Home to seven of the world's top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States. An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels.

     

    About Visit Orlando

    Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States and, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents the area's leading industry. Visit Orlando is responsible for branding, selling and marketing the Orlando destination worldwide, and serves as the official visitor information source.

     

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    Editor's Note: Find high-resolution downloadable images here.

     

     

     



    11/15/2017


     

     

    Visit Orlando Offers Black Friday Savings on more than 50 Orlando Experiences

    Deals on Theme Parks, Hotels, Flights and More Means Hundreds of Dollars in Savings for Orlando Travel

    ORLANDO, Fla. -Visit Orlando, the official tourism association for the destination, will offer an extra 10 percent off all purchases of already-discounted attraction tickets, some even including free additional days at theme parks, during the biggest shopping weekend of the year. In honor of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, guests can simply use promo code "GIFT" on VisitOrlando.com purchases from Nov. 22-28 to save an extra 10 percent on some of Orlando's most popular attractions, including the world famous theme parks.

    Visit Orlando's Exclusive Attraction Deals* - Save an extra 10 percent on all tickets Visit Orlando sells - more than 50 attractions, dinner shows, theme parks and more - including these already discounted offers:

  • Walt Disney World Resort: Buy 4 days, get the 5th day free and receive a free round of miniature golf (Valid at Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course or Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course) with the purchase of a Magic Your Way® Base Ticket or with the addition of the Park Hopper® option.A total savings of more than $95!

  • Universal Orlando Resort: Purchase a 3-Park, 2 Day Park-To-Park pass, and receive an extra two days free of unlimited admission to Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal's Volcano Bay. A total savings of $93!

  • SeaWorld Orlando: Save $42 per ticket on 2-day, 2-visit tickets, valid at SeaWorld, Aquatica and more.

  • LEGOLAND Florida Resort: Save more than $20 per ticket on a 1-day pass.

  • The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye: Save 35% off the gate price.
     
  • Accommodation Deals in Orlando - Hotels and resorts across Orlando are offering their own Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals for travelers, including:

  • The Grove Resort & Spa: Save 50 percent off best available rates for one, two and three bedroom residential-style suites at this new resort near Walt Disney World, when booking Nov. 24-27 for stays through September 30, 2018.

  • B Resort & Spa: Use the code "CYBER" when booking online to enjoy up to 25 percent off guest rooms, a 50 percent reduced resort fee and a free room upgrade from Chic to Captivating. This offer can be booked from Nov. 24-27, for travel dates Nov. 27, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018.

  • Coco Key Hotel and Water Resort Orlando: Use the code "CYBER" when booking online to enjoy up to 30 percent off guest rooms, a 50 percent reduced resort fee, a free upgrade to pool or waterpark view, 10 percent off food and beverages and a free-tokens $5 gift card. This offer can be booked from Nov. 24-27. Travel dates begin Nov. 27 and extend through Dec. 31, 2018.

  • The Villas of Grand Cypress: Book online from Nov. 24-27 to save 15 percent on a two-night stay through December 20, 2018. Save an additional 5 percent per added night, up to 5 nights, for a maximum savings of 30 percent.

  • Rosen Centre, Rosen Plaza and Rosen Shingle Creek: Book a getaway at any of these Rosen properties Nov. 24-27 for stays between Dec. 1-27, to receive 30 percent off the best available rate, plus 30 percent off select on-site restaurants.

  •  

    Flight Deals to Orlando 

     
  • Via Airlines: Use promo code "CyberMonVia2017" online to receive 25 percent off all ViaAir flights to and from Orlando-Sanford International Airport. This offer must be booked on Nov. 27 for travel dates Nov. 27 through March 31, 2018.
  • *Please see specific terms and conditions noted for individual tickets purchased on VisitOrlando.com.

     

     The Orlando Destination
    Home to seven of the world's top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States. An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels.

    About Visit Orlando

    Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States, with representation in more than a dozen countries around the world. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents the area's leading industry.

     

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    Editor's Note: Find high-resolution downloadable images here.

     

     

     



    11/07/2017

     

     


    Orlando Unwraps Holiday Events Celebrating the Magic of the Season

     

    ORLANDO, Fla. ­­­­­­­- Ranked as the best winter family vacation spot among destinations across the globe by U.S. News & World Report as well as  the top warm-weather destination for winter travel by Wallethub, Orlando transforms into a winter wonderland this season - with a little extra sunshine.

    Visitors can discover the very first Wizarding Christmas (open to all muggles), as well as dazzling holiday-themed firework displays, incredible parades and even a pyrotechnic-enhanced Nutcracker performance. Orlando pulls out all the stops for the most magical yuletide possible, including cheerful hotel packages and unforgettable holiday events to warm the soul, starting Nov. 9 through New Year's Day.

    Travelers can check out VisitOrlando.com/Christmas for more details and to start planning their perfect winter getaway.

     

    New This Holiday Season

     

  • Disney's Hollywood Studios debuts the brand new Sunset Seasons Greetings, a projection light show, on Nov. 9. The Hollywood Tower Hotel and billboards lining the theme park's Sunset Boulevard come to life to display holiday stories, with real falling snow and holiday music enhancing the spirit of the celebration.
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  • Universal Orlando will transform Hogwarts into a magical holiday extravaganza with Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, starting Nov. 18. Wizards and Muggles alike can watch in awe as Hogwarts Castle is illuminated with dazzling projections, savoring seasonal treats and drinks while listening to the famed Frog Choir and the wizarding world's famous "Singing Sorceress" Celestina Warbeck.
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  • SeaWorld Orlando has two new holiday experiences starting Nov. 23. Dine with Rudolph gives guests an opportunity to enjoy the telling of his classic tale during a delicious feast featuring a menu filled with traditional holiday favorites served family-style. Santa Claus at Wild Arctic invites guests to take a ride to the top of the world to meet the Arctic's most famous resident, Santa Claus, where they can take photos with the jolly old man himself.
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    Theme Park Holiday Events

     

    Walt Disney World Resort: Select nights Nov. 9- Dec. 31

  • Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party presents a winter fairytale, as Queen Elsa covers Cinderella's Castle in glittering ice. Lively stage shows feature Disney characters in their holiday finery and a festive holiday parade sends toy soldiers and snow flurries dancing on Main Street U.S.A. Guests can enjoy complimentary cookies and hot cocoa around the park.
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  • Disney's Hollywood Studios hosts Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!. The event features spectacular fireworks, special effects and holiday music classics every night, beginning Nov. 9.
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  • The Candlelight Processional at Epcot is a beloved Disney tradition, beginning Nov. 24. This joyous retelling of the biblical story of the origins of Christmas features a celebrity narrator, 50-piece orchestra and several magnificent choirs. The special line-up of narrators this year includes Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Trace Adkins and Laurie Hernandez.
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    Universal Orlando Resort: Select nights Nov. 18 - Jan.6

  • At Universal Studios Florida, the Macy's Holiday Parade fills the streets every evening with the larger-than-life balloons from Macy's famous Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Elaborate floats, dancers and live entertainment dazzle and delight guests.
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  • At Universal's Islands of Adventure, Grinchmas descends on Seuss Landing with a live retelling of Dr. Seuss's beloved holiday tale during, Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, featuring the Whos from Who-ville and an original musical score by Mannheim Steamroller.
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    SeaWorld Orlando: Select nights Nov. 24 - Dec. 31

  • Waves of holiday spirit splash in during SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration. Here in a wintry, watery wonderland, live shows inspired by the natural world light up the park with majesty and cheer, including a charming nativity show with live animals and meet-and-greet with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends.
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    LEGOLAND Florida Resort: Select weekends Dec. 2-25

  • At Christmas Bricktacular, families can block time to marvel at the more than 30-foot-tall LEGO Christmas tree - made with 270,000 LEGO and DUPLO bricks - and pose for a perfect holiday picture with a life-size LEGO Santa, reindeer and sleigh.
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    Holiday Events In and Around Orlando

     

    Downtown Orlando

  • The City of Orlando's annual Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on Dec. 1 at Lake Eola Park featuring a 72-foot Christmas tree, live entertainment and a food truck bazaar.
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  • The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts features a host of holiday shows and concerts, from "Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis presents Big Band Holidays" to the Orlando Philharmonic's "Home for the Holidays!"
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    Orange County Convention Center

  • The Central Florida Ballet's fire-enhanced, Cirque du Soleil-inspired take on The Nutcracker is known to many as the "pyrotechnic Nutcracker." It returns to the Orange County Convention Center's Linda Chapin Theater Dec. 16-17.
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    Winter Park

  • The city's Winter in the Park ice skating rink opens Nov. 27 and hosts an annual tree lighting ceremony, featuring carolers and a visit from Santa on Dec. 1. On Dec. 2, enjoy the area's Ye Old Hometown Christmas Parade, the longest-running parade in Central Florida, now in its 65th year.
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    Holiday Cheer at Orlando Resorts

    An Orlando holiday getaway wouldn't be complete without a holly, jolly place to stay, and the destination's wide variety of resorts join the festivities. The holiday spirit is shared in events, dining and entertainment, creating comfort and cheer around every corner.

     

  • The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort offers guests the opportunity to host a personal holiday party with Mickey and Minnie or Anna and Elsa from "Frozen," upon request (for a fee). Those who stay in top suites even get a butler to help wrap holiday gifts, decorate the suite and arrange a hot cocoa and cookie decorating party.
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  • The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel offers sweet holiday treats this year, including a Life-Size Chocolate Holiday Santa Scene in the Swan lobby, constructed with 2,000 pounds of real chocolate. The Dolphin's newly renovated hotel lobby will offer even more holiday magic, with an indoor-snow fall and 24-fot tall Christmas tree. For the most amazing Night Before Christmas, guests can invite a fully-costumed elf to deliver milk and cookies to their room for a Christmas Eve bedtime story and tuck in.
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  • Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center returns with an Orlando holiday classic: ICE! At Gaylord Palms, featuring an elaborate tableau of interactive hand-carved ice sculptures and displays, Nov. 21 - Jan. 7. This year, ICE! has a new theme which showcases Christmas Around the World. Guests can see incredible scenes of holiday celebrations across multiple cultures as well as travel to the North Pole to see Santa and his elves at work.
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    A Unique New Year's Eve in Orlando

    Ring in 2018 in a big way at one of the destination's many New Year's Eve events. Some of the year's biggest firework shows light up the night as fine dining, entertainment and champagne flow below.

     

  • The Disney Countdown to Midnight at Disney's Contemporary Resort sets a thrilling tone for the New Year, with a live DJ, dancing and libations, culminating with Magic Kingdom Park fireworks viewing and a champagne toast.
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  • On International Drive, those in for a glamorous and exciting New Year's will find countless options for their party needs. From Blue Martini and Tapa Toro at Pointe Orlando to Howl at the Moon, guests will be in for a night of DJs, live music, decadent food choices and of course, fireworks.
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  • Those looking to party hard into the new year can head to Universal CityWalk for jam-packed celebrations, including unique party zones, live music, unlimited gourmet cuisine and a pulse-pumping outdoor dance floor.
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  • Families can ring in the New Year before bedtime at Kids' New Year's Eve at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. Move and groove at an exclusive dance party, catch the giant LEGO brick drop at a kid-friendly hour and wind down the year with LEGO-inspired fireworks - all before midnight.
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  • Get the entire family together for New Year's Eve at SeaWorld Orlando to welcome in 2018 with a splash. Guests can dance the night away with interactive DJ stations, special food and drink offerings, live music and a dazzling firework display, all while surrounded by their favorite aquatic creatures.
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    The Orlando Destination

    Home to seven of the world's top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States.  An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels. 

     

     

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          Editor's Note: Find high-resolution downloadable images here.

     

     

     



    09/26/2017

     

       

     

    Orlando Moonlights as Halloween Vacation Capital

    With Halloween-Themed Events Lasting 2 ½ months,
    Orlando has Most Frightful Festivities of any Vacation Destination 


    2017 Brings Eerie Events, Haunted Hotel Packages, Horror-themed Convention

     

    ORLANDO, Fla. - This fall, Halloween fanatics flock to Orlando as the ultimate Halloween Vacation Capital. The destination, recently named AAA's top destination for fall travel and known for immersive experiences, brings its creativity to the holiday with a host of highly themed events and attractions; hotel packages; and even the largest horror convention in the nation.

    Including both family-friendly frights and extreme adult scares, over 10 weeks of Halloween festivities take place throughout the destination, including at the world-famous theme parks. October kicks off the height of the season, although some of the festivities started as early as August 25 and extend as late as November 4.

    Visit Orlando, Orlando's official visitor resource, has created a special web page to help travelers plan a ghoulish getaway. Find a few haunted highlights below, or the full frightful list at VisitOrlando.com/Halloween, and follow #OrlandoHalloween for real-time updates.

     

    Teens and Adults: Sinister Celebrations

    From extreme haunted houses to scenes from famous horror films, there are a full-scale terrifying adult frights in this destination that is traditionally known for family-friendly fun.

    Halloween Horror Nights 27 at Universal Studios Florida brings hordes of horrifying mutants, monsters and maniacs in its streets, nine terrifying haunted houses, five creature-filled scare zones and two outrageous live shows. For horror aficionados, the all-new haunted houses include characters from "The Shining" and TV shows "Ash vs. Evil Dead" and "American Horror Story", and two of the scare zones are based on celebrated horror films "Trick ‘r Treat" and "The Purge." Select nights Sept. 15 - Nov. 4.

    Spooky Empire, the largest horror convention in the nation, is taking place Oct. 27-29. This year's lineup of celebrity guests includes Richard Dreyfuss ("Jaws"), John Cusack ("Better Off Dead", "Gross Point Blank"), Joan Cusack ("Addams Family Values", "Toy Story"), Shannon Elizabeth ("Scary Movie") and more. Other thrills and chills at the convention include a tattoo festival, costume contest, zombie walk and film festival.   

    A Petrified Forest features two outdoor scare trails for small groups to venture through a haunted forest at night. For the uber-brave, on Total Eclipse Nights - which require a signed waiver for anyone under 18 - monsters can touch the guests, and each small group is given only one glowstick to light their path, regardless if it is dropped or stolen by a creature. Trails take place on select nights, Sept. 29 - Nov. 4.

    Orlando Museum of Art's 1st Thursdays: Ghosts & Ghouls will take place on Oct. 5. Artists will create works depicting dark, horror, goth and other Halloween themes including movie and TV icons, eerie and creepy landscapes and architecture, ghostly images, and anything associated with the paranormal and the unexplained. 

    Zombie Outbreak challenges guests to see how long they could survive a zombie apocalypse. This Halloween season and all year long, the terrifically terrifying attraction puts guests in the middle of a military base overrun with the undead.

     

    For Families:

    Kids and families can celebrate with monsters and villains, dress in costume and trick-or-treat inside some of the world's favorite Halloween destinations.

    Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World Resort. On select nights from Aug. 25 to Nov. 11, Magic Kingdom Park comes alive with jack-o-lanterns, special characters and entertainment for the whole family. Encouraged to come dressed for the occasion, visitors can trick-or-treat throughout the park, masquerade with costumed characters at the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, sing along at the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular and end the night with a "Boo-tacular" fireworks show.

    SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular immerses guests into an underwater "fantasea" with up-close animal encounters, trick-or-treating, playful pumpkin fish, and sea-themed arts and crafts. Guests can also reserve seats for Sesame Street's Countdown to Halloween. The fun takes place select weekends from Sept. 22 - Oct. 29.

    Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, select nights from Oct. 14-31, includes trick-or-treating, the world's largest LEGO jack-o-lantern, LEGO Halloween characters and a bewitching Halloween-themed fireworks show at Pirates' Cove.

    "Screamin' Green Hauntoween at The Crayola Experience, where guests can trick-or-treat while creating "monsterific" crafts and snapping "spooktacular" character photos on select days, Oct. 7-31.

    Zoo Boo Bash at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, offers ghoulish fun in the wildest neighborhood in town with trick-or-treating, face painting and costume contests on Oct. 28-29.

     

    Haunting Hotel Packages

    Orlando's hotels scare up some hauntingly good deals and fun packages for the season.

    The Goblins & Giggles Getaway Weekends at the Gaylord Palms Resort includes story time, ghost tours, a night time pool party, trick or treating and a Monster Mash Bash costume contest and movie night under the stars. The Halloween package starts at $189 per night (plus tax, resort fee and parking) and is valid from Sept. 15-Oct. 28.

    Halloween Happenings at Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista offers spellbinding savings with room rates starting at $69 (plus tax) for a Halloween getaway, with fun packs for kids at check in plus complimentary scheduled shuttles to the theme parks.

    Hyatt Place Orlando Universal is offering trick or treating for all guests checking into the property. Guests can enjoy a sweet treat amenity in their room upon check-in as well as two additional complimentary drinks or treats at the Coffee to Cocktails Bar.

     

    The Orlando Destination
    Home to seven of the world's top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States.  An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife.

     

    About Visit Orlando
    Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States, and serves as the official visitor resource for travel planning. 

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    Editor's Note: Find high-resolution downloadable images here.

     

     



    08/23/2017

     

     

     

     

    It's Honey for the Sweet Win! 

    Local Task Force Nominates Main Ingredient in Quest for 
    Orlando Signature Dish

     Competition kicks off Oct. 2, to include both public votes and food experts' panel

     ORLANDO, Fla - Like any good recipe, the search for a dish that represents Orlando is starting from the beginning: A signature ingredient has been decided - local honey - representing the diversity, sweetness and unique attributes of Central Florida.

    A group of area chefs and food and beverage specialists met with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Visit Orlando destination experts to consider exploring a signature dish for the region. The idea to focus on a culinary competition to showcase local honey grew from that initial challenge.

    "A signature dish doesn't happen overnight; ultimately it grows organically over time. This initiative is a first step in starting the conversation as to what dish the community thinks represents Orlando. In the process, we continue to expand people's awareness of the rich and unique culinary offerings found throughout our region," said Mayor Jacobs. "We are an incredibly diverse destination, which makes this both a challenge and an opportunity for everyone."

    Why honey?

    Due to its temperate climate and agricultural origins, Central Florida has long had an abundance of local crops and plants that contribute to numerous flavors of honey, including gallberry, saw palmetto, blueberry, Brazilian pepper, and - of course - popular orange blossom from the region's once-flourishing citrus groves.  The state produced 17 million pounds of honey in 2016. 

    "Florida has the largest variety of honey - more than any other state in the U.S.," said Orange Blossom Beekeepers Association's communications director Beth Fox. "The diverse ecology in Central Florida, in particular, yields a wide variety of nice honey flavored by different wildflowers."

    "Our climate is conducive to nearly continual honey-making, as Central Florida has lots of flowers and botanicals blooming all year long for the bees," said John Rife, the founder of local-sourced food hub the East End Market in Orlando (and a philanthropic beekeeper himself). "And it's part of our history - growing up with orange trees in the back yard, watching bees pollinate." It's also a way to help fight the trend of declining honey bees nationwide, Rife notes.

    Because of this mild climate, beekeepers from around the country also migrate to the state every winter to rebuild their colonies - trucking in about 280,000 colonies each year. The number of registered beekeepers in Florida has more than quadrupled in the past decade (4,500 in 2016), with about 500 new beekeepers registering each year, many in Central Florida, according to the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.  

    From a chef perspective, honey also was a natural choice agreed Chef Julie Petrakis, co-owner of several local restaurants, including award-winning The Ravenous Pig, and a participant on the task force. "We use local honey in so many ways; it's so versatile, has many flavor components and is locally sourced and authentic to our region. It's been an inspiration for many of our dishes, as it can be both sweet and savory."

    Destination executives will use the challenge to showcase Orlando's culinary offerings. "The significant depth and breadth of Orlando's dining experiences have grown and become a vital part of the destination for visitors," said George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. "This initiative celebrates the culinary talent in our region, unites the community through a friendly competition, and allows us to create some great  ‘buzz' about Orlando's dining scene and chef artistry."

    Competition criteria

    The culinary competition kicks off this fall and is open to all Orlando restaurant chefs. Dishes can be submitted now through Oct. 1 on VisitOrlando.com/Dish, and public voting takes place Oct. 1 through Nov. 3.  The public will determine the top candidates and a panel of national and local food experts will it narrow down to the final winner. Dish criteria are:

    • local honey must be a key ingredient;
    • the dish must be a dessert;
    • it is available to the public in a restaurant or food venue;
    • only one entry per restaurant.

     

    Let the voting begin!

    Beginning Oct. 2, diners will find a list of participating restaurants and their respective honey dish "candidates" on VisitOrlando.com/Dish.  The dessert will be featured on each restaurant's menu, and the public is encouraged to try each one and vote for their favorite throughout the campaign (Oct. 2 - Nov. 3). Votes will be cast and tabulated on VisitOrlando.com/Dish.

    Visit Orlando will promote the competition with ongoing social media, and the public can join the conversation through the hashtag #MyOrlandoDish.

    And the winners are...

    In November, the field will be narrowed down to the Top 10, based on the desserts that received the most votes.  The finalists will then re-create their dish for a panel of food expert judges, who will choose the winning dessert. The winner will be announced in December.

     

    Find more information at VisitOrlando.com/Dish.

     

    About Orlando Dining

    From internationally renowned chefs to home-grown venues, Orlando is a destination where the culinary possibilities are both fresh and seemingly endless. Theme parks restaurants and a diverse variety of award recognized independent restaurateurs across Orlando, bring fresh concepts and experiences to the table throughout Central Florida. Whether locally owned or part of expanding franchises, many of the destination's newest restaurants mirror the national trends: American cuisine, farm-friendly menus and simple food with regional accents. Nationally, Orlando has emerged as a prominent dining destination, and continues to grow in both quantity and quality of flavors.

    About Visit Orlando

    Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States, with representation in more than a dozen countries around the world. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents the area's leading industry.

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    08/23/2017

    Orlando's Good Eats and Holiday Treats: 
    2017's Must-see Events for Fall and Winter

     

    ORLANDO, Fla. - This fall and winter, there is more to see and do in Orlando than any other time of year. With numerous food and wine feasts, unparalleled Halloween thrills and merry holiday theme park events, the excitement in Orlando is warming up even as the weather cools down. For a full schedule of fall happenings, year-round events, insider attraction tips and vacation planning guides, go to VisitOrlando.com.

    Orlando's Food & Wine Feasts

    The destination's growing reputation for superb dining meets a seasonal surge of events for a food-lover's dream vacation in the fall. From a month-long affordable fine dining program to theme park and resort smorgasbords, there are flavors for all palates through November.

  • Guests can dine on haute cuisine without burning through their budget during the 12th year of Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month (Aug. 25 - Oct. 1), when more than 100 of Central Florida's top restaurants feature three-course, prix fixe dinner menus for $35. Joining the lineup of this year's participating venues are six restaurants from Walt Disney World Resort hotels.
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  • At the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Aug. 31 - Nov. 13), taking place at the Walt Disney World Resort, guests can sip, sample and savor treasures from some of the world's most famous wineries and celebrated chefs as they circle World Showcase. New this year, guests can enjoy tastings from the Coastal Eats Booth and Cheese Studio, as well as delicacies from India, Thailand and Spain in the Global Marketplace.
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  • Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek's Food & Wine Weekends (Sept. 8 - Nov. 12) celebrate fine wine, spirits and the culinary arts. Now in its seventh year, the event takes place on a series of weekends throughout the fall and features a variety of distinct menus and pairings curated by the executive culinary team. Open to resort guests and the public, the program will include a macaron bar, traditional Royal Tea and Bar du Chocolat with Champagne tasting.
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  • The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic (Oct. 27 - 28) features wines from around the world and a variety of culinary dishes prepared by award-winning chefs. Educational seminars range from wine-blending to pasta-making from scratch. A special Sunday Bubbles Brunch returns this year on Oct. 29, featuring a variety of cured meats, imported cheeses, an array of sushi and of course, Champagne. 

  • America's Halloween Destination

    The Theme Park Capital of the World® transforms into a Halloween Capital during the six weeks leading up to Oct. 31, where the celebrations are mild, wild and wonderfully themed to capture the fun and thrills of the Halloween season.

  • At Walt Disney World Resort during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (Aug. 25 - Nov. 1), guests have an extra week to enjoy trick-or-treating throughout the Magic Kingdom, catch the "Boo-to-You" Halloween parade or Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular and stay for the bewitching "Happy HalloWishes" fireworks.
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  • SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular (Sept. 23 - Oct. 29) at SeaWorld Orlando invites youngsters to trick-or-treat among friendly sea witches, octopuses, mermaids and pumpkin fish in an underwater fantasia. Cookie decorating and candy galore make this a sweet Halloween event for families to splash into.
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  • Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights (Sept. 15 - Nov. 4) at Universal Studios Florida allows guests to face their deepest fears in themed haunted houses, "scare zones" and mazes inspired by critically-acclaimed movies and television series. This year's terrors are inspired by the hit television show American Horror Story, horror movie classic, The Shining, and much more.
  •  
  • Brick or Treat (Oct. 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, 31) at LEGOLAND Florida Resort promises the spookiest and kookiest Halloween event. Celebrate weekends in October with larger-than-life LEGO models, a costume parade, trick-or-treating, a Halloween-themed fireworks show and much more.
  •  

    Holidays at Orlando's Theme Parks
    Orlando celebrates the most magical time of year with balmy weather, special events and spirited live entertainment, creating an unforgettable and festive setting for a winter getaway that trades snow for sunshine.

  • Walt Disney World Resort offers an array of holiday fun (Nov. 9 - Dec. 22), including the transformation of Cinderella Castle into a glistening ice palace at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party; the Candlelight Processional at Epcot features an exciting line-up of new celebrity narrators including Neil Patrick Harris, Pat Sajak, CCH Pounder and Trace Adkins; and a free-entry holiday wonderland at Disney Springs showcases carolers, performances and a meet-and-greet with Santa.
  •  
  • Universal Orlando Resort invites guests (Nov. 18 - Jan. 6) to the Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Studios, where the streets are filled every evening with the same larger-than-life balloons seen in Macy's famous Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Meanwhile, at Universal's Islands of Adventure, families will light up with holiday cheer as Grinchmas comes to life throughout Seuss Landing. New to this year, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be transformed with wondrous, holiday spirit.
  •  
  • Waves of holiday spirit splash over the park during SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas Celebration (Nov. 24 - Dec. 31). In a wintery, watery wonderland, guests of all ages will enjoy stunning live shows inspired by the natural world, a glittering sea of lit Christmas trees and beloved Christmas character Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends.
  •  
  • LEGOLAND Florida Resort offers families one-of-a-kind photo opportunities with a life-sized LEGO Model Santa Claus and 30-foot-tall LEGO Christmas tree during Christmas Bricktacular, taking place select dates in December. 
  • The Orlando Destination
    Home to seven of the world's top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States. An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels.

    About Visit Orlando
    Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States, with representation in more than a dozen countries around the world. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents the area's leading industry.

     

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    Editor's Note: Find high-resolution downloadable images here.

      

     



    08/04/2017

    Orlando Labor Day Deals

     

     

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Signaling the end of the summer travel season, Labor Day weekend is the ideal time for travelers seeking a last-minute getaway at great prices. In Orlando, Labor Day weekend is traditionally the most affordable holiday weekend of the year offering savings on average of 10-30 percent over other holiday weekends such as Christmas, New Years and the Fourth of July.

    Check out the deals and events for Labor Day Weekend below. For year-round deals, special offers on attraction tickets and vacation planning tips, go to VisitOrlando.com, the website for Orlando's official tourism association.

    DINING: LABOR DAY WEEKEND DEALS

  • Food lovers can experience Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month, sponsored by American Express, celebrating Orlando's emerging culinary scene and offering prix fixe dinners at more than 100 of the area's hottest restaurants for just $35 per meal. Participating restaurants can be found across Orlando, including International Drive and close to theme parks.
  • HOTEL: LABOR DAY WEEKEND DEALS

  • Rosen Shingle Creek - "Labor of Love" special package: three nights and four days for $480 plus tax, between Friday, Sept. 1 and Tuesday, Sept. 5. This package also includes discounts at the resort's breakfast buffet, bars, spa, golf club and select dining options.
  • Crowne Plaza Orlando - "Labor Day Shop and Stay" package, featuring overnight accommodations with a $25 AMEX gift card per night, up to $100 per stay. It also includes complimentary shuttle services and retail discounts at The Florida Mall and other outlets.
  • Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel - Two Labor Day weekend deals: 25 percent off Labor Day weekend rates, or a stay with breakfast included for Labor Day week and weekend. Find rates and package online, or enter promo code "S4B" for the free breakfast offer.
  • CoCo Key Hotel And Water Resort - Receive 15 percent off the best available rate with an upgrade to a pool view room for Labor Day weekend.
  • ATTRACTIONS: LABOR DAY WEEKEND DEALS

  • Escape Room Entertainment - Book online with code "TOPHAT." Book online with code "TOPHAT" for $8 off standard ticket prices during Labor Day weekend. Play between 1 - 5 pm on Sept. 4 to join the Labor Day Party with food, soda, and trivia for prizes.
  • Wild Florida - Free park entry for all on Labor Day, Sept 4.
  • Harry P. Leu Gardens - Free admission all day on Labor Day, Sept. 4.
  • Kayak Central Florida - Receive 25 percent discount on a guided kayak tour for four during Labor Day Weekend.
  • Crayola Experience - To thank "True Blue Heroes" over Labor Day weekend, veterans, active and retired military members receive freeadmission with militaryID, Sept. 1-4. Immediate family members also get 25 percent off general admission.
  • SPECIAL EVENTS:  LABOR DAY WEEKEND

  • Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant - The sixth annual "Great Irish Hooley" Sept. 1-4, combines a social celebration and high voltage music festival with Irish song, dance, food, hand-crafted cocktails and live music performances starting each day at 3 p.m. There is no cover charge for entry into the event.
  • The Ritz-Carlton Orlando is hosting a special event, Labor Day at Highball & Harvest, the resort's signature restaurant with a buffet featuring Southern-inspired cuisine, Florida craft beers, cask wine, hand crafted cocktails and live entertainment. The event takes place Sunday, Sept. 3 from 5:30-10 p.m. Tickets are $55 for adults; $20 for children 12 and under. Tax and gratuity not included. Reservations are required.
  • The Central Florida Film Festival - Showcasing films from around the world, Sept. 1-3 in nearby Ocoee, the festival is celebrating its 12th year. Tickets start at $35, single film tickets and VIP packages are available.
  • Sak Comedy Lab is offering a "Pre-Labor Day Show" on Sunday, Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $17 for General Admission, $14 for Florida residents and $10 for military/student/hospitality discount tickets.
  • The Orlando Destination
    Home to seven of the world's top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, Theme Park Capital of the World®, and most visited destination in the United States.  An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels. 

    About Visit Orlando
    Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States, with representation in more than a dozen countries around the world. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents the area's leading industry.

     

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    07/06/2017





    Record 100+ Restaurants Join Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month Sponsored by American Express - Now Extended Through October 12

     

    Walt Disney World Resort restaurants participate for the first time 

     

    Orlando, Fla. - Try Orlando's haute cuisine at a hot price this fall. Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month, sponsored by American Express, returns Aug. 25 - Oct. 1** with an unprecedented number of restaurants - more than 100 - each offering a three-course, prix fixe dinner menu for just $35 per person. Celebrating its 12th year, the popular dining initiative provides a variety of options for local foodies or visiting gourmands who are looking to try out a local favorite or one of the hottest new venues added to Orlando's growing culinary scene. For the first time, six restaurants from Walt Disney World Resort hotels join the program's growing line-up.

    This year's restaurants, from downtown Orlando to Restaurant Row and beyond, offer a menu and setting for every occasion. A full list of all participating restaurants, menus and OpenTable reservations are available now at OrlandoMagicalDining.com:  

     

  • What's Hot - Bulla Gastrobar*, Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen*, DoveCote Brasserie*, Earls kitchen + bar*, Luke's Kitchen*, Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen + Bar*
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  • Walt Disney World Resort - Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge*, The Wave at Disney's Contemporary Resort*, Boatwright's Dining Hall at Disney's Port Orleans Resort*, The Turf Club at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort*, The Grand Floridian Café at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort*, Olivia's Café at Disney's Old Key West Resort*
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  • Big Night Out - Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (Orlando, Winter Park), Morton's The Steakhouse, Ocean Prime, Prato*, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (Lake Mary, Orlando & Winter Park), Slate, Spencer's for Steaks and Chops, STK, The Capital Grille (I-Drive, Mall at Millenia)
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  • Romantic - Boheme Restaurant (Grand Bohemian Hotel), Chez Vincent, Christinis Ristorante Italiano, Le Coq au Vin Restaurant, Luma on Park, The Melting Pot (Orlando, Longwood)
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  • Family Friendly - Amatista Cookhouse at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando, Benihana (Orlando, Lake Buena Vista), Brio (Winter Park Village, Mall at Millenia)*, Copper Canyon Grill, Kobe Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse, Mitchell's Fish Market, Paddlefish*, Seasons 52, Shogun Japanese Steak House*, The Kitchen at Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
  •  

  • Dinner With A View - Canvas Restaurant & Market, Eddie V's Prime Seafood, Eleven at Reunion Resort, Lakeside Bar + Grill, Ravello, SeaWorld Orlando Sharks Underwater Grill
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  • Girls Night Out - Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant*, KASA Restaurant & Bar, RusTeak at College Park, The Stubborn Mule*, Vines Grille & Wine Bar
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  • Notable Chefs - Luma on Park (Brandon McGlamery), The Rusty Spoon (Kathleen Blake), The Ravenous Pig (James and Julie Petrakis), Todd English's bluezoo (Todd English)
  •  

  • Staycation - A Land Remembered at Rosen Shingle Creek, American Kitchen Bar & Grill at B Resort & Spa, David's Club at Omni Orlando Resort, Forte at Reunion Resort
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  • Exotic - Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, Dragonfly - Robata Grill & Sushi, Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse, kabooki sushi, Mango's Tropical Cafe*, Morimoto Asia, Tapa Toro
  • *First year in Magical Dining

     

    Each year a local charity benefits from Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month, receiving $1 from each meal served. This year, due to the immense growth and popularity of the program, Magical Dining Month will benefit two Orlando nonprofit organizations: Freedom Ride, Inc. and BASE Camp Children's Foundation. Freedom Ride, Inc. offers therapeutic horseback riding programs that enrich the lives of children and adults with physical, emotional and learning disabilities. BASE Camp Children's Foundation provides a base of support for children and families who are facing the challenge of living with cancer and other life-threatening hematological illnesses.

    Last year, Visit Orlando's Magical Dining raised a record $195,125 for the Russell Home for Atypical Children enabling the organization to modify and refurbish the girls' dorm as part of the home's major renovation project. The dorm will be named after Visit Orlando and Magical Dining Month.

    About Orlando Dining

    From internationally renowned chefs to home-grown venues, Orlando is a destination where the culinary possibilities are both fresh and seemingly endless. Theme parks restaurants keep Central Florida on the map with award-winning dining, and independent restaurateurs bring fresh concepts to the table. Whether locally owned or part of expanding franchises, many of the destination's newest restaurants mirror the national trends: American cuisine, farm-friendly menus and simple food with regional accents. Nationally, Orlando has emerged as a prominent dining destination, and continues to grow in both quantity and quality of flavors.

    About Visit Orlando

    Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States, with representation in more than a dozen countries around the world. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents the area's leading industry.

     

     

    **As a Show of Support for Local Businesses Affected By Hurricane Irma,
    Visit Orlando Extends Magical Dining Month through October 12

    Great news for diners and local restaurants too! In an effort to support local businesses, and give residents more opportunities for a night out after the stress of Hurricane Irma, Visit Orlando - the area's official tourism association - is extending its popular Magical Dining Month for an extra 11 days -- through October 12. The popular program gives visitors and locals the chance to experience premium dining opportunities at a great value, and also generates money for deserving local charities.

    The program was originally scheduled to end Oct. 1. A majority of restaurants currently participating in Magical Dining Month will extend their menu offerings through October 12, to make-up for lost time after Irma. MagicalDining.com will soon be updated with a complete list of participating restaurants and information on extensions. The program and price points - $35 for a pre fixe, three-course meal, with $1 per meal benefiting two local charities - will not change.

     

     

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    Editor's Note: Find high-resolution downloadable images here. 

     



    05/23/2017


     

     

    Orlando's Newest Openings Offer Something for Everyone This Summer

    Orlando Named AAA's Top Destination for Memorial Day Travel,
    Led by Major Theme Park Expansions This Week

     

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Recently named AAA's Top Destination for Memorial Day Travel, Orlando is unveiling some of the largest expansions in theme park history this week, from the enchanting alien world of Pandora to the island paradise of Volcano Bay. These historic openings are the culmination of a year filled with new offerings including phenomenal dining options and brand new resorts. It's one of the most exciting times to be in Orlando, where all-new adventure, thrills and family fun await visitors looking for an unforgettable summer vacation.

    Find more information, including exclusive insider tips, opening dates and the latest news on Orlando's summer happenings, at VisitOrlando.com/blog

     

    NEW ATTRACTIONS: THEME PARKS AND MORE

  • Universal Orlando Resort Volcano Bay, a brand new tropical island water park, will open May 25, 2017, featuring innovative, thrilling attractions and TapuTapu wearable technology for virtual queuing. The new ride, Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon, opened as well at Universal Studios Florida.

  • Walt Disney World Resort: Pandora - The World of AVATAR will open as a new land at Animal Kingdom on May 27, 2017, which is the largest expansion in the park's history. Also at Animal Kingdom, Rivers of Light is an innovative experience combining live performances, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. "Happily Ever After," a new nighttime spectacular, debuted at Magic Kingdom Park. Also new is Miss Adventure Falls, a family-style raft attraction, which opened at Typhoon Lagoon.

  • SeaWorld Orlando: SeaWorld's first digitally-enhanced ride experience will open June 16 when the legendary Kraken roller coaster is transformed into a virtual reality (VR) roller coaster.  Electric Ocean, a new end-of-day spectacle event, will take place June 17 - Aug. 5. An all-new stadium show called Dolphin Days is now open, immersing guests into the world of the ocean's most playful ambassadors.

  • LEGOLAND Florida Resort: LEGO NINJAGO World, a new immersive land, is a training ground for future ninjas. LEGOLAND Beach Retreat is a new property with 83 single-story duplexes, a themed pool and sandy play area.

  • iFly Orlando Indoor Skydiving opened a new facility next to WonderWorks on International Drive, which is equipped with two all-glass wind tunnels in an open single-story floor plan that allows I-Drive passersby to see skydivers in action.

  • Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is a brand new $30 million indoor go-kart facility on Universal Boulevard near the convention center, opening June 2017. The new facility will feature electronic go-karting, zip lines, bowling, racing simulators, a ‘sky bar,' rock climbing, laser tag and a full-service restaurant.

  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opened Heroes and Legends, showcasing the heroism of America's early space pioneers by inviting guests to vicariously experience the thrills and dangers of America's earliest missions through high-tech elements and special effects.

  • Fun Spot America will debut a new wooden coaster this summer, dubbed the Mine Blower. The $6 million new ride will be 82 feet tall, run nearly 50 mph and include a barrel roll inversion, a rare element for a wooden coaster.

  • A brand new Multipurpose Soccer Stadium opened in a developing entertainment center a block away from the Amway Center in downtown Orlando. The 25,500-seat stadium serves as home to the Orlando City Lions soccer team.

  • Orlando became the new home of American tennis, when the United States Tennis Association (USTA) opened a campus in the Lake Nona area of Orlando. The 63-acre complex encompasses more than 100 courts (hard and clay) and a multi-use building with a pro shop, fitness center, locker rooms, cafeteria and players' lounge.

  • Main Event Entertainment at Pointe Orlando is a new dining and entertainment complex with more than 100 virtual and interactive games, state-of-the-art bowling and the first free-roam multi-player VR game in the U.S.

  • NEW DINING & NIGHTLIFE

  • Disney Springs: Two James Beard Foundation winners have joined the line-up of dining options at this newly-renovated entertainment complex: Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' Florida Kitchen and Chef Rick Bayless' Frontera Cocina. The new Planet Hollywood Observatory features fare from Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri, while Paddlefish offers contemporary, seafood-centric cuisine. The Polite Pig boasts a variety of wood-fired, smoked and grilled items as well as drinks on tap. Upscale steakhouse, STK Orlando also opened.

  • Ace Cafe Orlando, the first US outpost of the iconic London, England-based motor-diner opened May 19. An American roadside diner inspires the menu, with made-from-scratch comfort food, some British favorites and locally-sourced and green options, all at an affordable price point.

  • Uncle Julio's Fine Mexican will join the dining offerings at I-Drive 360 this summer. The Texas-based restaurant chain will sit near the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, with a patio around the building for a view of the wheel. The Tex-Mex menu items will include a range of options, like honey chipotle salmon or cowboy queso.

  • Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen is a new full-service restaurant at Universal CityWalk that offers unique takes on classic steak, seafood, pasta and more, plus an array of gourmet chocolates and desserts.  

  • NEW ACCOMMODATIONS

  • Universal Orlando Resort: The Loews Sapphire Falls Resort is the fifth onsite hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, featuring 1,000 rooms and suites with a casual Caribbean theme, built around a lagoon and towering waterfall. Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort will also open two new towers by late May, featuring 400 additional guest rooms and suites.

  • Just five minutes from Walt Disney World Resort, The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando which opened in March 2017, will open an additional 108 rooms this summer. The resort offering two- and three-bedroom residential-style suites with full kitchens, washers & dryers and multiple bathrooms to provide all the comforts of home.
  • Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate is opening a new resort recreational area in late-May. Adding to the resort's current 15-acre recreational space, the new 23,000 square foot area will include 16 new pool-side cabanas, 400 more lounge chairs as well as an expanded kid's pool area. The hotel is currently undergoing a $40 million expansion project, which will be complete by the fall.

  • Disney's Wilderness Lodge will soon include new amenities. The accommodations formerly known as "The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge" have already assumed a new name - "Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge," and a sweeping re-imagination of the former Hidden Springs Pool area is scheduled for competition in summer 2017. Called Boulder Ridge Cove, it will feature an expanded sun deck and zero-depth-entry pool in what appears to have been an abandoned rock quarry.
  • The Orlando Destination
    Home to seven of the world's top theme parks, Orlando - Theme Park Capital of the WorldSM is the No. 1 family vacation destination and the most visited destination in the United States. An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And, with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world, from expansive resorts to uniquely themed hotels.

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    Editor's Note: Find additional high-resolution downloadable images here.