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02/13/2018


 

11 Little-Known Orlando Theme Park Experiences

Plus Visit Orlando Offers the Chance to Win a Trip for a Family of Four 

  

ORLANDO, Fla. - To celebrate the unparalleled collection of unique experiences that can be found in Orlando, Theme Park Capital of the World®, the destination experts at Visit Orlando have compiled a list of some of the most unusual - and sometimes unknown - activities for visitors at its most popular theme parks. The tourism association is also kicking off a Uniquely Orlando Sweepstakes now through March 11 for consumers to win and create their own unique Orlando vacation at VisitOrlando.com/Trip.

 

Just a few of the lesser-known, off-the-beaten-path activities at the world-famous theme parks are below, with many more found on the tourism association's website, VisitOrlando.com.  

 

TOP 11 UNIQUE THEME PARK EXPERIENCES

 

1.    Get a Haircut at Disney

Visit Magic Kingdom's Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street, USA for a once-in-a-lifetime trim or even a whole new look. Welcoming all ages, the shop also offers a special First Haircut experience for little ones, complete with commemorative Mickey Ears and a certificate.

 

2.    Grab a Cold One with the Simpsons

Grab a glass of Homer Simpson's favorite beverage, with three varieties of Duff Beer available only at Universal Studios. Despite the running joke on the show that all three are the same beer, the real-life versions include Duff (a lager), Duff Lite (a light beer), and Duff Dry (a stout).

 

3.    Become Your Very Own AVATAR

Create a personalized AVATAR as the ultimate souvenir at Disney's Pandora: The World of AVATAR at Animal Kingdom. Guests can have their faces mapped and printed onto a Na'vi action figure, complete with blue skin and traditional garb, just like the aliens in the film.

 

4.    Pet (and Feed!) Sting Rays

While the popular marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions may be more well-known, one of the most unusual animal encounters is feeding and touching the stingrays at SeaWorld Orlando. Guests of all ages - even tiny tots - can dip their hands directly into the pool, feel the velvety texture of the rays, and delight as the gentle creatures suck fish from their hands at lightning fast speed. (Don't worry, the stingray barbs are trimmed, just like human fingernails.)

 

5.    Perform "Real" Magic

Spell it out with the wave of a wand at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Objects suddenly move, water spouts and secrets reveal themselves throughout Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade when visitors use one of the Interactive Wands available at Ollivander's Wand Shop.

 

6.    Meet The Pets That Went from Shelters to Stars

Many people don't know that SeaWorld also provides a home and second chance at life for dogs and cats rescued from animal shelters.  Considered by many to be untrainable due to their high energy, these adopted animals now steal the stage - and fans' hearts - as stars in the parks' Pets Ahoy, a funny, fast-paced animal training show that also imparts a meaningful message to support local animal shelters. The cast of talented rescued animals includes dogs, cats and even ducks, and guests can personally meet some of these amazing "animal ambassadors" along with their trainers after the show. 

 

7.    Dine with Princesses in Epcot, Too

Join Disney princesses for Storybook Dining at the Norway pavilion of Epcot's World Showcase. While many visitors flock to Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle for princess dining, this lesser-known option includes a meal with several of the most-loved princesses in another, equally beautiful medieval castle.

 

8.    Send A Letter from Hogsmeade

Send a real letter from Hogsmeade's Owl Post at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Special postage, a Hogsmeade postmark and even unique wizardly stationary makes for a one-of-a-kind love letter, pen pal or postcard.

 

9.    Make Friends with Rescued Manatees

Step behind-the-scenes and catch a glimpse of SeaWorld Orlando's working manatee rescue and rehabilitation facility to learn more about the plight of these vulnerable animals that have been rescued from illness or injury in the wild. Guests can get a closer look at some of the water's most gentle creatures  -  including calves, "teens" and adult manatees - all of which have been rescued and are undergoing treatment with the goal of successfully returning them back to the wild.

 

10.  Play I-Spy with Mickey

Embark on a scavenger hunt for hidden mickeys, a famous "secret" of the Disney Parks.  Everything from rides to décor and even walking paths at Disney properties feature subtle Mickey shapes, some easier to spot than others. While books have been published to help guests find them all, half the fun is in the discovery.

 

11.  Snap a Dinosaur Selfie

A nearly-nine-foot-tall velociraptor awaits guests at Universal's Raptor Encounter at Island of Adventure, perfect for a daring photo-op. With a reputation as the most "clever" dinosaur in Jurassic Park, these cold-blooded hunters are quite excited to meet outsiders, but don't worry, they can't escape their electrified paddock - probably.



SWEEPSTAKES

 

Enter to win the chance to experience some of these uniquely Orlando activities and more at VisitOrlando.com/Trip by March 11, 2018. Contestants of this sweepstakes simply share their family's favorite Orlando memory to be automatically entered to win a dream vacation to Orlando, with the winner receiving:

  • Roundtrip air transportation to Orlando
  • Four (4) night hotel accommodations at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
  • Eight (8) one-day/one-park tickets of your choice for Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort or SeaWorld Orlando
  • Five (5) day rental car from Alamo Rent-a-Car
  •  

    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.

     



    01/10/2018

    Orlando's Top Outdoor Activities to Enjoy During March Break

    Visitors Can Take Advantage of Special "Deals Made for Canadians" 

     

    ORLANDO - Fla. - Sunny Orlando's clear blue skies and year-round sunshine invite Canadians to escape the frigid weather and post-holiday blues with a March Break getaway to the Theme Park Capital of the World®. And, with Visit Orlando's exclusive deals, including special Deals Made for Canadians, visitors can take advantage of some of the best pre-summer prices. From splashy fun at some of Orlando's coolest pools, to open-air activities like biking and ziplining, visitors can enjoy a myriad of outdoor activities in the sunshine. For more information about these experiences, go to VisitOrlando.com/blog

     

    Deals Made for Canadians

  • Universal Orlando Resort - Canadian residents can enjoy five days of fun at three parks - Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and the all-new Universal's Volcano Bay water theme park including on-site accommodations and early park access starting at $99 per person, per night.
  •   

  • Walt Disney World Resort - Canadian residents can save 20% on four-day or longer tickets.
  •  

  • SeaWorld Orlando - Buy one park and receive a 2nd park FREE.
  •  

  • Coca-Cola Orlando Eye - Buy one adult ticket and receive ticket of equal or lesser value FREE.
  •  

    Cool Pools

    With warm temperatures throughout the winter, holidaymakers can work on their tans at one of Orlando's coolest pools. First-rate lazy rivers are offered at the retro-chic Cabana Bay Beach Resort and JW Marriott Orlando Resort, Grande Lakes. For some solitude, the tranquil adults-only swimming pools at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort or Hilton Orlando offer some respite.

     

    Outdoor Recreation

    Outdoor activities around the destination - like biking along West Orange Trail in historic downtown Winter Garden, ziplining through the Florida pines at Forever Florida - Ziplines & Adventures in the Wild! and enjoying the Scenic Boat Tour in picturesque Winter Park - offer the chance to create warm family memories. High-end views aboard Orlando Balloon Rides and wild adventures through Orlando's natural beauty at Wild Florida and Boggy Creek Airboat Rides also give the chance to take in the fresh air and appreciate the favorable weather.

     

    Dining Al Fresco

    Countless eateries throughout Orlando offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy the nice weather. Relax Grill at Lake Eola offers picturesque views of the iconic downtown lake, with opportunities to take a post-meal stroll. Paddlefish at Disney Springs, invites diners to take a seat on deck to feast on seafood delicacies. In Lake Nona, Canvas Restaurant & Market is the place to savor dishes influenced by Florida's Southern and Latin American roots on Canvas' tranquil deck, which offers a dynamite view of beautiful Lake Nona.

     

    New Attractions Worth Discovering

    With some of the largest expansions in theme park history opening in the past year, now is the perfect time to enjoy all of the new attractions including:

     

  • Pandora -The World of AVATAR, new Avatar-inspired land at Disney's Animal Kingdom, features floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and a Banshee flying attraction, as well as new after-dark entertainment.
  •  

  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon at Universal Studios Florida takes guests on a journey from the deepest subway tunnels to the tallest skyscrapers. And opening spring, Fast & Furious - Supercharged will take guests on a high-octane adventure into the world of underground racing, right alongside stars from the Fast & Furious films. New water theme park Universal's Volcano Bay offers innovative, thrilling attractions, peaceful moments of relaxation and an entirely new guest experience.
  •  

  • Kraken Unleashed is SeaWorld Orlando's first digitally-enhanced ride experience. Transformed into a virtual reality (VR) roller coaster experience in 2017, the ride takes guests on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past.
  •  

  • LEGO NINJAGO World - The new immersive land is a training ground for future ninjas, including an interactive ride where guests blast fire, lightning and ice with their hands.
  •  

  • New on I-Drive: Topgolf Orlando is a 65,000-square-foot venue with 230 high-definition flat-screen TVs, 102 climate-controlled hitting bays that can host up to six players at one time, and advanced technology to track the accuracy and distance of players' shots. Next door is Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, an indoor go-kart facility featuring electronic go-karting, zip lines, bowling, racing simulators, a ‘sky bar,' rock climbing, laser tag and restaurant.  
  • Special Events

    Annual events throughout the destination bring festive fun for visitors of all ages. Some of the most looked-forward-to Orlando festivals include:

     

  • Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida
    Feb. 3 – Apr. 7
    Enjoy parades each night with outrageous street performers, colorful costumes and countless beads flying through the air. Hear tunes from authentic New Orleans bands or catch some of the biggest names in music live in concert, while chowing down on mouthwatering Cajun food.
  •  

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World Resort
    Feb. 28 - May 28
    The 2018 festival, which takes place during the 35th anniversary of Epcot, will showcase millions of brilliant blossoms, flavor-rich cuisine from 15 Outdoor Kitchens, Disney topiary stars, interactive play gardens and live chart-topping musical acts during the Garden Rocks Concert Series.
  •  

  • SeaWorld's Seven Seas Food Festival
    Feb. 17 - April 15
    Every Saturday, guests can sip and sample their way around the world of international coastal cuisine while enjoying craft beers, paired wines and specialty entertainment. The fun extends beyond the food with live performances each Saturday from top country, rock and Latin music artists.
  •  

     

    For more information about how Visit Orlando can help banish winter woes, visit VisitOrlando.ca.

      

     



    01/10/2018

    Orlando's Top Outdoor Activities to Enjoy During Winter Sun Holiday

    Orlando Named ‘Best Value Long-Haul Break' Destination 

     

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Sunny Orlando's clear blue skies and year-round sunshine invite Brits to escape the frigid weather and post-holiday blues with a winter sun getaway to the Theme Park Capital of the World®, just named "Best Value Long-Haul Break" by Post Office Travel Money's annual Best Bargains report. And, with package deals starting at £552 per person, visitors can take advantage of some of the best pre-summer prices. From splashy fun at some of Orlando's coolest pools, to open-air activities like biking and ziplining, visitors can enjoy a myriad of outdoor activities in the sunshine. For more information about these experiences, go to VisitOrlando.com/blog

     

    Cool Pools

    With warm temperatures throughout the winter, holidaymakers can work on their tans at one of Orlando's coolest pools. First-rate lazy rivers are offered at the retro-chic Cabana Bay Beach Resort and JW Marriott Orlando Resort, Grande Lakes. For some solitude, the tranquil adults-only swimming pools at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort or Hilton Orlando offer some respite.

     

    Outdoor Recreation

    Outdoor activities around the destination - like biking along West Orange Trail in historic downtown Winter Garden, ziplining through the Florida pines at Forever Florida - Ziplines & Adventures in the Wild! and enjoying the Scenic Boat Tour in picturesque Winter Park - offer the chance to create warm family memories. High-end views aboard Orlando Balloon Rides and wild adventures through Orlando's natural beauty at Wild Florida and Boggy Creek Airboat Rides also give the chance to take in the fresh air and appreciate the favorable weather.

     

    Dining Al Fresco

    Countless eateries throughout Orlando offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy the nice weather. Relax Grill at Lake Eola offers picturesque views of the iconic downtown lake, with opportunities to take a post-meal stroll. Paddlefish at Disney Springs, invites diners to take a seat on deck to feast on seafood delicacies. In Lake Nona, Canvas Restaurant & Market is the place to savor dishes influenced by Florida's Southern and Latin American roots on Canvas' tranquil deck, which offers a dynamite view of beautiful Lake Nona.

     

    New Attractions Worth Discovering

    With some of the largest expansions in theme park history opening in the past year, now is the perfect time to enjoy all of the new attractions including:

     

  • Pandora -The World of AVATAR, new Avatar-inspired land at Disney's Animal Kingdom, features floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and a Banshee flying attraction, as well as new after-dark entertainment.
  •  

  • Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon at Universal Studios Florida takes guests on a journey from the deepest subway tunnels to the tallest skyscrapers. And opening spring, Fast & Furious - Supercharged will take guests on a high-octane adventure into the world of underground racing, right alongside stars from the Fast & Furious films. New water theme park Universal's Volcano Bay offers innovative, thrilling attractions, peaceful moments of relaxation and an entirely new guest experience.
  •  

  • Kraken Unleashed is SeaWorld Orlando's first digitally-enhanced ride experience. Transformed into a virtual reality (VR) roller coaster experience in 2017, the ride takes guests on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past.
  •  

  • LEGO NINJAGO World - The new immersive land is a training ground for future ninjas, including an interactive ride where guests blast fire, lightning and ice with their hands.
  •  

  • New on I-Drive: Topgolf Orlando is a 65,000-square-foot venue with 230 high-definition flat-screen TVs, 102 climate-controlled hitting bays that can host up to six players at one time, and advanced technology to track the accuracy and distance of players' shots. Next door is Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, an indoor go-kart facility featuring electronic go-karting, zip lines, bowling, racing simulators, a ‘sky bar,' rock climbing, laser tag and restaurant.  
  • Special Events

    Annual events throughout the destination bring festive fun for visitors of all ages. Some of the most looked-forward-to Orlando festivals include:

     

  • A Celebration of Harry Potter
    Jan. 26-28
    The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Islands of Adventure is gearing up for a celebration of films, complete with Q&A sessions with cast members and filmmakers, a wand masterclass hosted by Warner Bros. Studio Tour London and a Harry Potter film tribute.
  •  

  • Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World Resort
    Feb. 28 - May 28
    The 2018 festival, which takes place during the 35th anniversary of Epcot, will showcase millions of brilliant blossoms, flavor-rich cuisine from 15 Outdoor Kitchens, Disney topiary stars, interactive play gardens and live chart-topping musical acts during the Garden Rocks Concert Series.
  •  

  • SeaWorld's Seven Seas Food Festival
    Feb. 17 - April 15
    Every Saturday, guests can sip and sample their way around the world of international coastal cuisine while enjoying craft beers, paired wines and specialty entertainment. The fun extends beyond the food with live performances each Saturday from top country, rock and Latin music artists.
  •  

    Winter Sun Deals

    Offering exciting adventures and abundant travel deals to help escape the cold winter months, Orlando proves to be a must-visit destination this season. And with Visit Orlando's exclusive deals, daydreams about sunshine escapes turn to reality. Below are just a few of the additional savings on offer:

     

  • 16-22 Jan. 2018: Orlando holiday deal from British Airways
  • British Airways is featuring deals for flights and accommodations at Ramada Hotel Gateway for £552 per person for a seven-day stay for two adults. For bookings, visit britishairways.com.

     

  • 1-7 Feb. 2018: Orlando Holiday deal from British Airways
  • British Airways is offering a deal at Rosen Inn International for seven nights. This trip for two adults also includes flights for a price of £694 per person. For bookings, visit britishairways.com.

     

  • 14 Nights Disney's All-Star Movies Resort from Ocean Holidays
  • Ocean Holidays is offering a 14-night package including flights and accommodation at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort for £909 per person. Book by 15 January.

     

    For more information about how Visit Orlando can help banish winter woes, visit VisitOrlando.com.  

     

    The Orlando Destination

    Home to seven of the world's top theme parks, Orlando - Theme Park Capital of the World® is the No. 1 family vacation destination 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.

     

     



    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."
  •  

  • 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.
  •  

  • Infinity Falls, a new rainforest river rapids ride, is coming to SeaWorld Orlando in summer 2018, featuring the world's tallest river rapid drop.
  •  

  • 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.
  •  

  • 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.
  •  

  • 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. 
  •  

     

    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.
  •  

  • 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.
  •  

  • 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.
  •  

    DINING OPTIONS

     

  • Disney Springs will add even more new dining experiences in 2018 including:
  •  

    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.
  •  

  • 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.
  •  

     

    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.

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    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.
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  • 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.
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    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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.