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01/20/2016

Orlando Plans for Another Banner Year 
with Expansions and Openings in 2016

 

Named by Cvent as the number one meetings destination in the United States, Orlando has proven to be a city that continues to evolve with even more event and meeting space, more group dining venues, new teambuilding experiences and state-of-the-art expansions and upgrades. Meeting professionals in Orlando have unlimited options for creating one-of-a-kind events.

New in 2016

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is undergoing a multi-phase, multi-year, $125 million redesign project that will transform all 2,265 guest rooms in both the Swan and Dolphin buildings with a brand new look. The hotel's meeting and convention space will also be equipped with the latest advancements in high density Wi-Fi technology.

Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa, one of Orlando's iconic condominium-style resorts, is expanding its meeting offerings with the development of 20,000 square feet of new meeting and banquet space. When construction of the new space is complete, the 3,000-villa resort will offer a total of 36,000 square feet of meeting space and a steakhouse ideal for group buyouts. Opening early 2016, the space is now available for bookings.

DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation featuring an all-new  20,000 square foot ballroom, new pool decks, and 100,000 sq. of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space which will be completed in 2016.

Universal Orlando Resort and Loews Hotels & Resorts is building the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort (pictured above). It will be 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. The resort is expected to open in the summer. It will also open the new Loews Meetings Complex, which will consist of 247,000 square feet of contiguous meeting space between Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.

Construction is under way on the $28 million-Hyatt House at 5370 International Drive.  The 175-room property is part of Hyatt's limited service, extended stay brand and is the first in Orlando. Opening is planned for summer 2016.

Walt Disney World Resort will complete a multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs. Featuring an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands, this new expansion will double the number of shops, restaurants and other venues for guests to explore, to more than 150 establishments. The new area will include already announced restaurants:

The Edison centers around a 1920s-period electric company with live entertainment, classic American food and craft cocktails. With 35-foot ceilings and a range of themed areas to explore, The Edison will feature nightly entertainment including contortionists, palm readers, DJs and more.

Frontera Fresca, the creation of celebrity Chef Rick Bayless, a six-time James Beard Foundation award winner, will have authentic Mexican cuisine featuring specialties such as hand-crafted tortas, tacos, salads and fresh-made guacamole.

Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine from celebrity chef and native Floridian Art Smith. The restaurant will offer Southern classics and whimsical cocktails.
STK will open early this year and will blend a modern steakhouse with a chic lounge. It features a DJ in a high-energy atmosphere. 

Universal Orlando Resort announced a new groundbreaking attraction opening in summer at Universal's Islands of Adventure."Skull Island: Reign of Kong" will honor one of the most monumental figures in movie history, King Kong. Guests will board large vehicles and explore ancient temple structures while encountering hostile natives and fending off unspeakable terrors. 

SeaWorld Orlando announced plans for Mako, a brand new 200-foot-tall coaster opening in summer 2016. Named for one of the ocean's fastest known sharks, it will be Orlando's tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster, reaching speeds of 73 mph as it races along 4,760 feet of steel track. SeaWorld's new hypercoaster will be the centerpiece of the newly themed two-acre plaza. The surrounding realm will be fully shark themed, providing guests with the opportunity to learn about the impact humans have on sharks and why these animals are critical to the environment.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will add Heroes and Legends featuring the U.S Astronaut Hall of Fame and showcase 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. The Space Center also offers event space with full-service catering and the Astronaut Training Experience team-building activity.

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek commenced a major expansion project set to increase the resort's available meeting space by 7,000 square feet by early May 2016. The project is designed to enhance the resort's current meeting space offerings with larger, more flexible spaces that will be adjacent to the resort building.

Villas of Grand Cypress announced the redesign of its Executive Meeting Center, a standalone complex that houses 7,200 square-feet of flexible indoor/outdoor event space. Situated on the resort's 1,500 acres in Orlando's Lake Buena Vista neighborhood and framed by the Villas' 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed golf, the Executive Meeting Center is the latest update to the Forbes Four Star, AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel, following the recent $17 million renovation to its 146 guest rooms. 

Mango's Tropical Café, which just opened, is the newest addition to the I-Drive landscape. With nightly entertainment and several private rooms for groups, it's a spectacular venue for one-of-a-kind events.

Disney's Animal Kingdom, the future home to Avatar, offers exciting adventures and unique encounters with real, exotic animals, plus one-of-a-kind guest experiences with fictional animals and giant dinosaurs from the prehistoric world. Not-to-miss attractions include Expedition Everest, a high-speed train adventure; "Finding Nemo - The Musical," a live 30-minute musical show; TriceraTop Spin; Primeval Whirl!; DINOSAUR, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Festival of the Lion King, a live 30-minute musical show.

In 2016, watch for new, yet-to-be announced restaurants at one of Orlando's newest dining and entertainment complex, I-Drive 360 where the 400-foot-tall Orlando Eye resides, surrounded by Madame Tussauds and SEALIFE Aquarium.

 

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12/11/2015

From Springs to Falls To Frozen, Orlando
Awash With ‘A Sweet 16' Of New Openings In 2016

 

ORLANDO, Fla. - From popular film franchises Frozen and King Kong to Orlando's tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster, the theme park capital of the world is a destination where unique experiences mix with activities specifically for kids and families.

While Orlando has long been known as home to seven of the top theme parks in the world, Disney, Universal and SeaWorld constantly evolve each year with one-of-a-kind attractions, resorts and retail, dining and entertainment complexes.

With vehicles diving into movie magic and immersive themed environments, Orlando's newest openings set the stage for another year of millions of unforgettable guest experiences that can only be found in Orlando.

NEW IN 2016

• Walt Disney World Resort will complete a multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs. Featuring an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands, this new expansion will double the number of shops, restaurants and other venues for guests to explore, to more than 150 establishments. The new area will include already announced restaurants:

The Edison, similar to its sister location in Los Angeles, is the third new venue announced to open at Disney Springs. With a theme that centers around a 1920s-period electric company with live entertainment, classic American food and craft cocktails, the industrial gothic space will have 35-foot ceilings and a number of themed areas.

Frontera Fresca also opens at Disney Springs, the creation of celebrity Chef Rick Bayless, a six-time James Beard Foundation award winner. Known for his authentic Mexican cuisine, Bayless' menu includes specialties such as hand-crafted tortas, tacos, salads, fresh-made guacamole and classic Mexican braised meat entrees, all crafted with his time-honored recipes.

Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine is celebrity Chef Art Smith's new restaurant opening in summer at Disney Springs. The James Beard Foundation award winner was born and reared in the town of Jasper, Fla., and after 25 years of preparing award-winning meals for celebrities and heads of state and appearing on television, he is making Florida his home once again. The rustic-chic restaurant will feature Southern classics and whimsical cocktails, punches and coolers.

STK planned to open in early in the year, an upscale steakhouse that blends two concepts into one-the modern steakhouse and a chic lounge. Features include a live DJ, high-energy atmosphere and a sleek environment designed to encourage guests to interact and mingle.

• Universal Orlando Resort announced a new groundbreaking attraction opening in summer at Universal's Islands of Adventure. "Skull Island: Reign of Kong" will honor one of the most monumental figures in movie history, King Kong. Guests will board large vehicles and explore ancient temple structures while encountering hostile natives and fending off unspeakable terrors.

• SeaWorld Orlando announced plans for Mako, a brand new 200-foot-tall coaster opening in summer. Named for one of the ocean's fastest known sharks, it will be Orlando's tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster, reaching speeds of 73 mph as it races along 4,760 feet of steel track. SeaWorld's new hypercoaster will be the centerpiece of the newly themed two-acre plaza. The surrounding realm will be fully shark themed, providing guests with the opportunity to learn about the impact humans have on sharks and why these animals are critical to the environment.

• Universal Orlando Resort and Loews Hotels & Resorts have announced plans to build the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. It will be 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. The resort is expected to open in the summer.

• Epcot guests will be able to visit the kingdom of Arendelle when the highly anticipated attraction "Frozen Ever After" opens in the Norway Pavilion. The family adventure welcoming guests to the magical world of "Frozen" will feature the popular story of the royal sisters, hit songs and new technology for an icy trek that is sure to warm hearts. Once onboard their boat, guests will visit Arendelle for the Winter in Summer Celebration.

• On Soarin' Around the World guests on board the popular Soarin' attraction will journey to far-flung lands and fly above some of the world's most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders when the new Soarin' Around the World makes its debut at Epcot.

Sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris, the popular Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park will be extended for a new nighttime adventure. Guests will travel through the African savanna amid the magically extended orange glow of the setting sun and discover two species new to the attraction: African wild dogs and hyenas.

"Rivers of Light" is an innovative experience unlike anything ever seen in a Disney park, combining live performances, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. "Rivers of Light" will magically come to life on the natural stage of Discovery River, delighting guests and truly capping off a full day of adventures at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park.

"The LEGO® MovieTM 4D A New Adventure" is premiering at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort on Jan. 29. The new 4D animated film will feature the popular characters from The LEGO® MovieTM and use elements such as wind, water, smoke and special lighting effects. The larger-than-life experience will bring the film's main characters, Emmet and Wyldstyle, back together with their friends for another awesome adventure.

• Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex announced the addition of a new attraction, Heroes and Legends. Heroes and Legends will feature the U.S Astronaut Hall of Fame and showcase 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, including simulated holograms and augmented reality.

DoveCote in downtown Orlando is the next project for James Beard nominated chefs, James and Julie Petrakis, who also own Winter Park's Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder and Swine & Sons, set to open in spring. A twist on the Classic French brasserie, Chef Clayton Miller, a past winner of a "Best New Chef" award from Food & Wine magazine, who also worked under Thomas Keller at French Laundry, will oversee the kitchen.

Cask & Larder at Orlando International Airport. Another expansion for the Petrakises, the airport outpost for the popular Winter Park restaurant that was named one of Esquire magazine's Best New Restaurants in America in 2014, will open in the summer. The first restaurant at the airport to specialize in seasonally driven cuisine and locally sourced ingredients.

 


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12/08/2015

Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month Sets All-New Record
Raising $160,735 to Benefit Elevate Orlando

 

 ORLANDO, Fla. - With more than 75 restaurants participating, Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month presented by American Express, raised a record $160,735 for ELEVATE Orlando. The donation is a 44 percent increase over the year prior and, since 2009, the program has raised more than $500,000 for local charities.

"We are grateful to be in a position to make a significant donation to ELEVATE Orlando, an organization dedicated to providing both character education and life skills training to help move students from poverty to self-sufficiency," said George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando.

Now in its 10th year, Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month takes place each September, offering locals and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy Orlando's nationally recognized culinary scene through three-course prix-fixe dinners for $33. As the charitable beneficiary, ELEVATE Orlando received $1 from every meal served.

"ELEVATE Orlando is extraordinarily grateful to the restaurants and thousands of diners who participated in this year's Magical Dining Month," said Jack McGill, president of ELEVATE Orlando. "The donation to our mission exceeded our wildest expectations and will make a massive difference as we expand our work in 2016." ELEVATE Orlando currently mentors more than 1,200 urban youth weekly at Evans and Oakridge High Schools. The funds raised by Magical Dining will enable ELEVATE to expand its programs into Jones High School. "Thank you for helping us equip thousands of urban youth in Central Florida to graduate with a plan for their future," added McGill.

Additional information about Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month, including a complete list of restaurants that participated, is available at www.OrlandoMagicalDining.com.

 

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08/12/2015

 

Orlando Ranked No. 1 Meeting Destination in the United States

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 11, 2015) - Cvent, the leader in cloud-based enterprise event management solutions, announced today that Orlando is the No. 1 destination for meetings and events in the United States for 2015. Cvent developed the ranking based on meeting and event booking activity in its national supplier network.

"We are honored to be named the No. 1 meetings destination in the country by Cvent," said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. "This recognition is a testament to the investment we make in marketing and selling Orlando as the ideal location for meetings and conventions at all levels, a very important driver of local economic impact."

Cvent evaluated nearly 5,600 U.S. cities featured on the Cvent Supplier Network to develop the list. Activity was tracked from July 2014 to June 2015, and the ranking was then determined by a set of qualifying criteria consisting of:

  •  Unique Request for Proposals Received
  • Total Room Nights
  • Awarded Request for Proposals
  • Awarded Room Nights
  • Percentage of Qualified Meeting Venues
  • Number of Profile Views
  • "Featuring more than 200,000 hotels and special event venues, the Cvent Supplier Network is one of the world's largest, most accurate databases of detailed venue information," added Aguel. "We are thrilled to see that meeting planners in the vast Cvent Supplier Network are finding many reasons to choose Orlando as the site for successful meetings and events, including flexible convention space, a wide range of accommodations, top-rated airports and convention center and sophisticated retail, dining and entertainment districts."

    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; represent the area's leading industry.

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    Editor's Note: For additional press information in multiple languages or high-resolution
      downloadable images, please visit VisitOrlando.com/media.

     



    07/07/2015

     

     

     

    Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Presented by American Express
    Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Record Number of New Restaurants

    More than 70 Restaurants Featuring Three-Course Meals for $33 this September

     

    ORLANDO, Fla. - In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Magical Dining Month, Central Florida's official tourism association has lined up more newly-opened fine dining restaurants than ever before.

    Starting with a special preview week Aug. 24 and running through Sept. 30, guests can select from over 70 participating restaurants- including eight recently-opened venues- to enjoy three-course dinners for $33.  

    Visit Orlando's Magical Dining, presented by American Express, showcases much of the culinary landscape that has brought Orlando national acclaim in the past year. There is no better time for Foodies to enjoy Orlando, named one of 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations for 2015 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, as well as one of The New York Times' 52 Places to Go in the world in 2015. In a year that's brought major new dining and entertainment venues to Orlando, several recently-opened restaurants are part of this year's line-up:

    -       Txokos Basque Kitchen at East End Market, a neighborhood market and food hub, takes inspiration from the cuisine of Northern Spain.

    -       Ravello at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort focuses on authentic Italian recipes.

    -       Southern classics get a contemporary spin at Soco in Thornton Park.

    -       American Q at the B Resort brings together barbeque styles from the Carolinas, Kansas City and Latin America.

    More information on these new additions, along with a full list of all participating restaurants, is available at OrlandoMagicalDining.com.

    In its 10th year, Magical Dining brings back many of our area's most popular restaurants, along with exciting new additions:

  • Convention Area - Urban Tide* (Hyatt Regency Orlando), The Capital Grille, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, A Land Remembered (Rosen Shingle Creek)

  • Disney/Lake Buena Vista - Black Fire Bull*, deep blu Seafood Grille (Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort), NINE18 (The Villas at Grand Cypress), Todd English's Bluezoo (Walt Disney World Dolphin)

  • Downtown - Artisan's Table*, The Boheme, Citrus, Kasa Restaurant & Bar, Maxine's on Shine

  • Restaurant Row - Big Fin Seafood Kitchen, Bistro CloClo, Christini's Ristorante Italiano*, Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi, Eddie V's Prime Seafood Restaurant, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Morton's The Steakhouse, Ocean Prime, Stefano's Grill

  • Universal/CityWalk - Emeril's Tchoup Chop, Island's Dining Room, The Kitchen at Hard Rock Hotel*, Mama Della's Ristorante

  • Winter Park and North - Luma on Park, Mitchell's Fish Market, Chez Vincent, Hamilton's Kitchen, Rangetsu Japanese Restaurant and Bar, Ruth's Chris Steak House (Winter Park and Lake Mary)
  • *First year in Magical Dining

    Visit Orlando's Magical Dining, presented by American Express, will benefit ELEVATE Orlando in 2015, with $1 from every meal donated to the local charity. ELEVATE Orlando meets the complex needs of urban youth by providing both character education and life skills training to help to move students from poverty to self-sufficiency. Last year, Visit Orlando's Magical Dining raised a record $111,604 for the Foundation for Foster Children.

     

    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: For additional press information or high-resolution downloadable images, please visit VisitOrlando.com/media.  

     

     



    06/29/2015

    Recipe for Summer Fun in Orlando: Just Add Water

    Orlando's Cool Pools Set Scene for the UK's Top Domestic Summer Travel Destination

     

    ORLANDO, Fla. - With the official arrival of summer last week, Kayak.co.uk announced that Orlando is the most popular destination for Britons this season. For the majority of families planning a vacation, cool pools play a big role in the summer fun. According to HomeAway, the world's leading vacation rental marketplace, and YouGov, an independent market research firm, 75 percent of parents listed a cool pool as a necessity.

     

    Orlando's unique cool pools are the perfect way to enjoy a sunny day by making a splash or lounging in luxury at the newest additions to Orlando's pool inventory with the retro-themed Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort or the luxe poolside amenities at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. Lazy rivers, waterfalls, real sand beaches, zero-entry and adults-only pools are just some of the features available for fun-seeking visitors.

     

    More information on Orlando's cool pools can be found on Visit Orlando's blog.

     

    Newest Places to Make a Splash

     

    • TheFour Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort features a family pool overlooking Florida's natural settings, offering a gradually sloping "beach entry." Guests can listen to their favorite tunes on the underwater audio system, lazy river and "Explorer Island" splash zone or enjoy the adults-only pool.

     

    • Those in search of retro-themed fun will love Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort courtyard pool. In addition to the new lazy river featuring water cannons, spouts and waterfalls; this pool offers a white sand beach, iconic diver tower waterslide, kids play area and cabanas available to rent for ultimate relaxation.

     

    • Newly renovated and stretching over half an acre (one-fifth hectare), the main pool at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress offers vibrant fun for the whole family. New features include a Waterslide Tower Pavilion, Water Jet Splash Zone, rope bridge and an expansive wraparound sundeck. For simple sun-drenched relaxation, guests can float around in the crystal-clear water or enjoy the sandy beach of private Lake Windsong.

     

     

     

     

    Themed Resort Pools

     

    • At the Nickelodeon Suites Resort , the whole family will enjoy the two interactive water park areas, The Lagoon and The Oasis. The Lagoon is a large courtyard featuring a zero-depth entry pool that is anchored by a four-story interactive water tower outfitted with seven slides and flumes, climbing nets and a 400-gallon (1,514-liter) dump tank that spouts out water at random. The area also houses a netted basketball court and a nine-hole miniature golf course. The Oasis contains an Olympic-sized pool, a multi-level interactive water tower, a shaded play area for kids, pop jets, splash zone and sand play area.

     

    • The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge bring rustic charm to the heart of Orlando. Surrounded by towering pine trees and boulders, guests can delight in the enchanting Silver Creek Springs Pool, feel a rush on the waterslide, take a dip in the whirlpool spas, and be excited by the nearby Fire Rock Geyser. For a more peaceful paddle, swimmers can retreat to the serenity of the Hidden Springs Pool.

     

     

    Aquatic Adventures

               

    • When timeless elegance meets old fashioned charm, the product is the carefree amusement of Disney's Boardwalk Villas. This waterfront resort hotel features Luna Park, the main water area which takes visitors to an antique carnival where they can take a ride down the 200-foot-long (61 meter) Keister Coaster water slide.

     

    • Located off of International Drive, the CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort combines a tropical hotel setting with a whimsical water park. Featuring thrilling slides, splash-tastic play areas and relaxing pools, CoCo Key's 62,000-square-foot (5,760-square-meter) water park offers families aquatic fun in a safe and friendly environment. Day passes for guests not staying at the hotel cost just $22.95 (Monday - Thursday) or $26.95 (Friday - Sunday) per person.

     

    Relaxing Retreats

     

    • Visitors can bask in rays of serenity in the calming waters at the Alfond Inn, a new boutique hotel in the heart of Winter Park. The rooftop pool is 60 feet (18 meters) in length, surrounded by lush planting, marble and pergolas for shade.

     

    • Guests looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Orlando's theme parks and attractions will find Waldorf Astoria Orlando's sparkling blue pools to be the perfect antidote. The elegant oasis of contemporary luxury is sure to provide visitors with true, indulgent relaxation. The serene outdoor environment offers poolside service, private cabanas, and a Jacuzzi. For little ones, the zero entry pool is the ideal cool down.

     

    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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    06/29/2015

     

     

     

    From Fall to Fa-la-la-la-la  

    Orlando Dazzles with Must-See Events

     

    Orlando, Fla. (June 29, 2015) - When summer days begin to slowly drift away, Orlando quickly turns up the heat on a packed events schedule. One of America's top food festivals serves up culinary adventures. Orlando is home to more nights of haunted thrills than any other destination. And dazzling light displays, glorious parades and supercharged fireworks punctuate one of the most memorable times of the year to visit.

    Orlando's Food & Wine Festivals

    Nationally, Orlando has emerged as a prominent culinary destination. Home to five semifinalists in the 2014 James Beard Awards, the city has been named one of 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations for 2015 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, as well as one of the New York Times' 52 Places to Go in 2015. Food-lovers can get the most out of their time in Orlando by timing their visits to these renowned food & wine festivals:

  • At the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (Sept. 25 - Nov. 16) 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 delicacies include Pepper Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese at the Farm Fresh Marketplace and refreshing sips like the Scottish Citrus Thistle at the Scotland Marketplace.
  • Food & Wine Weekends at Waldorf Astoria Orlando (late September - mid November) celebrates fine wine and culinary arts. Taking place on a series of weekends, the events include a variety of chef created menus and pairings.

  • The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic (Oct. 30 - 31) features wines from around the world and a variety of culinary dishes prepared by award-winning chefs. Educational seminars range from wine blending to crafting Brazil's most famous cocktail, the Caipirinha.

  • Guests dine on haute cuisine without burning through their budget during the 10th year of Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month, when Central Florida's top restaurants feature three-course, prix fixe dinner menus for $33 during of the entire month of September. Joining the lineup of this year's participating venues is Txokos Basque Kitchen and Italian restaurant Ravello at the new Four Seasons at Walt Disney World Resort.
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    Halloween Capital of the World

    Halloween celebrations in Orlando are like nowhere else in the world, with more than 80 individual events during the six weeks leading up to Oct. 31.

  • At Walt Disney World Resort during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (Sept. 15 - Nov. 1), guests can trick-or-treat throughout the Magic Kingdom, catch the "Boo-to-You" Halloween parade or Disney Villains Castle Show and stay for the bewitching "Happy HalloWishes" fireworks.

  • SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular (Oct. 3 - 31) 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.

  • Universal's Halloween Horror Nights (Sept. 18 - Nov. 1) at Universal Orlando Resort 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 include Freddy vs Jason and Jack the Clown, with big name (and big scare) additions still to be announced.
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    Holidays at Orlando's Theme Parks

    Orlando, the theme park capital of the world, 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, snow boots and mittens not required.

  • Walt Disney World Resort offers an array of holiday fun (Nov. - Jan.), including a transformation of Cinderella Castle into a glistening ice palace at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party; a ‘Frozen' Sing-Along Celebration' and the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Hollywood Studios; or the Candlelight Processional at Epcot.

  • Universal Orlando Resort invites guests (Dec. 4 - Jan. 2) 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.

  • Waves of holiday spirit splash over the park during SeaWorld Orlando's Christmas Celebration (Nov. 21 - Dec. 31). Here in a wintery, watery wonderland, guests of all ages will enjoy stunning live shows inspired by the natural world, and journey to the North Pole on THE POLAR EXPRESS Experience.

  • LEGOLAND Florida Resort offers families one-of-a-kind photo opportunities with a life-sized LEGO Model Santa Claus or 30-foot-tall LEGO Christmas tree during Christmas Bricktacular, select dates in December.
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    Seasonal Shopper's Paradise

    A favorite Orlando activity, shopping sales have launched both the Mall at Millenia and Orlando Premium Outlets into the 10 highest sales-generating shopping locations in the U.S. for 2014, according to Fortune Magazine. The destination's diverse shopping options include unique boutiques, theme park retailers, as well as 12 malls and outlet centers.

  • As one of the city's most luxurious shopping locations, Fashion Week at the Mall at Millenia (Sep. 17- 24) is a not-to-be-missed event for fashionistas, including in-store activities, runway shows, guest appearances and more. Less than a month later, the trendy area of Winter Park, hosts Park Avenue Fashion Week (Oct. 11-17).

  • For those visitors looking for fantastic deals, Black Friday is the best time to shop. The day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29), many stores, malls and even Orlando's outlets open early or stay open late to offer extreme discounts. Retail highlights include The Mall at Millenia, offering over 150 high end stores; The Florida Mall, the area's largest shopping experience; and the Orlando Premium Outlets, two world-class outlet centers.
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    Orlando's Cultural Side

    Currently in the process of a renaissance, Downtown Orlando is making room for art, music, sports and more as the cultural hub of the destination. From new venues to returning festivals, a whole new side of Orlando comes alive this fall and winter season.

  • With the completion of the Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium renovations, the new, state-of-the-art facility serves as a sports center, concert venue and beyond. Currently, it is the temporary home of the Orlando City Lions, the city's first professional soccer team. Guests can catch one of the lively home games through the end of October. The venue is also one of nation's few neutral stadiums for college football, with three bowl games, and dubbed "The College Football Capital of the World," by the Orlando Sentinel.

  • The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the new multi-theater home for Broadway productions and Orlando Ballet, welcomes several electrifying shows in the heart of downtown including "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella" (Nov. 10 - 15) and "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical" (Dec. 8 - 13).

  • Art and culture lovers can catch one of the many art and craft festivals of the season, like the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival (Oct. 10 -11). These events feature work by outstanding Florida artists, live entertainment and food provided by local restaurants.

  • The Orlando Film Festival (Oct. 21 - 25) includes events in and around the heart of Orlando, where patrons enjoy great films in exciting venues while experiencing Orlando's downtown lifestyle.

  • Winter Park Concours d'Elegance (Nov. 13 - 15) is one of the most highly-regarded, judged exotic car shows in the United States, featuring more than 120 rare automobiles on display and an exotic car parade.
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    Editor's Note: For additional press information or high-resolution downloadable images,
    please visit VisitOrlando.com/Media

     

     



    06/22/2015

     

    Recipe for Summer Fun in Orlando: Just Add Water 

    Orlando's Cool Pools Set Scene for AAA's Top Domestic Summer Travel Destination

     

    ORLANDO, Fla. - With the official arrival of summer, AAA announced that Orlando is the top domestic summer travel destination for 2015. For the majority of families planning a vacation, cool pools play a big role in the summer fun. According to HomeAway, the world's leading vacation rental marketplace, and YouGov, an independent market research firm, 75 percent of parents listed a cool pool as a necessity.

    Orlando's unique cool pools are the perfect way to enjoy a sunny day by making a splash or lounging in luxury at the newest additions to Orlando's pool inventory with the retro-themed Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort or the luxe poolside amenities at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. Lazy rivers, waterfalls, real sand beaches, zero-entry and adults-only pools are just some of the features available for fun-seeking visitors.

    More information on Orlando's cool pools can be found on Visit Orlando's blog.

    Newest Places to Make a Splash

  • The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort features a family pool overlooking Florida's natural settings, offering a gradually sloping "beach entry." Guests can listen to their favorite tunes on the underwater audio system, lazy river and "Explorer Island" splash zone or enjoy the adults-only pool.
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  • Those in search of retro-themed fun will love Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort courtyard pool. In addition to the new lazy river featuring water cannons, spouts and waterfalls; this pool offers a white sand beach, iconic diver tower waterslide, kids play area and cabanas available to rent for ultimate relaxation.
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  • Newly renovated and stretching over half an acre (one-fifth hectare), the main pool at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress offers vibrant fun for the whole family. New features include a Waterslide Tower Pavilion, Water Jet Splash Zone, rope bridge and an expansive wraparound sundeck. For simple sun-drenched relaxation, guests can float around in the crystal-clear water or enjoy the sandy beach of private Lake Windsong.
  • Themed Resort Pools

  • At the Nickelodeon Suites Resort , the whole family will enjoy the two interactive water park areas, The Lagoon and The Oasis. The Lagoon is a large courtyard featuring a zero-depth entry pool that is anchored by a four-story interactive water tower outfitted with seven slides and flumes, climbing nets and a 400-gallon (1,514-liter) dump tank that spouts out water at random. The area also houses a netted basketball court and a nine-hole miniature golf course. The Oasis contains an Olympic-sized pool, a multi-level interactive water tower, a shaded play area for kids, pop jets, splash zone and sand play area.
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  • The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge bring rustic charm to the heart of Orlando. Surrounded by towering pine trees and boulders, guests can delight in the enchanting Silver Creek Springs Pool, feel a rush on the waterslide, take a dip in the whirlpool spas, and be excited by the nearby Fire Rock Geyser. For a more peaceful paddle, swimmers can retreat to the serenity of the Hidden Springs Pool.
  • Aquatic Adventures

  • When timeless elegance meets old fashioned charm, the product is the carefree amusement of Disney's Boardwalk Villas. This waterfront resort hotel features Luna Park, the main water area which takes visitors to an antique carnival where they can take a ride down the 200-foot-long (61 meter) Keister Coaster water slide.
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  • Located off of International Drive, the CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort combines a tropical hotel setting with a whimsical water park. Featuring thrilling slides, splash-tastic play areas and relaxing pools, CoCo Key's 62,000-square-foot (5,760-square-meter) water park offers families aquatic fun in a safe and friendly environment. Day passes for guests not staying at the hotel cost just $22.95 (Monday - Thursday) or $26.95 (Friday - Sunday) per person.
  • Relaxing Retreats

  • Visitors can bask in rays of serenity in the calming waters at the Alfond Inn, a new boutique hotel in the heart of Winter Park. The rooftop pool is 60 feet (18 meters) in length, surrounded by lush planting, marble and pergolas for shade.
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  • Guests looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Orlando's theme parks and attractions will find Waldorf Astoria Orlando's sparkling blue pools to be the perfect antidote. The elegant oasis of contemporary luxury is sure to provide visitors with true, indulgent relaxation. The serene outdoor environment offers poolside service, private cabanas, and a Jacuzzi. For little ones, the zero entry pool is the ideal cool down.
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    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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    06/02/2015

    Visit Orlando Unveils New Brand Creative;
    Announces Global Search For Stories

     

    ORLANDO, Fla. - (May 31, 2015) - Visit Orlando, the official tourism association in Central Florida, turned the page on a new chapter in the destination's history today by unveiling a never-before-seen series of emotionally based, editorial-style brand photographs and video that elicit the unique emotions that visitors experience in Orlando.

    To celebrate its first global marketing and sales campaign featuring this new creative and titled "Orlando - the Never Ending Story," Visit Orlando also announced it will launch a worldwide consumer campaign in search of the millions of stories its visitors have to share about the theme park capital of the world. 

    "Visit Orlando is reaching out to the storyteller in all of us through this new brand creative in order to showcase our visitors and the lifetime of memories they made and will make across our destination," said Visit Orlando President and CEO George Aguel. "We recognize that because travel matters so deeply to so many of us and our relationships with others, and because Orlando owns this unique place in the hearts and minds of millions of visitors, we consider it our responsibility to help our guests connect the memories of their experiences in Orlando together like the chapters of a book."

    Coinciding with the start of the campaign's consumer advertising this year, unforgettable guest experiences will be collected through the website OrlandoStories.com and visitors will be encouraged to use #MyOrlandoStory when sharing posts, photos and videos in social media. Additional details of the global search for stories will be released this summer. 

    The new creative launched today at U.S. Travel Association's IPW, the travel industry's premier international trade show taking place this year in Orlando, will serve as the cornerstone of Visit Orlando's future global marketing and sales efforts, beginning in August. The first of these will appear in the destination's No. 1 overseas market, Brazil, as well as Colombia and the United States, followed by Canada and the United Kingdom.  

    "Orlando is an iconic American destination that truly delivers on the promises that travel offers to us all," said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow.

    "These images so wonderfully capture the diversity of our global visitors and the unique experiences that can only be found in Orlando," said Aguel. "It's fitting to unite our guests through their connection with Orlando, a destination that was literally built on storytelling."

    This spring, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Visit Orlando CEO George Aguel announced the destination became the first in the U.S. to welcome more than 60 million visitors when more than 62 million visited in 2014. During the last 40 years, Orlando has hosted hundreds of millions of guests, making it one of the most memorable and talked about destinations on earth. 

     

    Editor's Note: For high-resolution downloadable images,
    please visit
    http://bit.ly/1cpXn4r

     

    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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    04/27/2015

    10 Nuevos Sitios De Interes Imperdibles En Orlando’s International Drive

     ORLANDO, Fla. (27 de Abril de 2015) - La Sociedad Americana de Agentes de Viajes nombró recientemente a Orlando como el "Number 1 Hot Spot for Summer Travel", (El destino más codiciado para viajes de verano) en 2015. Después de una ola de varios años de expansiones de gran éxito en los parques temáticos de talla mundial de Orlando, International Drive (I-Drive) sigue con esta tendencia con la apertura de nuevas tiendas, restaurantes y lugares de entretenimiento. Visit Orlando, la asociación oficial de Turismo de dicho destino, quisiera compartir 10 nuevas formas de visitar Orlando para que los turistas puedan divertirse en Orlando I-Drive 360 este verano:

    I-Drive 360

    En el corazón del corredor turístico de Orlando, I-Drive 360 es un nuevo complejo de entretenimiento además de ser el hogar del Orlando Eye. Este proyecto masivo incluye atracciones, restaurantes, salas de conciertos y lugares de venta:

    1.    SEA LIFE Orlando ofrece impresionantes vistas de más de 5 mil criaturas marinas de los tres océanos del mundo. Los visitantes pueden disfrutar de encuentros cara a cara con los tiburones en el único Túnel Submarino de Orlando de 360°, así como tocar la superficie aterciopelada de las mantarrayas en una exhibición interactiva. Charlas educativas interactivas guían a los turistas a través de las maravillas del Atlántico, Pacífico e Índico a la vez que ofrecen vistas de las majestuosas criaturas que deambulan por estas aguas misteriosas

    2.    Madame Tussauds, una de las atracciones de cera de celebridades más famosas del mundo, ofrece a los visitantes una experiencia especial llena de estrellas sobre una alfombra roja. Los visitantes pueden moverse a través de salas temáticas donde se puede observar e interactuar con las figurillas de cera de sus estrellas favoritas de cine, música, deporte y personajes históricos

    3.    The Orlando Eye es una rueda de observación de 400 metros de altura que ofrece asombrosas vistas panorámicas del Centro de Florida dentro de cápsulas de vidrio completamente herméticas con aire acondicionado. Antes de emprender un recorrido de 20 minutos, los huéspedes entran en un teatro 4D donde pueden disfrutar de un cortometraje sobre Florida

    4.    Skeletons Animals Unveiled!, el primer museo de este tipo, exhibe más de 400 esqueletos en posturas creativas y maquetas de dichos esqueletos en diferentes tipos de escenas (dioramas). El espacio de 7 mil 750 metros cuadrados, cuenta con animales exóticos de todo el mundo, así como ocho esqueletos humanos. El recorrido dura aproximadamente 90 minutos e incluye exhibiciones interactivas

    5.    Restaurante Naru & Sushi Bar, una cadena de sushis de Brasil, abre su primer restaurant de Estados Unidos en I-Drive 360. El restaurante de 140 asientos, combina lo mejor de la comida japonesa y brasileña y cuenta con Sakerinhas, una fusión perfecta de  sake Japonés con caipiriña, la bebida nacional brasileña

    6.    Tin Roof bar- restaurante con música, celebra su primera apertura en Florida en I-Drive 360. Con prometedora música en vivo todas las noches, los clientes pueden apreciar bandas de rock locales y regionales así como música country los jueves, viernes y sábados, además de contar con actos musicales acústicos durante la semana. El ambiente del legendario Nashville aporta un ambiente ecléctico además de ofrecer comida creativa y cocteles exclusivos

    Para mayor información sobre los restaurantes y las tiendas presentes en I-Drive 360; visita el blog de Visit Orlando.

    Lugares "Hot" para cenar

    7.    Mango's Tropical Café, una de las discotecas más populares de Miami, abre un nuevo café en International Drive. El espacio de 55 mil metros cuadrados cuenta con una pista de baile y un restaurante que sirve cocina Floribbean así como cocteles tropicales. Inspirándose de los carnavales del Caribe y de América del Sur, este destino nocturno cuenta con actuaciones de  baile de alto calibre y con diversos géneros de la música latina

    8.    Del Frisco's Double Edge Steak House dispone de una cocina dirigida por un chef para servir los mejores cortes de carne certificados por el United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) además de incluir frescos mariscos entre los cuales destacan las famosas colas de langosta australiana de agua fría sin dejar de lado una extensa lista de vinos galardonados; todo esto ofrecido con una  auténtica hospitalidad

    Atracciones y Shopping

    9.    Orlando International Premium Outlets añade nuevas tiendas a su reparto con DKNY, la tienda al por mayor de la diseñadora de moda Donna Karan, junto con el relojero de lujo Citizen, el fabricante de bolsos y accesorios Vera Bradley y la marca de moda italiana, Diesel

    10.  Escapology Orlando y America's Escape Game, son dos juegos de escape en International Drive. Ambos lugares ofrecen a los visitantes la emocionante oportunidad de encerrarse en salas temáticas donde dependen de pistas y de su propio ingenio para resolver rompecabezas y encontrar la llave para escapar. Con nuevas habitaciones abiertas periódicamente, siempre hay algo nuevo que desbloquear en International Drive.

    Sobre Visit Orlando

    Visit Orlando es la organización oficial de turismo para el destino más visitado de los Estados Unidos, con representación en más de una docena de países alrededor del mundo. Visit Orlando, junto con mil doscientos organismos miembros, es el líder en esta industria.

     

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    Nota del Editor: Para información de prensa adicional o imágenes de alta resolución descargables, visite VisitOrlando.com/media