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08/09/2018

What's New & Next in Orlando

The #1 Meetings Destination in the U.S.

 

While some top meetings destinations may rest on their laurels, Orlando - which once again has been ranked by Cvent as the #1 meeting destination in the United States - continues to raise the bar with new resources for meeting attendees, improvements at the conventions center, new venues and a variety of new dining and attractions options.

 

HOTELS AND VENUES

Orlando boasts nearly 120,000 rooms at a wide array of price points and 150 meeting hotels offering a combined 4.5 million square feet of meeting space. The destination has an array of new openings and newly renovated properties for planners to choose for their next event.

 

  • Universal Orlando Resort has announced its sixth hotel on property, Aventura Hotel, opening in August, 2018. A value property, the 16-story gleaming glass tower will consist of 600 guest rooms, bringing the total number of on-site hotel rooms at Universal Orlando to 6,200 when combined with the 400-room expansion of Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which opened in 2017.
  • TheWalt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resorthas recently completed a $140millionmulti-year redesign project to transform all 2,267 guest rooms, as well as a new lobby, additional food and beverage options and renovated meeting space.
  • Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, the largest of the six convention hotels at Walt Disney World Resort, is being expanded to add new dining options, resort rooms and outdoor networking spaces. Construction is underway on a new 15-story tower that will bring an additional 500 rooms to the resort, including suites and concierge level services. The expansion will include a new rooftop restaurant, meeting venues, adding a board room and two multi-purpose rooms to the resort's current 220,000 square feet of dedicated meeting and function space.
  • DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld has completed a significant expansion of its meeting space, now offering 100,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space, including a 20,000-sq.-ft. ballroom.
  • The Marriott Orlando Downtown has renovated the entire property, including 293 guest rooms, four suites, 16,000 sq. ft. of meeting space with 11 breakout rooms. The hotel has Central Florida's first M Club Lounge, a new concierge concept for preferred guests that Marriott unveiled in 2014.
     
  • NEW AT THE ORANGE COUNTY CONVENTION CENTER

     

    The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is known for its extraordinary size, with 2.1 million square feet of exhibition space and 480,000 sq ft. of flexible meeting space.

  • Updated Meeting Rooms now meet the increasing demand for more meeting space, with the recently renovated Sunburst meeting room. The room, located in the West Concourse, has an outdoor terrace to accommodate even more guests for events like receptions, outdoor functions and meetings. Whether you are planning a special event for 40 or 400, the Sunburst Terrace is a versatile and flexible space that will bring ‘Florida' into your meeting or function. Other updated rooms include the Honeybell and Hamlin board rooms, allowing guests to book space that delivers and executive feel and the latest technology.
  • The International Drive Pedestrian Bridge is the fifth pedestrian bridge linking The OCCC with a neighboring hotel. It spans International Drive between the West Building's Central Lobby Level III and the sidewalk in front of the Hyatt Regency Orlando, and opened to guests in late 2017.
  • New Ballrooms have expanded meeting space at the center. West Hall F was transformed into a 48,961 square foot multi-purpose exhibit space and Tangerine ballroom. Features include decorative large scale wall panels, an LED color-changing translucent ceiling and bamboo door surrounds and ceiling elements - all combining to create a stunning space. The Valencia Ballroom a 62,182 square foot multiple-purpose room has been converted into a beautiful Ballroom with similar design as the new Tangerine Ballroom. Features includes new electrical, LED lighting and controls, access control system, data infrastructure, mechanical, plumbing and fire protection and architectural features such as carpet, terrazzo flooring, entry doors, decorative panels, wall finishes, ceiling system, rigging points, and signage. This beautiful multi-purpose space can be divided into three sections of 20,000 square feet each and accommodate banquets, meetings and exhibits. 
  • Destination Lounge in the South Building, room S222, has now become a multi-purpose room for client use as well as client-related functions. The goal was to create spaces that are designed with comfortable seating and open views, and that are technology friendly for small groups, individuals or private events.
  • Better Dining Options can now be found in the West building, where Food Court C has been transformed with a contemporary look and feel, transitioning it from a food court into a dining lounge. Various seating options, new banquettes, lighting and a new layout have been arranged.
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    NEW ATTRACTIONS

    From theme park thrills to indoor entertainment, there are plenty of fun, new options for groups to enjoy after business hours that are a short walk (or drive) from the Convention District.

    International Drive

  • Top Golf Orlando's 65,000-square-foot venue offers more than 100 climate-controlled hitting bays with advanced technology to track accuracy and distance of players' shots.
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  • The new Andretti Indoor Karting & Games features high-speed electric super karts on a two-level track, over 120 arcade games, a rock wall, zip line and more.
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  • Main Event Entertainment at Pointe Orlando, a 45,000 square-foot dining and entertainment complex offers American fare and handcrafted cocktails, more than 100 virtual and interactive games, state-of-the-art bowling and Florida's only 4DX Theater at Regal Cinemas.
  • Walt Disney World Resort

  • Disney's Hollywood Studios opened Toy Story Land in summer 2018, featuring two new themed attractions, the "Slinky Dog Dash" roller coaster and "Alien Swirling Saucers."
  • Experience Pandora - The World of AVATAR, the largest expansion in Animal Kingdom's history, and step into a new world featuring floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests a Banshee flying attraction, and new after-dark entertainment.
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    Universal Orlando Resort

  • Fast & Furious - Supercharged at Universal Studios Florida takes guests on a high-octane adventure into the world of underground racing, right alongside stars from the Fast & Furious films, opened in spring 2018.
  • The new Volcano Bay water park offers innovative, thrilling attractions, peaceful moments and an entirely new guest experience. A highly themed, immersive environment is inspired by postcard-perfect tropical islands.
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    SeaWorld Orlando

  • Ray Rush provides 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 debuted in spring 2018.
  • Infinity Falls, a new rainforest river rapids ride, is coming to SeaWorld Orlando in summer 2018, featuring the world's tallest river rapid drop.
  • SeaWorld Orlando debuted its first digitally-enhanced ride experience as the legendary Kraken roller coaster has been transformed into a virtual reality (VR) roller coaster experience. This thrill ride is the only VR coaster experience in Florida, taking guests on a deep sea mission alongside sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals.
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    DINING & ENTERTAINMENT

    Named top food city in the United States by WalletHub, Orlando's breadth and quality of dining options continue to attract Celebrity Chefs and independent restaurateurs.

     

    New at Disney Springs

  • The Edison, themed around a 1920s-era electric company with live entertainment, classic American food and craft cocktails
  • Jaleo, a Spanish Tapas concept by world-renowned Chef Jose Andres
  • Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, a new location in Town Center capturing the essence of laid-back California dining
  • Wine Bar George, the only Master Sommelier-led wine bar in Florida
  • Maria & Enzo's Ristorante, offering Sicilian cuisine and set in a 1930s abandoned airline terminal
  • 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
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    New options in Downtown Orlando

  • JINYA Ramen Bar, a modern Japanese restaurant featuring authentic ramen along with a variety of tapas dishes, opened in 2018 in the Thornton Park neighborhood of downtown Orlando.
  • Ace Cafe Orlando, the first outpost of the iconic London, England-based motor-diner opened in summer 2017. An American roadside diner inspires the menu, with made-from-scratch comfort food, some British favorites and locally-sourced and green options, all at an affordable price point. Ace Cafe Orlando also has a big backyard area for patio dining, outdoor events and live music.
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    International Drive

    As part of $1 billion multi-year investments for developments along International Drive, several new restaurant and entertainment options are in the works for the coming year.

     

     

    Transportation

  • All Aboard Florida is introducing Brightline, an express train service for intercity travel in Florida. Brightline will transport passengers at speeds between 79 and 125 miles per hour, using the existing Florida East Coast Railway corridor between Miami and Cocoa, along with new track between Cocoa and Orlando. Services began between Miami and West Palm Beach in 2017, with service from Miami to Orlando to follow soon. Upon completion, travel from Miami to Orlando will only take about three hours. Phase Two of Brightline will include a station at Orlando International Airport, within the future South Terminal.
  • Orlando International Airport has opened a new $1.8 billion south airport terminal near the current airport, adjacent to the $1.3 billion train station also under construction. The train station and gates 16 to 21 of the south terminal are scheduled to be completed in 2019, and will feature indoor palm trees, interactive video screens and a moving sidewalk through a straight strip, "the boulevard," that spans the different components of the new terminal: ground transportation, ticket hall, concessions, screening and gates.
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