With a wide variety of resorts, famous attractions and new dining and entertainment complexes cropping up, there’s always something new happening in Orlando. For meeting groups looking for that wow factor, this is the place to be. From a plethora of enhancements to the world-renowned Orange County Convention Center and expansions at its many meeting hotels to its growing foodie scene and exciting new attractions, it’s no wonder Orlando is one of the top meetings and convention destinations in the world.
As the country’s most visited destination, Orlando is also a top pick among meeting attendees probably because there is so much to do and see after the meeting. Its newest dining and entertainment complex, I-Drive 360 located on International Drive in the heart of the convention district is getting all kinds of national attention these days. And it’s easy to see why. The massive 400-foot-tall observation wheel, The Orlando Eye, is the largest in the eastern United States! So get ready to board your flight and sip a glass of champagne while taking in incredible views of central Florida on this heart-stopping 20 minute ride to the top of the world. Disembark right next to the entrance of Madame Tussauds and the SeaLife Aquarium for a tour—or have a private party at either of these phenomenal venues. Want a bite? Yard House is also in the I-Drive 360 complex as well as Tin Roof: A Live Music Joint, Tapa Toro Tapas Bar & Paella Pit (with Flamenco dancers), Ben & Jerry’s and soon, a host of other restaurants and shops, which will open in waves. This great new complex offers groups several new one-of-a-kind private event experiences from exclusive champagne flights and cocktails with the stars, to a full courtyard buy-out.
Just down the road, Pointe Orlando on International Drive opened three new outlets - the Minus 5 Ice Bar which is entirely made of ice, Blue Martini Florida’s premier happy hour bar, and RA Sushi featuring distinctive Japanese fusion cuisine. Other restaurants in Pointe Orlando (all can be used for a private dine-around/block party for groups) include Tommy Bahama, Cuba Libre and The Pub, all with spectacular food and cocktails.
Much of the news that came out of Orlando last year was surrounding the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley™ at Universal Studios Florida. The new Diagon Alley connects by train to Hogsmeade, where groups can host a private event accommodating up to 1,500 guests. Afterwards, groups can continue the excitment at Universal CityWalk and dine at one of a host of great restaurants like Emeril’s or The Cowfish, or take in the Blue Man Group show.
Another significant enhancement is taking place at the iconic Downtown Disney at the Walt Disney World Resort, which is undergoing a major transformation. Disney Springs, its new name, will expand from 75 to more than 150 dining and entertainment venues oriented around a series of bubbling natural springs. The expansion will open in phases and completion is expected in 2016. Chef Masaharu Morimoto, known from his appearances on Iron Chef America, is opening Morimoto Asia, a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the heart of Disney Springs, summer 2015 and the new Boathouse Restaurant recently opened. The Amphicars (a boat that looks like a car) experience is offered as a 20-minute ride-a-long boating adventure, piloted by a trained captain who narrates the history of the Amphicar and points out landmarks at the ongoing Disney Springs conversion from Downtown Disney.
Orlando is constantly reinventing itself to offer something new and exciting each time you visit. So if you haven’t been to Orlando lately, you’re in for some big surprises. From a growing collection of hotels and resorts to innovative meeting spaces to trend-setting entertainment, there’s no better time to bring your group to Orlando. Discover more at OrlandoMeeting.com and sign up for our monthly What’s New Webinar to stay-up-to-date on all that’s going on in Orlando.