Transform your organization’s next business trip into a bleisure experience with Orlando’s exceptional hotels, dining, arts, ecotourism and attractions (Discovery Cove® pictured).
Updated April 12, 2022
According to a recent Global Business Travel Association poll, 56% of all business travelers intend to extend their stay beyond the conference agenda to enjoy the local scene. And given the renewed thirst for travel and adventure that has emerged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easy to see why business travelers are eager to extend their stays.
So, if your group is already coming to Orlando, why not encourage them to factor in a few days before and/or after to get a real taste of all that we have to offer? Your attendees will surely want to spend some time experiencing our dazzling selection of theme parks, impressive hotels at every price point, endless array of dining options, stellar shopping, unique neighborhoods, and even outdoor adventures.
Adding a few extra days for leisure pursuits can also turn your business trip into a bleisure experience that can gear up attendees for the meeting, help them chillax after the hard work is completed — or both! But with so much to see and experience in Orlando after the workday ends, where to begin? Here are some ideas on how your group can spend extra time in Orlando.
Please note: Depending on the timing of your visit, some experiences may be temporarily modified. Learn more about healthy business travel in Orlando, and check with your preferred businesses for their current status.
Fully Experience Orlando’s Luxurious Resorts
How often have your attendees checked into a glorious hotel they never get to fully experience because they were just there to sleep and go to meetings? Have they ever gazed longingly out of their hotel room window at the resort’s lazy river and wished they were floating in their very own tube through fountains and waterfalls, margarita in hand? Or, did they discover their hotel had a five-star spa and wished they could spend an extra day luxuriating under the able hands of your masseuse?
Learn more: Orlando Meeting & Convention Hotels
There’s no need for your attendees to regret what they may have missed, because Orlando has it all and more — ready and waiting for your group!
How about golf and lunch at Rosen Shingle Creek, aqua aerobics at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort, fishing at Caribe Royale Orlando, kayaking at JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes, or tennis at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress? These and so many of Orlando’s other resorts offer fabulous activities where your attendees never even have to leave the property. And this is indeed the time to take advantage!
Explore a True Shopping Paradise
Attendees who live to shop — or just want to find unique gifts for family and friends back home — will absolutely want to spend some quality time at one of our most luxurious retail destinations, The Mall at Millenia. What’s more, when your show partners with Visit Orlando, delegates need only show their meeting or trade show lanyard to get VIP treatment that includes complimentary valet parking on arrival, exclusive offers from a selection of retail shops and restaurants, and a welcome gift and tote bag from the mall’s Concierge Desk. (Please note that Visit Orlando’s Show Your Badge and Save program is available for seven days after your event ends.)
Learn more: Orlando Shopping
With a bit of advance notice (at least five days), The Mall at Millenia can also set your group up in style with a truly personalized shopping experience provided by one of their experienced stylists. During these three-hour sessions, a professional stylist will create an ideal, customized shopping experience in The Mall at Millenia’s Personal Style Suite.
Once a request is received, the stylist will confirm the session’s date and time. After a guest completes a Style Profile — including sizes, preferred brands and budget — the stylist will select tailored apparel and accessories from an array of exclusive boutiques such as Christian Louboutin, Tory Burch, White House Black Market and more.
“The three-hour complimentary experience is truly designed for some ‘me time after the conference,’” says Sally Bagshaw, global brand manager for The Mall at Millenia. “Our stylists do all the work: selecting merchandise from several stores, while our guest sips champagne or sparkling water to relish the experience of being in expert hands. And the best part? It’s a complimentary service.”
Other locations shopping enthusiasts won’t want to miss include The Florida Mall®, Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, Orlando International Premium Outlets® and Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets®. Exceptional retailers can also be found at our all-in-one, open-air retail, dining and entertainment districts, including Disney Springs® at Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort, and Pointe Orlando and ICON Park® on International Drive.
For still more unique finds, look into bespoke boutiques in eclectic neighborhoods throughout the destination. Best of all, these shopping hotspots are all within a 15-mile radius of our convention district.
Be Part of Orlando’s Vibrant Arts & Culture Scene
Artistry quite literally comes alive in Orlando! Choose from Broadway, ballet, or fascinating cultural exhibits and collections at venues such as Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (including the brand-new Steinmetz Hall), Orlando Museum of Art, and Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture; the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden; Rollins Museum of Art and The Winter Park Playhouse in Winter Park; or the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts in Eatonville, among others.
Learn more: Orlando Arts & Culture
Tiffany glass enthusiasts will be delighted to discover the largest collection in the world in Winter Park at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. And while in Winter Park, don’t miss your chance to stroll the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, or take some time to learn still more about the history of our African American community at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center.
Learn more: Orlando Cultural Events & Arts-Inspired Venues
Eat, Drink and Be Wowed
Orlando’s culinary scene continues to expand with dozens of new, high-profile dining establishments. Popular restaurants, famed steakhouses and seafood outlets abound, as well as menus curated by celebrity chefs. All are marvelous spots to indulge in an ever-changing selection of gourmet cuisine.
Learn more: Orlando Dining
Venture to Disney Springs, home to such popular spots as José Andrés’ JALEO and Masaharu Morimoto’s Morimoto Asia, among many others. Or, head to Universal CityWalk for VIVO Italian Kitchen™, Bigfire and more.
At ICON Park, Blake Shelton’s Ole Red will dish up some boot-kickin’ southern grub, or hop the proverbial pond for an authentic taste of Britain at The Pub Orlando or Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips. Several other popular choices await there, including Tin Roof and Yard House. Even closer to the convention center, Pointe Orlando is home to Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, Rodizio Grill, and The Hampton Social, to name a few.
Just minutes from the convention district, Orlando’s Restaurant Row features a vast selection of eateries like delish dining at Seasons 52, The Whiskey, Dragonfly — Robata Grill & Sushi, and Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, with the latter serving up fun as well as delectable fare. If your group is up for a slightly longer road trip, look into the exceptional dining choices available in downtown Orlando, Winter Park, and other neighborhoods and towns close to the convention district. Just make sure everyone comes hungry!
Walk on the Wild Side
Away from the hustle and bustle of the convention district and our theme parks, Orlando’s lakes, natural springs and bike trails present a perfect backdrop for endless outdoor adventures. Airboat rides — including Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures, Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides, and Wild Florida — plus kayaking, fishing, and swimming with manatees are just a few of your choices when exploring Orlando’s great outdoors in Orange County and its neighboring regions.
Learn more: Orlando Ecotourism
Oh, your group doesn’t want to leave before they see an alligator? Head to Gatorland. Ready for stand-up paddle boarding? Well, hop aboard! Epic Paddle Adventures will take you on a tour of one of Orlando’s many glistening local lakes. Several other ecotourism attractions and tour operators, including Real Florida Adventures, will be happy to show your group our wilder side.
Get Immersed in Unique Neighborhoods
If your attendees have only experienced our convention and tourism districts, they haven’t really experienced the destination. Beyond the theme parks and attractions, unique neighborhoods and nearby cities offer endless adventures with dining, nightlife, arts & culture, outdoor recreation, shopping, and other surprises that locals love — and that your group deserves to experience during your next visit.
Many of our most popular neighborhoods can be found in and around downtown Orlando courtesy of the Orlando Main Streets program. These include downtown proper with City District and Parramore, plus Ivanhoe Village Main Street, The Milk District, Mills 50, Thornton Park District, SoDo District, Audubon Park Garden District and College Park Main Street. And close to Orlando International Airport, the forward-thinking Lake Nona is a dining hotspot with lots of outdoor activities and other surprises.
Nearby cities and towns are also destinations in their own right — and they’re all about 30 minutes or less from our convention district. Head to Winter Park for upscale shopping and dining, plus ecotourism. Just north of there, Eatonville is one of the oldest African American municipalities in the U.S., home to the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum and January’s ZORA!® Festival. And to the west, Winter Garden offers laid-back dining, entertainment and outdoor adventures, including the paved, 22-mile West Orange Trail.
These and many other hidden gems are ideal for unwinding and getting to know Orlando’s unexpected side after your next meeting or event.
Ride a Roller Coaster, Visit Harry Potter™ and More!
When SAP Sapphire meeting comes to Orlando in May, 30 to 40% of attendees bring their families, says Angela Almaguer, head of Latin America & Caribbean Regional Events, SAP International Inc. So, if your bleisure trip includes the kids — and even if it doesn’t! — why not venture to one of Orlando’s world-famous theme parks?
Discover Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® and take in world-famous festivals at EPCOT®. Explore Sesame Street Land™ and embark on the brand-new, white-knuckle Ice Breaker roller coaster at SeaWorld® Orlando. Perhaps your attendees would like to experience an action-packed show courtesy of The Bourne Stuntacular at Universal Studios Florida, or Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure™, part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ — Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Your group can also dive into unforgettable animal encounters and tranquility at Discovery Cove®, a unique, all-inclusive day resort.
These and other options are all waiting to turn your organization’s next business trip into a bleisure adventure. If your attendees would like some assistance in making the most of their extended stay, direct them to Visit Orlando’s complimentary Vacation Planning Services for insider advice and special offers on the best Orlando experiences.
Available by telephone (including the option for time-specific appointments), email and live chat, our friendly, knowledgeable Vacation Planners offer unbiased destination information, including trip-planning advice, dining and entertainment options, and more. It all goes to show that no matter what your organization dreams of doing in Orlando, we can help make it a reality!