Visit Orlando Blog
Cupcakes for dinner? Um, yes, please.
Last night was the first "Orlando Food Truck Bazaar" (presented by TheDailyCity.com) in downtown Orlando where food trucks from across Orlando -- including the Yum Yum Cupcake Truck -- gathered together to celebrate Orlando's growing gourmet food truck scene.
And celebrate we did with yummy cupcakes, gourmet mac ‘n cheese from The Crooked Spoon and delicious creations from the Korean BBQ Taco Box. From international and American cuisine to vegan and meat-lovers delights, the food truck bazaar featured a variety of culinary options...all from the side of a truck.
For the date of the next food truck extravaganza or to see a guide of the food trucks in Orlando, check out The Daily City's website.
This past weekend, comic books came to life at MegaCon in Orlando -- the ultimate convention for comic book, sci-fi, anime and gaming lovers. Thousands of people got their geek on to enjoy the costume contests, autograph signings, special events and dare we say, speed dating - all for the love of super heroes and speech bubbles. Even the famous William Shatner made an appearance.
Check out our video of this mega fun experience. The next MegaCon hits Orlando February 17-19, 2012 at the Orange County Convention Center.
Earlier this month, we launched the Visit Orlando new logo and had to laugh when we spotted Tina Fey's character sporting a fanny pack stamped with one of our old logos on an episode of NBC's "30 Rock."
The popular sitcom follows the topsy-turvy life of "Liz Lemon" (played by Tina Fey), head writer for a variety show. To set the scene for the episode "It's Never Too Late For Now," Liz has just experienced a break-up. Donning a chip-bag clip as a hair piece, a "New York" baggy sweatshirt and a fanny pack showcasing our beloved "ORLANDO" logo, she is determined to embrace spinsterhood (complete with an adopted cat who she names "Emily Dickinson").
Boy, have we come a long way since our multi-colored logo adorned tacky tourist attire.
As the weather heats up in Orlando, you might want to try some of these hot ways to cool off with our world-class water parks and attractions.
Walt Disney World Resort is home to two family-friendly water parks - Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. See amazing sea creatures like the Commerson's Dolphins at Aquatica, SeaWorld's water park. And for those thrill-seekers, there's Wet ‘n Wild.
Get the full water park experience in your hotel's backyard at CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort - Orlando (pictured) located off of International Drive. CoCo Key features thrilling slides, splash-tastic play areas and relaxing pools in their 54,000-square-foot water park. Guests are welcome to stay overnight at the tropical-themed resort or just splash around at the park for the day.
Orlando's newest water attraction is Fantasy Surf, where you can catch the ultimate indoor wave on the patented FlowRider system (watch our video here). For an all-inclusive day experience, relax at the exclusive island oasis at Discovery Cove where you can swim with dolphins, snorkel with tropical fish and rays, and hand-feed exotic birds.
When the sun goes down, Orlando keeps things cool at ICEBAR Orlando, the United States' largest bar made entirely of ice. The bar is kept at a frosty 27 degrees to keep the ice sculptures and furniture intact, and a warm thermal cape and gloves are provided to extend the thrill of the chill.
Transform an average "dinner and a movie" night into a cutting-edge experience at this year's 20th annual Florida Film Festival hosted by Enzian. The 10-day festival, April 8-17, features premier American independent and international film, special events, and tantalizing film and food pairings.
This year's opening night film and party kicks off the festival with a provocative twist, showcasing a new documentary from Academy Award-winning filmmaker, James Marsh. Marsh's thought-provoking film, "Project Nim," tells the tale of a chimp taken from its mother and raised as a human in an upper west side brownstone in 1970s New York. At the opening night party, enjoy the culinary arts with creative dishes from Orlando's own like Luma on Park, The Ravenous Pig and K Restaurant.
With a lineup of 160+ films, the festival offers a variety of cinematic entertainment, including narrative films, documentaries, shorts, food films and feature films. Featured films include "Snowmen," a family comedy starring Ray Liotta and Christopher Lloyd, and "Terri," a coming-of-age film starring John C. Reilly.
And don't forget to keep your taste buds entertained with some of the festival's "Film and Food Celebration" events that embrace Florida's flavors, such as the Fish Camp Brunch and Floridian Feasting: A Native Tribute.
Individual film tickets start at $10 and packages start at $40. Tickets and a complete list of events are available at FloridaFilmFestival.com.
Whether you're winding down with a glass of wine or indulging in a four-course meal, an outdoor table at one of Orlando's many scenic avenues creates an idyllic dining atmosphere. From lounging under the shade of swaying palm trees to relaxing by the lake, enjoy Orlando's sunny weather at these restaurants that offer open-air seating:
Road tripping to Orlando? Below is a list of songs that will make you smile as you journey through the Sunshine State.
Thanks to the following Facebook fans for sharing their ideas: Ginny, Jackie, Kris, Linda, Eva, Heide, Laura, Terry, Kate, Dawn, Amy, Shelley, Di, Denise and Diane!
1. "I Can See Clearly Now" Johnny Nash
2. "Walking On Sunshine" Katrina & The Waves
3. "Good Day Sunshine" The Beatles
4. "What a Wonderful World" Louis Armstrong
5. "We Will Rock You" Queen
6. "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" Eiffel 65
7. "Pocketful Of Sunshine" Natasha Bedingfield
8. "Drift Away" John Henry Kurtz
9. "All Summer Long" Kid Rock
10. "I'm Yours" Jason Mraz
11. "Kokomo" The Beach Boys
12. "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems" Kenny Chesney
13. "U Smile" Justin Bieber
14. "Soak Up The Sun" Sheryl Crow
15. "Time of my Life" Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
1. Trade your snow boots for flip flops and head to Orlando's world-famous water parks, offering refreshing excitement for guests of all ages: Aquatica - SeaWorld's Waterpark, Disney's Blizzard Beach, Disney's Typhoon Lagoon and Wet ‘n Wild - Orlando.
2. Catch the ultimate indoor wave at Fantasy Surf, an interactive water sport activity combining the look of surfing, the ride of snowboarding and the tricks of skateboarding all in one.
3. Catch an Atlanta Braves Spring Training game at ESPN Wide World of Sports through the end of March.
5. Experience outdoor adventures with Grande Lakes Outfitters' interpretive eco-tours or visit Forever Florida for open-air eco-safaris and ziplining. The Central Florida ZOOm Air Adventures also offers ziplining opportunities.
6. Hit a hole in one at one of Orlando's celebrity-designed golf courses at Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge. Be sure to check out the Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard at Bay Hill March 21-27 if you're in town!
7. Celebrate Mardi Gras at Universal Studios Florida Saturdays and select nights through April 23 with top-name music acts, authentic Cajun cuisine, thousands of beads and a colorful parade.
8. Welcome spring at the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival and enjoy elaborate gardens, helpful seminars and nightly musical entertainment.
9. Spice up your visit with Viva la Musica at SeaWorld Orlando as Latin culture is celebrated through music, dance, crafts, food and concerts.
10. Catch up on some R&R at Orlando's most notable spas, including The Spa at The Peabody and Mandara Spa with two Orlando locations at the Portofino Hotel and Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. In addition to a wealth of spa services for adults, The Ritz-Carlton Spa at Grande Lakes Orlando offers kid and teen-friendly services, including princess fizzing manicures and pedicures.
You're probably familiar with Downtown Disney, but Orlando has a real downtown charged with life on every block. With a refreshed urban and trendy atmosphere, downtown Orlando is a hot nighttime spot bursting with arts and culture, eclectic restaurants and a thriving nightlife. From museums and art galleries to wine bars and nightclubs, spring breakers will find that the fun in Orlando continues after the sun goes down.
Located east of Interstate 4 and north of the attractions area, the downtown area offers a wealth of dining and entertainment options.
Where to find hot spots: The action is centered along Orange Avenue (runs directly through downtown) and along its intersections like Church Street and Wall Street. Try Bliss Ultra Lounge or Chillers if you want to dance the night away or check out live music at Baby Grands Dueling Piano Bar and Ceviche. For places with a cool atmosphere and open-air seating, stop by Ember and roof-top bar Latitudes. For more downtown nightlife options, click here.
For the love of art!: Downtown Orlando still exudes historic culture with architecture and buildings dating back to the 1800s. To learn more about the city's history, visit the Orange County Regional History Center. And for the artists at heart, stop by these local art galleries before a night out: CityArts Factory and Gallery at Avalon Island.
Funky dining options: Who says your palette can't have a dance party, too? Here are some unique eateries in the downtown area that will set the stage for an entertaining evening: Bananas Diner, Hamburger Mary's, HUE, Ethos Vegan Kitchen and The Dessert Lady.
Special events: Downtown Orlando is home to a brand new state-of-the-art facility, Amway Center, that hosts the area's professional basketball team, the Orlando Magic, special events and concerts. Other special events coming soon: Spring Fiesta in the Park and Florida Music Festival in April.
Where to stay: If you want to stay close to the action, book a reservation at downtown's landmark luxury hotel, Grand Bohemian Hotel. The Eõ Inn & Spa, The Veranda Bed & Breakfast and The Courtyard at Lake Lucerne are also charming options nearby.
Spice up your Saturdays with the "Viva La Música" festival March 12 - April 2 at SeaWorld Orlando. The event, beginning at noon each Saturday, showcases traditional Latin specialties and authentic family fare along with Grammy and Latin Grammy-award winning acts performing salsa, merengue, reggaeton and more. Brand new this year is an expanded menu crafted by new executive chef, Héctor Colón, featuring customary dishes from South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. This year's line-up:
March 12 - Chino Y Nacho
March 19 - Manny Manuel
March 26 - Jerry Rivera
April 2 - Ednita Nazario (pictured)
VIP packages starting at $15 are available for reserved, front-and-center seating to performances. And to make sure you don't miss a beat, a SeaWorld Fun Card lets Florida residents pay for one day and come back for all the musical performances (and whenever you want for the rest of the year).
"Viva La Música" will also take place at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay every Sunday during the same time timeframe. Visit SeaWorldOrlando.com for more details.