Visit Orlando Blog - Golf
Orlando is in the middle of NBA excitement this week as the 2012 NBA All-Star festivities begin! And we're not the only ones who think that Orlando is the perfect place to play host to All-Star Weekend . . . Forbes magazine does, too!
This week, Forbes wrote an article highlighting why Orlando is a premier city for NBA fans, citing our exciting nightlife in downtown Orlando at hot spots like Ember and One80, restaurants for sports lovers such as Kres Chophouse, prized for top-notch steak, gourmet cuisine and a nouveau atmosphere and Dragonfly , along Orlando's popular "Restaurant Row", featuring premium sushi selections and an open-fire robata grill.
For sports lovers and fans who want to get active during their stay, Orlando also has plenty of championship golf courses, such as Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill, and the 45-hole course at the Villas of Grand Cypress Golf Club.
According to Forbes, other major pluses for Orlando are our high-end, luxury hotels. The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes features a 40,000 square-foot spa and nine restaurants, plenty of room for 7-foot tall athletes who love to eat and be pampered. The Waldorf Astoria Orlando features beds fitted with Egyptian cotton sheets and Italian marble counters. Orlando is action-packed, exciting and a guaranteed paradise for NBA fans and visitors alike!
From football and golf to holiday decorations and snow, this week in Orlando has a little bit of everything. Check out what's happening Nov. 14 - 20:
Leu's Holiday House, Nov. 14 - Jan. 4
At Harry P. Leu Gardens, they don't take decking the halls lightly. This holiday season, visitors to the Leu House Museum will find 11 holiday-themed rooms transformed with amazing dioramas created by designers from Seminole State College of Florida Interior Design and Ron's Miniature Shop & Museum. Thirty minute tours are given on the hour and half-hour from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily.
2011 LPGA Tour CME Group Titleholders, Nov. 17 - 20
The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress hosts the 2011 LPGA Tour season-finale of the CME Group Titleholders. Watch as 66 players who qualified as the top-three performers in each of the 22 LPGA tournaments this year compete for a total purse of $1.5 million.
ICE! Shrek the Halls, Nov. 16 - Jan, 2
What do you get when you combine Shrek, Po the Panda and two-million pounds of ice? It's a winter wonderland filled with some of DreamWorks' most loved animated characters at the Gaylord Palms with ICE! Shrek the Halls and the all-new Kung Fu Panda SNOW. See colorful ice sculptures carved entirely out of ice, crawl through underground snow tunnels and slide down a 64-foot (19.5 meter) pagoda slide. Individual or special-package deal attraction tickets are available.
Florida Classic, Nov. 19
Are you ready for some football? It is Florida Classic week in Orlando, with events ranging from Battle of the Bands at Amway Center and an official after-party at House of Blues. The Florida Classic takes over the Citrus Bowl on Saturday with kick-off at 2:30 p.m. As the largest football game between two historically Black Colleges in America surpassing the Bayou Classic as the top attended game in NCAA Division I-AA, proceeds from The Florida Classic and all official ancillary events support the mission of Bethune-Cookman University and Florida A&M University to provide educational opportunities through scholarships for all students.
Embrace the spirit of diversity in Orlando this week with a line-up of special events that celebrate arts and culture. From independent film festivals and craft fairs to foodie events and cultural street parties, here's a list of what's happening in Orlando Oct. 17-23.
Orlando Film Festival, Oct. 19-23
This film festival in downtown Orlando showcases more than 140 independent films from all over the world. Admission: $5 one-day pass (includes all screenings for that day); $15 all-festival pass (festival access every day).
Children's Miracle Network Classic, Oct. 20-23
This tournament brings together more than 125 top PGA Tour players in a quest for a multi-million dollar purse. The 72-hole event is played on Disney's Magnolia and Palm courses. Admission: $10 individual rounds, $20 weeklong badges and $30 one-day Wine & Dine ticket.
Central Florida Veg Fest, Oct. 22
This family-friendly festival offers educational exhibits and events about vegetarian cuisine and lifestyle. Held in Loch Haven Park from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., the veg fest features new products and ideas from more than 250 vendors and contributors as well as a wide variety of food preparation demos. Admission: free.
Mount Dora Craft Fair, Oct. 22-23
This nationally ranked juried event continues to attract more than 250,000 visitors and more than 350 of the best crafters in the country. The craft fair is held on the downtown streets of Mount Dora from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission: free.
Zoo Boo Bash, October 22, 23, 29 & 30
Trick-or-treat in the wildest neighborhood in town at the Central Florida Zoo. Come dressed in costume to this family-friendly event, which features face painting, a haunted hayride and pumpkin patch. Kids can also learn about the myths and realities of misunderstood animals. Admission: included in zoo admission ($12.95 for adults and $8.95 for kids ages 3-12).
Festival Calle Orange, Oct. 23
Calle Orange is Central Florida's largest Hispanic street festival. Celebrate Hispanic culture in downtown Orlando with a variety of music, food and dancing. Admission: $15 general admission; kids 10 and under free.
Theme Park Events
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (pictured above), daily through Nov. 13
Sip, sample and savor treasures from around the world at this Epcot festival. From tasty tapas and refreshing beverages to celebrity chef demonstrations and rock star performances, there's something to satisfy most every taste and interest. Admission: event included in regular park admission ($85 for adults and $79 for children ages 3-9); tapas-sized portions of regional specialties run $3-$8 each.
SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular, every weekend in October
Youngsters can dive into this Halloween underwater "fantasea" every weekend in October. At this daytime event, kids can trick-or-treat, dance with whimsical sea creatures, catch silly and spooky shows and create sea-themed arts and crafts. Admission: included in park admission ($81.99 for adults and $73.99 for kids ages 3-9).
Halloween Horror Nights, select nights through Oct. 31
Celebrating 21 years of fear, Halloween Horror Nights returns to Universal Studios as the nation's most intense Halloween event. During select nights, the theme park transforms into a bloodcurdling labyrinth of haunted houses, scarezones and live shows as brave guests confront extreme Halloween entertainment. Admission: $81.99.
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, select nights through Nov. 1
Guests of all ages are invited to dress in costume and trick-or-treat at Magic Kingdom's boo-free bash after regular park hours. The "not-so-scary" festivities include Mickey's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade and the bewitching Happy HalloWishes fireworks show. Admission: party tickets start at $53.95 for adults and $47.95 for kids 3-9.
For more special events in Orlando, check out our calendar of events here.
Enjoy Orlando's warm and sunny weather into the fall season with these top 10 activities:
1. Enrich your artistic side with dance, theatre or orchestra performances during the start of the 2011-2012 arts season in Central Florida. For a sample of Orlando's cultural offerings, attend the special evening event Red Chair Affair Aug. 27 or take advantage of free admission to select Orlando museums on Museum Day Sept. 24.
2. Savor and save during Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month, a culinary celebration Sept. 1-30 with more than 65 Orlando-area restaurants offering three-course prix fixe dinners for just $30.
3. Take a leisurely stroll at some of Orlando's scenic outdoor attractions like Harry P. Leu Gardens (pictured), Bok Tower Gardens or Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. Or, relax on a Scenic Boat Tour of the beautiful lakes and estates of Winter Park.
4. Rock out alongside fellow Christian music fans during Orlando's Faith and Fun Weekend Sept. 9-10. The weekend features contemporary Christian music festivals at two major theme parks - Night of Joy at Disney's Magic Kingdom and Rock the Universe at Universal Studios.
6. Sip and sample international cuisines and wines at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Sept. 30-Nov. 13 or the tastings from the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels during their Food & Wine Classic Oct. 7-8.
7. Explore a world of epic proportions at the newest theme park to the Orlando area, LEGOLAND Florida, opening Oct. 15. As the world's largest LEGOLAND, the 150-acre family theme park will offer more than 50 rides, shows and attractions.
8. Trick-or-treat at some of the biggest Halloween bashes in Orlando. Little ones will enjoy hauntingly happy fun during select dates at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (pictured) at Magic Kingdom (September-November), SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular (October) and Zoo Boo Bash at the Central Florida Zoo (October). For those looking for the ultimate Halloween scare, confront your fears at terrifying magnitudes at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights (September-October).
9. Follow golfers from the tee to the green during the Children's Miracle Network Classic (Oct. 20-23) on Disney's Magnolia and Palm courses. The 72-hole tournament brings together nearly 150 top PGA Tour players in a quest for a multi-million dollar purse.
10. Get your jam on during Orlando Calling, the new music festival coming to Orlando Nov. 12-13. The weekend event will host 100 bands on four stages, including headliners The Killers, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band and Kid Rock.
If you have questions about your Orlando vacation, contact one of our Official Travel Counselors by phone, email or live chat.
Enjoy this special post by syndicated travel writer and mom, Eileen Ogintz:
We moms know the dirty little secret of family vacations: They're no vacation for us, especially when young kids are part of the equation.
Here's how to make sure you get a much deserved vacation break:
1. Go off on your own for a few days with friends. Come to Orlando for spa, shopping and good eats. (Pictured below: The Waldorf Astoria Spa by Guerlain)
2. Invite grandparents along so you have extra hands-and eyes-on the kids. But if you're planning a trip with the in-laws, discuss beforehand exactly how much they're willing to baby-sit and who is paying for what.
3. Join forces with another family. Not only can you share costs for that vacation condo or cottage and food but you can share child care chores and the kids have built-in friends. This is an especially good bet for single moms.
4. Bring along your favorite sitter. Let her (or him) entertain them while you steal an hour to yourself!
5. Hire a sitter for a few hours or evening. See if the resort or hotel has an employee list of approved babysitters. If you have friends in the area, ask for their recommendations. Sign the kids up for the hotel's kids' program (even several Disney hotels have them). Even if you only go so far as the hotel restaurant or the adult pool, you will still get a break.
6. Negotiate "just me" time with your significant other: you get an hour to sleep in while they get the kids fed; you watch the kids at the pool while he plays golf.
Most important, let go of the guilt! It's your vacation too.
To read more family travel tips from Eileen, visit takingthekids.com.
Just when you think summer is coming to an end, think again! In Orlando, you can experience a second summer with the best deals of the entire year.
Orlando's deal season, running from Aug. 15 - Sept. 30 (that's 45 days!), features the cream of crop of savings, including up to 65% off on accommodations and special offers on theme parks, dining, golf and more.
Here are some of the sunny savings* available:
• 5-star Waldorf Astoria Orlando - rates from $141 per night
• 4-star Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress - rates from $118 per night
• 3-star CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort - rates from $85 per night
• 3-star The Wyndham Orlando Resort - rates from $63 per night
• Walt Disney World Resort - get a free dining plan when you buy the New
Memories Vacation Package (restrictions apply)
• Universal Orlando Resort - save up to 30% at an on-site hotel, plus stay 3
nights or longer and receive $150 in resort savings
• SeaWorld Orlando - adult tickets at kids prices, plus a second day free
The month of September is also Visit Orlando's Magical Dining Month when more than 65 of the best Orlando-area restaurants offer three-course dinners for just $30.
So don't store those summer shorts just yet and enjoy a second summer in Orlando! Find more details on rates and offers at VisitOrlando.com/deals.
*Subject to change and availability
If you're visiting Orlando this summer, heat up the fun and cool down the spending with these deals for accommodations, attractions, arts and culture and more.
Celebrate and save:
In honor of Orlando drawing more than 50 million visitors in 2010, Orlando's three Marriott Resorts are offering a limited-time "Nifty Fifty" package featuring savings of up to 50 percent, a $50 resort credit and a 50-minute spa treatment of choice. The Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, Orlando World Center Marriott (pictured) and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes are offering this nifty package for a minimum of two-night reservations made by June 30 (valid for travel through December 31). Use rate code ZJL at time of booking.
Save where you stay:
Orlando Vista Hotel is offering summer rates from $49.99 per night for dates June 6 - Aug. 31 (based on availability). This offer can be booked using code LSSS1 now through Aug. 31. 407-239-4646
Sky Hotels & Resorts is offering a "Splash & Scream" package that includes a one-bedroom suite (upgrades to multi-bedroom suites available), complimentary four-pack of tickets to both Universal Orlando Resort and Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, beach towels and pizza party. Nightly rates start at $255 for a family of four through Aug. 31. 866-455-4062
Star Island Resort & Club is offering 20 percent off reserved two-night stays and 30 percent off reserved three-night stays June 27 - Aug. 31. 407-513-2820
Staybridge Suites of Orlando is offering up to two nights free when you book a "Disney Theme Park Package." The package includes suite accommodations, theme park tickets, breakfast buffet and scheduled shuttle to Walt Disney World Resort. The package is available at both the International Drive and Lake Buena Vista locations. 800-866-4549
Save where you play:
Putting Edge Glow-in-the-Dark Mini Golf is offering a summer "Fun Pass" at a 20 percent discounted rate. For $59.99, the pass can be used for up to four people at a time (one play each). The pass, which can be redeemed for up to nine plays, is valid for one year. 407-248-0700
Marriott's Grande Pines Golf Club is offering a $39 one-week rental. Rent golf clubs on your first day and use them for the rest of the week at no additional cost. 407-239-6909
Orange County Regional History Center is offering free admission for up to four children (ages 12 and under) with one paid adult admission every Monday as part of "Mondays at the Museum" June 13 - Aug. 8. Adult admission is $9.
Richard Petty Driving Experience is offering "Buy One Ride-Along, Get a Second Ride-Along" free at the Walt Disney World Speedway through August 31. Visit Walt Disney World Speedway during business hours and mention "Visit Orlando" to take advantage of this offer. 800-237-3889
The Hutchins' vacation to Orlando was far from their typical "drive to the beach." As one of the families who won our Vacation Makeover contest earlier this year, they had plenty of past vacation mishaps that needed some making over.
From crowded hotel stays to different interests, this family from Virginia was looking for a vacation that could make the whole family -- a whopping family of five -- happy. Mom Krista Hutchins even recalls a date night with her husband in the halls of their hotel to escape the kids (complete with candy bars from a nearby vending machine and burgers).
With help from Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom, we created a customized dream vacation to Orlando that even turned their past vacation "date night" of burgers and candy in the hallway into wine and a private dinner by the pool.
To see all the Vacation Makeover videos and to learn more about the featured activities, click here.
Looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift for this weekend? Here's a list of relaxing, entertaining and thoughtful Mother's Day events and specials in the Orlando area for all different types of moms.
For the "I need a break!" mom
Enjoy a lakeside Mother's Day Tea May 7 at 10 a.m. at the Waterhouse Residence Museum at the Art & History Museums - Maitland. The tea time experience will include a tour of the museum followed by tea and assorted pastries served lakeside. Mothers will also receive a special gift. Reservations are required. Prices are $20 for adults and $15 for children under 16.
Get breakfast in bed at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek with their special package May 7-8. The package allows children to help create and plate a special breakfast for mom, including heart-shaped pancakes, with the assistance of the chefs at Harvest Bistro. The breakfast, served in the guestroom, will include a freshly-cut floral bouquet assembled by the children.
Just relax at The Spa at The Peabody (pictured) with their Mother's Day packages including "Sweet as Sugar" and "Bee Pampered" manicure/pedicure packages and the "Tranquility" and "Sweet Retreat" massage packages. Other packages include body treatments and facials. Package prices range from $125-$205.
For the adventure-seeking mom
See life from a different perspective with the Bohemian Hotel Celebration's "Adventure in the Sky" package. Starting at $549, the package includes one night accommodations, two tickets for a hot air balloon ride plus transportation to and from the balloon ride landing zone.
Kick up the adrenaline a notch with a free captain's package upgrade on Mauiva Air Tours through May 15. The package allows moms to actually take the controls and become the co-pilot during a flight.
For the thrifty mom
Moms experience Dinosaur World for free May 8 with a paid child's admission.
Play a round of golf "fore" free at Falcon's Fire Golf Club with a paying guest May 8. All women's apparel in the pro shop is 35 percent off.
Medieval Times is offering free admission and a free flower for all mothers on May 8 with one paid admission. In addition, a special Mother's Day package is available May 6-8, which includes a remembrance photo, one glass of champagne, a crystal heart, star or crown necklace, and a cheering flag to support her favorite knight. The package price is $30.
For the "show"-stopping mom
Enzian is hosting a Mother's Day brunch and a showing of "The Sound of Music" May 8. The event starts with a brunch buffet at 11 a.m. that includes mimosas and a carving station followed by the film at noon. Admission is $35 per person. Table reservations ranging from $100-$200 are also available, which include the buffet, film, and unlimited champagne and mimosas.
For the "let's do brunch" mom
Here are some of the spots serving special Mother's Day brunches: The Boheme at Grand Bohemian Hotel, La Coquina at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Rosen Centre's Café Gauguin, Rosen Shingle Creek's Café Osceola and Rosen Plaza Hotel.
This year, we wanted to know where we could find the most smiles in Orlando during spring break, so we asked our Facebook fans to vote for their top 10 spots out of 10 different categories. Whoever received the most votes in each category was the next stop on our hunt to search for spring break smiles. Check out our video below highlighting all 10 spots.
Here are the spots our fans voted that we'd find the most smiles during spring break:
1. Outdoors: Florida EcoSafaris (pictured)
2. International Drive: Orlando Premium Outlets - International Dr
3. Kissimmee: Boggy Creek Airboat Rides
4. Downtown: Orlando Science Center
5. SeaWorld Orlando: Riding Manta
6. Walt Disney World Resort: Magic Kingdom Theme Park
7. Water Parks: Wet ‘n Wild
8. Golf: Shingle Creek Golf Club
9. Winter Park: The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
10. Universal Orlando Resort: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
Honorable Mention: Gatorland