Visit Orlando Blog
Welcome to the Visit Orlando Blog! We provide the latest information to help you plan your dream Orlando vacation. From ideas on things to do and insider tips to special events and seasonal deals, the Visit Orlando Blog explores all that Orlando has to offer. Browse categories like theme parks, places to stay, shopping and restaurants for ideas to help build your trip itinerary.
Orlando has it all, family-friendly experiences, theme parks, outdoor adventures, attractions, awesome culinary and a rich cultural experience. In Orlando you will find live theatre, music, dance, art, film but most of all, time transporting and awe inspiring museums! Take a stroll through some of Orlando's museums:
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of America Art is a must-stop for the Winter Park visitors. The museum is home to the world's most comprehensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, an all-new fountain pen gallery, windows, lamps, assorted objet d'arts and the chapel interior the artist designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago (pictured above). Admission cost is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children 12 and under. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday.
The Hannibal Square Heritage Center is another Winter Park gem. Visitors are invited to appreciate archival of photos and oral history of Winter Park's historic African-American community. Admission is free and open to the public Monday through Friday.
The Historic Waterhouse Residence & Carpentry Shop Museum, constructed in 1884, was home to pioneer settler William H. Waterhouse. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors, $2 for children and free for members and children three years and younger.
The Orange County Regional History Center, located in Downtown Orlando, first opened in 1942 in the 1892 red brick Orange County Courthouse. Affiliated with the Smithsonian, the History Center (pictured above) uses art, artifacts and interactive exhibits to tell the story of how modern Orlando came to be. For hours and admission prices visit historycenter.org.
The Orlando Museum of Art is located in Loch Haven Park and is a nationally accredited facility with a permanent collection of African, American, Ancient American and contemporary American art and graphics. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, military, groups of 10 or more and college students, $5 for children 4 through 17 and free for members and ages 3 and under.
The Mennello Museum of American Art is located on the picturesque shore of Lake Formosa in Loch Haven Park and showcases changing exhibitions featuring American art of all genres and time periods, including originally curated and traveling shows. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $1 for students and children 6 through 18 and free for children under 6 and active military.
Wells' Built Museum of African-American History
The Wells' Built Museum of African-American History features exhibits, artifacts and memorabilia from the period in which Orlando's cultural fabric was defined by African-American artists and performers.
The Winter Park Historical Museum features exhibits that portray how the city of Winter Park grew from a seasonal resort to a year-round city recognized for education, arts and leisure. Admission is free.
The Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Art is located in Eatonville, the nation's oldest incorporated African-American community and celebrates the works of the local author and other artists of African descent. Admission is free. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
For more information about events and our museums click here.
From rock ‘n roll and country to comedians and dancers, Orlando's after-hours entertainment scene features a variety of live performances and everlasting memories.
Once the sun goes down, Orlando's after-hours experiences begin to heat up - especially when it comes to live entertainment. In the heart of International Drive in an industrial dive bar is DRIP, an explosion of color and movement, backed by a live rock band. Known for its highly visual innovative and messy performance, DRIP creates a sensory environment with colored sand, raining paint, and flying water - not to mention beer available in a rainbow of orange, yellow, red and blue. Just a few steps away at Pointe Orlando is The Orlando Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theatre, the career launching pad for dozens of familiar faces of TV and film and a great place to share some laughs.
Another great location to see top-touring stand-up comics, as well as nationally known and up-and-coming music acts, is Hard Rock LIVE Orlando at Universal CityWalk. Featuring the latest in sound and lighting technology, Orlando's "Coliseum of Rock" seats up to 3,000 and features a full bar and concession area. Within the Downtown Disney entertainment complex are another two great venues for live entertainment - the House of Blues Orlando, featuring live music and dining, and La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil, an extraordinary avant-garde spectacle with more than 65 artists performing improbable feats of incredible strength and breathtaking beauty.
Get excited, muggles!
The Harry Potter phenomenon is expanding at Universal Orlando Resort with the announcement of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Diagon Alley coming in 2014. This new expansion will allow guests to enjoy a multi-park experience as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter entertains guests both at Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure. Diagon Alley and ‘London' will be located within the Universal Studios Florida theme park, which is adjacent to Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park, where guests now experience Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. The new area, which guests can travel to from Hogsmeade aboard the Hogwarts Express, will be just as expansive, immersive and authentic as the existing themed environment.
When complete, the new area will feature shops, a restaurant and an innovative, marquee attraction based on Gringotts bank - all directly inspired by the fiction and films.
Mother's Day is right around the corner and we'd like to give you a couple of ideas to celebrate. From brunch shows to decadent dinners, Mother's Day in Orlando is sure to be filled with surprises and treats.
- For an upscale experience and gourmet cuisine, try brunch at The Peabody Orlando's Capriccio Grill. If young children are part of this special day, you may opt to visit The Bistro at the Hilton Orlando where Mom will be able to take photos with Shamu and Friends while children entertain themselves with craft stations.
- If you're looking for some Southern flair and hospitality, head toward the Enzian Theatre for a buffet brunch with live music and mimosas. To top it off, sit back, relax and enjoy O'Hara and Butler in Gone with the Wind.
- Medieval Times will let mom in free of charge so she can enjoy the heart-pounding show while being treated like a queen.
- At The Black Hammock, moms can enjoy a free air boat ride followed by a home cooked ham dinner.
- Take her for a stroll through Bok Tower Gardens and enjoy carillon concerts or visit Harry P. Leu Gardens for free admission on her special day.
- End your day with an exquisite dinner experience at FishBones, where mom can enjoy a free filet with her loved ones.
For a list of events on Mother's Day weekend click here.
Fun Spot America, will open phase one of its biggest expansion ever on June 8th. The family fun amusement park, already a popular hit for their go-kart tracks, will now feature a new White Lighting wooden coaster, the second biggest SkyCoaster in the world (now Orlando's 10th largest structure) and a new suspended rollercoaster called Vekoma (pictured below). The new area will also have a casual dining establishment, family friendly rides, prizes and more. Both admission and parking are free.
Phase two will open by 2015 with the addition of a water park, dinner show and food court.
Construction has already begun, and by early 2014, visitors will have an exciting new dining, entertainment and shopping area to explore, as Phase I of the I-Drive Live project is set to open. Occupying 95,000 square feet of space, the $200 million project will ultimately boast more than 75 shops, restaurants and attractions, including a 25,000-square-foot Madam Tussauds wax museum, 25,000-square-foot Sea Life Aquarium and a central building with national tenants, yet to be named.
Kings Bowl, which provides good food, great music and a memorable bowling experience, is already open. The focal point of the project, and probably one of the coolest parts too, will be the 425-feet Orlando Eye observation wheel, which will reward visitors with a nearly 30 minute journey into the air to enjoy Orlando's unique skyline. Shops and restaurants will continue to open with the final stage to be complete within 24 months.
East End Market will be an urban public market that will open its doors to this summer 2013. The market will be located in Audubon Park and will host small, independently owned food merchants and the exterior will be landscaped with edible and Florida-friendly varietals.
This will be the first of its kind in the Southeast and will be home to a new farm-fresh restaurant called Txokos, a new culinary concept from the owners of Spanish River Grill in New Smyrna, FL. Txokos, owned by Chef Henry Salgado and his wife, Michelle, will be an entirely different concept focusing on food and wine specific to the Basque region of Spain. Chef Henry cooks up creative specialties using a blend of regional ingredients strongly influenced by the bustling barrios of Latino neighborhoods and the traditional Spanish countryside, while Michelle manages the restaurant. Salgado was a James Beard Award semifinalist in 2012.
For more information about this local food hub visit eastendmkt.com
Following the unexpected arrival of Megatron to Downtown Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort invites all guests to prepare for battle as their new ride, Transformers: The Ride - 3D, opens on June 20th, 2013. The new addition, one of many exciting new things in Orlando this year, will bring the intergalactic battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons to Universal Studios Florida.
Stay tuned for more news! Universal Orlando Resort will release the opening date of Transformers: The Ride - 3D tomorrow May 2nd.
The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, one of Orlando's most luxurious hotels, had recent $54 million renovation. Some of the new things at the resort include:
- Water Slide Tower Pavilion,
- Water Jet Splash Zone
- children's Rock Climbing Stations
These additions complement already existing favorites such as the rope bridge, walking paths, and expansive, wrap-around sundecks, Jack Nicklaus Signature Design golf, the Tennis and Racquet Club, and marked jogging, walking, and biking trails.
Also, the new pool bar, On the Rocks, is situated along Lake Windsong, offering views of the 800,000 gallon lagoon pool (pictured above) and beach. The new pool bar is the hub of outdoor activity with four 60" TVs, relaxing, shaded seating with misting fans, 16 bar seats and table seating for 20 with full bar and food service options.
Now that you already know that there's Time For More in Orlando during May or June you can certainly get more of this great Orlando resort. Visit HyattGrandCypress.com and use code SUMMER to receive a food and beverage credit for use during your stay. Offer is valid through September 30, 2013. Rates begin at $169.