OPENING IN 2023

ATTRACTIONS

Walt Disney World Resort

  • TRON Lightcycle / Run, opened at Magic Kingdom Park on April 4. The new attraction is one of the fastest coasters at any Disney theme park in the world. Based on the Disney sci-fi film TRON: Legacy, guests will speed across a world with no horizons in a high-stakes race in their very own Lightcycle.
  • Walt Disney World updated nighttime spectaculars with the return of the “Happily Ever After” at Magic Kingdom Park, featuring all-new projections down Main Street, U.S.A. and “EPCOT Forever,” a limited-time spectacle of lasers, lighting, special effects and fireworks at EPCOT, on April 3.
  • Journey of Water, inspired by Moana, will be brought to life in late-2023 within World Nature - the EPCOT neighborhood dedicated to understanding and preserving the beauty, awe, and balance of the natural world. The all-ages attraction will allow guests to explore and engage with water as it travels from the skies to the oceans and back again.  

Universal Orlando Resort

  • Universal Orlando Resort will debut Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast, a first-of-its-kind diabolical family attraction inspired by Illumination’s Minions Franchise, in summer 2023. The all-new interactive, blaster game experience will invite guests to put their villainous skills to the test as they compete to join the ranks of the franchise’s infamous supervillains. The new attraction will open within a new Minion Land on Illumination Ave, which will also feature the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem attraction.

SeaWorld Orlando Parks & Entertainment

  • Pipeline: The Surf Coaster, SeaWorld Orlando’s 7th roller coaster, debuted on May 27. The attraction will be the world’s first “Surf Coaster,” offering immersive design elements, including a dynamic surfing launch and “wave jumping” motions. Riders will be secured on the roller coaster in a surfing position and will be launched at top speeds, reaching 60mph and feel like they are catching a wave – offering a one-of-a-kind ocean adventure.
  • SeaWorld Orlando opened its all-new Coral Rescue Center to park guests. The center provides an important way to view living corals up close, learn more about conservation and understand the steps everyone can take to make a difference in ocean health.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort

  • LEGOLAND Florida opened its newest attraction – Pirate River Quest – in January 2023. The family-friendly treasure hunt adventure, led by a pirate in search of a lost treasure, takes guests through the uncharted waters of the legendary Cypress Gardens to discover the secrets protecting its canals.

Beyond the Theme Parks

  • Orlando Fringe opened “Fringe ArtSpace,” a year-round performing arts venue, in downtown Orlando in January 2023. The 9,100 square foot space will include two performing theatre spaces: a mainstage with 166 seats and a black box with 40-60 seats. The programing will feature a mix of traditionally programmed theatre and concerts as well as a studio series with weekly, monthly and pop-up events like workshops, classes, readings, performances and artistic explorations.   
  • Gatorland opened Croc Rock, a new, three-in-one outdoor adventure, on March 28. The interactive experience allows visitors to climb, zipline and cross a swing bridge located next to Bobcat Bayou.
  • Dezerland Park Orlando opened two new family-friendly attractions, Virtual Reality Arena and Laser Tag Maze, last month. In the VR Arena, guests can play against family and friends in player vs. player mode or team up against a variety of enemies, like aliens and zombie versions of hot dog mascots, football players and clowns, in player vs. enemy mode. The Lazer Tag Maze features an inflatable course that can host up to 20 players in over 20 different game modes including a free-for-all and team-match option.
  • The Wheel at ICON Park debuted “The Great Florida Road Trip,” an all-new interactive enhancement and the first gaming experience inside of an observation wheel, in April. The experience takes visitors on a nostalgic holiday through midcentury Florida before the era of theme parks and resorts. Guests will help capture snapshots, through a camera-esque device, of Florida vacation spots through a collection of billboards. A special prize will be given to whoever achieves the highest score by capturing the most snapshots.
  • The Lonely Dog Immersive Experience, an immersive storytelling exhibition based New Zealand artist Ivan Clarke’s artwork and novel that followed, debuted in May. Located on International Drive, the exhibition lets audiences jump into the world of the stray hound turned guitarist in the show that combines the art of storytelling with animated paintings, 3D imagery, and original music.
  • Luminary Nights on the Green, a new 20-minute show at the city’s newest park, Luminary Green, debuted in May. The show turns the iconic Orlando sign into a canvas with projected animations and lighting set to music. The display, running from dusk till 10 p.m. nightly, showcases Orlando’s unique and authentic features, such as nature, innovation, thrills and hospitality.
  • Ripley’s Mirror Maze has opened next to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando. The new attraction offers an adventure filled with mirrored rooms and winding hallways, challenging anyone's sense of direction and depth perception as they attempt to find their way out of a mirage. Tickets start at $12.99 per child and $16.99 per adult. 
  • Escapology Orlando opened a new location at the Promenade at Sunset Walk. The attraction features immersive escape games including Batman: The Dark Knight Challenge, Scooby-Doo and the Spooky Castle Adventure, A Pirate’s Curse and Who Stole Mona?
  • Verse Orlando, an all-new, immersive interactive and augmented reality experience, is now open in Lake Nona near Boxi Park. Guests are invited to explore a treasure hunt, take a magical journey, witness historical events and more exciting adventures as they walk around wearing fully transparent headsets while interacting with the story.
  • Fun Spot America Kissimmee has reopened Mind Blower, the only wooden coaster in Florida with a Zero-G Barrel Roll, with smoother thrills than ever before. The retracking project improved the six-year-old coaster, focusing on the most dynamic sections of the ride’s track.
  • Funtastic Depot, Orlando’s largest indoor amusement park, is set to open in July. The 30,000-square-foot family entertainment center will feature an inflatable concept park, climbing walls, ninja obstacle course, giant multi-level playground, toddler zone area, arcades and a karaoke booth, along with live entertainment on weekends. The venue will offer a full menu including pizza, sandwiches and more.
  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has partnered with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) to become a Certified Autism Center™. This collaboration aims to ensure that autistic and sensory-sensitive individuals can visit with confidence and paves the way for inclusive experiences. As a Certified Autism Center, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will have trained and knowledgeable team members, on-site sensory guidance, designated low sensory areas and a sensory guide.

DINING & NIGHTLIFE

Walt Disney World Resort

  • Roundup Rodeo BBQ, the world’s first “Toy Story” table service restaurant, opened spring 2023 at Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The restaurant features barbecue-inspired comfort foods served family style and miniature sweet surprises.
  • EET, an all-new, modern Indian restaurant by the James Beard Award-winning chef and Food Network star, Maneet Chauhan, will be opening at Disney Springs later this year.

Universal Orlando Resort

  • Minion Land on Illumination Ave., the immersive area opening this summer at Universal Studios Florida, will be home to the new Minion-themed dining experiences, including Illumination’s Minion Cafe, a highly-entertaining dining experience that features three themed areas designed after beloved Minions Kevin, Stuart, Bob and Otto; Bake My Day, a whimsical retail location and bakery featuring a selection of Minion-themed sweet treats, including cupcakes, macarons, s’mores and more; and Pop-A-Nana, a whimsical retail location and bakery featuring a selection of Minion-themed sweet treats, including cupcakes, macarons, s’mores and more.

Beyond the Theme Parks

  • Sampaguita Ice Cream & Desserts, an all-new Filipino-inspired ice cream shop from the owners of Greenery Creamery, opened in the Mills 50 district in January. The shop currently features ice cream, soft cream, halo halo, shakes and sundaes, along with vegan options, and plans to offer traditional Filipino baked goods in the future.
  • Haan Coffee, a Korean-style beanery, opened in the Mills 50 district, offering beverages like matcha, tea, coffee and “croffles” (croissant-waffles).
  • Dolly Llama, a L.A.-based waffle and artisanal ice cream shop, opened in Winter Garden on Jan.7, featuring ice cream and bubble waffles. 
  • Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, a Southern breakfast and lunch chain, will make its Orlando area debut in Winter Park in 2023. The location will be the first in the state, featuring Southern comfort food including chicken sandwiches, biscuits, and donuts.
  • The Cake Bake Shop by Gwendolyn Rogers, an Indiana-based table service restaurant and bakery, will open a new location at Disney’s BoardWalk in Walt Disney World Resort in 2023. The restaurant will offer savory and sweet options, along with afternoon tea service, in a whimsical atmosphere.
  • Brew Theory Marketplace, an all-new food hall coming to Apopka summer 2023, will feature Greater Orlando’s favorite restaurant concepts, a full liquor bar, Brew Theory taproom, a beer garden and various retail tenants. 
  • The Moderne, a new upscale, late-night lounge serving Asian-inspired tapas and craft cocktails, opened in the Mills 50 district in January. The restaurant, from Maki Hibachi’s Michael Nguyen, features an art deco design.
  • JoJo’s ShakeBAR, the Chicago-based 80s and 90s-themed diner, opened its first Florida location at Pointe Orlando on International Drive this year. JoJo’s will offer a full menu of diner classics, hand-crafted cocktails and decadent desserts, including milkshakes, milk bars, gourmet cookies and infused milks.
  • Norman’s, acclaimed chef Norman Van Aken’s new restaurant on Sand Lake’s Restaurant Row, opened on Feb. 15. The restaurant features an all-new menu with familiar flavors that draw on its predecessors and present personality all its own.
  • Smoke & Donuts has opened its first brick and mortar restaurant in Orlando’s Milk District. The new location will continue to combine savory and sweet flavors in unexpected ways and feature smoked barbecue and cake donuts within the chef-created menu. Fan favorites include the Bar-B-Cuban sandwich, served with cucumber and cabbage slaw and mac & cheese.
  • Foreigner Restaurant, the interactive culinary concept by chef Bruno Fonseca, opened a 10-seat restaurant in the Audubon Park district on Feb. 27. Previously a pop-up, the experience will offer guests a five-course menu “confiance-style” ("trust the chef") dinner, where patrons will have the opportunity to watch the inner workings of an active kitchen.
  • Nami, a new Japanese-inspired concept, is set to open at the Lake Nona Wave Hotel this summer. The restaurant’s intimate, 10-seat omakase counter will offer a modern approach to the traditional chef-curated experience. Its energetic cocktail bar and dining room will feature thoughtfully prepared menus offering an interpretive take on Japanese ingredients and flavors.
  • MILK The House of Cereal, a new all-you-can-eat cereal bar experience, opened at Dezerland Action Park Orlando. The new concept offers custom bowls of cereal to guests for $5, featuring a variety of toppings and over 100 cereals to choose from, including some options no longer sold in stores.
  • The Dough Show, a new restaurant specializing in Egyptian stuffed pies and cuisine, opened in April near the University of Central Florida. The new eatery serves kebabs, lavash-wrapped shawarma, koshari and various sweet pies and desserts. 
  • Wayback Burgers, an all-new restaurant serving hand-made burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes, opened in May.  
  • HighT, an Alice in Wonderland-themed bar, opened in downtown Orlando in May. The new immersive experience includes crafted cocktails, decorated rooms for adults to enjoy and a traditional high tea experience.
  • Mongolorian BBQ, a quick-service Mongolian barbecue joint, opened in the Mills 50 District in May. The new spot features customized bowls cooked on high-tech, tabletop stir-frying machines.
  • Camille, a French-Vietnamese pop-up, opened a new space in Baldwin Park on June 13. The restaurant offesr a 10-course tasting menu and bar area pouring a fine selection of wine, sake and beer curated by an in-house sommelier, along with an intimate eight-seat chef's counter.
  • Schmankerl Stub’n, a new German restaurant, will open in downtown Orlando. The German Scratch Kitchen, formerly Bavarian Takeout, will feature German classics and modern dishes.
  • Velocity Esports will open a new Orlando location inside of Society Orlando, a new 26-story downtown tower. The arcade bar will offer a vast selection of arcade and table games, esports lounges, bowling, video game tournaments and more.
  • Crush Yard Pickleball Club & Restaurant, a new pickleball-centric food and entertainment concept backed by NFL stars, including Rob Gronkowski, is expected to open in Kissimmee.  The new concept will feature healthy and indulgent options with a Southern flair, a large selection of self-pour beer, wine and mixed drink selections, opportunities to enjoy a game of pickleball, leagues tournaments and more.

HOTELS & RESORTS

Walt Disney World Resort

  • Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando — Disney Springs® Area, the newest official Walt Disney World Partner Hotel, officially opened in Feb. 2023, offering complimentary hot breakfasts, shuttle service to all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks, evening snacks and beverages and more.
  • Evermore Orlando Resort, planning a late- 2023 grand opening, will be a re-imagined 10,000-bedroom complex, offering an array of stay experiences from single homes and villas to flats. The Conrad Orlando features 433 rooms, including 51 regular suites and 10 spacious family suites. Other highlights include 40,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, a tranquil spa, numerous dining options and a signature rooftop experience.
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort completed the redesign of its 14 Park View Deluxe suites, located on the 6th through 12th floors of the resort. The updated suites have been fully refreshed in a modern design, with playful elements that pay homage to the resort’s location at Walt Disney World Resort.

Beyond the theme parks

  • The Alfond Inn at Rollins will complete its property expansion and open its new wing in August, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary. In addition to the renovation of the existing 112 rooms and suites in the hotel, the expansion will include an additional 71 luxury guestrooms and suites; a lobby café; and The Spa at The Alfond Inn, offering a wellness component through signature treatments, steam, sauna, fitness area, the hotel’s second swimming pool, with private cabanas, and an extensive outdoor living room that is available for private events. 
  • Aloft Lake Nona will open in fall 2023. Incorporating a bold, vibrant design, the six-story, 205-room hotel will showcase the brand’s signature music programming, lively social scene and the hospitality industry’s latest technology.
  • Grande Lakes Orlando unveiled the completion of its newly reconfigured and expanded Grande Lakes Water Park at JW Marriott Orlando in February, featuring six distinct zones including a signature lazy river; Headwaters Slide Tower with three waterslides; an Aquaventure obstacle course with climbing and slide features; and Knife Burger, a new poolside dining option from award-winning Chef John Tesar. With its recent renovation, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando debuted a new Solaire heated pool, lined with luxury poolside cabanas featuring a private butler, wireless internet, HDTV, a refrigerator, and other amenities.
  • Visitors staying at Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando in 2023 will experience new additions – like the upscale Altira Rooftop Pool Lounge where guests can savor seasonally influenced dishes and specialty cocktails – and reimagined spaces like the property’s signature restaurant, The Boheme; the Bösendorfer Lounge; and guest rooms. 
  • Waldorf Astoria Orlando will undergo a comprehensive, multi-phase reimagination, expected to debut December 2023. The property-wide redesign will encompass the resort’s rooms and suites; lobby space; select culinary outlets including the award-winning restaurant Bull & Bear; Waldorf Astoria Spa and prestigious 18-hole golf course.

TRANSPORTATION

  • Brightline Orlando trains are expected to begin to carry passengers from Miami, with stops in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, to Orlando International Airport in 2023.

 

WHAT’S NEXT: 2024 AND BEYOND

 

ATTRACTIONS

Walt Disney World Resort

  • Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, the all-new attraction evolving from the reimagining of Splash Mountain, will open at Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World in late-2024. Guests will join characters from “The Princess and the Frog,” including Princess Tiana, Naveen and jazz-loving alligator Louis, on an adventure through the bayou as they prepare to host a one-of-a-kind Mardi Gras celebration where everyone is welcome. Guests will travel through the bayou to original music inspired by songs from the film as they are brought into the next chapter of Tiana’s story.  

Universal Orlando Resort

  • Universal Orlando Resort will debut an all-new themed land featuring DreamWorks Animations’ animated characters in an immersive and interactive experience in 2024. The land will feature Gabby from Gabby’s Dollhouse, along with interactive play spaces and attractions including characters from Shrek, Trolls, Kung Fu Panda and more.
  • Universal Orlando Resort announced plans for its fourth Orlando theme park, Epic Universe in 2025. The new theme park will feature an entertainment center, hotels, shops, restaurants and more. It will be located within a larger 750-acre site south of Sand Lake Road and east of Universal Boulevard.

Beyond the theme parks

  • AREA15, an award-winning immersive and experiential art, entertainment, dining and retail district, will debut in the heart of Orlando’s tourism corridor in 2024. Designed for visitors of all ages, the new complex will feature distinctive attractions, interactive art installations and ground-breaking technology, along with an ever-changing roster of concert events and much more.
  • The Serenity Garden at Wekiwa Springs State Park, an all-new, 1-acre garden offering a unique sensory experience for people of all abilities and special needs to encounter nature, broke ground for phase one of its construction. Once complete, the garden will include a water feature, an adult changing facility, accessible parking, a raised boardwalk and a nature center.
  • The Orlando Magic’s, mixed-use sports complex, dubbed the Sports + Entertainment District, is expected to break ground this year. The complex is slated to include a hotel tower and more than 420,000 square feet of office space, alongside restaurants, shops and other amenities.

DINING & NIGHTLIFE

  • Pointe Orlando will open an all-new immersive dining and entertainment experience featuring new concepts, Sports & Social and PBR Cowboy Bar, in 2024. Sports & Social will offer elevated food and wine offerings, premier sports watching, live music and social games including skee-ball, foosball, shuffleboard and more.  PBR Cowboy Bar will feature a professionally endorsed mechanical riding bull, multiple signature bars and private VIP booths.

HOTELS & RESORTS

Beyond the theme parks

  • Sports Illustrated Resort, a new premium and lifestyle resort concept from the Sports Illustrated Brand, is set to open in Orlando in 2024. The new interactive property is expected to include a host of attractions from live action sports and entertainment to quality dining, wellness and relaxation.
  • Nobu Hotel Orlando, an all-new property expected to open in 2025, will feature 300 accommodations including eight stunning villas, a Nobu restaurant, 50 stylish residences and meeting and event space.
  • Fairmont Orlando, a new Fairmont Hotels & Resorts-branded hotel, is slated to open in early 2025 in the heart of Orlando’s entertainment district. The new seven-story property is expected to include 550 rooms; seven elevated dining experiences, including a specialty Mediterranean restaurant, an upscale steakhouse and gourmet cafe; a 12,000-square-foot spa and wellness center; more than 44,000 square feet of meeting space; and three swimming pools. 

 

NEW WITHIN THE PAST YEAR

 

ATTRACTIONS
Walt Disney World Resort

  • Walt Disney World Resort’s 50th anniversary celebration, running through 2022, brought new experiences to all four theme parks and beyond:
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, EPCOT’s first “other-world” showcase pavilion, opened May 27. The family-friendly adventure features a new storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus on the action, including the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.
    • Finding Nemo: The Big Blue... and Beyond” (formerly Finding Nemo: The Musical”) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a reimagined show set in the timeline of the Finding Dory film, opened in June 2022.
    • The “Fantasmic!” nighttime spectacular at Disney’s Hollywood Studios returned November 3, incorporating an all-new sequence featuring live performers, stunts, special effects and more.
    • Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park reopened on November 13, offering all-new touches from the Disney animated film “Frozen” in Tike's Peak. The play area for little ones has been re-themed to include elements of the film, including statues of Olaf and his “Snowgie” pals and Anna and Elsa’s igloo castle.

SeaWorld Orlando Parks & Entertainment

  • Ice Breaker, SeaWorld Orlando’s first launch coaster, opened Feb. 18. Riders shiver through four launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch with a 93-foot tall spike and 100-degree angle, the steepest vertical drop in Florida.
  • Aquatica Orlando’s newest water slide, Reef Plunge, opened March 2022. Guests slide through eye-catching translucent cutouts and rings; twist and turn though 330 feet of fiberglass; and zoom past a vibrant array of marine life. Commerson’s dolphins, leopard sharks and a variety of other cold-water fish are part of the new dynamic habitat. 

Universal Orlando Resort

  • Universal Orlando’s first-ever escape room experience, Universal’s Great Movie Escape, opened at CityWalk on December 9. Inspired by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s Jurassic World and Back to the Future films, the experience invites guests of all ages to solve their way through two first-of-its-kind escape rooms.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort

  • The world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park opened in February at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. The standalone theme park features multiple rides, interactive attractions, fun live shows, themed playscapes and water play areas.

Beyond the Theme Parks

  • Steinmetz Hall at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts opened Jan. 14. The facility achieves an N1 sound rating—the lowest level at which humans can detect sound.
  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opened Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex in June. The 50,000-square-foot, multi-level attraction features a showcase of NASA and commercial spacecraft hardware with immersive displays, as well as a “journey” through space, unique launch viewing opportunities and more.
  • Crayola Experience debuted Crayola’s first fully animated theater show attraction, “Chaos & Creativity.” Introducing new-to-the-world Crayola characters, the show peels back the curtain to show kids the colorful chaos of Crayola Experience.
  • Orlando Watersports Complex (OWC) began a $3.7 million renovation. The first phase of the two-phase project, completed spring 2022, includes a beach along the main stretch of the facility and an all-new beach-front aquapark.
  • ICON Park’s Carousel on The Promenade opened in the summer. The all-new grand carousel features two chariot benches, making it suitable and accessible for all guests. 
  • Max Action Arena, an all-new entertainment center, opened at ICON Park in November 2022.  The family-friendly attraction will feature a variety of experiences including cutting-edge virtual reality technology, adventure rooms, axe throwing and more.

DINING & NIGHTLIFE

  • Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa reopened in August with an enhanced and renovated interior space featuring an ever-evolving menu, world-class wine collection of over 500 different selections and three different dining options.
  • Café-Boutique PIANO, a restaurant featuring European cuisine and nightly piano shows, opened in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square in July. The family-run restaurant features an antique, one-of-a-kind piano with a musician playing live music.
  • AVA MediterrAegean, a new Mediterranean restaurant and lounge, opened in February on Winter Park’s Park Avenue. The Greek-inspired menu features Mediterranean and Cycladic Islands cuisine and is anchored by chef Keith Bombaugh. The restaurant’s secluded underground lounge, MM Club, features a DJ and progressive cocktail program.
  • The BANDBOX – Orlando, Central Florida’s first alcohol-free cocktail tasting lounge and package shop, opened in summer 2022 at Ivanhoe Village. The lounge’s menu features non-alcoholic (NA) cocktails curated by both in-house and local mixologists; booze-free wines, beers, aperitifs, bitters, shrubs, tonics, CBD sodas both for consumption and for sale; along with vintage and collectible goods.
  • Sunshine Diner, a new retro-style diner concept from celebrity Chef Art Smith, opened at Orlando International Airport’s new terminal C in December. The new dinning location is open from 5 a.m. until the last departing flight.
  • Plantees, an all-new vegan restaurant concept, opened in May in the Mills 50 district featuring 100% plant-based burgers and shakes.
  • Chick’nCone, a global chain specializing in handheld waffles stuffed with fried chicken, opened its first Central Florida location in March in Winter Park.
  • EDOBOY, Orlando’s first standing sushi bar, opened in August in the Mills District. Founded by Domu and Tori Tori proprietor, Sean “Sonny” Nguyen, the concept features an eight-person bar offering a selection of nigiri sushi along with hand roll options.
  • Bellhop, a new bar concept from the owners of The Wildflower in Baldwin Park, opened in October on the first floor of the historic Angebilt Hotel in downtown Orlando. The new bar is a coffee bar by day and an elevated cocktail lounge by night.
  • Wafu, a Japanese-style waffle restaurant, opened in July in East End Market offering taiyaki (crispy, fish-shaped waffles) alongside uniquely flavored treats like yuzu soda and lavender ice cream.
  • Susuru Juju, an all-new retro-themed izakaya, opened in August. In addition to binchotan-grilled yakitori (chicken), kushiyaki (meats and veggies), yakizakana (fish), A5 wagyu and other izakaya items like ramen, Susuru Juju features a "kappou bar" where sashimi, partially torched meats, grilled fish and seafood are prepared and served.
  • Doshi, an all-new elevated Korean-American, six-person dining experience, opened on July 27 in Winter Park. The 14-course tasting menu explores traditional Korean cuisine and seasonal ingredients reimagined through a contemporary lens.
  • Kura Sushi, a Japanese chain out of Osaka, opened in the summer. The innovative and tech interactive concept, focusing on high quality and fresh ingredients, features a two-layered conveyor belt system, one of which is an “Express Belt” as well as robot servers.
  • Brother Jimmy’s, a North Carolina-style BBQ joint, opened in August at ICON Park.
  • Bacon Bitch, the Miami breakfast and brunch concept, opened Aug. 26. The 200-seat restaurant features a crave-worthy and photo-ready menu with a focus on locally and responsibly sourced ingredients.
  • The Wilson, an all-new, two-floor restaurant at Meliá Orlando Celebration, opened in September. The new restaurant focuses on a “where the coast meets the curb” approach to its menu with fresh seasonal ingredients from local farms and purveyors that highlight modern and playful interpretations of New American classics.
  • White Rabbit Dessert Experience, the New York-based dessert shop, opened two Orlando-area locations in September, in Winter Garden and the Waterford Lakes Town Center. The shops will offer over 100 dessert items including made-to-order waffles, crepes, sundaes, cakes, brownies, a full espresso bar and homemade ice cream.
  • Taco Kat, an all-new taqueria and tequila shop located in downtown Orlando, opened in October, featuring a secret bar and handmade wheat flour tortillas cooked in the style of the Mexican state of Sonora.
  • Capital Tacos, the Tampa-based Tex-Mex restaurant, opened its first Orlando location on Nov. 8. The new restaurant features a variety of menu items including tacos such as “Shrimply the Best’s” fried shrimp with bacon and “Catawampus” with fried chicken and a double meza, including fajita chicken and house-made chorizo or ground pork.
  • New York Beer Project, built to resemble a 1900's indoor beer garden in New York's lower East Side, opened in Winter Garden in November. The new spot features a gastropub, indoor beer garden, tap room, brewery, sidewalk bistro, as well as three New York City themed event spaces.
  • Kaya, an all-new casual fine dining Filipino restaurant, opened in the Mills50 district in December. The new restaurant offers a Sama Sama tasting menu featuring Filipino flavors and fresh Florida ingredients.

HOTELS & RESORTS

Walt Disney World Resort

  • Walt Disney World opened its immersive Star Wars-themed hotel, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, on March 1. Guests "board" the starship Halcyon for an all-inclusive experience that puts them into the immersive world of Star Wars. The hotel debuts as part of the new Disney 360 vacation concept that gives each guest a storyline upon arrival.

Beyond the theme parks

  • The Tuscan-inspired, 126-room ette Hotel Orlando opened on June 24 near Disney World. Focusing on wellness as an alcohol-free property, the hotel offers culinary experiences in partnership with Michelin Star Chef Akira Back, along with The Spa at ette, with services for everyone from the modern minimalist to the unruly naturalist.
  • Aloft Orlando Downtown has completed a multi-million-dollar renovation with notable upgrades including newly styled and modernized guest rooms and public spaces and an expansion of the hotel’s pre-existing meeting space.

TRANSPORTATION

  • The South Terminal Complex, the largest construction project in airport history at the Orlando International Airport, opened Sept. 20. The new terminal features 15 new gates and includes features such as interactive digital media, a seamless, low-touch environment with an exciting combination of concession offerings, a state-of-the-art radio frequency baggage system, numerous shops, restaurants, lounge facilities and the Intermodal Terminal Facility (ITF), which is designed to accommodate up to three train systems including the Brightline train with service to Miami. The ITF complex also features the “C” parking garage and the Automated People Mover (APM) Complex with continuous APM tram service to the north terminal complex.

 

About Visit Orlando

Visit Orlando is The Official Tourism Association® for Orlando, the most visited destination in the United States, Theme Park Capital of the World® and No. 1 meeting destination in the country. A not-for-profit trade association that brands, markets and sells the Orlando destination globally, we represent more than 1,500 member companies comprising every segment of Central Florida’s tourism community.

Visit Orlando connects consumers and business groups with all facets of Orlando’s travel community, whether for a vacation or meeting. Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks — as well as refreshing water parks, activities to connect with nature, vibrant neighborhoods, a dynamic dining scene with Michelin recognized restaurants, and a robust calendar of entertainment and sports events — Orlando is a diverse, welcoming and inclusive community for all travelers. Find more information at VisitOrlando.com or OrlandoMeeting.com.

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