The latest Orlando happenings updated weekly using information provided by partners and destination press releases. Stay up-to-date on Orlando's most recent announcements and openings from accommodations and attractions to restaurants and more.
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.
Legoland Florida Resort will offer a limited time buy one night, get one night 50% off deal on stays at its Legoland Hotel, Legoland Pirate Island Hotel or Legoland Beach Retreat, on stays April 13 – June 8 when booked by April 24.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando will undergo a comprehensive, multi-phase reimagination expected to debut in 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.
Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels will offer special room rates from May 1 – Aug. 31 starting at $79, valid at its seven properties including B Resort & Spa, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando, Drury Plaza Hotel Orlando, Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Holiday Inn Orlando Disney Springs, and Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista.
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.
Universal Orlando Resort launched a new “Buy a Day, Get Two Days Free on a 2-Park, 1-Day Park-to-Park Ticket" offer for Florida residents, allowing guests to enjoy three days of theme park thrills for the price of one. The offer ranges from $173.84 – $221.54, tax inclusive, and can be used on non-consecutive days until September 29, 2023.
ICON Park has launched a new Play Pass that includes admission and savings at over 30 attractions and restaurants throughout the complex for $89.99 including: The Wheel, plus its new add-on game experience, The Great Florida Road Trip; Museum of Illusions; Madame Tussauds Orlando; SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium; Max Action Arena and more. In addition, select ICON Park restaurants and bars will offer up to 20% off and select shops, including Build-A-Bear Workshop, Breathe - A Modern Wellness Bar and Sunglass Boutique, will include up to a 25% off discount. The pass is valid for 30 days from the date of purchase.
SeaWorld Orlando will offer an exclusive two-park, two-day ticket sale for Florida residents available now through April 16. The offer includes the choice of two parks (SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Adventure Island Water Park) for $99.
Legoland Florida Resort launched a limited time buy one, get one 50% off annual pass deal, which is valid on select passes, including the Platinum Pass and Gold Pass.
Gatorland has announced they have adopted two Florida Panther siblings Yuma and Sakari. The pair love to chase each other, splash in the water and roll around their boomer ball toys at Panther Springs. Gatorland’s Panther Springs is comprised of an all-natural habitat with a waterfall, stream, and a beautiful tree structure with platforms and posts which are perfect for playing and sunbathing.
Epic Paddle Adventures has recently added clear kayaks to their fleet. The two-hour rental is available at Lake Ivanhoe and allows for gorgeous views above and below the water while in the local lake system.
EVENTS & FESTIVALS
The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens will host the 15th Annual Winter Park Paint Out fundraiser April 23-29, featuring 24 professionally acclaimed plein air artists as they paint on-property and around town. Admission to the gallery and gardens will be free for the week and guests are invited to attend free painting demonstrations and watch the artists at work. All works will be on display as they are completed and will be available for purchase with a portion of the proceeds going to support the museum.
The Amway Center Freestyle will host Explosion Throwback Jam on July 15, bringing out the biggest names in freestyle, including Stevie B, Lisa Lisa, The Jets, Color Me Bad, Debbie Deb, Johnny O & Cynthia and throwback legend Rob Base.
Wekiva Island will host a family-friendly Earth Day celebration on April 21. The event will consist of eco-centered activities, including river clean ups, a scavenger hunt, virtual eco talks, kids' event and a succulent workshop.
The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens will host Brews Around the Zoo, presented by Wayne Densch Inc, on April 8. Guests can enjoy live music and 15 beer stations with over 30 high-quality craft beers and seltzers at the largest fundraising event of the year. Purchases directly benefit the animal residents.
The EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival will begin dishing up delights starting July 27 and continuing through Nov. 18. Guests will be able to sip and savor at more than 25 Global Marketplaces, including returning favorites and several new ones opening later during the festival as summer turns to fall. The festival will also welcome back the popular Eat to the Beat Concert Series
ICON Park will host its 5th annual Sip n’ Savor event on April 30 that will feature live entertainment, food and drinks from over 11 local restaurants and breweries in the Orlando area. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Ronald Mcdonald House Charities of Central Florida.
The Crealde School of Art will present its 14th annual Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk & Urban Art Festival on April 22, celebrating Central Florida’s diverse culture through educational entertainment, music and artwork. The festival will present work from more than 25 folk and urban artists along with a soul food truck.
The Addition Financial Arena will present PAW Patrol Live! “Heroes Unite” from Aug. 11-13. Tickets will be available for purchase starting April 14. This interactive, family-friendly live show is filled with unique and fun visual effects music that is suitable for all audiences.
The International Food on Wheels Festival will be hosted at the Milk District’s Festival Park on April 16. The festival will present some of Orlando’s tastiest food trucks serving food from all over the world, live entertainment from DJ Dynamite and more.
Hosted by Vegetarians of Central Florida, the 18th Annual Central Florida Earth Day celebration will be held at Lake Eola Park on April 22. Attendees can explore educational exhibits, shop for products from local Earth-friendly vendors, and enjoy food and drinks from food trucks and other Orlando-based eateries.
In honor of Earth Day, The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is hosting Party for the Planet. To make sure all get to participate, they will open an hour earlier to accommodate those with sensory needs. All will get to enjoy and celebrate with the added considerations including limited attendance, sensory bags with noise-cancelling headphones and a dedicated quite classroom.
The International Vegan Food Festival will return to downtown Orlando’s Wall Street Plaza on April 29. The event welcomes over 50 vegan vendors including Mood Rising, Samosas, Happy Cow, Hummus Bar, Pucker Up and more. Visitors can enjoy live music, meet local artists and shop from local businesses showcasing their products.
Gatorland will host its Gatorpalooza festival May 20-21, featuring live music, specialty food and craft vendors, artisans, games and several family fun events. Florida residents will receive half-off daily admission throughout the month of May, including Gatorpalooza weekend.
Central Winds Park in Winter Springs, an inaugural music festival presented by the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce, will be held Nov. 18, showcasing a diverse lineup of local and national artists, art installations, food vendors, interactive experiences and more.
The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts released its lineup for the 10th Broadway in Orlando season running from October – June. The nine-show lineup at the Walt Disney Theater features the return of three blockbuster musicals — Annie, Disney's Aladdin and Les Misérables — and six new shows including Funny Girl, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Jagged Little Pill, Mrs. Doubtfire, Peter Pan and Clue.
The Creative City Project announced new, immersive art, theater and music for the Fall/Winter 2023-2024 season including: The Carnival – Where Orchestra Meets Circus, an all-new collaboration in partnership with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra featuring high-energy acrobatic performances from Aug. 25-27; Happy Frights, a family-friendly Halloween adventure featuring immersive worlds including nine trick-or-treat stations, held select dates September – Oct. 31; Haunting Nights, an artful Halloween experience, held September – October, featuring fall-inspired encounters and a few jump scares, plus seasonal food and drinks; and Dazzling Nights, Nov. 17 – Jan. 6, transforming Harry P. Leu Gardens for the fourth year into a stunning winter wonderland featuring a million dazzling lights, shining forests, magical displays, music and beautiful sculptures.
DINING & NIGHTLIFE:
The Dough Show, a new restaurant specializing in Egyptian stuffed pies and cuisine, opened this month near the University of Central Florida. The new eatery serves kebabs, lavash-wrapped shawarma, koshari and various sweet pies and desserts.
Karen’s Diner is going on tour and are coming to Orlando October 21 and 22 and are bringing their attitude with them. The popular experience has 14 locations and aims to expand into the US following the successful opening of the first US diner is St. Louis. This experience is truly unforgettable with “great food and ungrateful service.”
A Peter Pan themed pop-up bar is coming to The Oliv Bar in May. Guests will be whisked away to the island of Neverland while sipping delicious, themed drinks, including pixie dust shots. Tickets for the 90-minute interactive experience will be $47.
Wayback Burgers, an all-new restaurant serving hand-made burgers and hand-dipped milkshakes, is celebrating its grand opening on May 6 by offering a special buy one, get one free deal on their signature “Classic Burger.”
Red Panda Noodle, a noodle pop-up from local chefs, Eliot Hills and Seth Park, launched a food trailer this month. The menu features fan-favorites including Bourbon Chicken, Garlic Noodles and Grilled Noodle Skewers.
Canadian ultra-low fare airline, Swoop, will begin new non-stop service from Hamilton, ON (YHM) to Orlando International Airport (MCO) on May 6, 2023.
Brightline unveiled its Brightline Orlando Station at Orlando International Airport (MCO). Orlando ticket sales will launch in May for future dates, with one-way fares starting at $79 for SMART and $149 for PREMIUM. SMART fare bundles for families of four will be available for less than $199 one way.