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.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin will offer up to 20% off stays for teachers, nurses and first responders in recognition for their dedication and service.
Legacy Vacation Rentals debuted its newly designed suites at its Lake Buena Vista location this month. The eco-friendly renovation project and includes a new solar panel array, elimination of single-use plastic amenities, eco-friendly building materials like carpet tiles made from recycled fishing nets, low-flow plumbing fixtures, Verdant smart thermostat system, Energy Star rated appliances, high-efficiency windows, and more.
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes will partner with Coastal Wake, a luxury wake-sport charter tour, to offer water adventure experiences such as wakeboarding, wake surfing, tubing and more. Guests can choose from two Coastal Wake packages: a half-day (5 hours) or a full-day (7 hours) experience at the Winter Park Chain of Lakes. Throughout the day, adventure seekers can enjoy wakeboarding, wake surfing, tubing and swimming, along with one-on-one coaching, a certified boat captain, a photography package, lunch and a private driver to and from Grande Lakes Orlando. The Coastal Wake experience begins at $450/hour for up to 10 people.
Minion Land at Universal Studios Florida is set to officially open on Aug. 11. Guests can explore this one-of-a-kind land by riding Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and the all-new Illumination’s Villain-Con minion Blast. New dining experiences will also be available such as Illumination’s Minion Café, Pop-A-Nana, Freeze Ray Pops and Bake My Day. There will also be new meet and greet opportunities with characters from “Despicable Me” and “Sing” at the Illumination Theatre.
SeaWorld introduced its “Weather-or-Not” Assurance, a new year-round policy that ensures peace of mind and assures guests experiences are not ruined by extreme weather conditions. The new park standard will offer a free ticket for guests to return to the park within 12 months if extreme weather affect their visit.
DINING & NIGHTLIFE
Turci Panino, a new restaurant, from the owners of Turci Pasta, specializing in Italian sandwiches, salads and meats, is currently in soft opening in College Park.
Primrose Lanes Restaurant and Bowling Club is now open, in the space previously known as Colonial Lanes, in the Milk District. The space has been revamped with many of the materials from the original building to include eight bowling lanes, a cocktail bar, an elevated restaurant featuring smash burgers and crispy ribs and a coffee shop.
Zaru, a 25-seat noodle house from James Beard-nominated restaurateurs, will open next month in the Mills 50 district next to Tien Hung Market. The new shop will specialize in scratch-made udon noodles handcrafted from premium Japanese flour sourced from Kagawa prefecture, the birthplace of udon. The menu will feature an array of specialties including house made crab gyoza, zaru udon, ikura shiso udon, Edo style tempura and more.
Zymarium, Orlando’s first meadery, opened in Mills 50 on August 19. The shop, owned by one of the top 10 mead makers in the world, specializes in alcoholic beverages made by fermenting honey and mixing it with water, fruit, spices, grains or hops. The new meadery will boast more than two dozen meads, including options brewed with pineapple, mango, raspberry, blueberry and coffee, as well as meads brewed in the style of IPA and smoothie beers.
EVENTS & FESTIVALS
ICON Park will partner with destinations featured in its new interactive “Great Florida Roadtrip” camera game, played aboard The Wheel that spotlights popular family vacation destinations across the state. Each weekend in August, visitors can join the “Great Florida Road Trip” for its Destination Days events, celebrating different cities in the Orlando area for its unique attributes. Specific destinations being celebrated include Space Coast/Cape Canaveral, Crystal River, Ocala and Sarasota. The event features $10 tickets to The Wheel for guests from any zip code within that destination (reg. price is $34.99), an education booth, videos on each destination and a raffle with gift basket prizes, attraction tickets and more.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will host the 2023 Taste of Space: Fall Bites! event, at several eateries throughout the visitor complex, Oct. 2 – Nov. 5. Families and foodies can enjoy a variety of seasonal dishes including fried apple pie and pumpkin spice bundt cakes, applewood bacon, gouda and arugula sandwiches on a pretzel bun, jumbo apple cider cupcakes, local brews and more.
Renaissance Theatre Company will present the return of “Nosferatu", the adult vampire experience, Sept. 15 – Nov. 5. In this new re-vamped version of the original event, the venue will be converted into a maze of elaborately designed shadowy scenes, as the audience moves from room to room, encountering performers behind every door as part of the 90-minute excursion. Later in the evening, “VBar”, the elevated Vampire-nightclub, opens its doors to guests with separate admission.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex released its “Feel the Heat” viewing package for the upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 Crew-7 launch taking place on Aug. 25. Providing the closest available viewing to the public, the package will include two-day admission, a commemorative launch card, complimentary premium souvenir, complimentary meal, launch video, digital photo and bus transportation through NASA’s gates to the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
Harry P. Leu Gardens will host two all-new installations, “Happy Frights” and “Haunting Nights”, brought to life by Creative City Project on select dates Sept. 29 – Oct. 31. The new Halloween experiences will feature immersive worlds, fall-inspired encounters and a few jump scares, plus seasonal food and drinks. Family-friendly Happy Frights will invite guests of all ages on a trick-or-treat adventure through 12 immersive worlds, while Haunting Nights will feature thrilling surprises suitable for anyone 13 and older.
SeaWorld Orlando’s third annual scare event, Howl-O-Scream, returns on select nights Sept. 8 – Oct. 31, featuring three all-new houses, including “D3LER1UM666 Laboratories,” “BENEATH THE ICE – The Meltdown” and “DEAD VINES: Nawlin’s Nightmare.” Immersive new scare zones include “Toxic Turmoil,” “Blood Light District” and “Carn-EVIL Pier.” High-energy shows include the haunting “Siren’s Song” and pulse-pounding musical performance “Monster Stomp.” Frightening food offerings include the Vampire Burger, Bloody Rids, Dead Flesh and The Ofrenda.
The Floridan Puerto Rican Parade and Festival will be held in downtown Orlando on April 27, showcasing Puerto Rican heritage and culture with music, art, food and entertainment. A week of activities on civic engagement and responsibilities will take place prior to the parade and festival.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort will debut an all-new, limited-time live entertainment experience in Diagon Alley from Sept. 1 – Nov. 4. A sinister energy will fill the air as guests encounter villainous Death Eaters face-to-face in this interactive experience as they roam through London, lurk their way through the cobbled streets of Knockturn Alley and challenge guests to join the Dark Lord Voldemort.
American Social Bar & Kitchen is partnering with Florida State Athletics to host a watch party for the 2023 and 2024 football and basketball seasons. The watch party will take place at American Social on Sept. 2 and feature a Live Chalk Talk Show with the Seminole Sports Broadcast Team from 5-6 p.m. Along with large high-definition screens, there will be food, drink specials and special guests.
The Musiva Concert Series will perform themes from the Hispanic classical music canon in the Sounds de Mi Tierra program. The newly-formed, non-profit concert series will be hosted by the Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts on Sept. 3 from 3-5 p.m.
The City of Orlando will debut the new, eight passenger self-driving SWAN (Shuttling with Autonomous Navigation) shuttle bus next month as part of a six-month trial. The electric, self-driving shuttle will whisk passengers around a 1-mile loop in the downtown area for no charge.