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 will launch Disney Genie, a new complimentary digital service, this fall. Built within the My Disney Experience app, the service will feature tools such as personalized itinerary capabilities, ongoing itinerary updates and a personalized tip board displaying current and forecasted wait times. The Disney Genie+ service, available for purchase at $15 per ticket per day, will allow guests access to the Lightning Lane -- a new queue designed to save time in line -- one selection at a time, for a variety of attractions and experiences.
Madame Tussauds Orlando will debut an all-new wax figure of global Latin superstar, Juan Luis Londoño, better known as Maluma, in 2022. The new statue will wear one of Maluma’s favorite outfits -- an authentic white Versace double-breasted jacket and black Bottega Veneta shoes.
Cirque du Soleil Entertainment’s new show “Drawn to Life” will premiere at Disney Springs on Nov. 18. The show will be a combination of Disney animation and awe-inspiring performances including 10 unique acrobatic acts. Drawn to Life will be the 50th production created by Cirque du Soleil and its premiere coincides with the 50th anniversary celebrations at Walt Disney World Resort.
The Cornell Fine Arts Museum will transform into the Rollins of Museum of Art in September. This is the first step toward moving the museum into a new home located in downtown Winter Park, across from The Alfond Inn. The new facility, featuring larger galleries, an auditorium and a café, will also include an education center with programs for students K-12 and several study rooms for college students.
Universal Orlando Resort unveiled new additions for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights. An array of five original haunted houses, including “Puppet Theatre: Captive Audience” and “Revenge of the Tooth Fairy”; five new scare zones; and two outrageously entertaining live shows (including a brand-new nighttime lagoon show), will round out this year’s lineup. Halloween Horror Nights begins Friday, Sept. 3 and runs select nights through Sunday, Oct. 31.
SeaWorld Orlando’s newest roller coaster, Ice Breaker, will officially open in February 2022. The attraction will feature four launches, both backwards and forwards, culminating in a reverse launch into the steepest beyond vertical drop in Florida — a 93-foot-tall spike with 100-degree angle.
DINING & NIGHTLIFE
Space 220 Restaurant at EPCOT is scheduled to begin service mid-September at Walt Disney World Resort. The upscale, contemporary fare eatery -- located adjacent to the Mission: SPACE attraction -- will feature gourmet recipes with a two-course prix fixe menu for lunch and a three-course prix fixe menu for dinner along with unique beverages – from fine wine to atmospheric cocktails.
The Foreigner, an intimate 10-seat chef’s tasting concept by chef Bruno Fonseca, will open in Audubon Park this Christmas. The restaurant will offer a multicourse experience focusing on local ingredients served throughout the year using preservation and fermentation methods.
The 808, a new dining and drinking concept located in the heart of Thornton Park, transports guests to an old-school, laid-back surf shack featuring a Hawaiian-inspired menu. The full liquor bar features tropical concoctions with fresh ingredients and exotic spirits.
The Mongolorian is a new quick-service barbecue concept from the owners behind King Bao, Poke Hana, Chi-Kin and Matcha House. The restaurant will open in the Mills 50 district this fall and feature Mongolian barbecue-inspired bowls that will be prepared to order with tabletop stir fryer machines.
4 Rivers Smokehouse will open a new location in Orlando’s SoDo district. Slated to open in early 2022, the award-winning BBQ restaurant will offer 4 Rivers carnivore classics as well as Vegan Burnt Ends, a 100% plant-based dish. Offering indoor and outdoor seating, the smokehouse will have the largest outdoor capacity of any 4 Rivers location, featuring the first-ever 4 Rivers Pavilion -- an open-air space where diners will enjoy 4 Rivers food, live music and a rotating selection of craft beer and wine.
The Marketplace at Avalon Park – an 8,000-square-foot food hall concept – is expected to open this September. Visitors will be able to savor delicious eats from BBQ50, Bowigens Beer Co., Brazas Chicken, LemonShark Poke, NOLA Avalon Park, Cheese to Share, Pico de Gallo, Rosso Specialty Coffee, Sip N' Roll and KBBQ. Aside from the restaurants, the Marketplace will also house a general store, a commissary kitchen and cooking classes, and offer live local music.
Mecatos Bakery & Café announced it will open in Nona Marketplace in Lake Nona. The Colombian bakery will serve delicious coffees and teas; Latin breads, pastries and assorted desserts; as well as traditional Colombian favorites like arepas, empanadas, Colombian hotdogs and pan de bono.
EVENTS & FESTIVALS
Sunset at the Zoo, an adults-only after-hours event at The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, will feature live entertainment, drinks and food along with all of the fun the zoo has to offer. Available for guests 21 and older, the event will take place every third Thursday of the month.
Creative City Project’s IMMERSE 2021 will return to the heart of downtown Orlando for its 9th year from Oct. 15-17. The event will feature 10 blocks of unexpected creative encounters, performances and interactive art by hundreds of artists.
SeaWorld Orlando unveiled new details for its inaugural nighttime Halloween event, Howl-O-Scream, including an additional haunted house, Captain’s Revenge; the Sea of Souls scare zone, taking guests to the site of a shipwreck featuring the restless souls of marauding pirates; and a themed bar experience called Longshoremen Tavern.
The Orange County Regional History Center will hold a Disney World at 50 History Harvest event on Aug. 28, inviting guests to share photos and memorabilia of Walt Disney World in honor of Disney’s 50th anniversary.
Gatorland is bringing back the Gators, Ghosts and Goblins™ Halloween event weekends from Oct. 9 – 31. The family-friendly daytime event will include multiple themed haunt zones, interactive characters, animal meet-and-greets, the Children’s Halloween Costume Parade and Frank & Stein’s Ooky Kooky Octoberfest, complete with live music and German beer and food for purchase.
A Petrified Forest will return for its 14th haunt season on select nights Oct. 1-30. The official 2021 theme is The Wrath of The Wendigo – where deep in the forest a disturbing and sinister force awaits. The experience features three new outdoor scare trails in a dark, haunted forest filled with terrifying beasts. There will be special Total Eclipse Nights filled with nighttime terror for adults. Kid’s Day and Special Needs Nights will also take place for the tiniest of horror fans.
The 8th annual iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina will be held for the first time at Amway Center on Saturday, Oct. 16. The star-studded lineup will feature Wisin & Yandel, Prince Royce, Luis Fonsi, Natti Natasha, Zion & Lennox, Lunay, Mariah Angeliq and a special performance from J Balvin. Tickets start at $40.
Museum of Illusions Orlando will host Halloween-themed experiences each Wednesday evening throughout October. Guests are encouraged to dress in their “Best Costume” and trick-or-treat throughout the museum. Many of the museum’s iconic rooms will be reimagined with Halloween theming for spooky (and mind-bending) photo snaps.
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art and the City of Winter Park will present the 43rd Annual Christmas in the Park in downtown Winter Park on Dec. 2. The free outdoor event begins at 6:15 p.m. when nine century-old Tiffany leaded-glass windows are lighted. Central Park will then be transformed into a luminous concert hall for the 160-voice Bach Festival Society Choir.
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens’ Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild will return Nov. 19, 2021 and run through Jan. 16, 2022. The zoo’s environs will be illuminated by 30 massive, handcrafted lanterns, powered by thousands of LED lights. Visitors wanting to experience the zoo’s 3/4-mile lantern-lit stretch during the outdoor evening event will need a separate ticket from regular zoo admission.