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.
AWARDS, ACCOLADES & BEYOND
Museum of Illusions Orlando earned national accreditation by STEM.org Educational Research™ (SER). The first of the Museum of Illusions branded locations to achieve this prestigious accreditation, Museum of Illusions Orlando will begin implementing its school program for elementary, middle and high school students in January 2022.
Orlando is 2021's 2nd Best City for Christmas, according to a recent study from the personal finance outlet WalletHub.com, which compared 100 of the biggest U.S. cities based on 32 key indicators of a festive and affordable Christmas, such as traditions, shopping and costs.
Orlando is 2021's 3rd Best City for New Year's, according to a recent study from the personal finance outlet WalletHub.com, that compared the 100 biggest cities based on 28 key indicators of an epic New Year’s Eve celebration.
Gatorland’s annual holiday Ho Ho Ho-Down will return select dates Dec. 4-19, featuring live music, festive displays with interactive characters like Gator Claus, his Merry Elves and Krampus Croc, along with festive food items for purchase.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will open summer 2022 at EPCOT as part of the Walt Disney World Resort 50th Anniversary celebration. The thrilling new family-friendly coaster will be one of the longest fully enclosed coasters in the world.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park’s new show “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue…and Beyond”, a reimagined version of “Finding Nemo: The Musical”, is slated to debut in 2022.The new show will be set in the timeline of the movie “Finding Dory” and will incorporate many of the beloved songs and production numbers from the original show.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios will welcome the return of the nighttime spectacular, “Fantasmic!”, in 2022. The show will incorporate an all-new sequence featuring live performers, stunts, special effects and more.
Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom Park will bring back live entertainment to the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage early next year, with a show newly enhanced for the 50th Anniversary celebration. “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire” will incorporate favorite scenes from the previous version of the show – with sequences inspired by “Frozen,” “Tangled,” and “The Princess and the Frog” – plus a new opening and a new finale with Mickey Mouse and friends. The show will also include an all-new, original song entitled “Where the Magic Feels Like Home.”
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex announced a new attraction, Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex, slated to open in March 2022. The new experience will focus on the present and future of collaborative space exploration, enabling guests to experience the interstellar travel of tomorrow while celebrating what is happening right now within the space program. The 50,000-square-foot, multi-level attraction will feature a showcase of NASA and commercial spacecraft hardware with immersive displays, as well as a “journey” through space, unique launch viewing opportunities and more.
Peppa Pig Theme Park will open as a certified autism center, with many of the attractions developed with kid-friendly accessibility in mind, including Peppa Pig’s Balloon Ride, Muddy Puddles Splash Pad and the sensory-rich trail of Peppa’s Pedal Bike Tour.
Museum of Illusions Orlando has partnered with WonderWorks Orlando to offer a combo ticket enabling guests to enjoy both properties all with one ticket to experience. The combo ticket will also include a 1-day I-Ride Trolley ticket. Tickets are available for purchase at moiorlando.com/tickets with booking dates starting December 18, 2021.
DINING & NIGHTLIFE
Mango’s Tropical Café Orlando will welcome the grand re-opening of the high-energy cabaret-style experience, Mango’s Live, on Dec. 10. Reservations can be booked online.
Walt Disney World Resort’s Story Book Dining at Artist Point, inspired by the Disney film “Snow White and the Seven and the Seven Dwarfs,” will reopen Dec. 16 at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. As part of the new Character Dining experiences, all Guests will see Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, and The Queen stroll through the Enchanted Forest while enjoying a bountiful prix fixe dinner with the choice of individually plated entrées and shared starters and desserts. Reservations can be made beginning Dec. 2.
Boatwright’s Dining Hall, a hidden gem at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, will serve their Southern specialties for dinner starting Dec. 14, including the all-you-can-enjoy Chef’s Platter featuring ribs, Nashville hot chicken, smoked sausage, and barbecued beef brisket, General Fulton’s Prime Rib, the Deep-South Shrimp and Grits, as well as the signature Boatwright’s Jambalaya and the plant-based Boatwright’s Harvest Jambalaya. Reservations can be made beginning Dec. 2.
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar will host the “NYE 2022: Buffet Dinner & Party in Havana” New Year’s celebration on Friday, December 31. Guests can enjoy a few options, including the regular a la carte menu with seating from 5-8 p.m., a grand buffet dinner with seating from 9-10 p.m., followed by a countdown to 2022 party with VIP bottle specials and tapas packages.
ICON Park’s New Year’s Eve celebration will feature drink specials at The Lawn Bar, The Wheelhouse Bar and The Sky Bar throughout the evening. The night will end with a special countdown to 2022 and light show at midnight.
Sloppy Joe’s, the famous Key West saloon, is now open at ICON Park. Guests can experience the tropical vibes of Key West with libations and cuisine, live music and shots at sunset just like in the famous Key West Mallory Square.
The Milkhouse – located in the heart of the Milk District in Orlando – recently opened. Housing some of the most noted Central Florida Food & Beverage brands like Foxtail Coffee Co., Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream and Bagel Bruno, the dining venue offers a wide array of concepts which span each day from delightful breakfast offerings to unique tapas-style afternoon bites.
EVENTS & FESTIVALS
Walt Disney World Resort’s EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, the celebration of the best in visual, culinary, and performing arts, returns Jan. 14 – Feb. 21. The event will welcome back the DISNEY ON BROADWAY Concert Series, with three performances each evening headlined by Broadway stars performing favorite songs from more than 25 years of award-winning DISNEY ON BROADWAY stage productions.
The Enzian will showcase a series of holiday movies and events as part of the theater’s 12 Days of Christmas. The lineup features programs for all ages and includes a free screening in Winter Park’s Central Park, 35mm Cult Classics, and Holiday Weekday Matinees. Eden Bar will also be featuring select Holiday Cocktails available throughout December.
Walt Disney World’s EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival returns March 2 – July 4, featuring special character topiaries, 18 outdoor kitchens offering fresh springtime favorites, the return of the Garden Rocks Concert Series and more.
Orlando Repertory Theatre will present TheaterWorksUSA’s new family musical, The Pout-Pout Fish based on The New York Times bestselling series by Deborah Diesen. Recommended for ages 3-8, this new musical features whimsical puppets and live performers in a sweeping oceanic adventure.