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:
Orlando is the 8th best travel destination in 2023 according to a recent study from the personal finance outlet WalletHub.com that compared 41 key indicators focusing on cost and convenience of travel.
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.
Pipeline: The Surf Coaster, SeaWorld Orlando’s 7th roller coaster, will open 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.
The Lonely Dog Immersive Experience, an immersive storytelling exhibition based New Zealand artist Ivan Clarke’s artwork and novel that followed, debuted this month. 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 this month. 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.
Universal Orlando Resort will offer U.S. and Canada residents a special “Get 3 Days Free with a 2-Park, 2-Day Ticket” offer that includes five-day admission to Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure.
LEGOLAND Florida will debut “Go Xtreme,” an all-new stunt show for the summer, available on select dates May 27 – Aug. 6. The show features an array of stunt artists, including an action-packed display of BMX riders, scooter riders, and other crowd-thrilling stunts from world-class performers.
Walt Disney World will offer an all-new, limited time meet-and-greet opportunity with Ariel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this summer in preparation for the live action debut of “The Little Mermaid.” The experience will also feature a special movie sneak peek and a chance to see props from the movie.
Tank America will offer 25% off as a special Father’s Day deal June 1-18. The deal will include the “Basic Training” package for three passengers, a mudhole drive-through and a scrap car obstacle.
Aquatica Orlando opened its all-new water adventure, Turi’s Kid Cove, this month. The water attraction includes water bobbles, tipping buckets, watering palms, and kid-sized wave slide.
Universal Orlando Resort celebrates the 30th anniversary of Jurassic Park with limited-time experiences, including Jurassic themed menu items at Islands of Adventure beginning June 1, screenings of the original Jurassic Park film June 9-11 at Universal Cinemark, and an exclusive 30th anniversary merchandise take over on May 26 at the Tribute Store in Universal Studios.
DINING & NIGHTLIFE:
Brick Burger, an innovative restaurant concept, will open a limited-time-only pop-up experience near the Orlando International Airport, Sept. 2-3. The family-friendly experience, bringing together the world of LEGO® and the flavors of gourmet burgers, will feature a selection of beef patties, crispy chicken fillets or veggie options, brick-themed furniture and brick-building competitions.
Orlando now has 46 restaurants in the MICHELIN Guide Miami, Orlando and Tampa, including 13 new additions for 2023, as well as a MICHELIN Sommelier Award for Benjamin Coutts of the One-MICHELIN-Star Soseki Modern Omakase. The four new Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants include Isan Zaap, Norigami, Otto’s High Dive and Taste of Chengdu. In addition, nine new MICHELIN Recommended restaurants were added, including AVA MediterrAegean, Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood, Victoria & Albert’s — Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Doshi, EDOBOY, Juju, Kaya, Twenty Pho Hour and YH Seafood Clubhouse
HighT, an Alice in Wonderland-themed bar, opened in downtown Orlando this month. The new immersive experience includes crafted cocktails and decorated rooms for adults to enjoy.
Peppa Pig Theme Park will debut its first dining experience, “Breakfast with Peppa,” on June 9. The limited-time character breakfast, available select weekends, will feature a buffet-style experience, as guests meet the beloved Peppa Pig characters for tableside photo, and exclusive early ride time for select rides and nearby play areas. Pricing starts at $34.99 per child (ages 2-9) and $44.99 per adult (ages 10 and up). Guests under 2 are free.
Universal Orlando Resort revealed all-new details about Minion Land on Illumination Ave., the immersive area opening this summer at Universal Studios Florida. The expansive new land will be home to the new Illumination’s Villain-Con Minion Blast attraction and feature unique 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.
EVENTS & FESTIVALS:
Opera Orlando will conclude its 2022-23 Opera Everlasting season with “Baseball: a Musical Love Letter,” a family-friendly musical revue that weaves together the history of baseball with music from every corner of the American songbook: opera, musical theater and jazz. The intimate, cabaret-style production will be presented at Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre in Loch Haven Park May 19 and 21.
Amway Center will host the Jonas Brothers for “THE TOUR,” where the band will perform five albums every night, on October 13. Tickets for the show will go on sale on Friday, May 12.
The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens announced the upcoming retrospective exhibition of the artwork of sculptor George Nock, George Nock: Breaking Barriers. The exhibit will run May 9 – Aug. 20, featuring the artwork of the accomplished artist and former NFL running back, George Nock, who devoted his life to the creation of realistic figures in bronze.
The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will debut The Great Orchestra Series in Steinmetz Hall on Oct. 8 as part of its 2023-24 season, featuring performances by four of the world’s greatest orchestras in one of the world’s premier concert halls. The series begins with one of the most popular orchestras in the world, London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, followed by the Cleveland Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and closing the season with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, led by Grammy Award-winning violinist, Joshua Bell.
Camping World Stadium will host the 2023 Camping World Kickoff between the Florida State Seminoles and LSU Tigers on Sunday, Sept. 3. This year’s game will mark the 11th all-time match between the two teams, creating an electrifying event for Labor Day weekend.
Dinosaurs at Leu Gardens, an outdoor exhibit, returns through July 30. The limited-time experience features over 20 life-sized dinosaurs to discover across nearly 50 acres of gardens. Admission to the exhibit is included with a daytime garden admission which can be purchased at the Welcome Center or on the Leu Gardens website.
Aquatica Orlando will host the annual Noche de San Juan event, in partnership with local radio stations RUMBA 100.3, MEGA 97.1 and ACCION 97.9, on June 24. The separate park ticket event will feature food and the opportunity to spend time with local DJs.
Old Town Entertainment District announced its summer schedule complete with a lineup of free family-friendly activities that include car shows, karaoke, and live music all summer long. Old Town will also host Old Town’s day-long Fourth of July celebration, featuring streetmosphere entertainment, live music from Rocktown and complete the night with the 4th annual Fourth of July Fireworks display.
Kennedy Space Center will celebrate 40 years of women in space with panel discussions and afternoon tea events June 15-16. The Women in Space Panel will feature astronauts and panelists sharing their journeys with the space program as well as a unique photo opportunity for attendees; And the Women in Space Afternoon Tea will include hors d’oeuvres, tea and champagne as space pioneers share their experiences in a small-group setting.
Amway Center will host Disney On Ice Sept. 1-3. The all-new show features figure skating, acrobatics, stunts and 56 Disney characters, including the debut of Raya and the Last Dragon, along with Elsa and Anna from Frozen 2.
Flair Airlines will begin a new daily flight service from Montreal (YUL) to Orlando-Sanford (SFB) beginning October 29.
Brightline, the only provider of modern, eco-friendly, intercity rail in America, has launched ticket sales for the Brightline Orlando connection for the late summer through early 2024. Brightline’s one-way SMART fares start at $79 for adults and $39 for children. Tickets can be purchased through the Brightline website or by downloading the app.