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.
Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando will support breast cancer awareness with PINKTOBER activations throughout October including ‘pinked out’ select guest rooms with pink sheets, limited edition merchandise and more. The hotel will donate a portion of the room rate to charity every night these rooms are occupied during October.
SeaWorld Orlando will debut an all-new immersive family coaster, “Penguin Trek,” in spring 2024. The unique attraction will be the park’s eighth roller coaster, featuring snowmobile-style cars transporting riders on an expedition through the Antarctic wilderness. The ride includes two exhilarating launches, a maze of twists and turns and a grand finale arrival at the park’s penguin habitat.
Opera Orlando debuted its 2023-24 “All for Art” season on the MainStage, with Puccini’s Tosca running on select dates Oct. 27-29 in Steinmetz Hall at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. In preparation for the production, the Company has assembled a variety of lead-up events on select dates from Oct. 12-29, allowing Central Florida audiences to get the most out of Puccini’s masterpiece and connect them with the international cast and creative team in town for the production.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex unveiled the new Kennedy Entry Experience, an enhancement to the entrance plaza that welcomes guests as they begin their journey, on Oct. 18. This experience features a 3,000-square-foot LED video display that tells NASA’s past, present and future.
Funtastic Depot, Orlando’s largest indoor amusement park, opened this month. The 30,000-square-foot family entertainment center features an inflatable concept park, climbing walls, ninja obstacle course, giant multi-level playground, toddler zone area, arcades and a karaoke booth, along with live entertainment on weekends. The venue will offer a full menu including pizza, sandwiches and more.
Disney After Hours events will return to Walt Disney World Resort starting January 2024, offering guests an extra three hours at Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. Guests attending this separately ticketed event will receive more time to experience fan favorite attractions, character greetings and unlimited complimentary snacks, including select beverages.
DINING & NIGHTLIFE:
Shoma Bazaar, an all-new food hall from Miami-based developer Shoma Group, is expected to debut in South Eola in 2026. The upscale food hall-like bazaar will feature 14 food stalls, together with communal areas for live music, game nights, happy hours, cooking classes, movie night, pop-up events and more.
Sushi Saint, a handroll bar and sushi lounge lead by former executive chef of Komodo Miami, Lwin Siss, will open in the Brew Theory Marketplace space this month.
Fluffy Fluffy Dessert Café, the Toronto-based Japanese pancake house, has opened its first stateside outpost in the Mills 50 District. The menu features a variety of mouth-watering options, from award-winning soufflé pancakes to fun and creative flavors like matcha, cookies and cream and more.
Bakery 1908 will open in the Mills 50 District this month. The new bakery will serve a full roster of steamed, pan-fried and soup dumplings, as well as a rotation of dim sum items, coffee and boba offerings.
KungFu Kitchen, the famed NYC restaurant known for its hand-pulled noodles and soup dumplings, has opened an outpost in the Vista Center Shoppes. In addition to noodles, homemade soup dumplings, pan-fried and steamed dumplings will be served out of the space.
Zaru, the all-new udon noodle house by James Beard Award-nominated restauranteurs Johnny and Jimmy Tung, opened this week in the Mills 50 District. Offering an intimate 25-seat dining room, the restaurant’s menu will feature udon noodles made from Japanese flour sourced from Kagawa Prefecture, the birthplace of udon, offered as both hot and cold options with and without broths, along with freshly fried tempura and a host of add-ons for a custom-built bowl. Beyond the noodles, the menu will offer miso-grilled eggplant, marinated okra, chicken chashu and warabi mochi.
Terralina Crafted Italian and Paddlefish located at Disney Springs will offer a “Kids eat Free” promotion available to those ages 9 and under, with the purchase of an adult entrée, from Monday through Thursdays throughout the month of October.
Lamp + Shade Craft Kitchen and Cocktails is set to open in early December in the old Lamp + Shade Fair building on Mills Avenue. An Asian-influenced, tapas-style menu will be offered as well as a beverage menu that features “riffs of tiki classics.”
Mister 01 Extraordinary Pizza will open its first local restaurant location in Lake Mary. Pizza styles at the Miami locations have included their famous star-shaped pizzas such as Star Luca, Star Carlos, Star Beckam and more.
The Hampton Social will host a “Booze Brunch” on Saturday, Oct. 28 featuring food, brunch, bottomless bloody marys and their signature spooky frose.
Chuck Lager America’s Tavern, from Top Chef alumnus Favio Vivani, will open a location on International Drive. The menu will include nachos, burgers, flatbreads and tacos along with an offering bourbons.
Atmos Immersive Dining, an all-new intimate dining experience, opened on International Drive this month. Diners will be seated at a table for 14-16 in one of the four separate-themed rooms, providing a two-hour technological journey and a six-course fine-dining experience with champagne and wine pairing options.
Arcade Monsters, the video-game bar and restaurant, will open its fifth location on International Drive this month. Guests of all ages will be able to play unlimited classic arcade games or consoles with the purchase of a wristband, with classic bar food such as hot dogs, loaded fries and pizza.
ICON Park will offer free Southern BBQ from Brother Jimmy’s BBQ for all guests who visit any of ICON Park’s eight attractions and game rooms through Dec. 31. Guests must show their same-day receipt from any of the attractions to receive a free order of Brother Jimmy’s BBQ pulled pork sliders.
Caribbean Moonshine, a 3,000-square-foot craft distillery, tasting room, bar and tropics-inspired retail store, opened at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. The distillery offers daily tastings of its artisanal rum beverages and moonshine-inspired cakes and treats, as well as views of its bottling and packaging process.
Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews is set to open its first Orlando location on International Drive. The burger-focused chain boasts 50 different kinds of burgers and sandwiches, including the signature Sickies Burger, Turbocharged Twin Cam and Glazed Doughnut burgers, along with alternative patty options like chicken or veggie, plus two dozen types of wing sauces, dry rubs and appetizers.
EVENTS & FESTIVALS
Museums of Illusions Orlando at ICON Park will host various Halloween happenings throughout the month of October as part of their “Spooky Spectacle: Halloween at the Museum of Illusions Orlando.” Special events include Halloween-themed illusion installations and curated illusions rooms inspired by classic horror stories; trick-or-treat illusion hunts throughout the museum’s corridors and hidden candy treasures, available on weekends throughout the month; Bark-O-Ween Bash: Spooktacular Puppy Pawty (Oct. 13), a dog-friendly event with a spooky twist; and the Eerie Enchantments: A Haunting Halloween Soiree (Oct. 28), an exclusive event featuring a cash bar, photo ops special prizes and more.
Screamin’ Green Hauntoween will return to Crayola Experience through October 31. Throughout the event, guests can enjoy wickedly colorful activities, trick-or-treating, live entertainment and attractions such as a journey through an ancient Pharaoh’s tomb, a visit to a vampire’s laboratory and a storytelling of a 3D Bride of Frankenstein. In addition, guests can also participate in add-on activities including pumpkin painting and ooey-gooey slime making on selected days for an additional fee.
The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens will host the Asian Lantern Festival: Into the Wild, Nov. 17– Jan.14. The family-friendly, separately ticketed event invites guests to join a celebration of art, culture and the beauty of traditional Asian lantern festivals.
The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens will host Zoo Boo Bash, featuring three weekends of not-so-scary zoo decorations and animal enrichment along fun-filled activities, a trick-or-treat path, inflatables and more, select dates Oct. 14-29. The family-friendly event is included with zoo admission and encourages costumes for all guests.
Presented by AdventHealth and brought to life by Creative City Project and Memoir Agency, “Dazzling Nights” will return to Leu Gardens Nov. 24 – Jan. 6. The gardens will transform into a winter wonderland and feature new light installations, character meet-and-greets, magical displays, beautiful sculptures and more.
Orlando Fringe is presenting its recurring four-day winter festival Jan. 11-14. The Winter Mini-Fest, now known as FESTN4 to rebrand and represent the change and growth that has been occurring in the organization, will offer new-to-Fringe programming and bridge the two annual Fringe festivals.
The Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Food & Wine Classic will return Nov.10-11, featuring the most food and beverage selections in its 14-year history. The event will offer two new themed areas, interactive seminars and live entertainment.
The Mennello Museum of American Art will host its annual Indie-Folkfest, a free pet- and family-friendly event, on Oct. 28. The festival is held in the museum’s lakeside sculpture garden, featuring local artisans, live entertainment and cuisine from local foodie spots including Hanson’s Shoe Repair, Thirsty Topher, Guesthouse, Pizza Bruno, Cholo Dogs, The Gnarly Cuban, Kelly's Homemade Ice Cream and more.
Lake Nona Town Center will bring on the Holiday magic with its annual Oh, What Fun! Holiday Festival running Dec. 7-23. The Town Center will transform into a winter wonderland, known as Peppermint Square, with a variety of events, sweet-treat stations, pop-up stands, a holiday market, photo opportunities, Santa’s Cottage, featuring story time and a sing-along experiences, and more.
Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando will be hosting the 11th annual Violectric Holiday Show on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023. Performing together live on stage is renowned violinist and founder of Violectric, Michelle Jones and the musicians of the Central Florida strings super-group.
Walt Disney World Resort announced the return of Epcot's International Festival of the Arts Jan. 12 – Feb. 19, 2024. Guests can enjoy various outdoor food studios, entertainment like the Disney on Broadway Concert Series, step-in photo ops inspired by classic paintings, Figment’s Brush with the Masters scavenger hunt, chalk art and more.
Fun Spot’s HUGE Christmas, the free family-friendly yuletide annual event, will return Nov. 24- Jan. 1 featuring merry treats, festive photo ops, holiday lights galore and more.
Viva Aerobus, the ultra-low-cost Mexican carrier, will launch two nonstop flights to Orlando International Airport (MCO) from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon (MTY) and Merida, Yucatan (MID), operating three times per week each. The new service begins May 9, 2024 and July 1 2024, respectively.
Orlando International Airport debuted its all-new art experience, Gallery MCO, a former retail space transformed to accommodate short exhibits, on level three of the Main Terminal. Travelers are invited to view the gallery’s inaugural #FlyMCO exhibit, featuring 15 photographs taken by plane-spotting enthusiasts, available through Dec. 1, 2023.