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 ranked the second-most searched city in the U.S. for fall urban getaways. The stats are based on data compiled from the world’s largest vacation rental search engine, HomeToGo.
Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser at Walt Disney World Resort, an immersive two-night experience, will open March 1, 2022 with general bookings available starting October 28. This first-of-its-kind experience invites guests to live their own Star Wars adventure and features immersive experiences, meals and live performances.
Caribe Royale Orlando launched its Fall Just Got Better Getaway Package, offering rates starting at $199 and a $25 nightly resort credit to use at all Caribe Royale restaurants and at the resort gift shop. Valid now through Dec. 21.
Aloft Lake Nona, a new 6-story hotel is scheduled to open in early 2023. The property’s lobby space will feature open, collaborative lounges that can easily transition to a vibrant bar and concert space at night. The 205 loft-inspired guestrooms will welcome visitors with eclectic décor and design nods to the hotel’s music and technology roots that give each guestroom its own character. The new hotel, which begins construction in 2022, will also feature a 10,000 square-foot conference center – including a 6,000 square-foot ballroom – and full-service restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
LEGOLAND Florida will debut The Legoland Story, a walk-through experience featuring bits of Lego history, an interactive Minifigure trading wall and photo-ready displays, along with the reopening and new shade structures for its Miniland U.S.A area, as part of the park’s 10-year anniversary, on Oct. 15.
Orlando Science Center’s new “Design Zone” – an exhibit connecting math with music, art and other entertainment -- opened last month. Its hands-on display pieces focus on three thematic areas, drawing visitors into scenes of music production, video-game development and extreme sports, and then explaining how they relate to mathematical concepts.
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art’s fall exhibition The Stebbins Collection: A Gift for the Morse Museum opens on Nov. 9. The exhibition showcases the exquisite collection assembled by Theodore E. Stebbins Jr. and Susan Cragg Stebbins over the course of 55 years, consisting of 70 paintings, works on paper and sculpture by 53 artists across three museum galleries.
Sunset Walk Slingshot™, located at Promenade – Sunset Walk Orlando, will open this Thanksgiving. Standing at 240 feet tall, the attraction will launch two riders up to 400 feet in the air, reaching speeds of up to 100 mph in under two seconds.
The world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park announced an opening date of Feb. 24, 2022. Tickets and annual passes are now on sale.
Walt Disney World Resort’s Disney Genie service will launch Oct. 19 and be available to all guests in the My Disney Experience app. The new service features a personalized itinerary creator that maps out and entire day, based on the app’s ability to evaluate thousands of possible itineraries, and inspired by guest feedback.
Aquatica Orlando’s newest water slide, Reef Plunge, will launch in spring 2022. Guests will slide through eye-catching translucent cutouts and rings; twist and turn though 330 feet of fiberglass; and zoom past a vibrant array of marine life. Commerson’s dolphins, leopard sharks, sardines, and a variety of other cold-water fish will be part of the new dynamic habitat.
DINING & NIGHTLIFE
Art2 (pronounced art squared), an urban park featuring a two-story shipping container structure, is coming to downtown Orlando. The park will incorporate a café, art gallery, stage, seating, digital video walls and a gift shop into the two-story storage container structure. The second floor of the shipping container will include event space for private gatherings. Art2 will also feature an artificial turf courtyard, a concrete patio, picnic tables and hammocks, as well as two food truck spaces.
Beginning Oct. 8, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will bring back Taste of Space with two experiences – A Culinary Journey and Fall Bites. During Fall Bites, visitors can treat their taste buds to fun new seasonal flavors at Orbit Cafe, Moon Rock Cafe and Milky Way, along with fall-inspired meals and local craft brews. The Culinary Journey – taking place Nov. 5 – is a progressive-style, four-course dinner that showcases seasonal foods created by KSCVC chefs. Meet a few veteran NASA astronauts along the way.
Café-Boutique PIANO, a restaurant featuring European cuisine and nightly piano shows, is coming soon to Winter Park’s Hannibal Square. The family-run restaurant will feature an antique, one-of-a-kind piano with a musician playing live music for guests.
For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Café Tu Tu Tango and Mia’s Italian Kitchen are featuring cocktails for the month of October where they will be donating $1 from each drink to Compassionate Hands and Hearts—a local non-profit organization that supports those battling breast cancer.
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar Orlando will introduce a weekly live Latin band series on Fridays and Saturdays, beginning October 22. Kicking off the series will be Stella Beat, an energetic Latin/top 40s party band, along with local Latin radio personality as the host, Luis Angel from Exitos 96.5.
The new Lake Nona Wave Hotel, opening fall 2021, announced their three restaurant and bar concepts – Bacán, HAVEN and Living Room Bar. Each offers a distinct dining experience that is harmonized to accentuate one of Florida’s most culinary-centric hotels.
AVA MediterrAegean, a new Mediterranean restaurant and lounge from executive chef Hung Huynh, Top Chef’s season 3 winner, is slated to open early 2022 on Park Avenue. The menu will feature Mediterranean and Cycladic Islands cuisine.
Viet-Nomz – the fast-casual Vietnamese eatery serving noodle soups, rice and noodle bowls, iced coffees (Ca Phe), and popular street fare – will open its third and largest location in Lake Mary.
Pirates Dinner Adventure introduced Jewel, 1920s-inspired adults-only speakeasy. The new cocktail lounge, accessible through a secret bookcase passage, features dueling pianos, a full-service cash bar and small bites including charcuterie plates, seafood samplers and more.
The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress announced a new restaurant concept by Richard Blais, the first winner of Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars. The new tropical concept, which replaces the Hemingways’s restaurant, is coming later this year. It will offer nightly dinner and brunch on Sundays.
Voodoo Bayou, a southern Cajun cuisine restaurant, will open on Sand Lake Road’s Restaurant Row. The Orlando location will be the third, following two more locations in South Florida.
EVENTS & FESTIVALS
Fun Spot Orlando unveiled its HUGE Halloween family friendly event, happening now through Oct. 31 -- featuring trick-or-treating, photo opportunities, themed food and more.
The Crealdé School of Art presents “As I Am”, an exhibition and special events showcasing Florida-based artists with disabilities, running now through Jan. 9. The show highlights the ways in which artists of varying abilities interact with the natural world as a symbol of both limitation and freedom.
Orlando's Come Out With Pride Festival presented by The Glass Knife will return for its 17th year to Lake Eola Park on Oct. 9, featuring the Most Colorful Parade; Pride Marketplace, showcasing the goods and services of organizations who support the LGBTQ+ community in Central Florida; activities for children at the Kids Fringe Rainbow Ranch presented by Macy’s; entertainment on two sound stages and a fireworks finale.
The Festival of Trees, Central Florida’s annual holiday event, returns to the Orlando Museum of Art Nov. 13-21 celebrating 35 years with the theme “Sparkling Holiday Traditions.” The event will feature more than 25 designer-inspired decorated trees, gingerbread houses, a holiday shopping experience, pop-up shops and live entertainment.
Universal’s Mardi Gras will return to Universal Orlando Resort Feb. 5 - April 24. A family-friendly version of the iconic Big Easy bash, Universal’s Mardi Gras will bring back the event’s most celebrated, fan-favorite experiences to Universal Studios Florida – including its spectacular nighttime parade, star-studded live concerts (select nights) and more. Plus, guests can savor mouth-watering, authentic Cajun-style cuisine from New Orleans and additional dishes inspired by diverse tastes and flavors from around the world.
Nona Adventure Park will host a Fall Festival for guests on Oct. 23 from 2-6 p.m. in its aqua park. The event will feature live music, games, bounce houses, a pie eating contest, face painting, pumpkin painting and more.
Universal Orlando Resort will celebrate the holiday season with the return of Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Grinchmas and Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s from Nov. 13 – Jan. 2. Guests can experience holiday-themed performances along with holiday projections on Hogwarts Castle during Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter; enjoy a hilarious retelling of Dr. Seuss’s holiday classic “How the Grich Stole Christmas” during Grinchmas at Universal’s Islands of Adventure; and watch as over 30 larger-than-life balloons take the streets of Universal Studios Florida during Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s.
Opera Orlando’s 2021-22 season kicks off this week as the company begins staging for Giuseppe Verdi’s classic La Traviata, opening Halloween weekend at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. This original and updated production is inspired by the life and experiences of Molly Bloom.
ICEBAR Orlando will host a Halloween event dubbed Dia de los Muertos on Oct. 31. The bone-chilling celebration will feature a DJ, live ice sculpting, Go-go dancers, a costume contest and more.
Celebrating its 16th year, the Central Florida Veg Fest will be held at Orlando Festival Park on Oct. 23. With over 200 vendors and 100 contributors, the event features healthy living and eco-friendly exhibitors, speakers, local non-profit organizations, fun and games for kids, humane education, dog and cat adoption, restaurant booths, food preparation demonstrations, community garden tours and live entertainment.
The Fall Heritage & Music Festival will take place in historic downtown Winter Garden on Saturday, Nov. 6. Festivities will take place all day and include live music from more than 19 bands across five stages; participatory sporting events; heritage displays and presentations at downtown museums; and a hay maze and fall festivities.
The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts returns Jan. 14 through Feb. 21, 2022 as part of “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” honoring the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort. This year’s festival will feature the return of the Disney On Broadway Concert Series, culinary delights from Food Studios around World Showcase, a food stroll featuring savory and sweet treats and more.
ICON Park will transform into a magical winter wonderland and once again host The Santa Workshop Experience Nov. 5 - Dec. 24. Families can partake in the classic tradition of taking beautiful holiday photos and kids will be able to meet the jolly old elf. Every child who participates will receive a free ticket to ride The Wheel and guests accompanying the children will receive 50% off their tickets. To kick off the celebration, ICON Park will host its first tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 1 with an impressive 40-foot-tall Christmas tree, which will be visible from International Drive.
Crayola Experience will host a pre-Black Friday dash through the Crayola store for three lucky kids as they participate in the “64 Seconds of Color” Shopping Spree. The contest, benefiting Toys for Tots, allows the kids to dash through the store with a uniformed U.S. Marine to collect as much product as they can. Crayola Experience will then duplicate the collected items and donate them to the Orlando Orange County Toys for Tots chapter for this holiday season. Entry forms for the shopping spree are available at the Crayola Store at The Florida Mall.
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art will offer three days of free admission, Nov. 26-28. The celebration kicks off the Holidays at the Morse program, offering free admission on Fridays in December from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The 9th Annual Violectric Holiday Show featuring Central Florida’s strings rock group will return to the Walt Disney Amphitheatre at Lake Eola Park on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. The free show will feature traditional holiday songs mashed up with classic rock tunes and modern hits. Attendees are encouraged to bring their pets and a cash donation for Pet Alliance.
SeaWorld Orlando will welcome Guy Harvey, renowned artist and conservationist, Nov. 6-7. The event will feature meet-and-greets, autographs, photo opportunities and an array of exclusive paintings and apparel only available at SeaWorld’s Guy Harvey Store. Guests seeking additional experiences can enjoy a signature prix-fixe dinner at Sharks Underwater Grill hosted by Guy Harvey on Nov. 6.
Frontier Airlines began nonstop service from New York Stewart International Airport (SWF) to Orlando International Airport (MCO) four times a week. To celebrate Stewart as the newest airport on Frontier’s route map, the airline is offering introductory fares starting at $29.