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Things to Do and Places to Visit in Orlando, FL

Welcome to Orlando, Florida: America's wetlands capital, a water-world of gators and airboats, space centers and sculpture gardens, theme dinners and thrill rides, and so much more... read more »

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  •   Ready to share moments guaranteed to last a lifetime? With so much to see and do, Orlando is the perfect destination for sharing dream vacation stories. Enter our Share the Sun! Share the Fun! Sweepstakes for your chance to experience the ultimate dream vacation to Orlando. For legal residents of USA and Canada (Void in Quebec and Puerto Rico), you could win an amazing family vacation filled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences! Enter here by June 30, 2015 for your chance to win an Orlando vacation for four, including: Dreams Take Flight Round-trip, coach-class, airline tickets to Orlando, departing from major airport Stay in Style Six-night stay in Executive Suite, Grande Suite or Studio Suite accommodations at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes Orlando Theme Parks Receive three (3) day Park Hopper for Disney, two (2) day Base for Universal Orlando Resort and a one (1) day admission to SeaWorld Orlando Free To Explore Seven (7) day, full-size, car rental provided by Alamo Rent A Car Dine at Sharks Underwater Grill at SeaWorld® Be captivated by the view at this signature full-­‐service restaurant that puts world-­‐class entrees on your plate and a window into the world of sharks before your eyes. SeaWorld®Orlando Behind-the-Scenes Tour This tour is an incredible opportunity to interact with a penguin, touch a shark and discover how animal experts care for rescued manatees and sea turtles. La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil Immerse yourself in the magic of Cirque du Solel as you get a look inside the costuming department and learn what it takes to dazzle audiences, then enjoy front row seats to the show. Walt Disney World® - A VIP Tour Experience With the help of your own VIP Tour Guide, maximize your fun with your choice of an Ultimate Thrills or Young Family VIP Tour. Walt Disney World® - Character Dining Meet beloved Disney characters while enjoying a truly memorable meal at Cinderella's Royal Table, Chef Mickey's or the Wonderland Tea Party. Universal Orlando® Resort - VIP Experience, Red Carpet Style You'll be personally escorted on a guided tour of both theme parks, exclusive backstage access, and enjoy priority entrance to rides. There are many unexpected thrills and memorable experiences to be discovered in Orlando. Explore our theme parks, family entertainment and other Orlando attractions that are truly one of a kind. See all the funthings you and your family can do in Orlando. 

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    Win a once-in-a-lifetime VIP family vacation to Orlando!
  • Carnival time is still upon us in Orlando and Universal's Mardi Gras celebration lets guests savor the flavor of the famous New Orleans holiday. From tasting your way through a menu of creole delights to shouting "Throw me somethin' mister" at the top of your lungs, you're sure to get caught up in what Universal calls, "Florida's biggest party." Happening on select nights, now through April 18, 2015, this event is included with regular park admission into Universal Studios Florida. And if you've never been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans or are a huge fan, you'll be dazzled by the music, entertainment and, of course all of the delicious food. Check out our top ten tips for making the most fun out of your Mardi Gras party. And see our review of our favorite foods!   #1. If you want to watch the parade and also the band performing, find a spot on the parade route by the center stage. It's an easier transition to find a spot at the Universal Music Plaza stage to watch the band. People start reserving spots for the parade early, so leave plenty of time. Bonus Party Tip: If you really only care about the band, get to the stage area early and hang out. If you arrive early enough you can easily be super close, even front row. We caught the Kelly Clarkson performance and there wasn't a bad seat in the house. Click here for the most updated list of music concerts. #2. Get ready to catch those throws, even from the back row. The parade is filled with colorful floats that can be seen from many vantage points along the parade route. And with 1.8 million beads flying through the air, you're sure to get your fill by the end. #3. Universal has added two new "Show Stops" to the parade. You'll have your chance to party with the parade performers like never before.   Bonus Party Tip: If you have kids in the group, the Little Jester's Parade Viewing Area is located in front of the Brown Derby Hat Shop. It opens up one hour prior to the parade start time. #4. Enjoy the street party. The French Quarter Courtyard (opens at 4 p.m.) is the heart of the celebration with plenty of food booths and live music. Hang out on the benches, take in the music and eat. #5. Taste your way through the festival. New Orleans is famous for its tasty treats and Universal has recreated many of the authentic tastes. Pictured here are the Jambalaya and the Creole Gumbo. Click the links to get the recipes. #6. One of our favorite dishes is the Red Beans and Rice with the gulf shrimp. You won't be disappointed with Universal's take on this typical dish of Louisiana Creole cuisine. #7. For a New Orleans twist on a hot dog, we also suggest you grab an Andouille Sausage on a fresh French roll. The grilled onions add an extra kick to this delicious delight. #8. Don't forget to wash down all of that flavorful food with a glass of VooDoo Juice. This refreshing adult beverage is made with flavored rum and fruit juice. #9. Enjoy the music of New Orleans with performances by authentic rhythm and blues and zydeco bands on the Courtyard stage. Bonus Party Tip: Keep your eye out for the traditional New Orleans marching jazz band. The sights and sounds of this celebratory processional is sure to get you into the Mardi Gras spirit that will last all the way home. #10. Party with the street performers. There's plenty of photo ops with some of the most outrageous entertainers outside of the Vieux Carré. The stilt walkers near The Mummy attraction were a fun crew not to miss. Visit Orlando is an official seller of Universal Orlando tickets. Find discounted tickets to Orlando theme parks, attractions, sporting events and dinner shows - we have it all! Save time and money on your visit to Orlando. Follow our posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more information and the latest updates on all that's new in Orlando in 2015.

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    Top 10 Party Tips for Universal’s Mardi Gras Celebration 2015
  • A whole lot of love was given to Orlando area chefs who were represented in force for the 2015 James Beard Awards semifinalists nominations. Five Orlando chefs were named in the "Best Chefs in the South" category; the most out of any other city in Florida. This prestigious recognition for our culinary talent further demonstrates that among our world-famous theme parks and entertainment, dining in Orlando has also become a main attraction. The 2015 nominees are: Kathleen Blake, The Rusty Spoon Scott Hunnel, Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa James and Julie Petrakis, The Ravenous Pig Hari Pulapaka, Cress This announcement arrives on the heels of several prominent culinary accolades for the destination, including Wine Enthusiast naming Orlando one of the "Ten Best Wine Travel Destinations for 2015" and The New York Times highlighting Orlando's "surprising food scene" as a reason to choose Orlando as one of the "52 Places to Go in 2015". With an intriguing lineup of both original and world-famous restaurants set to open this year, Orlando is poised to expand even further as a culinary destination in 2015. This year marks the transition of Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney into Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia, created by Chef Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef America fame and STK Orlando are among the new restaurants planned for Disney Springs. A new original venue, The Whiskey, will open along Restaurant Row in the middle of Orlando's tourism district. Along with gourmet burgers and craft cocktails, the restaurant will present "food fights," where local chefs will pit recipe against recipe. SEE ALSO: 15 New Things to See and Do in Orlando in 2015 Although it may surprise some new visitors to hear of Orlando's flourishing food scene, locals and traveling foodies are no stranger to the epicurean delights crafted by the city's veteran chefs. About Orlando's James Beard Award Semifinalists: Kathleen Blake started cooking in her grandmother's kitchen growing up in Iowa. She attended the Community College of San Francisco's Apprenticeship Program, which landed her at Square One Restaurant. A Women Chef & Restaurateurs Scholarship Award brought her to Washington, DC as the chef de cuisine at the heralded Restaurant Nora. After meeting and becoming friends with Melissa Kelly, she moved to Orlando to become Melissa's chef de cuisine at Primo at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes. In 2011 she opened the Rusty Spoon, a gastropub in downtown Orlando. Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista, FL and its chef, Scott Hunnel, have long been synonymous with fine dining at Walt Disney World Resort. For the past 15 years in a row, the restaurant has been the recipient of the AAA Five Diamond Award, among many other honors. The restaurant offers six-course prixe fixe meals of Modern American cuisine using ingredients sourced from products around the world, with a focus on local markets and seaports in Florida. Graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, Julie and James Petrakis opened their American gastropub, The Ravenous Pig, in 2007 and have been receiving accolades ever since. The Pig has been so successful that the couple opened a sister restaurant, Cask & Larder, in Winter Park in September of 2012. The restaurant is a micro pub with Southern artisanal food and hand-crafted beer. Continuing to expand upon their celebrated culinary empire, the pair will open Swine & Sons Provisions, their third Winter Park locale, this spring, specializing in takeout charcuterie; butcher sandwiches; homemade pastry offerings and more. Chef Hari Pulapaka and his wife, Jenneffer, are modern day Superheroes. By day, Hari is a mathematics professor at Stetson University. By night, he turns out award-winning fare at Cress Restaurant. Hari first came to the U.S. from Mumbai to earn his graduate degree in mathematics and later got his culinary degree. Cress was named a Top Restaurant in Central Florida in the 2013 Zagat Orlando Guide. His wife and restaurant co-owner, Jenneffer, is a podiatric surgeon and manages the restaurant. You and your family are in for a treat because there is something for every food craving in Orlando. See why dining in Orlando can be a thrill ride for your taste buds. Just come hungry! Follow our posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more information and the latest updates on all the delicious fun you can have in Orlando.

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    Five Orlando Chefs Named Semifinalists for 2015 James Beard Awards
  • With seven of the top theme parks in the world, there's so much to see and do in Orlando. As part of our "Inside Orlando" series, we have your personal peek at Orlando's unexpected adventures and top theme park experiences. Travel correspondent and Orlando theme park insider, Sarah Sekula has all the top tips you must know before you go. Sekula is an intrepid journalist and travel writer who spends her time zigzagging around the planet -- coming face to face the most exciting travel destinations in the world. Through her adventures, Sekula has gained invaluable insight on how to plan the perfect vacation itinerary, particularly in Orlando. "Orlando is known as the theme park capital of the world and I think it´s because it just never stops. It's always new. There´s always a new resort going up, a new attraction popping up, and that´s what makes it exciting," according to Sekula. "I think it's a city where it's just, it always changes and it always keeps you on your toes." Sekula says, "There´s so much to do in Orlando that it can often seem overwhelming." She suggests, "The thing to cure that is to plan ahead. Buy your tickets ahead of time. You'll save money by doing that and also make sure you plan on which parks are most important to go to." "What I love about Walt Disney World is that it's magical," Sekula says. "I think they pay attention to the smallest details like in New Fantasyland, which is actually the largest expansion in Magic Kingdom history. And one of the most amazing rides there is the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. It´s great for families and riding in the back seat is way more fun." "Universal Orlando Resort is really fantastic for adventurous people," according to Sekula. "So, I´m a huge fan of Harry Potter. And so, when Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley opened recently I was just flipping out. They have interactive wands that can change things in the window displays, you can even turn on the water fountains using your interactive wand. So they've added a lot of really fun, detailed touches that make you feel like you're on the world of Harry Potter." SEE ALSO: Purchase Discount Orlando Theme Park and Attraction Tickets "What I love about Sea World is that you have time to be up close to the animals," says Sekula. She recommends checking out the new Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. "They've got a new ride and when you get off of the ride, the penguins are right there. You can spend as much as you want in there, you can almost reach out and touch them. It's really incredible." "You can go swimming with dolphins at Discovery Cove." Sekula says, "They only allow a certain amount of people into the park each day. So it really feels like an exclusive private island." She also states that Discovery Cove has been named the best theme park two years in a row by TripAdvisor. "So, it's an incredible experience. " Sekula talks about the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, a new venue for live performances in downtown Orlando. "It is a gorgeous venue, great for events, there's Broadway-style plays there, there's going to be concerts, there's a beautiful plaza area we're they'll have outdoors music. There are always lots of fun things going on." SEE ALSO: Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Opens in Orlando There are many unexpected thrills and memorable experiences to be discovered in Orlando. Explore our theme parks, family entertainment and other Orlando attractions that are truly one of a kind. See all the fun things you and your family can do in Orlando.

    Click the link for the full story

    Inside Orlando: An Expert’s Take on What to Do in Orlando
  • With a whole new lineup of exciting attractions, entertainment and dining coming to Orlando this year, it's no wonder why Priceline.com named Orlando the No. 1 "hot spot" in the United States for travelers in 2015. So, if you're planning to visit Orlando this year, we've uncovered 15 new openings that you will be among the first to experience. Can we get an applause? INTERNATIONAL DRIVE In the heart of Orlando's tourism corridor, International Drive will see significant development in 2015 with the addition of several retail, dining and entertainment venues. #1. I-Drive 360, a new entertainment complex from Merlin Entertainments, will open a trio of new attractions. At the heart of the complex, The Orlando Eye is a 400-foot-tall (12.92-meter) observation wheel providing breathtaking views of Central Florida in all directions within fully enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules. Madame Tussauds, the world's most famous celebrity wax attraction, offers visitors the ultimate fame experience with its signature red carpet treatment. SEA LIFE Orlando delivers a new wave of underwater adventures with beautiful displays of colorful fish, sharks, jellyfish, sea horses and more, that turn the traditional aquarium observation on its head. The Yardhouse, Tin Roof and more retail, restaurants and entertainment yet to be announced, will add to the experience. SEE ALSO: The Orlando Eye Final Capsule Installation Time Lapse #2. Orlando welcomes one of South Beach's hottest dance clubs with the addition of Mangos Tropical Café. With 55,000 square feet (5,109 square meters) of entertainment space, the Orlando location is a massive restaurant and nightlife destination offering high-energy entertainment for a wide variety of tastes. Guests will enjoy Salsa, Bachatta, Reggae and Pop performances with Floribbean Cuisine and tropical cocktails. #3. Escapology Orlando brings a new kind of entertainment to Orlando with its first U.S. location. The attraction challenges guests to be their own heroes in a thrilling game of adventure and mystery. Teams of up to six players are locked in a themed room with just 60 minutes to combine clues, solve puzzles and discover the key to escape. SEE ALSO: Escapology: The Pressure Is on to Solve Orlando's Newest Attraction #4. Nearby International Drive, The Florida Mall takes coloring to a new level with the opening of Crayola Experience. The 70,000-square-foot (6,503-square-meter) attraction will offer 25 hands-on activities. #5. The list of dining and entertainment options unique to Orlando continues to grow with the addition of The Whiskey on Sand Lake Road, welcoming lovers of gourmet burgers, craft cocktails and rock ‘n roll fun. With over 100 brands of whiskey for the thirsty connoisseur, the venue will also host live entertainment, from musical guests to head-to-head "food fights," where local chefs will pit recipe against recipe. THEME PARKS #6. Walt Disney World Resort is transforming Downtown Disney into Disney Springs doubling the number of shops, restaurants and other venues. The new area will open in phases starting in 2015 and include, Morimoto Asia, a one-of-a-kind dining experience created by Chef Masaharu Morimoto, of Iron Chef America fame. For the master chef's first pan-Asian dining experience, Morimoto Asia's extraordinary, 36-foot (11-meter) tall, two-story layout includes a vast range of areas to explore including open terraces, a grand hall, private rooms, long bar, cocktail lounge, waterside seating and more. SEE ALSO: Downtown Disney will now be Disney Springs #7. The BOATHOUSE is an upscale, waterfront dining restaurant at Disney Springs that will immerse guests with experiences beyond the cuisine. Guests can listen to live music or take a romantic Captain's guided tour aboard The Venezia, a beautifully crafted 40-foot (12-meter) wooden Italian Water Taxi featuring champagne toasts and chocolate-covered strawberries. The BOATHOUSE will be showcased in an expansive restaurant with three distinctive bars, one built over the water. Guests will enjoy a gourmet menu served daily until 2 a.m. featuring steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar. #8. STK Orlando blends two concepts into one-the modern steakhouse and a chic lounge. Unique features include a live DJ, high-energy atmosphere and a sleek environment designed to encourage guests to interact and mingle. STK Orlando boasts the only rooftop dining venue in Disney Springs. #9. LEGOLAND Florida Resort will open a new land called Heartlake City, set to welcome guests this summer. The expansion will include a horse-themed disc coaster called Mia's Riding Adventure, an interactive show titled ‘Friends to the Rescue' and new shops inside the Heartlake Mall. #10. SeaWorld Orlando will debut an all-new show, Clyde & Seamore's Sea Lion High, a hilarious tale, filled with amazing animal behaviors and splashy audience fun. The comedic sea lion duo will be joined by mischievous otters, a 2,300 lb. (1043 kg) walrus and a cast of goofy human characters. SEE ALSO: Purchase Orlando Discount Theme Park & Attraction Tickets DOWNTOWN ORLANDO #11. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts delivers a stellar lineup of 2015 entertainment for its inaugural season: Broadway productions including Disney's Newsies, Motown the Musical, Pippin and Disney's Beauty and the Beast; big-name musicians John Mellancamp, Jason Mraz and Idina Menzel; and comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno and Bill Maher will complement an ongoing Jazz Roots series and Orlando Ballet season. SEE ALSO: Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Opens in Orlando #12. Orlando City Soccer Club is Major League Soccer's newest expansion team set to debut in 2015 with global soccer icon, Kaká. The Orlando City Soccer Club will kick-off their first MLS season at the newly rebuilt Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium. After a $207 million reconstruction, sports fans will enjoy an all-new lower bowl with more legroom, improved broadband and Wi-Fi coverage and expanded concession with healthy and gluten-free options. #13. An influx of restaurants will join new downtown Orlando venues in 2015, including: Two Chefs Seafood, featuring comfort food and seafood from former chefs of Emeril's Orlando and The Palm Restaurant; and North Quarter Tavern, a chef-driven neighborhood tavern by the team behind downtown Orlando's power-lunch staple, Citrus Restaurant. AREA HOTELS #14. Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort will feature 20 Bungalows on Seven Seas Lagoon and 360 Deluxe Studios. The Bungalows will be the first of this type of accommodation at Disney, sleep up to eight guests, and feature a plunge pool with views of fireworks over Magic Kingdom Park. The first phase is scheduled to open in 2015. The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel is getting a $125 million, multi-phased, multi-story upgrade. #15. The JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes will welcome new restaurant concept based on the resort's 13,000-square-foot (1,208-square-meter) farm. Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen, will serve up farm-fresh food and signature craft beer. Orlando is a destination filled with fun things to do. Let Visit Orlando make planning your vacation even more fun. Request a free Orlando Vacation Planning Kit. Follow our posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more information and the latest updates on all that's new in Orlando in 2015.

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    15 New Things to See and Do in Orlando in 2015

Find Hotels Near Popular Landmarks in Orlando

  • 192 Flea Market0 Hotels Nearby
  • AirHeads Indoor Trampoline Arena0 Hotels Nearby
  • Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens0 Hotels Nearby
  • Alligator Lake19 Hotels Nearby
  • Altamonte Mall187 Hotels Nearby
  • Amway Center296 Hotels Nearby
  • Aquatica390 Hotels Nearby
  • Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children0 Hotels Nearby
  • Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Golf Club403 Hotels Nearby
  • Audubon Center for Birds of Prey0 Hotels Nearby
  • Azalea Park240 Hotels Nearby
  • Bay Lake0 Hotels Nearby
  • Bayhill Plaza Shopping Center0 Hotels Nearby
  • Bella Collina Golf Club0 Hotels Nearby


Find Hotels Near Popular Airports in Orlando

  • Kissimmee Gateway Airport (ISM)
  • Orlando Herndon Airport (ORL)
  • Orlando Intl. Airport (MCO)
  • Orlando Sanford Intl. Airport (SFB)
  • University of Central Florida (UCF)

In and Around Orlando

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Featured Hotels in Orlando

  • Radisson Hotel Orlando-Lake Buena Vista

    Radisson Hotel Orlando-Lake Buena Vista

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  • Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

    Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

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  • Nickelodeon Suites Resort

    Nickelodeon Suites Resort

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  • Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort

    Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort

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  • Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa a staySky Hotel/Resort

    Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa a staySky Hotel/Resort

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  • Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista, a Rosen Hotel

    Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista, a Rosen Hotel

    3 Stars3.5

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  • Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

    Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

    4 Stars4.5

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  • The Villas of Grand Cypress

    The Villas of Grand Cypress

    4.5 Stars4.5

    Property Location With a stay at The Villas of Grand Cypress in Orlando (D... more

  • Holiday Inn Resort Orlando - Lake Buena Vista

    Holiday Inn Resort Orlando - Lake Buena Vista

    3 Stars3.5

    Property Location With a stay at Holiday Inn Resort Orlando - Lake Buena V... more

  • WorldQuest Orlando Resort

    WorldQuest Orlando Resort

    3.5 Stars4.5

    Property Location With a stay at WorldQuest Orlando Resort in Orlando (Dow... more

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