Why are we always looking over the back fence to see what our neighbors are up to? After all, the Orlando/Central Florida market is perhaps the premier meeting and event destination area in the entire country. It’s time to turn our attention away from foreign lands and exotic far-away venues and take a look at what’s going on in our own backyard. What’s new in meetings and events for 2018 in Central Florida? Let’s take a look.
In Orlando alone there are 255 hotels, 68, 543 sleeping rooms, and 2,100,ooo sq. ft. of convention space. Polk County situated between Orlando and Tampa boasts 900,000 sq. ft. of event space and more than 6,600 hotel rooms. Tampa Bay stands out with a 600,000-sq. ft. waterfront convention center, over 24,000 hotel rooms, 198 hotels, and 119 unique event venues. That all adds up to fully developed world-class meeting and event capacity. Can anything new be added? Is there anything local event planners do not know about? The answer is yes.
So, What’s New?
Even with that enormous capacity, the Central Florida region is not resting on its laurels. 2018 will see the opening of new hotels, restaurants, and activity parks. Be sure to include these new venues in your destination notes.
- The new Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona Beach, opening in 2018, will add 200 hotel rooms and 20,000 sq. ft. of meeting space to Central Florida’s meeting and event capacity. The Hard Rock’s lively, youthful, party-on vibe is carried throughout the property by the casual, modern décor, the “party-all-day” oceanfront pool bar, the hard rock fitness center, and the unique “Sound of Your Stay” music amenity program in each room. This is the perfect venue for youthful sales meetings and reward trips for millennials.
- On the other hand, Walt Disney World’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort offers the formal grace of a grand New England-style yacht club at its new lakeside hotel. The dignified hotel comes equipped with a 16,000-sq. ft. ballroom that can be divided into eight separate spaces. But don’t let the elegant feel of the décor dissuade your group from letting their hair down and getting out for some fun. You can rent a variety of water craft at the lakeside marina, dine around the resort campfire, and watch movies under the stars in the outdoor theater. This yacht and beach club uses the Florida climate and the lakeside setting to offer entertainment opportunities to groups of all sizes.
- The Aventura Hotel is slated to open in the Universal Orlando Resort in August, 2018. The sleek modern décor of its 600 guest rooms are 21st. century. This updated resort hotel will be popular with the tech industry and the film crowd where they can bring their young families to the annual get-together. The guest rooms boast a view of all the theme parks at Universal Orlando Resort.
- The Kimpton Hotel, opening in Tampa’s Westshore business district in 2018, will add 150 new rooms to the market and 4,000 sq. ft. of indoor event space. But here’s what you shouldn’t miss. The hotel will house a new restaurant by Michelin-starred Tuscan chef Silvia Baracchi from Relais II Falconiere & Spa. Seasonal, local, and fresh, Silvia Baracchi emphasizes the quality of ingredients she uses, explaining that Cortona provides the best in Tuscany. She is passionate about bringing from Tuscany this same dedication to quality and devotion to the finest local ingredients that Florida has to offer. A hotel room is a hotel room, but there is only one Silvia Barracchi.
- Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill will be opening in the Disney Springs Town Center in 2018. Wolfgang has closed his old-style restaurant in Central Florida and will be replacing it with his Bar & Grill featuring a daily menu upgraded and refreshed with new versions of his signature dishes. In the spirit of Central Florida, Wolfgang is not resting on his laurels. Don’t miss his new offering.
- The Nona Adventure Park opening on Lake Nona in Orlando will be the newest high-tech team building adventure venue in the U.S. It will feature the first solar-powered water ski and wakeboard cable park in the world. The park will also include Central Florida’s first inflatable aqua park, a 60-foot climbing tower with a ropes course and climbing walls, a pro shop featuring equipment rentals and sales, and an upscale café. Meeting planners involved in team building should take a careful look.
In Central Florida, We Never Rest
Every time we mind our own business and take a look around our own backyard, we are surprised to find something we had not seen before. The Orlando/Central Florida meeting and event scene has never been more vibrant.