Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
As the number one tourist destination in the country, Orlando offers loads of unique and exciting entertainment options for you to discover. To help you make the most of your trip while convening in Orlando for NPE2015: The International Plastics Showcase, we’ve compiled a list of the top things to do and see.
#1 – New and Exciting Dining
Orlando continues to grow its dining scene with local restaurants racking up national recognition with recent awards and accolades, impressing foodies worldwide. There are a number of new restaurants in the convention district worthy of a visit. Like Yard House in the new I-Drive 360 entertainment complex, a modern public house where food and beer lovers unite with a plethora of craft beers to try. Or if you’re in the mood for wine, check out the new Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant which combines an upscale casual restaurant, a working winery, and tasting room with specialty food and gift items. Another local favorite is Vito’s Chop House, recognized as one of Zagat’s Top Italian Restaurants. And of course, the place to be seen is The Pointe restaurant and entertainment complex in the heart of the convention center, which has expanded and added a number of new eateries and local hot spots like RA Sushi, Minus 5 Ice Bar and Blue Martini. Or check out international favorites like The Pub, a true British Pub experience complete with signature Fish-n-Chips or Cuba Libre perfect for those who like ceviche and tapas, among others. At the other end of the convention district, you won’t want to miss Universal CityWalk entertainment complex with sumptuous restaurants, live entertainment, and nightclubs where you can dance the night away. New restaurants include Anotojitos, Vivo Italian Kitchen, and CowFish – the first ever burger sushi joint, among national favorites like Emerils and Hard Rock Café.
#2 – Live Shows
If you’re looking for fun entertainment full of surprises, check out Orlando’s many live shows like Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba in Downtown Disney, offering a journey of the imagination. Or in the same complex, you’ll find the inspiring House of Blues and Ragland Road both offering live music. Another popular show is the Blue Man Group, whose live shows combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics located in Universal CityWalk. While you’re there, you can also see who’s playing at the Hard Rock Live performance venue where many of the industry’s top musicians and comedians play in concert. Or take the stage yourself at CityWalk’s Rising Star karaoke club and perform with a live band and backup singers. On I-Drive the Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theater is also a big hit welcoming the biggest names in comedy, as well as supporting local talent in the Central Florida. Or if mystery is more your style, the Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show lets you become the detective offering improvisation and audience participation while mingling with outrageous characters. And last but not least, if you’re looking for something completely different, Orlando’s best kept secret is DRIP which offers an in-your-face explosion of the senses with color and movement backed by a live rock band, all in an industrial bar.
#3 – Unexpected Outdoor Thrills
Orlando has plenty unexpected thrills and unique experiences to be discovered with a wide-range of outdoor activities full of adventure – from race cars, airboat rides and eco-safaris to zip lining and hang gliding. For indoor fun, start with IFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving to experience true free fall conditions, just like skydiving–without having to jump out of an airplane. For your adventurous side, check out Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park, a 15-acre outdoor adventure park located in the Walt Disney World® Resort area. The park has six color-coded courses, two giant zip lines and 97 challenging elements. Or if you’re looking for something more relaxing, try Painted Horizons Hot Air Balloon Tours to experience a spectacular sunrise. At Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park, visitors are towed to a height of 2,000 feet by a specially designed ultra-light tow plane to enjoy views of some of Central Florida’s nature landscape. To get your adrenaline pumping, try your hand behind the wheel at The Walt Disney World Speedway offers several unique stock car and exotic car experiences from NASCAR race cars to the world’s finest supercars. Driving enthusiasts can enjoy a variety ride-and-drive programs.
And of course, if you’re looking to hit the greens Orlando is also home to 176 golf courses, with three of the area’s best – the Shingle Creek Golf Club, Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and Grande Pines Golf Club – are located closest to the Orange County Convention Center.
#4 – Theme Parks
Orlando is home to seven of the world’s best theme parks including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld offering new and unique ride and entertainment experiences each time you visit. Universal Studios Orlando made headlines this year with the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Inside, you’ll find cool things to do for both muggles and wizards. But you won’t want to miss the most innovative ride yet, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, providing a multidimensional adventure thrill ride through the mines below Gringotts Bank. Many of the theme parks offer discounted convention delegate tickets for before or after your conference, as well as discounted afternoon delegate tickets if you want to stop in and try one of these innovative new rides.
#5 – Local Attractions
As far as attractions go, Orlando has more thrills and spills than anywhere in the country with over 100 attractions across the destination. If you’re looking for thrills on a smaller scale, check out Fun Spot America Orlando for amusement rides, go carts, and Orlando’s only Wooden Roller coaster. Or for the ultimate thrill seeker, test your courage on the world’s tallest SkyCoaster standing at 300 feet! Also new to the convention district is NASCAR’s I-Drive Indoor Kart Racing offering exciting futuristic electric race karts that will get your blood pumping at speeds up to 45 mph. And if you haven’t experienced the local wildlife yet, you might want to stop by Gatorland and get up close and personal with hundreds of alligators and crocodiles. For heart-pounding adventure, try out the new Screamin Gator Zip Line and soar over top 130 giant alligators!
Orlando is in the midst of its largest expansion in history with something new and different to discover each time you visit. So if you haven’t been to Orlando lately, you’re in for some truly amazing surprises!