Orlando Reigns Supreme as a One-of-a-Kind Meetings Destination

Theme parks aside, Orlando is internationally recognized as a major dining, shopping, cultural, and meetings destination

Wyndham firepit

Theme parks aside, Orlando is internationally recognized as a major dining, shopping, cultural, and meetings destination -- and these offerings are only expanding. With more than 140 meeting hotels, 4.5 million total square feet of meeting space, and more than 100 event venues, it keeps growing, changing, and adding new attractions.

Disney has doubled its former Downtown Disney area with the introduction of Disney Springs, a new waterfront district for world-class shopping, dining, and entertainment. Inspired by Florida's waterfront towns, it provides four distinct outdoor neighborhoods -- The Landing, Marketplace, West Side, and Town Center -- all connected by vibrant waterways.

For meeting planners, Disney Springs provides multiple new venues for private events, including STK Orlando, a modern steak house featuring the only rooftop dining in Disney Springs; Homecoming -- Florida Kitchen and Shine Bar, a farm-to-fork locale inspired by the Sunshine State; and Morimoto Asia, offering a contemporary Pan-Asian experience with a twist, by Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Other private-event venues at Disney Springs include The Boathouse and Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar.

When completed, Disney Springs will have doubled the number of shops, restaurants, and other venues for attendees to explore, a total of more than 150 establishments.


Let the Sun Shine In
With approximately 250 days of sunshine each year, Orlando is a city where groups will want to ensure their meeting rooms come with windows. Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek recently introduced a new $5 million ballroom and meeting room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound terrace with breathtaking views of the property's 10-acre lake.

On display during its grand opening celebration was the inventive cuisine of Executive Chef Andrew Edwards and his team, infusing the flavors of Florida into their wide range of dishes. Grouper and citrus aioli, crab cakes, and chocolate-covered key lime marshmallows captured the essence of the destination.

"The hotel has aligned itself with a partner who specializes in farm cooperatives that are regionally based in Florida, within 150 miles of the hotel. Based on Florida's growth cycle, more often than not, the produce you will enjoy is grown within the Sunshine State," says Edwards.

The new 3,500-square-foot Bonnet Creek Ballroom (that can accommodate up to 360 people) and 2,155-square-foot Expedition Meeting Room bring the total square footage of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting and event space to 32,000.  

The Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek, with 400 rooms and suites, set on 500 acres, is "a four-diamond property with the service and food and beverage you would expect," explains John Branciforte, area director of sales and marketing for Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek. "We are not a big box meetings hotel. We're most comfortable servicing groups that utilize 280 rooms and under."


New Meeting Space Abounds
The meetings offerings in Orlando are only expanding. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort's new meeting space and The Loews Meeting Complex at Universal Orlando recently opened. The new meeting space at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort adds 115,000 square feet to the destination's overall meeting space portfolio. This space, combined with the recently expanded meeting space at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, creates The Loews Meeting Complex at Universal Orlando, providing 2,000 guest rooms and 247,000 square feet of meeting space -- all connected by an air-conditioned, enclosed walkway. Following a multimillion-dollar renovation, the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace (formerly the Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa) has opened, with a new lobby bar and outside terrace, restaurant, spa and salon, and 90,000 square feet of corporate meeting space. Just a short drive from Walt Disney World, the property can arrange cocktail receptions on its 27th floor -- with teviews of the fireworks shows over the park.

Another property that has expanded its meeting space is Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort. The convention center expansion of 28,000 square feet will now offer planners nearly 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. The new convention area boasts settings inspired by Nantucket and a 16,000-square-foot ballroom. 

Questions or comments? Email [email protected]



This article appears in the December 2016 issue of Successful Meetings.
ESSENTIAL Tool Box
CONVENTION CENTERS & FACILITIES
Orlando County Convention Center (479,190 sf)

Room Tax:
12.5 percent


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PINNACLE AWARDS GO TO:

 Visit Orlando
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
 Walt Disney World Dolphin
 Walt Disney World Swan
 Bohemian Hotel Celebration, Autograph Collection
 Orlando World Center Marriott
 Rosen Shingle Creek


New Meeting Space Abounds
The meetings offerings in Orlando are only expanding. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort's new meeting space and The Loews Meeting Complex at Universal Orlando recently opened. The new meeting space at Loews Sapphire Falls Resort adds 115,000 square feet to the destination's overall meeting space portfolio. This space, combined with the recently expanded meeting space at Loews Royal Pacific Resort, creates The Loews Meeting Complex at Universal Orlando, providing 2,000 guest rooms and 247,000 square feet of meeting space -- all connected by an air-conditioned, enclosed walkway. Following a multimillion-dollar renovation, the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace (formerly the Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa) has opened, with a new lobby bar and outside terrace, restaurant, spa and salon, and 90,000 square feet of corporate meeting space. Just a short drive from Walt Disney World, the property can arrange cocktail receptions on its 27th floor -- with teviews of the fireworks shows over the park.

Another property that has expanded its meeting space is Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort. The convention center expansion of 28,000 square feet will now offer planners nearly 100,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. The new convention area boasts settings inspired by Nantucket and a 16,000-square-foot ballroom. 

Questions or comments? Email [email protected]



This article appears in the December 2016 issue of Successful Meetings.