Orlando Plans for Another Banner Year with Expansions and Openings in 2016

 Orlando Plans for Another Banner Year with Expansions and Openings in 2016

Named by Cvent as the number one meetings destination in the United States, Orlando has proven to be a city that continues to evolve with even more event and meeting space, more group dining venues, new teambuilding experiences and state-of-the-art expansions and upgrades. Meeting professionals in Orlando have unlimited options for creating one-of-a-kind events.

New in 2016

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort is undergoing a multi-phase, multi-year, $125 million redesign project that will transform all 2,265 guest rooms in both the Swan and Dolphin buildings with a brand new look. The hotel's meeting and convention space will also be equipped with the latest advancements in high density Wi-Fi technology.

Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa, one of Orlando's iconic condominium-style resorts, is expanding its meeting offerings with the development of 20,000 square feet of new meeting and banquet space. When construction of the new space is complete, the 3,000-villa resort will offer a total of 36,000 square feet of meeting space and a steakhouse ideal for group buyouts. Opening early 2016, the space is now available for bookings.

DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation featuring an all-new  20,000 square foot ballroom, new pool decks, and 100,000 sq. of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space which will be completed in 2016.

Universal Orlando Resort and Loews Hotels & Resorts is building the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort (pictured above). It will be the fifth onsite hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, featuring 1,000 rooms and suites with a casual Caribbean theme, built around a lagoon and towering waterfall. The resort is expected to open in the summer. It will also open the new Loews Meetings Complex, which will consist of 247,000 square feet of contiguous meeting space between Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.

Construction is under way on the $28 million-Hyatt House at 5370 International Drive.  The 175-room property is part of Hyatt's limited service, extended stay brand and is the first in Orlando. Opening is planned for summer 2016.

Walt Disney World Resort will complete a multi-year transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs. Featuring an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands, this new expansion will double the number of shops, restaurants and other venues for guests to explore, to more than 150 establishments. The new area will include already announced restaurants:

The Edison centers around a 1920s-period electric company with live entertainment, classic American food and craft cocktails. With 35-foot ceilings and a range of themed areas to explore, The Edison will feature nightly entertainment including contortionists, palm readers, DJs and more. 

Frontera Fresca, the creation of celebrity Chef Rick Bayless, a six-time James Beard Foundation award winner, will have authentic Mexican cuisine featuring specialties such as hand-crafted tortas, tacos, salads and fresh-made guacamole.

Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine from celebrity chef and native Floridian Art Smith. The restaurant will offer Southern classics and whimsical cocktails.

STK will open early this year and will blend a modern steakhouse with a chic lounge. It features a DJ in a high-energy atmosphere.

Universal Orlando Resort announced a new groundbreaking attraction opening in summer at Universal's Islands of Adventure. "Skull Island: Reign of Kong" will honor one of the most monumental figures in movie history, King Kong. Guests will board large vehicles and explore ancient temple structures while encountering hostile natives and fending off unspeakable terrors. 

SeaWorld Orlando announced plans for Mako, a brand new 200-foot-tall coaster opening in summer 2016. Named for one of the ocean's fastest known sharks, it will be Orlando's tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster, reaching speeds of 73 mph as it races along 4,760 feet of steel track. SeaWorld's new hypercoaster will be the centerpiece of the newly themed two-acre plaza. The surrounding realm will be fully shark themed, providing guests with the opportunity to learn about the impact humans have on sharks and why these animals are critical to the environment.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will add Heroes and Legends featuring the U.S Astronaut Hall of Fame and showcase the heroism of America's early space pioneers by inviting guests to vicariously experience the thrills and dangers of America's earliest missions through high-tech elements and special effects. The Space Center also offers event space with full-service catering and the Astronaut Training Experience team-building activity.

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek commenced a major expansion project set to increase the resort's available meeting space by 7,000 square feet by early May 2016. The project is designed to enhance the resort's current meeting space offerings with larger, more flexible spaces that will be adjacent to the resort building.

Villas of Grand Cypress announced the redesign of its Executive Meeting Center, a standalone complex that houses 7,200 square-feet of flexible indoor/outdoor event space. Situated on the resort's 1,500 acres in Orlando's Lake Buena Vista neighborhood and framed by the Villas' 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed golf, the Executive Meeting Center is the latest update to the Forbes Four Star, AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel, following the recent $17 million renovation to its 146 guest rooms. 

Mango's Tropical Café, which just opened, is the newest addition to the I-Drive landscape. With nightly entertainment and several private rooms for groups, it's a spectacular venue for one-of-a-kind events.

Disney's Animal Kingdom, the future home to Avatar, offers exciting adventures and unique encounters with real, exotic animals, plus one-of-a-kind guest experiences with fictional animals and giant dinosaurs from the prehistoric world. Not-to-miss attractions include Expedition Everest, a high-speed train adventure; "Finding Nemo - The Musical," a live 30-minute musical show; TriceraTop Spin; Primeval Whirl!; DINOSAUR, Kilimanjaro Safaris and Festival of the Lion King, a live 30-minute musical show.

In 2016, watch for new, yet-to-be announced restaurants at one of Orlando's newest dining and entertainment complex, I-Drive 360 where the 400-foot-tall Orlando Eye resides, surrounded by Madame Tussauds and SEALIFE Aquarium.

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