May 042015

International DriveThe American Society of Travel Agents recently named Orlando the No. 1 “Hot Spot for Summer Travel” in 2015. After a multi-year surge of blockbuster expansions at Orlando’s world-class theme parks, International Drive (I-Drive) is following suit with the addition of new retail, dining and entertainment venues. Visit Orlando, the destination’s official tourism association, is sharing 10 new ways this summer’s visitors to Orlando can experience I-Drive 360:

I-Drive 360

In the heart of Orlando’s tourism corridor, I-Drive 360 is a new entertainment complex and home of The Orlando Eye. The massive project will include SEA LIFE Aquariumattractions, restaurants, music venues and retail locations.

1.    SEA LIFE Orlando delivers breathtaking views of over 5,000 underwater creatures from the three oceans of the world. Guests can experience face-to-face encounters with sharks in Orlando’s only 360° Underwater Tunnel as well as touch the velvety back of rays during the touch pool experience. Interactive educational talks will guide guests through the wonders of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans while providing majestic views of the creatures that roam these mysterious waters.

2.    Madame Tussauds, the world’s most famous celebrity wax attraction, offers guests a star-studded experience with its signature red carpet treatment. Visitors will move through themed rooms where they can observe and interact with waxworks of their favorite film, music, sport and historical celebrities.

Orlando Eye3.    The Orlando Eye is a 400-foot-tall observation wheel providing breathtaking panoramic views of Central Florida within fully enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules. Before entering the 20-minute ride, guests will enter a 4D theatre and watch a short film about Florida.      

4.    Skeletons Animals Unveiled!, a first-of-its-kind museum, exhibits over 400 skeletons in creative poses and dioramas. The 7,750-square-foot space will feature exotic animals from all over the world as well as eight human skeletons. The walk-through experience will last about 90 minutes and will include interactive exhibits.

5.    Naru Restaurant & Sushi Bar, a Brazilian sushi chain, debuts its first U.S. location at I-Drive 360. The 140-seat restaurant blends the best of Japanese and Brazilian cuisine and features Sakerinhas, a perfect fusion of Japan’s sake and Brazil’s caipirinha drink.

6.    Tin Roof is a bar, eatery and music venue welcoming its first Florida location on I-Drive 360. Promising live music every night, guests can expect local and regional rock and country bands on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with acoustic acts during the week. The legendary Nashville venue will bring an eclectic environment as well as creative food offerings and signature cocktails.Tin Roof

Dining Hot Spots

7.    Mango’s Tropical Café, one of Miami’s hottest dance clubs, will open a new location on International Drive. The 55,000-square-foot entertainment space features a stage, dance floor and restaurant serving Floribbean Cuisine and tropical cocktails. Drawing inspiration from Caribbean and South American carnivals, the nightlife destination features high-energy dance performances featuring diverse genres of Latin music.

8.    Del Frisco’s Double Edge Steak House features chef-driven cuisine paired with the best aged, hand-cut USDA Prime Beef and fresh-off-the-boat seafood including Australian cold-water lobster tails with an extensive award-winning wine list and genuine hospitality.

Attractions and Shopping

9.    Orlando International Premium Outlets adds four new stores to their retail lineup with DKNY, the retail store for fashion designer Donna Karan, along Escapologywith high-end watchmaker, Citizen, handbag and accessory maker, Vera Bradley and Italian fashion brand, Diesel.

10.  Escapology Orlando and America’s Escape Game, are the two escape game locations on International Drive. Both venues offer guests the exciting opportunity of being locked in themed rooms where they must rely on clues and their wit to solve puzzles and find the key to escape. With new rooms being introduced periodically, there’s always something new to unlock on International Drive.

Apr 292015

Alive After 5There’s always a reason to celebrate in Orlando, giving life to a variety of reoccurring community events from monthly gatherings outdoors to social events at museums. Discover the cultural side of Orlando while you mix and mingle at these special events. Check out one of these events in Orlando:

1st Thursdays at Orlando Museum of Art
The first Thursday of each month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Orlando Museum of Art showcases a new theme of art by local artists accompanied by live music, a cash bar and café with selections by area restaurants. With an entry price of $10 each, it’s an inexpensive way to meet up with friends or invite a date. 

Science Night Live
Orlando Science Center reserves an evening just for adults to play featuring grown-up inspired programming. General admission tickets are $15 and food and beverages are available for purchase. The event is scheduled on select nights throughout the year.

Art & Music in the Park & Food Truck Bazaar
Spend an evening at the beautiful Lake Concord Park in Casselberry enjoying live music, artisan booths and a variety of culinary flavors from 15 food trucks. Held the second Friday of every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free admission and parking.

Lake Mary WineArt Wednesday
On the first Wednesday of every month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Lake Mary WineArt Wednesday features local artists, food trucks and a beer and wine garden. Stroll along the sidewalk lined with displays by local artists, sip on wine and listen to live music in Central Park. Entry is free. Some of the wine and food samples are free, but bring cash to purchase full glasses and meals.

Thornton Park Wine & Art Crawl
On the second Thursday of every month, celebrate the arts with an evening of food, wine, shopping and showcases by Orlando-based artists at the Thornton Park Wine & Art Crawl. For $10, you get a wristband, wine glass and a map of locations where you will be greeted with a complimentary pour of wine.

Winter Park Sip & Stroll
Sip wine paired with appetizers at more than 20 boutiques, galleries and restaurants while strolling along beautiful Park Avenue during Winter Park Sip & Stroll. This special event is scheduled three times a year. Tickets are $25 in advance. Each reservation includes a commemorative wine glass and lanyard.

Sanford Art Walk
The Historic Sanford Welcome Center invites you to the Sanford Art Walk, a juried art show in the Historic Sanford Welcome Center (230 East First Street, Sanford, FL 32771), and a walking tour of the art venues located in historic downtown Sanford. Mingle with Central Florida artists at the Sanford Art Walk on the fourth Friday of every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in downtown Sanford.

Alive After 5
Alive After 5 is Central Florida’s largest recurring monthly street party with live music, local artists, food and beverage sampling in the beautiful historic town of Sanford. It is scheduled for the second Thursday of each month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $7 and includes food and beverage sampling throughout the event.

Lakeridge Winery
Every month the Lakeridge Winery in Clermont hosts free (or $2 donation entry) events featuring live entertainment from local musicians, artist vendors, crafts and food. Make sure to take advantage of the complimentary wine tours and tastings.

Culture Pop!
Culture Pop at the Art & History Museums – Maitland is a social event for art lovers and a perfect spot for date night on the second Friday of each month (select months November – April) from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For only $5 each, you will receive one drink ticket and experience an evening of art, live music and poetry.


Apr 252015

Free summer moviesEscape the heat this summer and head to the movies for free family-friendly films at Cobb Theaters. The movie theater is offering a free Summer Movie Series for kids June 16 – August 6.  New movies are shown every week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. The movie line-up includes: Planet 51, Hook, The Smurfs, Alpha & Omega, Astro Boy, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, The Book of Life, and Sesame Street: Follow that Bird.

Plaza Cinema Café 12
155 South Orange Avenue



Apr 242015

When school’s out, there’s nothing better than a morning at the movies to keep the kids entertained. Thank goodness the Summer Movie Express is back on track for another season of cheap movies! Regal Entertainment Group has scheduled nine weeks of family-friendly movies at select theaters throughout Central Florida. During the Summer Movie Express, selected G- or PG-rated movies start at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday morning for just $1.

The start dates vary for Orlando movie theaters (most begin the first week of June), so check out the dates for the theater nearest you. Movies include such titles as Rio 2, Alexander and the Very Bad Day, The Lego Movie, Dolphin Tale 2 and many more. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Will Rogers Institute.

Apr 142015

Orlando Weekend on the Cheap It’s possible to do Orlando on the Cheap. In fact, there are many inexpensive things to do. To help you do more with less, we created this list of the top 10 free things do to in Orlando including movies, farmers’ markets, outdoor recreation and more.

Free outdoor moviesEnzian Popcorn Flicks in the Park
Enjoy movies outdoors without charge. On a beautiful night, there’s nothing better than watching a movie under the stars on a giant screen with your friends and family. One of the most popular is Popcorn Flicks in Winter Park the second Thursday of each month. Check out the complete list of free outdoor movie options in Orlando.

Farmers’ Markets
Visiting a farmers’ market is one of the best ways to learn about a town while supporting local artisans and growers. Even if you don’t end up making a purchase, it’s a great place to people watch, enjoy beautiful weather and maybe even some live music. Two of our favorite markets are Winter Park on Saturday mornings and downtown Orlando on Sundays. Check out our list of all the Farmer’s Markets in Central Florida.

Free museum visitsOrlando Museum of Art exterior
Orlando has a long list of museums, gardens and cultural attractions. A select few offer designated free admission days. Casa Feliz in Winter Park opens its doors for Music at the Casa on Sunday afternoons. Harry P. Leu Gardens is free the first Monday of each month. See all the Orlando free museum days.

Art walks
Many artists call Orlando home, giving life to a variety of reoccurring community events. On the first Wednesday of every month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Lake Mary WineArt Wednesday features local artists, food trucks and a beer and wine garden. Mingle with Central Florida artists and enjoy live music at the Sanford Art Walk on the fourth Friday of every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in downtown Sanford.

Lake Eola

Lake Eola Park is a 43-acre recreational area in the heart of downtown Orlando. The kids will love the large playground with activities for every age. Picnic along the shore, feed the resident swans, catch a free concert at the amphitheater and take a stroll around the lake. Enjoy spectacular views of Orlando’s skyline and marvel at iconic fountain, which comes to life with dancing bright lights accompanied by jazz music every night at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Bike and nature trailsSeminole County Trails
Seminole County’s award-winning recreational trail system is a Central Florida best kept secret with more than 60 miles of paved and natural trails. Whatever adventure you choose, it’s free to journey through the trails of Central Florida. Explore Central Florida’s trails:

Winter ParkKraft Azalea
Winter Park boasts beautiful parks, various free events, cultural attractions and shopping. Stroll along Park Avenue for some window shopping, picnic in Central Park, and then stop at Kraft Azalea Garden to watch the sunset.

Free kids’ activities
There are plenty of cheap ways to entertain your kids in Orlando. Some of our favorites include storytime at Leu Gardens, the LEGO Imagination Center, Disney’s Boardwalk, craft workshops at local retailers, splash pads and parks. Here is our complete list of free things to do with your kids.

Beer & wine tours
Hidden amongst industrial buildings is a local microbrewery gem, Orlando Brewing. See where the fermenting magic happens on free brewery tours Monday through Saturday at 6 p.m. If wine is more your speed, take a short trip through the rolling hills of Clermont to Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards for free tours and wine tasting seven days a week. The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and begins with a 12-minute video presentation that shows the growing of Florida’s grapes all the way to the wine making process.

Wekiva Island Wekiva Island
Play volleyball, corn toss, enjoy live music and a take dip in the cool waters of the Wekiva River all for free at Wekiva Island. This eco-recreation destination has an old Florida feel, a bar that serves beer and wine, riverside cabanas and a dog-friendly policy. Admission is free during the week, but the charge is only a dollar or two on the weekends.

Apr 112015

Slurpee Bring Your Own Cup DaySlurpee fans who supply their own eligible drink holder,  perhaps a teapot, a hollow pineapple or a pitcher, receive the frosty beverage for $1.49 in a deal at participating 7-Eleven shops.

The offer is  11 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 11.

The bring-your-own drinking device needs to be food safe, non-leaking and fit through a 10 inch hole; information is on the website.

Apr 092015

Clyde Butcher  Meet Clyde Butcher for a special lecture and book signing at the A&H Maitland Museums. On April 14 at 6 p.m., learn what inspires Butcher to capture breathtaking large-format landscape images. Tickets cost $5 per person and you must register in advance. Seating is limited.

A&H’s Germaine Marvel Building
310 W. Packwood Avenue
Maitland, FL 32751

Clyde Butcher

Apr 042015

Orlando Philharmonic OrchestraJoin the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra as they perform tunes we all know and love during the Music of the Movies, its third annual free outdoor family concert in Loch Haven Park on Saturday, April 18. The event will include food trucks, an instrument petting zoo, pre-concert entertainment by Mr. Richard & The Pound Hounds. The activities begin at 4 p.m. and the main concert starts at 6 p.m. There will also be a special appearance by the cast of Orlando Repertory Theatre’s production of “Shrek the Musical.”

Conducted by Chad Shoopman, the Music of the Movies concert will feature a combination of themes from films like “Jurassic Park,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “Star Wars “ and “The Incredibles,” as well as classical music popularized by movies.

Apr 032015

Marshmallow DropEaster is almost here and that means the bunny is busy hiding eggs throughout Central Florida. Whether you are looking for a fun egg hunt or a beautiful place to reflect and worship, we have a few ideas for free and cheap things to do Easter weekend in Orlando.

Marshmallow Drop in Oviedo
Saturday, April 4 at 10 a.m.
$2 in advance, $3 day of event
The City of Oviedo will drop thousands of marshmallows from the sky for the kids to collect and exchange for candy. It’s a sweet alternative to hunting for eggs.

Central Florida Zoo Hippity Hop Adventure
April 5 & 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Adults $16.50, kids $11.95. Event included in zoo admission.
Hop through the zoo to find clues that lead to the Easter Bunny. Kids will receive free bunny tails; enjoy crafts, a bounce house, muscical entertainment, egg hunts and more.

Altamonte Springs Easter at Uptown
Sunday, April 5 at 9 a.m.
Worship in an open-air setting at Cranes Roost Eddie Rose Amphitheater hosted by First Baptist Church of Altamonte Springs. The community is welcome.

Morse Museum Open House
April 3-5
The world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany is housed right here in Winter Park, Florida—and you can experience it for free Easter weekend. On Friday, enjoy live music by classical guitarist, Joshua Englert, at 5 p.m. and a curator tour of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Laurleton Hall at 7 p.m.

Winter Park Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 4 at 9:30 a.m.
More than 10,000 eggs will be hidden throughout Central Park in downtown Winter Park for the 61st Annual Egg Hunt. You know it must be a fun event when it has been going on for 61 years! Kids up to 10 years old are welcome; every kid will walk away with goodies.

Mount Dora Egg Hunt
Saturday, April 4 at 10 a.m.
The Easter Bunny is hiding eggs on the lawn at the Mount Dora Library in preparation for a big hunt. Everyone up to age 10 is invited to help find the eggs and then turn them in for a goody bag. Bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Lake Cares Food Pantry. Enjoy a special appearance by the bunny, face painting, balloon artists, snow cones, cotton candy and popcorn – all for free.

Mall at Millenia Easter Bunny
Now through April 4 during mall hours.
You can probably find a bunny at every mall, but none are quite as classic as the Easter Bunny at The Mall at Millenia. Photo packages are available for purchase, but you are welcome to take a picture with your own camera for free.

Easter Sunrise Service at Bok Tower Gardens
Sunday, April 5 at 7 a.m.
Worth the drive! Easter worshippers are offered free admission to the beautiful gardens from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. to experience a sunrise service with full choir, brass ensemble and live carillon performances.

Easter Surfing Festival at Cocoa Beach
April 3-5
If you’d rather get out of town Easter weekend, the surf’s up at Cocoa Beach. Surfers of all ages and skills will flock to the beach for the 51st Annual Easter Surf Festival. The event is free for the public, but bring cash for parking and food.

Apr 022015

Aquatica Orlando Water ParkSeaWorld Orlando’s Water Park, Aquatica, is offering hot deals for you to cool off.

Weekday Ticket – $28
Visit Aquatica during the week for the biggest savings with entry priced at just $28. Purchase this pass in advance, and then it’s valid for one weekday admission within a year of the date of purchase.

Orlando Any Day Ticket – $37
The Aquatica Orlando Any Day Ticket lets you enjoy one visit to Aquatica any time within one year of purchase. Must be purchased in advance.

Aquatica Annual Pass – $108
This deal is for Florida Residents only. With an Florida Resident Aquatica Annual Pass, you’ll receive unlimited admission to Aquatica’s Water Park without date restrictions for one entire year. The pass also grants you complimentary parking, discounts on food, beverages and more. The cost is $108, but if you plan to visit a few times throughout the warmer months, it’s worth it.

Whether it’s tiny tots splashing around in Kata’s Kookaburra Cove, teens sliding down Taumauta Racer or adults relaxing on the laid-back beaches, guests can enjoy Aquatica on the cheap, all year long. Aquatica Orlando is the type of waterpark experience that could only come from SeaWorld. Aquatica mixes animal experiences, waters from serene to extreme, high-speed waterslide thrills and wide, sandy beaches to create a day of non-stop fun.


Apr 012015

Wet 'n WildWet ‘n Wild Orlando is offering a great Florida Resident annual pass deal through the rest of 2015. Florida Residents can buy one day and get the rest of the year free for $57 (single-day admission is $39). The offer is only available online and must be purchased in advance. Depending on how many times you plan to go, you might want to consider the annual pass option that includes parking, which is $89.50 (parking costs $13 per visit). Florida Residents can visit Wet ‘n Wild as many times as they want through the end of 2015 with this offer.

With your discounted tickets, experience high-speed, seriously twisted, multi-person adventures, including signature hits like Disco H2O™, Brain Wash™, Bubba Tub, Flyer and the Blastaway Beach™, the largest family water play area in Florida. You can also take your place at the starting line of the new Aqua Drag Racer, the tallest and fastest ride of its kind in Florida.