Welcome to the latest edition of the Orlando Media Newsletter – filled with the destination’s trending topics and latest news. Orlando is an ever-growing destination constantly surprising even the locals with new attractions, dining and entertainment to experience.

Crafted to inspire fresh story angles, this travel tip sheet includes information on what’s new and upcoming in Orlando. For additional information or interview requests, contact: media@visitorlando.com. Media images are available here.

Trending Orlando Topics

  • Dry January is in full swing as over 35% of American adults take on the no-alcohol-for-a-month challenge. This month (and year-round, for that matter), visitors can enjoy non-alcoholic drinks at Downtown Orlando’s first-ever spirit-free speakeasy, The BANDBOX Orlando. This intimate Art Deco-inspired tasting lounge exclusively serves all-non-alcoholic craft cocktails, beer, wine, elixirs, CBD beverages and more in a cozy, fully immersive 1920s environment. Visitors can also sip on expertly crafted poetic non-alcoholic creations at the ette Hotel’s Salt & The Cellar. And there are countless spirit-free cocktail menus around Orlando offering laidback, fun atmospheres, like Sunroom Cocktails in the Mills 50 district. Those simply looking to incorporate more balance to their New Year can join in on Damp January – a new trend aimed to help cut back on alcohol vs. eliminating completely. The Neighbors, at East End Market in the Audubon Park Garden district, has what they call “Lo-Boys” drink options (or “low alcohol by volume cocktails”) perfect for “damp” nights out.
  • Orlando is ready to celebrate African American culture not only during February’s Black History Month, but throughout the year. Home to engaging African American culture and history, the destination’s art exhibitions, educational forums and uplifting celebrations of the arts highlight the inspiring, rich culture of the African American community.
  • Just outside the tourism districts, the historic town of Eatonville – home to celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston – was one of the first self-governing African American communities in the U.S. Today, it honors Hurston’s memory with the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, aka The Hurston, and the annual ZORA! Festival, which runs through Jan. 28. Read more here.
  • Special celebrations for Black History Month in February include:
    • Opening Reception & Artist's Talk: The Story Quilters of Hannibal Square: opens Jan. 27, runs through Apr. 29.
    • History Book Club: Their Eyes Were Watching God: Feb. 16 at Orange County Regional History Center and Heritage Square Park
    • Celebrating Black Arts and Culture: Feb. 18 at Orange County Regional History Center and Heritage Square Park
    • 8th Annual MLK Gospel Concert: Feb. 18 at the new Steinmetz Hall at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
    • Sanford Jazz Ensemble: Salute to Black History Month Concert: Feb. 19 at The Ritz Theater
  • With Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, Orlando never falls short of ways to celebrate love with that special someone. Orlando’s incredible lineup of MICHELIN-recognized restaurants promises top-of-the-line dining experiences – such as those offered at Knife & Spoon at The Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando or California Grill at the Disney’s Contemporary Resort with stunning views of theme park fireworks – ideal for Valentine’s celebrations. Unique activities – like a private clear kayaking tour with Get Up & Go Kayaking at sunset or a honey butter couples massage at Waldorf Astoria Orlando – make for romantic ways to create unbelievably real memories.

What’s New and Upcoming Around Orlando

  • In dining, The Moderne, with an Art Deco/Nouveau-styled atmosphere in the Mills 50 district near Downtown Orlando, serves up Asian-inspired tapas and craft cocktails, including the “dragon in a bag” adult beverage inspired by a Capri Sun.
  • Also new in the Mills 50 district, Sampaguita Ice Cream & Desserts, an all-new Filipino-inspired ice cream shop, features frozen treats, like the Ube Latte with sweet purple potato ice and espresso ice cream.
  • Art lovers can now experience Fringe ArtSpace, a 9,100 square foot arts venue that includes two performing theatre spaces with programing that features a mix of traditionally programmed theater and concerts as well as weekly, monthly and pop-up events. 

For more of the latest Orlando news, visit our media site.

What’s Happening at the Theme Parks

  • Guests can once again enjoy a trip aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad at Magic Kingdom Park as they travel from one magical land to the next.
  • The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts will return to Walt Disney World Resort to celebrate visual, culinary, and performing arts Jan. 13 – Feb. 20.
  • LEGOLAND Florida opens its newest attraction – Pirate River Quest – this week, taking guests on an adventure through the uncharted waters of Cypress Gardens.
  • Universal’s Great Movie Escape – now open at Universal CityWalk – is the first-ever escape room experience inspired by blockbuster films Jurassic World and Back to the Future.  

Did You Know?
Orlando will be home to the world’s first “surf coaster” – Pipeline: The Surf Coaster – debuting at SeaWorld Orlando this spring. This one-of-a-kind thrill attraction will feature immersive design elements, including a dynamic surfing launch and “wave jumping” motions to make it feel like you’re riding the waves.