If you’re visiting Orlando during the month of September you’re in for a real treat.  September is designated as Magical Dining Month, during which 70 of Orlando’s top restaurants will serve up three-course prix-fixe dinners for $30.  Indulge your inner gourmet with an appetizer, entrée and dessert at a different restaurant every day of the week. 

This is the 7th year for the event.  There are three new three new restaurants on the list of dining options including Prickly Pear, Nick’s Italian Kitchen and Fogo de Chao.
A wide range of restaurants are participating in the Magical Dining Month, spread out across six unique dining districts.   They consist of:

Convention District:  Encompassing International Drive, this district is home to the largest amount of Magical Dining restaurants, including eateries like The Capitol Grille, Charley’s Steak House and Vito’s Chop House.

Disney/Lake Buena Vista District:   Upscale, fine dining options are available here.  Options include The Venetian Room, Todd English’s bluezoo and La Luce by Donna Scale. 
Downtown District: Amidst the lively atmosphere you’ll find trendy and local favorites like Citrus Restaurant, Funky Monkey Wine Company, Le Coq Au Vin and The Boheme. 
Universal/CityWalk District: Universal signature restaurants participating in Magical Dining Month include Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, Bice Ristorante and The Palm.
Restaurant Row District: Upscale and casual restaurants are found along this one-mile stretch of Sand Lake Road.  Choose from Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion, Timpano Italian Chophouse and Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine, Ocean Prime, Moonfish and Big Fin Seafood Kitchen.
Winter Park District: This quaint area serves up selections from Luma on Park and Chez Vincent, among others. 
For a full list of restaurants and menus for Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, click here
One dollar from each meal will be donated to this year’s charity, the Edgewood Children’s Ranch.

Mark your calendars for the 37th Festival of the Masters at Downtown Disney in Orlando, scheduled for November 9-11, 2012.  Over 150 juried fine artists and over 40 emerging masters are featured during this outdoor festival.  World-renowned for its award winning artists, this is a highly anticipated event that is fun for the entire family.

To qualify for the Festival of the Masters, artists must have earned a primary award in a juried art festival within the last three years. Verification and samples of work is submitted, and then artists are selected from a jury of experts, ensuring those that are display at Festival of the Masters are some of the finest in the country.
At Festival of the Masters you’ll find:
  • Displays of one-of-a-kind and limited-edition painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry and more
  • Hands-on activities for Guests of all ages and interests
  • Live musical performances
  • Unique shopping opportunities—from fine art to Disney collectibles
Admission and parking are FREE for this event.

There is a lot happening at Walt Disney World in Orlando,Florida.  The Fantasyland expansion is set to open November 19 and with it will come the debut of the Be Our Guest Restaurant, Journey of the Little Mermaid and Enchanted Tales with Belle, among other attractions.  Other new entertainment experiences are opening around Disney World as well.  Read on to find out more.

Splitsville:  Enjoy bowling reimagined at Splitsville in Downtown Disney.  Over 50,000 square feet and two levels, the entertainment complex has 30 lanes separated into several clusters for a unique, immersive environment.  The retro décor of Splitsville adds to its laid back yet upscale vibe. 
The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow: Opening this fall at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this show puts guests in the world of the four “Pirates of the Caribbean” films.  Go on a journey with Captain Jack Sparrow and see if you have what it takes to join Captain Jack’s crew.
The New Test Track: Go for a spin at the new “Chevrolet Design Center” featuring a design-centric Test Track.  At this Epcot attraction you can become an automotive designer and create your own custom concept vehicles.  After designing a car, you get to test drive it in a “SimCar” putting the vehicle to the test.  See it you have what it takes to create a car that really shines.
Cinderella’s Castle
It may still be summer but it’s never too early to start planning your Disney Christmas vacation.  This year the holiday celebrations at Disney World Orlando begin earlier than ever on November 9, 2012.  From the Magic Kingdom to Epcot, there are plenty of exciting things to do this holiday season at the world’s most magical park.
Take a look at what each park is offering and then start making plans to be in Orlando!
Magic Kingdom
  • The entire Magic Kingdom is swathed in holiday sparkle with festive wreaths, bows, garland, sparkling lights, parades and towering Christmas trees. Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks and live entertainment with Disney characters all dressed up for the holidays are a few highlights. 
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will run for 20 nights this season, from November 9-December 21.  This after-hours ticketed event begins at 7pm and immerses guests in holiday offerings such as stage shows, fireworks, a unique holiday parade and holiday traditions including complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, and snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A. Specific dates for 2012 are Nov. 9, 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30 and Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21.
  • Cinderella’s Castle will be decorated in Castle Dream Lights transforming it into a glimmering ice palace for the holidays.  200,000 shimmering lights decorate the castle and guests are treated to a nightly celebration and stage show.
Epcot

  • Candlelight Processional at Epcot is a timeless holiday traction combining seasonal music with a moving reading of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a mass choir and a 50-piece live orchestra.  A few of this year’s celebrity narrators include Neil Patrick Harris, Olivia Newton John, Isabella Rosellini and Gary Sinese.   Candlelight Processional is presented November 23-December 30 at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15pm.
  • Holidays Around the World let Epcot visitors experience traditions and lore from countries across the globe.  Storytellers, meet and greets with Santa and Mrs. Claus and a nightly presentation of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” add to the fun. 
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • The classic Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios November 9-January 4.  The spectacle features millions of dancing lights, plus animated displays and 3D effects synchronized to holiday classics amidst snowfall.
Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Join Mickey and pals for Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade for traditional holiday music infused with a world beat.
Discount Disney tickets are on sale now.  Currently, there are two bonus days free on select ticket options.

Theme park fans will be glad to know Disney World has announced official opening dates of the new Fantasyland expansion at the Magic Kingdom.  Most of the new area will preview in November and officially open in December. 

The Under The Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid ride, Be Our Guest restaurant, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ariel’s Grotto, Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour Village Gifts will all begin general previews on November 19 and will officially open on December 6.  Big Top Souvenirs and Pete’s Silly Sideshow in Storybook Circus will also be open in time for the grand opening. 
The Fantasyland expansion also includes Princess Fairytale Hall, scheduled to open in 2013, and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride, scheduled to open in 2014.


Get ready to rock during Universal Orlando Resort’s Rock the Universe!  The event is one of Florida’s biggest Christian music festivals and features some of the best bands in Christian rock.  It all happens September 7 and 8, 2012. 

Rock the Universe tickets are on sale now.  With the purchase of tickets you can experience an exciting line-up of performers.  This year’s line-up includes:
This year’s line-up includes:
Friday, September 7
  • Skillet
  • Newsboys
  • Jeremy Camp
  • for KING & COUNTRY
  • Family Force 5
  • Robert Pierre
  • Group 1 Crew
  • We As Human
  • Everfound
Saturday, September 8
  • tobyMac
  • Switchfoot
  • Relient K
  • Britt Nicole
  • tenth avenue north
  • Rhett Walker Band
  • Group 1 Crew
  • We As Human
  • Everfound
Rock the Universe tickets are $52.99 for a one day pass and $85.99 for a two day pass.  A weekend ticket is available for $109.99.  Three days park-to-park admission to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure as well as admission to both nights of Rock the Universe are included in the weekend ticket. Purchase your tickets early as this event does sell out.
During this jam-packed weekend, you’ll also be able to enjoy a FanZone presented by Coca-Cola. Live music by up-and-coming acts Everfound and We As Human and a special set by Group 1 Crew, autograph sessions with the bands, karaoke and band merchandise will be available in the FanZone. On Saturday night, a special candlelighting ceremony featuring Tenth Avenue North, guest speakers and other special moments is planned.
All of the signature Universal Studio attractions will be open during Rock the Universe. You can look forward to riding Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rock It, The Simpsons Ride and Revenge of the Mummy.

Orlando may be known for its amazing theme parks and family attractions, but there is also plenty of things to do that highlight the beauty of Central Florida.  The region’s parks, zoos and gardens feature exotic animals, gorgeous landscaping and let visitors explore the other side of Florida.

Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake
3401 South Hiawassee Rd.
Orlando, FL 32825
407-229-5581
View map of Bill Frederick Park at Turkey LakeBlue Spring State Park
2100 West French Ave.
Orange City, FL 32763
386-775-3663
View map of Blue Spring State ParkBrevard Zoo
8225 North Wickham Rd.
Melbourne, FL 32940
321-254-9453
View map of Brevard Zoo

Central Florida Zoo
3755 NW Hwy 17-92
Sanford, FL 32771
407-323-4450
View map of Central Florida Zoo

DeLeon Springs State Park
601 Ponce DeLeon Blvd.
Deleon Springs, FL 32130
356-985-4212 phone
View map of DeLeon Springs State Park

Fort Christmas Historical Park
1300 Fort Christmas Rd.
Christmas, FL 32709
407-568-4149
View map of Fort Christmas Historical Park

Gatorland
14501 South Orange Blossom Tr.
Orlando, FL 32827
407-855-5496
View map of Gatorland

Harry P. Leu Gardens
1920 North Forest Av.
Orlando, FL 32803
407-246-262
View map of Harry P. Leu Gardens

Historic Bok Sanctuary
1151 Tower Blvd.
Lake Wales, FL 33853
863-676-1408
View map of Historic Bok SanctuaryHontoon Island State Park
2309 River Ridge Rd.
DeLand, FL 32720
386-736-5309
View map of Hontoon Island State ParkLake Eola Park
195 North Rosalind Ave.
Downtown Orlando, FL 32801
407-246-2827
View map of Lake Eola Park

Lake Louisa State Park
7305 US Hwy 27
Clermont, FL 34714
352-394-3969
View map of Lake Louisa State Park

Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge
2045 Mud Lake Rd.
Deleon Springs, FL 32130
386-985-4673
View map of Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge

Moss Park/Split Oak Park
12901 Moss Park Rd.
Orlando, FL 32832
407-273-2327
View map of Moss Park/Split Oak Park

Oakland Nature Preserve
747 Machete Trail
Orlando, FL 34760
407-905-0054
View map of Oakland Nature Preserve

Tomoka State Park
2099 North Beach St.
Ormond, FL 32174
386-676-4050
View map of Tomoka State Park

Wekiwa Springs State Park
1800 Wekiwa Circle
Apopka, FL 32712
407-884-2008
View map of Wekiwa Springs State Park
September 7-8:  Night of Joy at Magic Kingdom
This contemporary Christian music festival brings together music superstars of rock, pop, and gospel. Concerts will take place on multiple stages during the evenings.
September 7-8:  Rock the Universe
Universal Studios will be hosting their own Christian music festival featuring 16 bands. A separate event ticket is required.
September 11 – November 2:  Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Magic Kingdom hosts this Halloween-themed event appropriate for all ages. Dress up in your favorite costume and go trick-or-treating around the park.
September 21-23:  Kissimmee International Balloon Festival of Festivals
This breathtaking festivalfeatures more than 50 balloons in two launches, five road races, food and drink vendors, arts and crafts, live music and much more.
September 21 – October 27:  Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens
Haunted houses, scare zones, thrilling shows, and shocking creatures are some of the terrifying experiences happening during Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa.
September 21 – October 31:  Halloween Horror Nights
This year’s Halloween event is even scarier with the invasion of flesh-eating zombies. Make your way through haunted houses, terrifying shows, and scare zones.
September 28 – November 12:  Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
The 17th Annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is the highlight of the fall as Disney guests can taste their way around the world, listen to some of their favorite tunes during the Eat to the Beat Concert Series and attend culinary programs geared towards the foodie in all of us.
In our best offer of the season, we’re giving away two free days at Walt Disney World with the purchase of a 3-day ticket and your choice of lodging. Planning a family trip to Disney World has never been more affordable.
To take advantage of this money-saving Disney World package, simply choose your travel dates, your ticket options, and your hotel. All 3-day ticket options are eligible for the two free days, so you can select a 3-day base ticket, Park Hopper option, or Water Park Fun & More option. And don’t worry about the lodging choices. With this package you’ll get to choose from some of the top hotels and resorts in Orlando, including:
  • Gaylord Palms
  • WorldQuest Resort
  • Melia Orlando Suites Hotel
  • Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa
  • Destiny Palms Hotel
  • And many more!
Per person package pricing starts at only $262.99. Our 5 days at Disney World for the price of 3 offer won’t last long, so start planning your magical trip today.