Travel destinations

Orlando, Florida | Business travel destinations

With 59 million visitors in 2013, Orlando is the most visited destination in the United States. And although Orlando is known for its leisure activities and theme parks (e.g. SeaWorld, University Orlando and Wald Disney World), it is also a popular business destination for meetings, conventions, incentives and special events.

Orlando has six main neighborhoods: Convention Area (includes International Drive), Disney/Lake Buena Vista, Downtown, Restaurant Row (near the convention area), Universal/CityWalk, and Winter Park (a small neighborhood with chic shops and restaurants ).

It’s this wide range of options that allows Orlando to appeal to a wide range of people. And this range also appeals to meeting planners who are looking for business destinations to meet their needs (including the possibility of extending stays and bringing in family members).

Orlando is a city that constantly reinvents and renews itself, and that’s also why so many people keep coming back to Orlando. People have high expectations and are not disappointed here.

If you haven’t been in a while or are planning an upcoming meeting in Orlando, you’ll be surprised to learn that there are plenty of upscale and luxury properties available for meetings.

Hotels in Orlando, Florida

Orlando has over 180,000 hotel rooms and 450 hotels. In the convention district alone, Orlando has more than 11,000 hotel rooms within walking distance of the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) – and hotels with more than 5,000 rooms are connected to the OCCC via a network of covered pedestrian bridges (allow up to 20 minutes depending on building locations).

If you attend or schedule a meeting in this area, the Orlando Hilton (built in 2009) is a contemporary convention hotel with 225,000 square feet of flexible meeting space connected to the OCCC. It has its own convention facilities with 225,000 square feet of meeting space (3 grand ballrooms, 9 boardrooms, and 21 meeting rooms). The Hilton Orlando features more than 1,400 guest rooms and suites, an outdoor pool, lazy river, 9-hole putting green, five restaurants, lobby bar and fitness center. very impressive fitness and spa facilities. The Hyatt Regency Orlando and the Rosen Center are also connected to the OCCC.

For those interested in the Disney District, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando (498 excellent rooms and suites) offers 42,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 7,945 square foot Grand Ballroom, an 8,712 square foot Central Park Ballroom with adjacent 5,544 square foot Central Park Gardens square feet (covered outdoor space), 13 meeting rooms, and outdoor venues, including the private Signature Island. It is connected to the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek (1,001 rooms and suites) which has an additional 132,000 square feet of meeting space.

Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida

The OCCC has two buildings (North/South and West). It’s a huge space and the second largest convention center in the United States – 2.1 million square feet of total exhibit space.

To give you an idea, the exhibition hall of the North/South building itself is equivalent to 22 acres under one room. And the west building is the equivalent in height of Chicago’s Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower) – its 1,454-foot height would fit lengthwise inside the adjoining exhibition space in the west building (which is 2,500 feet long). Together, the two buildings offer 7 million square feet of space.

The West Building offers a total of 4 million square feet of space, 49 meeting rooms, 138 breakout rooms, the 62,182 square foot Valencia Ballroom, a 2,643 seat theater, a boardroom with 200 spaces and a car park with 1,450 spaces.

OCCC’s North/South building offers a total of 3 million square feet of space, 25 meeting rooms, 94 breakout rooms and 4,777 parking spaces.

The OCCC has launched a five-year, $187 million project to upgrade and improve the aesthetics and connectivity of the complex.

Pointe Orlando for special events

Located in the convention district on International Drive (I-Drive), Pointe Orlando offers shopping, dining, and nightlife opportunities. If you’re in Orlando for a meeting in this area, chances are you’ll want to spend some time in Pointe Orlando (for dinner or nightlife).

In fact, many meeting planners will host opening night programs at one or more venues in Pointe Orlando to allow attendees to experience the many restaurants and clubs here. Examples include BB King’s Blues Club (cozy southern cuisine and a main stage for live music), Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar (two floors of lively Cuban music, flavors and art – with many different rooms and spaces ), The Pub (British inspired by American cuisine) and Tommy Bahama Restaurant (fresh seafood with local produce).

Pointe Orlando can accommodate groups of all sizes, with many of our restaurants offering semi-private and private event spaces as well as full buyouts. The property can also accommodate up to 10,000 guests for special events, including block parties and buyouts, using multiple venues. Plus, the party doesn’t have to end at the same time as your event. Your group can continue enjoying Pointe Orlando on its own into the evening.

I-Drive has more than 100 hotels and 200 restaurants, and many new projects are underway, including plans for new hotels, entertainment complexes, and I-Drive 360, featuring The Orlando Eye.

Activities in Orlando, Florida

Many of Orlando’s unique attractions, sports facilities, culinary schools, restaurants, department stores, and destination management companies offer things to do for meetings and events (including spousal programs). If you are visiting or attending a program, keep the following ideas for nightlife options in mind:

  • Downtown Disney is a neighborhood that offers shopping, dining, music, and entertainment. Some places you might want to stop include Bongos Cuban Cafe (owned by Gloria Estefan), Ragland Irish Pub and Restaurant, Paradiso 37 (a mix of North, Central and South American food and music) and Splitsville Luxury Lanes (which also offers an outdoor patio and live music). Downtown Disney is also home to Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba, a show of acrobats, singers, trapeze artists, jugglers and clowns — more than 65 performers representing 15 countries — delight and mystify with daring acts of grace.
  • Disney’s BoardWalk is a charming quarter-mile boardwalk packed with restaurants, shops, and nightlife. Here you will find several dining options, from counter to seated service. ESPN Club (casual dining) is a popular spot, and you’ll also enjoy a night out at Jellyrolls, a laid-back piano bar where you can make requests and sing the night away.
  • University CityWalk is located next to the theme park, and it’s a bustling, bustling entertainment complex of restaurants, clubs, and shops. Some places you might want to stop include Pat O’Brien’s (famous for its New Orleans pub and dueling piano bar), Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom (reggae music and Jamaican food) , CityWalk’s Rising Star (the ultimate karaoke bar where you can live out your dreams of being on stage with a professional backup band), Red Coconut Club (a hip, tropical lounge and dance club), and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville.

Other things to do include museum tours and a scenic boat tour in Winter Park, a hooded tour of Harry P. Leu Gardens, an interactive shipwreck presentation, and waterskiing and wakeboarding at the resort. Orlando’s water sports are just a few of the others. ideas.

Orlando Logistics and Weather

Orlando International Airport (MCO) is located approximately 15 miles from the OCCC and other attractions. (Note: Orlando is a very large city, so allow plenty of time for the transfer.) MCO will initiate a $1.1 million capital improvement plan in 2014 so it can eventually manage near the double its current passenger capacity.

Orlando is also accessible by train service (daily trains depart from New York and Miami with stops in downtown Orlando, Winter Park, Sanford and Kissimmee).

There are plenty of options for ground transportation companies for groups, as well as private cars and taxis for individual travellers. It’s also worth noting that many hotels in the Disney and Universal Studios neighborhoods offer free shuttles to the nearby theme park they’re associated with in each neighborhood.

From October to May, average daily temperatures range between 70 F (22 C) and 80 F (27 C) during the day, and between 60 F (16 C) and 60 F (20 C) in the evening.

From June to September, average daily temperatures range between 80 F (27 C) and 32 C (mid-90s) during the day, and between 20 C (60 F) and 20 C (70 F) in the evening. This, according to Visit Orlando.

Updated. Originally published July 9, 2014.