What's New January 2017
ORLANDO, FL (January 2017) – It’s a new year and as we say welcome to 2017, the I-Drive area is moving full speed ahead with exciting new attractions, accommodations, dining and much more! The weather is for sunny days and warm temperatures, so plan your winter vacation now!
Enjoy endless fun including five of the world's most famous theme parks (SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Aquatica - SeaWorld's Waterpark, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure), restaurants, dinner shows, shopping experiences, mega entertainment complexes, smaller family style attractions and spas. The excitement never stops at the world-famous Orlando resort area and you will want to check out everything that is new!
Celebrating Harry Potter at Universal Jan. 27-29, 2017
Harry Potter fans will once again unite at the fourth annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter,” hosted by Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. This special weekend event is filled with exciting experiences that will allow guests to celebrate J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. Check details: www.universalorlando.com/celebration
Universal Orlando’s Mardi
takes place nightly Feb. 4-March 25 with festive floats and performers parading
through the streets as more than one million strands of beads are tossed into
the crowd. And on select nights, catch big-name headliners live in concert. Check
for all the details
Sea World Orlando
plans its Seven Seas Food Festival
13. Check here
At the Orange County
Florida Wedding Expo
on Jan. 22. Details here
Orlando Boat Show
Feb. 3-5. Details here
Orlando Home &
Feb. 17-19. Details here
If you haven’t been on
the drive lately…don’t miss the most recent openings
I-Drive 360's Orlando Eye
has partnered with Coca-Cola.
The newly named Coca-Cola Orlando Eye
is part of the $200 million entertainment destination located in the heart of International Drive. The 400-foot, iconic observation wheel is the centerpiece of this themed complex featuring a dynamic blend of attractions, restaurants, nonstop entertainment and shops. USA Today Travel
named it the second largest observation wheel at 400 feet tall. Read about it here
Joining the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye
as part of I-Drive 360’s unique line-up of attractions are world-famous Madame Tussaud’s, SEA LIFE Aquarium, Skeletons and Arcade City
. Twice a day, visitors enjoy a $1.5 million water show set to music and color-changing lights. The complex offers free parking in its 1,600-space garage. www.i-idrive360.com
Mango's Tropical Café & Nightclub Complex
opened its $40 million, 55,000-square-foot restaurant and nightclub providing nonstop live entertainment, dancing and dining. The Latin-themed restaurant and club is an expansion of the Mango's brand in South Beach and is the newest nighttime hotspot on I-Drive. www.mangos.com/orlando
opened its Mako roller.
Orlando's tallest, longest and fastest roller coaster, the 200-foot-tall hyper coaster reaches 73 mph along 4,760 feet of steel track and leave riders feeling both breathless and weightless. www.seaworldparks.com
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
has opened with 1,000-rooms and is the fifth hotel at Universal Orlando. The resort has a Caribbean theme and includes 83 suites. Visit www.universalorlando.com
Skull Island Reign of Kong
, at Univeral's Islands of Adventure, provides a journey deep into a mysterious island, swarmed by enormous prehistoric predators. Check it out here
. And also open: The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster
. Check details
The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen
has opened at CityWalk. Read all of the yummy details here
The World's Largest Entertainment McDonald's
at the corner of I-Drive and Sand Lake Road has re-opened and is the first in the country to have a newly-designed 22-foot-tall kids' jungle gym with slides and tunnels. The new two-story restaurant is 48 feet tall and includes 19,000-square-feet of space. With 348 seats on the first and second floors, there is a 2,000-square-foot arcade center with 50 games including an arcade version of Angry Birds. Eight kitchens prepare more than 200 menu items. http://mcfun.com/
Seabra Foods Market
at Orlando Crossings Mall opened with 17,000 square feet of shopping space that includes a variety of ethnic products from Portugal, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Spain, and more. http://www.seabrafoods.com/
At Pointe Orlando, Main Event Entertainment
, a state-of-the-art bowling experience, opened at Pointe Orlando with 48,000-square-feet of space. It features bowling, multi-level laser tag, high ropes adventure courses, billiards and interactive and virtual video games, with dining experiences ranging from fast-casual to chef-inspired casual. mainevent.com
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Orlando at SeaWorld
opened a six-story, 181-room hotel. ihg.com
Hot off the press…
Orlando has been recognized as one of the "Most Dynamic Cities in America" by the Worth Group, an integrated media company recognized as a resource for high net-worth individuals and world-class brands. Featured in the current issue of Worth magazine, Orlando is one of 15 "Worth Destinations 2016
" recognized for exceptional quality of life, tourism offerings, cultural offerings, business climate, entrepreneurial community and civic leadership.
I-Ride Trolley... the Fun Way to Get Around I-Drive!
As one of the most popular attractions in Orlando’s tourist corridor, the I-Ride Trolley Service
has provided an affordable, fun and convenient way to transport visitors to the attractions, shopping, restaurants and accommodations in the International Drive Resort Area.
Fare: Single cash fare, $2.00 per ride; kids cash fare ages 3-9, $1.00 per ride; senior cash fare age 65 and over, $0.25 per ride. Unlimited ride passes are available: one-day pass, $5.00 per person; three-day pass, $7.00 per person; five-day pass, $9.00 per person; seven-day pass, $12.00 per person; 14-day pass, $18.00 per person.
Since it began in 1997, it has been considered the easiest way to travel, allowing visitors to park their cars, save some money and enjoy the ride. And it got easier with a fleet of trolleys equipped with a state-of-the-art automated vehicle location system (AVLS) known as NextBus. With Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking, NextBus technology provides predicted vehicle arrival information and live maps to visitors.
I- Ride Trolley information is available via the Internet, smartphones and text messaging. Each of the 105 Trolley stops provides a QR code that visitors may scan for access to a new mobile site - iDrive2Go.mobi - dedicated to the International Drive Resort Area. In addition, the trolley equipment includes security cameras on each vehicle, automatic passenger counters, automated stop announcement system, LED destination signage and LED exterior accent lighting visible day and night.
Go Mobile on I-Drive!
With iDrive2Go.mobi, guests find loads of options for dining, shopping or attractions on I-Drive. The I-Ride Trolley section provides “NextTrolley” information as well as maps and listings of what is near each trolley stop. Access to the mobile site is obtained by QR scanning, SMS texting or by simply going to iDrive2Go.mobi on a smart phone.
Charm and comfort.
Combining the charm of the past with today’s modern comforts, this exclusive cost-saving transportation system for the International Drive Resort Area has logged more than 27.7 million trips since it began service in 1997. The trolleys operate from 8 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. daily. Details along with downloadable maps may be found at http://www.iridetrolley.com
Coming This year (2017)
added 430 parking spaces within a parking garage, the Village Shops at Westgate Lakes, 50,000 square feet of meeting space, restaurant and retail, eight-story condominium with 80 unites. In addition, a 9,000 square-foot pavilion expansion was completed in 2015. www.westgateresorts.com
Star Wars Celebration
lands April 13-16, 2017
at the Orange County Convention Center. Check for details and prices here
SeaWorld Orlando plans to open Aquatica Pass Member Pavilion in the spring. And Kraken® Virtual Reality Roller Coaster, Dolphin Nursery and Flamecraft Bar in the summer.
iFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving
with a one-story, 14,000-square-foot building featuring two wind tunnel tubes. Opening first quarter 2017. www.iflyworld.com
Staybridge Suites Orlando at SeaWorld
plans to open in March 2017 with 95 rooms on six floors. www.ihg.com
The "world's first-ever flying theater," Universal Orlando's "Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon
" is set to open in the spring of 2017. Check here
for more details.
TownePlace Suites Orlando at SeaWorld
, to complete a six-story, 188-room hotel in December 2016. www.marriott.com
expects a Fall 2017 opening for a three-level, 65,000-square-foot entertainment center. Also: private event space and 102 climate-controlled hitting bays. topgolf.com/us/orlando
Andretti Indoor Kart Racing & Games
plans a 2017 opening with 95,200 square feet including multi-level go-karting, laser tag, rock climbing, bowling and more. andrettikarting.com
At Universal Orlando, Cabana Bay Beach Resort
expands by adding a hotel tower with 399 retro designed rooms to open Spring 2017. See details
. And south of Cabana Bay, Universal's Volcano Bay Water Park
, will also open. See details
Residence Inn Universal Studios
, plans a five-story, 145,000-square-foot, extended-stay hotel with 196 rooms. Expected opening is late 2017. www.marriott.com
Sheraton Vistana Villages
plans a multiphase expansion to feature a 63-unit timeshare building (first of 11). Estimate completion June 2017. Property details
expects to open on I-Drive in Summer 2017. The $28 million property plans to have 175 rooms. www.house.hyatt.com
Starflyer-Vue at 360 will open the world's tallest spinning swing ride at 425 feet. The tower ride will reach speeds of 40 mph as riders reach the top and begin spinning. The ride will seat 24 passengers. Expected opening 2017.
Sand Lake Road Improvement Project
expects completion of work that includes widening to six lanes, bike paths and new sidewalks. Extends from I-Drive to Universal Blvd. http://www.cflroads.com/
I-Drive's overhead pedestrian bridge
is scheduled for completion in 2017. The 410-foot enclosed bridge will connect the plaza outside the Hyatt Regency Orlando to the Orange County Convention Center, just across from the Linda Chapin Theater. The bridge also will have an escalator leading from the hotel plaza to bridge, three stairways and two elevators and will follow the path of the existing crosswalk but will be above International Drive. Check the latest here
The International Drive widening project
plans to complete its expansion from four to six lanes from South Westwood Blvd. to North Westwood Blvd. For more details, check here
Cambria Hotel & Suites
plans a seven-story, 140-room hotel. Expected opening in 2017. www.choicehotels.com
The Reserve at Shingle Creek Resort
to add a 325-room, 16-story condo tower, walk-in pool and lazy river, additional golf holes, 133,000-square-foot operations building with parking, 36,000-square-foot laundry facility, 250,000-square-feet additional convention space and a multi-level parking garage. rosenshinglecreek.com
Fun Spot America
is planning an expansion to include new themes, incorporate new food & beverage partners, add coasters, water rides and much more. Visit fun-spot.com
More news on the Drive
The latest from Rosen Hotels and Resorts...
Rosen Plaza recently renovated all of its 800 guest rooms and suites. The property recently launched Zayde's Kosher Catering, a service for groups and conventions requiring kosher food at their meeting or event.
Rosen Shingle Creek is showcasing a floor-to-ceiling refresh reflecting a new modern Spanish Revival-style design in its expansive lobby, Headwaters Lounge, Café Osceola and in guest rooms and suites.Its 1,501 guest rooms and suites will soon showcase renewed style and comfort artfully depicted in soft coppers, sky blues within designer bedding, artwork and sophisticated lighting.
Rosen Centre’s 20 expansive executive suites have recently been refreshed and business executives have a new space to balance work and play in style. Each 2,300-square-foot suite comes with its own parlor and connecting king and queen guestrooms that exude a sophisticated, relaxed style.
for the latest details on all Rosen properties.
has launched in Orlando offering car seats for kids. For details and locations, which include the I-Drive area, visit website
Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Expansion of the south terminal is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2017 and is scheduled for completion in 2019. Details
The airport has opened a USO Welcome Center for the hundreds of thousands of military members, veterans and their families who visit Central Florida annually.