Orlando for groups – more than the parks!

Planning a meeting in Orlando?  Being the number one meeting destination, Orlando offers experiences unlike anywhere else.  Of course, Orlando is known for the Disney parks and Universal Studios and these  are likely places to hold private events.  They do offer a great deal in entertainment but can be costly and over time they become mundane options for groups.  However, if you want a venue that offers unique experiences for attendees, Orlando has great additional options to choose from.  There are numerous restaurants that offer private space, some with shows.  And, there are several unique spaces you can rent reasonably or buy out.

Below are some that are worthy of checking out next time you plan something in Orlando.  Also, be sure you check out the Visit Orlando website or contact them for ideas.  They provide great knowledge and assistance.  Of course, local DMCs can also get you thinking outside the parks box!

The Sugar Factory Orlando at the I-Drive 360 Complex is a fun option for a fun dinner or dessert sweet party.  Known for its celebrity endorsed Couture Pops, it seats 250 or accommodates 500 standing.  The Sugar Factory has a flexible layout, with movable and removable furniture and over 8,000 square feet of space to work with. This American brasserie offers upscale classic cuisine, decadent desserts as well as signature drinks.  Into the evening, you can dance to top charts music.  A fun place! Visit their website.


The Hangar located at the Central Florida Airport is a great option for large groups up to 1,500.  This industrial space has polished white floors, white walls and a 40’ white ceiling.  With this space there are so many décor and entertainment options. They can even bring in model planes.  They recently added Hangar 15, a space for smaller groups up to 500.  A fun, place where you can use your creativity for a special and different event.  The Hangar


The Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts in downtown Orlando is housed on a nine-acre site, is beautiful and offers several options.  This venue accommodates groups of 500 seated and 2,700 standing.   Besides two performance theaters, there are other areas and rooms for meetings and events.  Of course, depending on your event timing, you may need to work around performances, but their professional planning staff will assist you in finding what fits best for your group.  Dr Phillips Center

If you are a medical planner, consider using space at the Lake Nona Medical City.  Even if you are not a medical planner, this is a unique option with state-of-the-art space.  It is a 650-acre medical, research and educational complex in southeast Orlando.  The GuideWell Innovation Center is a life sciences facility, offering a different meeting environment including plant walls and a variety of avocado delicacies. There is also a 250 person theatre. This facility is meant for bringing people together, engaging meetings and conversations, especially in the scientific realm.    Check out your options at Visit Orlando website.

For another active, participatory fun experience, TopGolf is a great option with several packages offered.  They offer food and beverage plus access to golf bays for play.  Check out available packages in their Event Guide.  Groups always have a good time here and they have so many meeting and group spaces available with seating for up to 700 and standing up to 1,500.

Seaworld does all kinds of events but they do offer a CSR program that appeals more to Millennials.  It is the Seaworld “Experiences That Matter” program.  This program donates 1 percent of all net revenue from an event to the SeaWorld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, a wildlife conservation, research and education initiative.  You can plan educational events in the Manatee Rehabilitation Area, where veterinarians nurse newly rescued sea cows back to health. Educational programs are also available to teach attendees about the plight of the mako shark, watch real-time, shark-tracking expeditions, and host an event at Turtle Trek — a 3-D, 360-degree-theatre showcase that highlights the vulnerable sea turtle.  For more information, click here

Mango’s Tropical Café on International Drive is another great and fun option for evenings. It holds up to 2,000 guests with 55,000 square feet of nightlife entertainment. You can arrange for a show with the famous Mango Dancers or arrange salsa lessons or other live entertainment. There are several rooms and areas to choose from.  For more information visit  Mango’s Tropical Cafe

Orlando has several museums offering event space and some are quite unique. There is the wax museum, Madame Tussauds, at the I-360 complex that holds up to 350.  Wonderworks is a exploratory house museum that is turned upside down.  This is very unique and fun with a variety of activities offered.  They also have a magic comedy dinner show.  Check it out here

The Titanic – The Artifact Exhibition is another interesting and different museum for your attendees and can host a dinner for your group.  Guided tours take you through over 400 artifacts and full-scale re-creations of the ship including the Grand Staircase, the Promenade Deck, parlor suites and you even sense a chill in the air when you stroll “outside” on the deck to see the stars.  Visit Titanic Artifact Exhibition



iFLY Orlando is definitely unique and offers attendees a chance to “skydive” in a controlled flight chamber.  It is exhilarating, and groups love it.  They offer team outings, team building and sales event packages.  They also can provide food and beverage for your group.  For more information, visit iFLY Events

As you can see, Orlando offers so much more than the parks for events.  Step outside of the box and do something different for your next meeting or event.  For more information on unique venues Visit Orlando  has more suggestions and assistance for you as you plan your meeting or event.





Julie Martinez, CMP, CMM is a meeting, event and incentive planning specialist providing consulting, strategic planning and on-site management.  She is a member and contributor of I-Meet, the online business community for people who plan meetings and events. Please connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her Twitter.


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