Laying Foundation for Fall

Thanks to a stellar September, Orlando's fall season is shaping up nicely. With spectacular year-over-year growth, September was our strongest one since 1996. It began with the FSU/Ole Miss match-up that extended the Labor Day holiday by another day and brought a 16.4 percent rise in Average Daily Rate for the final weekend of summer travel.

In addition, we are happy to report that the Orange County Convention Center had an extremely strong showing during the first month of autumn. Not only was citywide attendance at the Center up an astounding 85 percent compared to last year, Orlando hosted eight groups with more than 10,000 attendees each, including Graph Expo which brought 21,000 attendees to our community. During September, occupancy on I-Drive rose 9 percent over last year.

The early start to Halloween, numerous fall events and a very successful Magical Dining Month helped generate interest in our destination. In addition, Visit Orlando's increased marketing efforts, particularly in the Atlanta region and throughout Florida, is showing promise to help our autumn visitation.

 



Orlando Dining Gets Magical Response

Fueling excitement for Orlando's culinary scene, WalletHub just named our destination "Best Foodie City." Among 150 major U.S. metro areas, Orlando was top on the list, which ranked everything from food festivals to the accessibility of high-quality restaurants.

In total, a record 96 restaurants participated - 19 for the first time - and a who's who of acclaimed chefs gave area food-lovers plenty to explore during this month-long celebration. Driving the buzz behind this year's event was the just-revealed Visit Orlando app, which let diners easily search menus, pull up directions and book their own culinary experiences.

Best of all, Magical Dining Month allowed guests to dine for a cause. A dollar from every meal will go to support The Russell Home for Atypical Children, the first non-profit in the nation to care for special needs children and "child-like" adults in a caring, forever home.

The Best Foodie City award and the success of this year's Magical Dining Month confirm what we already know: Orlando's dining scene has never tasted so good and there's much to be discovered by simply exploring our destination in our own backyard.

This coveted designation came on the heels of Magical Dining Month, which helped Visit Orlando capture more of the attention of the Florida market while creating even more excitement for our community. Initial reports suggest a record number of diners turned out for the event in September. Taking notice was an impressive list of media outlets and tastemakers. Enthusiasm surrounding Magical Dining was impossible to miss with coverage in print, on television and nearly every social media channel.

 

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