10 Orlando Venues for Company Picnics and Summer Entertaining

By Mitra Sorrells May 17, 2011, 9:50 AM EDT

Photo: Courtesy of Brian Adams

Summer is on its way, which means it's time to start entertaining interns, summer associates, clients, and corporate groups. Check out Orlando's new bars, restaurants, water parks, and outdoor and fresh-air-friendly venues for corporate picnics, company gatherings, and other types of summer entertaining.
1. Terrace 390 opened April 18 on the ground floor of the Bank of America Center in downtown Orlando, in what used to be Harvey’s Bistro. The new restaurant has a 10,000-square-foot patio filled with wrought-iron furniture and palm trees. A small covered section has a bar and seating for 50. Inside, the main dining room can seat 150; it includes a semiprivate section for groups of 50. All of the servers carry iPads to show guests photos of the American bistro cuisine and to transmit orders to the kitchen.

2. Add some culture to your corporate outing with an event at St. Petersburg’s new Dali Museum. The $36 million facility contains more than 2,000 Salvador Dalí paintings, prints, sculptures, and drawings, the largest collection of the artist’s work outside of Spain. The 66,000-square-foot building, anchored by a stunning, free-form “Glass Enigma” structure, is available for buyout for groups of 875. Smaller groups can book areas such as the 3,100-square-foot Avant-Garden and the Raymond James Community Room, which can seat 150 and has views of the garden and waterfront.  

3. Gatorland is preparing to open its Screamin’ Gator Zip Line this summer. The course covers 1,200 feet over some of the park’s attractions, such as the alligator breeding marsh. The park can accommodate private events for groups of 10 to 500 people. If you need to take care of business before the fun begins, the Crocodile Conference Center can hold 75 people in theater seating or 30 in a classroom setup. The room has audiovisual capabilities, three flat-screen TVs, and Wi-Fi.  

4. Water is always a welcome sight at summertime events in central Florida. One of the newest water attractions to open is at the Tradewinds Island Grand Resort on St. Pete Beach. Splash Island Water Park opened in March. The 20,000-square-foot playground floats in the Gulf of Mexico, just 60 feet off of the resort’s beach. It offers 11 features such as slides, trampolines, inflatables, and floating lounge chairs. The park is available for buyout in one-hour increments for as many as 50 people at a time.  

5. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park has added 20 new private cabanas that provide shade, Adirondack chairs, and complimentary refillable drink mugs for six to 10 guests. Cabana rental also comes with a service attendant who can pick up food from around the park. Large groups can buy out the entire park after hours for 6,000 guests, complete with a tropical buffet dinner, live entertainment, and surfing demonstrations.  

6. Orlando’s newest indoor (i.e., air-conditioned!) playground opens July 18 on International Drive. Dave & Buster’s will be a 46,000-square-foot restaurant and entertainment complex with 200 games and a full bar. The venue will have a variety of private event spaces, including a 2,000-square-foot main showroom with seating for 126 and two executive boardrooms that can accommodate 24 and 32 people. A feature that will be unique to the Orlando location: covered parking to keep guests’ vehicles out of the hot Florida sun.  

7. Enzian cinema cafe in Maitland has added a large screen to its courtyard, Eden Bar, suitable for corporate presentations or a private movie night. The 33- by 35-foot space is surrounded by tropical foliage and large oak trees that provide shade. It can seat 70 or hold 200 for receptions. The venue’s indoor theater has seating for 200 at tables on four tiered levels. Enzian’s menu changes based on seasonal and local ingredients.  

8. Music buffs will enjoy an outing to the Orlando Science Center for its exhibit “Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World,” which runs June 11 to September 11. Groups can set up an event within the exhibit space or outside on the 6,300-square-foot Suntrust Terrace. The terrace is one of the largest rooftop spaces in Orlando and can seat 300 people or hold 600 for receptions. The science center also recently updated its Dino Digs exhibit hall, which can host a private event among giant replicas of dinosaurs and prehistoric sea creatures.  

9. Corporate groups looking for a picnic site might want to check out Cypress Pointe at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress near Disney. The gazebo is set in the rear of the hotel’s property, alongside scenic Lake Windsong, and can accommodate 150 people. The entire resort has been renovated in the last couple of years, and the gazebo got a new roof constructed of Weblon vinyl—perfect to block the sun and even keep out the occasional summertime shower.  

10. Help your guests see downtown Orlando in a whole new way with a party at the Amway Center’s new One80 Grey Goose Lounge, offering unparalleled views of downtown from 180 feet above ground.  The rooftop space can accommodate 160 people and has a mix of contemporary furniture: stationary benches, movable lounge chairs, and high-top chairs. Inside, One80 has an additional 2,000 square feet for a total capacity of 360. The venue has a full kitchen and catering menu.

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