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2018 Preview: 10 Most Anticipated Orlando/Central Florida Venues for Meetings and Events

The hotels, conference spaces, restaurants, cultural spaces, slated to open in Central Florida for events and entertaining this year.

By Mitra Sorrells January 10, 2018, 7:15 AM EST

Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach

Rendering: Courtesy Hard Rock International

Looking for a new venue for your next event? Here are the most anticipated Orlando/Central Florida restaurants, corporate event venues, hotels, conference centers, and party rooms slated to open in 2018. These new and renovated Orlando/Central Florida venues will accommodate groups large or small for private and corporate events, conferences, meetings, weddings, business dinners, teambuilding activities, cocktail parties, and more.

1. A new Hard Rock Hotel will open in Daytona Beach in early 2018. The 200-room beachfront property will have 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space including a ballroom terrace. There will also be a full-service restaurant and an oceanfront party deck adjacent to the outdoor pool. The hotel will also offer Hard Rock’s “Sound of Your Stay” music program that provides complimentary use of Fender guitars and Crosley record players in guest rooms.

2. The convention center at Walt Disney World's Yacht & Beach Club Resort will open 28,000-square-feet of new space in the summer of 2018. The new section will include a 16,000-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into eight spaces, three pre-function areas, and two “gathering rotundas” suitable for networking and relaxation lounges. The new construction will bring the resort’s total amount of flexible event space to 100,000 square feet.

3. Famed chef José Andrés will join the Disney Springs lineup with the sixth location—and first in Florida—of his Jaleo brand. Serving traditional and contemporary Spanish cuisine, the multi-level restaurant will be the brand’s largest location. Jaleo is known for its assortment of tapas, wood-fired paellas, sangrias, and a large selection of Spanish wines and sherries. The restaurant is being designed with colorful decor representing the culture of Spain.

4. Terralina Crafted Italian will be a new restaurant opening in early 2018 at Disney Springs. The 10,200-square-foot restaurant will have seating for 257 inside and 122 outside with views of Lake Buena Vista. It’s being created by Levy Restaurants in partnership with James Beard award-winning chef Tony Mantuano. The venue, which will be open for lunch and dinner, will be available for buyout; semiprivate areas will accommodate a variety of group sizes.

5. A new venture from famed chef Wolfgang Puck will open at Disney Springs in summer 2018. The Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill replaces the Wolfgang Puck Grand Café that closed in August. The new restaurant’s menu will include many of Puck’s signature dishes along with handcrafted cocktails, beer, and wine.

6. Additional restaurants opening at Disney Springs in the new year including Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante, an Italian trattoria with an airy dining room with views of Lake Buena Vista and 314 seats. Adjoining the restaurant will be Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar, a speakeasy-style space serving creative cocktails and a casual menu of Italian food with seating for 184.

7. The new Nona Adventure Park will be available for corporate groups and teambuilding experiences. The park will have the world’s first solar-powered water ski and wakeboard cable park, a 60-foot climbing tower with ropes course, and an inflatable aqua park with floating pathways, climbing obstacles, slides, and trampolines.

8. Universal Orlando Resort will open its newest hotel in late summer 2018. The 16-story Aventura Hotel will have a rooftop bar and floor-to-ceiling windows in the 600 guest rooms offerings views of Universal’s three theme parks.

9. In Tampa, a new Kimpton Hotel is slated to open in early 2018 in the Westshore business district. The five-story property will have 150 rooms and suites, 4,000 square feet of indoor event space, and a rooftop bar and separate rooftop event space. It will also have a restaurant led by Michelin-starred Tuscan chef Silvia Baracchi. It will be Kimpton’s seventh hotel in Florida.

10. At Walt Disney World, the new Toy Story Land will open in the summer of 2018. The 11-acre attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park is being designed to make guests feel as if they’ve been shrunk to the size of Woody and Buzz as they are surrounded by oversize toys. The new land will have themed dining options and attractions, including Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers.

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