Over the years, Orlando has transformed into a bustling city with exceptionally chic and varied dining. The city offers thousands of restaurants with all kinds of fare, from traditional diners and buffets to hip culinary hot-spots featuring cuisine from all over the world. I have often heard visitors say that they want to plan an entire trip to Orlando simply to come back and try those restaurants they didn’t get a chance to on previous vacations!
For those traveling to Orlando during the month of September this year, you will get the perfect opportunity to try various local and visitor favorites – and still fit it into your vacation budget. Starting September 1 and running through the end of the month (there’s actually a special preview week starting August 25, as well), Visit Orlando is hosting its Magical Dining Month, in which some of the city’s finest restaurants will be featuring three-course, prix fixe dinner menus for just $33 per person. This is a great way to try some of Orlando’s swanky restaurants without the usual steep cost.
How it works
Start by visiting the Magical Dining Month mini-site. On the homepage, you’ll find a button under the introductory paragraph that says Browse Restaurants & Menus. Click this button, and it will take you to a linked page with a full directory of all the restaurants that will be participating in the event, what area they are in, and their $33 menus. Hemingway’s, Seasons 52, Tommy Bahama, and Fogo de Chao are just a few off the list of featured restaurants (and some of the ones I’m most excited about visiting!). The directory also tells you what kind and style of food is served next to each venue’s name. Take your time browsing through the list and menus until you come across ones that pique your interest most. There’s enough here to try a new place each day!
If you’re worried about whether it’s worth it or if there will be enough food, let me ease your mind. The portions on the $33 menu are the same as what is provided on the regular menus. (And, previously, when Visit Orlando still had its message board up, comments such as “they’ll need to roll you out after” [made by user Sonja G] could easily be found.) A full belly will surely not be a worry during Magical Dining Month, and, on top of a full stomach, you can count on a full heart – one dollar from every meal sold from the Magical Dining menus will be donated to the Foundation for Foster Children.
Visit Orlando and the participating restaurants recommend that you make reservations at any of the locations you plan on visiting. Click on any restaurant you choose in the directory, and you will find their address and phone number above the menu. You can also click the “Make Reservation” button to reserve your table electronically. When you arrive at the restaurant, ask your server for the Magical Dining Month menu, and enjoy your meal!
Participating Universal Orlando restaurants
Universal guests are in for a treat, as many of the resort’s top restaurants participate in this discount program. Here is the list (the links bring to you to our pages for more information and photos of each restaurant):
Emeril’s Orlando – Universal CityWalk
Bice – Portofino Bay Hotel
Mama Della’s Ristorante – Portofino Bay Hotel
Trattoria del Porto – Portofino Bay Hotel
Emeril’s Tschoup Chop – Royal Pacific Resort
Islands Dining Room – Royal Pacific Resort
In addition to these Universal on-site restaurants, there are many venues around Universal that participate. Check the full list, then select “Restaurant Row” or “Convention Area” for more ideas. Unfortunately, the only on-site Disney restaurants that participate are Todd English’s bluezoo at Swan & Dolphin and La Luce at Hilton Bonnet Creek (the latter of which technically isn’t on-site).
Magical Deals Month
In 2014, Visit Orlando is broadening the reach of Magical Dining Month with Magical Deals Month. In additional the savings on dining, they’ve also put together special hotel and vacation package offers.
As you continue to explore your options for Orlando travel, you’ll definitely want to stop by the Visit Orlando website for details.
Would you like to learn more about the restaurant options in Orlando? We have more than 100 reviews posted in the OI Blog. Want to take advantage of September savings but don’t have time to compare all the offers? We’ll do it for you – for free (seriously). Learn more
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