Florida Guide > Dining
Orlando Magical Dining Month
Why didn’t I know about this annual event? We have owned our own villa for over 15 years now and it wasn’t until I was planning this year’s holiday that I started to read about Orlando Magical Dining Month. I soon realised we had been missing out on the chance to eat at some fantastic restaurants.
So what is Magical Dining Month? Well, it has been running for 13 years and in 2018 over 100 local restaurants participated between 24 August and 30th September. They offer a 3-course prix fixe menu for $35. The 3-course dinner includes the choice of appetiser, entrée and dessert. Drinks, tax and gratuity are extra. $1 from each meal goes to support 2 charities and in 2018 these were Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Florida. It is now in its 13th year.
Details of the restaurants and menus are released in July just over a month before the start of the event. There are 4 areas of Orlando that the restaurants are typically situated these being; the Convention area/International Drive, Lake Buena Vista/Disney, Downtown Orlando and finally what is known as Restaurant Row or you may know it as Dr Phillips area.
A quick google search will show you that there are a vast variety of restaurants to suit everyone’s taste. For example in the Convention Centre area, you have Café Tu Tu Tango, The Capital Grille, Kobe Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse, Sharks Underwater Grill (SeaWorld) and Copper Canyon Grill. The Disney area includes Bongos Cuban Café and Paddlefish. In ‘Restaurant Row’ you have the choice of Fleming’s, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Seasons 52 and The Melting Pot to name but a few.
The majority of restaurants can be booked via Open Table however, you may also need to contact the restaurant directly. Otherwise, you can try your luck and just turn up to see if they have availability.
We choose 2 restaurants firstly Sharks Underwater Grill at SeaWorld – this is one of the restaurants you have to contact directly (e-mail) and we managed to get a table for 3pm on a Sunday afternoon. You may ask why so early but SeaWorld allow you to stay in the park after your meal until closing time and enjoy the rides and shows without buying a ticket. We took full advantage of this and stayed until 10pm. So for $35 per person, we had a 3-course meal, parking and from 4.30pm – 10pm in the park – great value for money.
Our next restaurant was The Melting Pot – as fondue restaurant which we have never experienced before. Wow – we loved it, so different but a great evening and I will write a separate review.
So my verdict is that Magical Dining Month is great value for money, it allows you to try those restaurants that you may have been tempted to try but never got round to booking for a reasonable price.
I am looking forward to seeing which restaurants are included in 2019.
Author: Mike and Michelle Walden
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