Orlando Unplugged: April News & Updates

Explore the vibrant energy of Orlando this April with our exclusive news roundup, showcasing the city's most exciting developments and events. Whether you're a local enthusiast or a visitor eager to discover Orlando's charm, our roundup is your ticket to experiencing the city's dynamic spirit.

Mister Rogers' Week of Kindness Returns to Winter Park

Mister Rogers' Week of Kindness Returns to Winter Park

Experience a week dedicated to Fred Rogers' legacy in Winter Park from April 1st to April 6th. Enjoy activities honoring Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, including guided tours, screenings with cast Q&A, afternoon tea, a prayer breakfast, a lunch and learn session, a musical concert, and a guided walking tour. Reserve your spot for these limited-capacity events and consider donating clothing items to support local charities. Join us in celebrating kindness inspired by Mister Rogers' timeless teachings.

UCF's Puerto Rico Research Hub Hosted Successful Youth Baseball Clinic on March 30

UCF's Puerto Rico Research Hub Hosted Successful Youth Baseball Clinic on March 30

The University of Central Florida's Puerto Rico Research Hub successfully hosted a special "Play Ball" event in celebration of Puerto Rico Baseball Day on Saturday, March 30th. The event featured a free introductory diamond sports clinic for children ages 5-12, conducted by players and coaches from UCF Knights baseball team, along with MLB Legends and other special guests. Attendees also enjoyed a thrilling match between Texas Tech and UCF.

Orlando Food Truck Regulations Delayed Amid Operator Concerns

Orlando Food Truck Regulations Delayed Amid Operator Concerns

The Municipal Planning Board of Orlando deferred passing new amendments to city code regarding mobile food vendors after hearing from local operators. The proposed updates aimed to formalize regulations for food truck and cart operators, including classifications for "temporary" and "permanent" vendors. Concerns arose over vague language and lack of consultation with operators. Food truck representatives expressed issues with proposed requirements, such as needing a Master Plan review for events with multiple trucks. Despite the delay, operators remain hopeful for resolution before the next MPB meeting on April 16th.

New Penzey’s Spices Store Opens in Orlando's SoDo District

New Penzey’s Spices Store Opens in Orlando's SoDo District

Penzey’s Spices, the largest independent spice retailer in the U.S., has opened a new shop in Orlando's SoDo District at 1809 S. Orange Avenue. Known for its outspoken political stances, the Wisconsin-based retailer offers a wide range of spices. While a grand opening celebration is planned for the future, the store is currently open from 10AM to 6PM Monday through Saturday, and 11AM to 5PM on Sunday.

Partial Solar Eclipse to Grace Orlando on April 8th

Partial Solar Eclipse to Grace Orlando on April 8th

Orlando is set to witness a partial solar eclipse on April 8th, starting at 1:46PM. Residents and visitors can experience a 65% partial eclipse, with the maximum coverage expected at 3:03PM. Remember, it's unsafe to directly observe the sun during an eclipse without proper eye protection. Those interested in viewing can obtain solar eclipse goggles from events hosted by the Orlando Science Center and the Orange County Regional History Center.

Exciting Addition Near Fashion Square Mall

Exciting Addition Near Fashion Square Mall

A new quick-service restaurant is on its way to Fashion Square Mall's vicinity, nestled between LongHorn Steakhouse and the Olive Garden Italian Restaurant along Colonial Drive. Del Taco is set to open its doors at 3209 E. Colonial Drive sometime this month, as indicated by signs inviting job applications. Renowned for its unique blend of Western-style Mexican cuisine, crinkle-cut fries, and hearty beef burgers, Del Taco promises a delicious dining experience.

Discover Funk's Vintage in The Milk District

Discover Funk's Vintage in The Milk District

A new vintage treasure trove has arrived in The Milk District at 2615 E. South Street, adjacent to Market on South. Funk's Vintage boasts an extensive showroom filled with a diverse array of vintage goods, thoughtfully organized by price. From affordable finds priced at $1 to higher-end selections, there's something for everyone. However, what sets Funk's apart is its unique back room, featuring a mountain of clothes piled high for exploration. Shoppers can sift through this eclectic collection and pay just $7 per pound for their chosen items at checkout. Plus, don't miss out on special deals like the recent promotion offering a free pound of clothing with the purchase of any front store item. Visit Funk's Vintage from Wednesday to Sunday, 11AM to 6PM, and unearth your next vintage gem!

Satisfy Your Sweet Cravings at Parlor Doughnuts

Satisfy Your Sweet Cravings at Parlor Doughnuts

Calling all donut aficionados! Parlor Doughnuts, the latest addition to College Park, is now officially open for business. Spearheaded by Brad Cowherd, the owner of Infusion Tea, this franchise of the renowned Indiana-based donut chain promises a delectable menu that will tantalize your taste buds. Indulge in their signature layered donuts, tantalizing breakfast tacos, refreshing acai bowls, and a variety of expertly crafted coffee drinks. Whether you're craving classic flavors or seeking vegan, gluten-free, or Keto options, Parlor Doughnuts has something to satisfy every palate. Visit them at 2912 Edgewater Drive and treat yourself to a delightful culinary experience. Open from 7AM. to 4PM Monday to Friday, and 7AM to 2:30PM on Saturday and Sunday.

The Packing District's New Food Hall Opening Soon

The Packing District's New Food Hall Opening Soon

Get ready for an epic culinary adventure! The Packing District has announced the upcoming opening of its new food hall, located in the historic Great Southern Box Company building. Led by local architecture firm dap design, this 13,000+ square foot space will feature eleven vendor stalls, two outdoor patios, and a micro-brewery by Orange County Brewers. Managed by Chef Akhtar Nawab, the hall will offer delights like authentic Cuban street food from A Lo Cubano Kitchen, flavorful poke bowls from Poke Fin, and traditional Jamaican dishes with a healthy twist from Kayos Jamaican Grill. Stay tuned for the grand opening in early summer!

Norman's Named Best New Restaurant in Florida

Norman's Named Best New Restaurant in Florida

Recently, Southern Living honored Norman's as the Best New Restaurant in Florida for 2024 in its prestigious South's Best Awards. Renowned for its fusion of cultures, textures, and flavors, Norman's offers a dining experience like no other. From the elegant indoor dining room to the inviting outdoor terrace, each space exudes its unique charm. Indulge in classics like the 'Down Island' French Toast, expertly crafted by Chef Norman Van Aken and his talented team. Located at 7924 Via Dellagio Way, right next to our office, discover why Norman's is Florida's culinary gem. Plus, don't miss Orlando's 10th place ranking in Southern Living's Best Cities category!

Icon Park's Ferris Wheel Returns as The Orlando Eye

Icon Park's Ferris Wheel Returns as The Orlando Eye

Icon Park's iconic 400-foot Ferris wheel, formerly known as The Wheel, has been reacquired by Merlin Entertainments and restored to its original name, The Orlando Eye. Merlin, known for its global entertainment ventures, previously owned and operated the attraction from 2015 to 2018. This marks the fifth renaming of the ride in less than a decade, showcasing its evolution. Positioned as a must-visit attraction, The Orlando Eye promises unparalleled 360-degree views of Icon Park and beyond. Scott O'Neil, CEO of Merlin Entertainments, expressed excitement about the elevated experience awaiting visitors. Chris Jaskiewicz, President and CEO of Icon Park, sees this transition as a milestone in the park's growth. Don't miss your chance to experience The Orlando Eye by Merlin Entertainments, located at 8375 International Drive. Book your tickets now at theorlandoeye.com for an unforgettable adventure!

Get Ready to Shine at the 2024 Pride Prom hosted by Come Out With Pride

Get Ready to Shine at the 2024 Pride Prom hosted by Come Out With Pride

Mark your calendars for the highly anticipated adult-only (21+) Pride Prom, brought to you by Come Out With Pride, on Friday, April 12th, 2024. This year's theme, "Be Your Brightest Self," encourages guests to don vibrant colors, neon attire, and glow-in-the-dark accessories for a night of dazzling celebration. Held at the Orlando Science Center starting at 8PM, the event promises an unforgettable experience filled with DJ sets by Blue Star, live performances by Raspberry Pie, and electrifying dancing. Join Sondra Rae from "Johnny's House" on XL 106.7 and Pride Radio as she crowns this year's Royal Court. Indulge in delectable delights from Cuisiniers Catering and Shake Shack, capture memories at the photo booth, and revel in the joy of self-expression and acceptance. Tickets can be purchased, here.

À La Cart SoDo Set to Open this Spring

À La Cart SoDo Set to Open this Spring

Get ready, foodies! À La Cart, the beloved food truck park in the Milk District, is expanding to SoDo with its latest venture, À La Cart SoDo, located at 2207 East Michigan Street, Orlando. Owners April and Dustin Williams are hard at work preparing the new location, which promises to bring a diverse array of culinary delights to the area. At À La Cart SoDo, you can expect the same vibrant atmosphere and mouthwatering food offerings that have made the original location a hit. The park will feature a lineup of top-notch food vendors, including local favorites like Over Rice, serving up delicious Filipino/Hawaiian cuisine with classics like Pork Adobo and Huli Huli Chicken. Nona Street Pizza, known for its gourmet pizzas, wings, and pork belly bites, will also be making its debut at the park. Joining the lineup is 503 Latin Fusion, a must-try for lovers of Latin cuisine, offering savory Salvadorian Street Empanadas and Argentinian Sandwiches. À La Cart SoDo will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, so be sure to mark your calendars and get ready to indulge in an unforgettable culinary experience.

New Convenience at Orlando International Airport: Visitor Toll Pass Kiosks

New Convenience at Orlando International Airport: Visitor Toll Pass Kiosks

Traveling through Orlando International Airport just got even easier! Visitors now have access to Visitor Toll Pass kiosks in Terminals A, B, and C, providing a convenient way to save time and money on all Florida toll roads, express lanes, and most bridges. The Visitor Toll Pass is a free temporary toll pass designed for rental car customers traveling roundtrip through the airport, offering significant savings compared to traditional rental car toll programs. With the Visitor Toll Pass, travelers can save up to 80% on tolls and always pay the lowest toll rate throughout Florida, with no hidden fees or extra charges. Now, with vending machines conveniently located in Terminals A, B, and C, purchasing a Visitor Toll Pass is easier than ever before.

Orlando Secures Top Spot for Sports Events

Orlando Secures Top Spot for Sports Events

Orlando has added another accolade to its list of achievements, now being named the top city in the U.S. for attracting and hosting sporting events by the Sports Business Journal. This prestigious recognition reflects Orlando's vibrant sports scene, supported by world-class venues, dedicated sports commissions, and an enthusiastic community. Beating out major cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Indianapolis, Orlando's elevation to the top spot underscores its significant contributions to the sports business landscape. Mayor Buddy Dyer, along with the Greater Orlando Sports Commission and Walt Disney World Resort, celebrated this achievement at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, emphasizing the role of sports in bringing residents together, driving economic growth, and showcasing the city's hospitality. This recognition validates Orlando's longstanding commitment to sports excellence and its pivotal role in the community's identity and growth.

Orlando Fringe Introduces Orlando Out Fest: A Celebration of LGBTQIA Voices in the Arts

Orlando Fringe Introduces Orlando Out Fest: A Celebration of LGBTQIA Voices in the Arts

Orlando Fringe is proud to unveil its latest addition to the festival lineup: Orlando Out Fest, a dynamic celebration honoring LGBTQIA voices in the arts. Set to take place at Fringe ArtSpace from June 27th to 30th, 2024, this inaugural event promises to showcase the talent and diversity of the LGBTQIA community through captivating theater, art, and expression. With a lineup featuring 12 local artists presenting thought-provoking plays, vibrant musicals, and more, Orlando Out Fest aims to foster inclusivity and understanding while sparking meaningful conversations and promoting acceptance and equity for all. Join us for a joyous celebration of love, acceptance, and creativity, as we honor the history of LGBT artists and pave the way for a more inclusive future. Artists interested in participating can submit their work through the 2024 Orlando Out Fest Submission Form.

Indulge in Dutch-Style Fry Delights at The Fry Shoppe, Winter Park's Newest Addition

Indulge in Dutch-Style Fry Delights at The Fry Shoppe, Winter Park's Newest Addition

Satisfy your cravings for delectable cone fries at Winter Park's latest culinary gem, The Fry Shoppe, set to open its doors this Thursday, March 28th. Nestled in the former Fuelspresso drive-thru location at 489 N. Semoran Boulevard, this unique eatery brings the authentic flavors of Dutch-style fries to Central Florida. Created by Wilson Santos, former owner of Vinyl Arts Bar/MamaJuana, The Fry Shoppe offers a tantalizing selection of cone fries smothered in ten distinct scratch-made sauces and toppings. Whether you're a fan of classic condiments or crave adventurous flavor combinations, The Fry Shoppe has something to delight every palate. With convenient drive-thru and pickup options available, indulge in these savory delights seven days a week from 11AM to 9PM.

EPCOT's CommuniCore Hall & Plaza Opening June 10th

EPCOT's CommuniCore Hall & Plaza Opening June 10th

Get ready for an enchanting experience at EPCOT as CommuniCore Hall and Plaza unveil their grand opening on June 10. Serving as a vibrant hub in the World Celebration neighborhood, CommuniCore Hall will host festivals, a new Mickey & Friends meet and greet, and captivating displays. Meanwhile, CommuniCore Plaza offers lush greenery and tranquil spaces. Don't miss the summer sing-along "¡Celebración Encanto!" from June 10th to Sept. 6th, featuring beloved songs and characters from "Encanto".

Florida Leads Nation in Metro Area Growth

Florida Leads Nation in Metro Area Growth

Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveals that Florida dominates in metropolitan area growth, with four of the top five fastest-growing regions nationwide from 2022 to 2023. The Villages and Wildwood area saw the highest increase at 4.7%, followed by Lakeland and Winter Haven at 3.8%. Other Florida metros in the top five include Ocala (3.4%) and Port St. Lucie (3.1%). Notably, the South emerged as the fastest-growing region in the country, with all top 10 metros experiencing significant population surges, highlighting a broader trend of population growth in the southern United States.

BinBong Brings Asian Flavors to Mills 50 District

BinBong Brings Asian Flavors to Mills 50 District

Exciting news for Orlando's foodies! BinBong, a new Asian café and dessert spot, is set to open in the former iFix Youri location at 1200 E Colonial Drive. Founded by Tien Truong and Amy Thai, BinBong promises an elevated experience with its curated selection of coffee, tea, ice cream, and desserts. Stay tuned for the grand opening date! Follow BinBong on Facebook and Instagram for updates and sneak peeks into their flavorful offerings.

DogFest 2024: A Pawsome Day in Downtown Winter Park

DogFest 2024: A Pawsome Day in Downtown Winter Park

Get ready for a paw-some day in downtown Winter Park! DogFest 2024 is happening on April 20th, inviting locals to join in the fun with dog-centric vendors and activities along Park Avenue and in Winter Park’s Central Park. It's a rare opportunity for pups to frolic in the park, complemented by a biergarten, silent auctions, and plenty of adorable puppies to cuddle. Proceeds from the event support Canine Companions, dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities through expertly trained service dogs.

Huey Magoo’s Opens New Lake Nona Location with Exciting Grand Opening Event

Huey Magoo’s Opens New Lake Nona Location with Exciting Grand Opening Event

Huey Magoo’s celebrated the opening of its 60th restaurant in Lake Nona on March 26th, 2024. Spanning 13 states with 265 franchises, this milestone location offers dine-in/out, take-out, and soon delivery via DoorDash and Uber Eats. Led by CEO Andy Howard, it features an outdoor patio, drive-thru, and mobile pick-up window. The grand opening included a ribbon-cutting ceremony and freebies for the first 100 guests. Enjoy their famous chicken tenders at 9470 Narcoossee Road, Orlando, from 11AM to 9PM daily.

Blockbuster Video Store Returned to Orlando

Blockbuster Video Store Returned to Orlando

The Blockbuster Experience made a triumphant return to Orlando, igniting waves of nostalgia at the Central Florida Fairgrounds! Until March 10th, visitors immersed themselves in the charm of a full original pop-up Blockbuster video store, reliving the joy of perusing shelves stacked with beloved movies. Complete with authentic signage and a treasure trove of VHS and DVD classics, this immersive journey transported guests back to the golden era of cozy movie nights. Additionally, attendees seized the opportunity to snag exclusive "Last Blockbuster Bend" merchandise, including shirts, hats, sunglasses, and even candles designed to evoke the nostalgic aroma of a Blockbuster Video store!

Local Firm Leads Restoration of Black Bottom House of Prayer

Local Firm Leads Restoration of Black Bottom House of Prayer

Orlando's iconic Black Bottom House of Prayer, a historic landmark ravaged by a roof collapse in 2019, is on the path to revival thanks to the dedicated efforts of Interstruct Design + Build. Led by Ryan Young, the restoration project has navigated extensive approvals and structural repairs, with roofing and historic door installations on the horizon. With funding from the Florida African American Cultural and Historical Grant program, totaling $500,000, the church's resurrection promises to honor its rich legacy. Renderings provided by Young showcase the meticulous restoration efforts, including the iconic return of the bell tower, ensuring this cherished landmark stands proud once again.

Crispy Cones Brings European Flair to Orlando Dessert Scene

Crispy Cones Brings European Flair to Orlando Dessert Scene

Experience a delectable revolution with the grand opening of Crispy Cones, a European-style ice cream shop, in Orlando on April 5th at 2415 Curry Ford Road. Originating in the Czech Republic, Crispy Cones offers grilled dough cones coated with cinnamon, sugar, or crushed Oreos, filled with gourmet soft-serve ice cream, spreads, fruits, and toppings. Led by franchise owner Ethan Potts, this venture plans to expand across Orange County with a second location. Boasting customizable creations and a rotating menu, Crispy Cones promises to redefine dessert indulgence in Orlando and beyond, endorsed by a memorable appearance on Shark Tank with investor Barbara Corcoran.

Audubon Park Soars: Named One of the Best Places to Live in 2024

Audubon Park Soars: Named One of the Best Places to Live in 2024

Niche, a prominent school ranking and review website, has unveiled its highly anticipated annual list of the Best Places to Live in America, with Audubon Park securing the impressive 22nd spot. Renowned for its vibrant nightlife and family-friendly atmosphere, Audubon Park, nestled in Orlando, Florida, has captivated residents and visitors alike. With a population of 3,658, this Orange County gem offers a sparse urban ambiance where homeownership is prevalent. Offering an abundance of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks, Audubon Park caters to diverse lifestyles, attracting both families and young professionals. The neighborhood's highly rated public schools contribute to its allure, making it a sought-after destination for those seeking a dynamic yet welcoming community. While the North Quarter and Baldwin Park secured respectable rankings, Audubon Park's recognition underscores its status as a premier locale for modern living.