Direct Flight: From Mickey to Michelin, Orlando is for foodies

Orlando has long been synonymous with theme parks, and rightly so. It’s home to more than a dozen, including Sea World, Disney, and Universal Studios. However, it now has a new moniker: “foodie hot spot.”

While there was never a shortage of places to eat in Orlando, the quality and diversity of its dining options have improved dramatically in recent years. And that is very important for today’s travelers. A recent survey by Skift Research found that more than 40% of respondents had taken a vacation with a food- and/or drink-related experience as the main purpose of the trip.

As a testament to what travelers can now experience in Orlando, earlier this year the very first Michelin Guide for Florida was released with Orlando being recognized with four One Star restaurants:

  • Capa Steakhouse at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort: “Expect a distinctive experience defined by hickory-grilled steaks and impressive tapas.”
  • Soseki – “A laser-like focus on local Florida produce results in a menu that changes monthly. As a result, guests are likely to experience a new culinary theme each time they visit.”
  • Kadence – “This is food that’s free-spirited, yet manages to honor classic methods with pacing that is on point.”
  • Knife & Spoon – “Care and skill are the hallmarks of this team headed by chef de cuisine Gerald Sombright, as they turn out contemporary steakhouse fare woven with seafood.”

“Michelin’s recognition of 34 Orlando restaurants, including four starred venues, seven Bib Gourmands, and 23 Recommended, confirms what we in the destination have known all along – that Orlando has an exceptional culinary community,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando, the official tourism association for Orlando. “Like so many industries in Orlando, our dining scene is fueled by creativity and ingenuity.

In addition, Orlando now has six very distinct dining districts that feature local James Beard honorees and celebrity chef-driven restaurants, such as Washington, DC’s own Chef Jose Andres. And its many food and drinks events are also on point. USA Today 10Best ranked the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival as the top two best things to do in Orlando in the fall.

Win a Trip to Orlando

Visit Orlando is launching a special sweepstake for 12 lucky winners and their three closest friends, family members, or travel companions to experience the 50th Anniversary celebration of Walt Disney World Resort before it ends March 31, 2023. Each Magical Getaway includes Theme Park Tickets with Park Hopper option, a $500 value Disney Gift Card, accommodation at a deluxe Disney Resort hotel for a two-night, three-day stay, roundtrip airfare provided by Frontier Airlines, and Orlando International Airport ground transportation to and from Walt Disney World Resort.

To enter for a chance to win, all contestants must complete a short entry form and upload a photo with their favorite family members, inner circle or lifelong best friends showing off their Orlando fandom at by Dec. 5, 2022.

Direct flights from Washington, DC to Orlando are available at all three area airports:

  • Baltimore Washington International: Frontier, Spirit, and Southwest
  • National Airport: JetBlue, American, and Southwest
  • Dulles International Airport: United
Troy Petenbrink

Troy, also known as The Gay Traveler, is a well known travel and food writer. His has been a regular contributor to a variety of outlets including National Geographic, Travel Channel, DCRefined, CBS Local, and Metro Weekly. He also appears on local Washington news outlets as a travel expert.

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