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by Lisa A. Grimaldi | June 01, 2016
Why here?
Central Florida has it all: lots of golf, outlet and premium shopping, top amusement parks and entertainment, eclectic dining and first-class properties ranging from the lagoon-fronted Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando (pictured) to high-rise modern hotels.


NEWS FLASH
• Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa has unveiled 20,000 square feet of new meeting and banquet space. The 2,300-villa, luxury condo resort now offers a total of 36,000 square feet of meeting space.

The 1,004-room DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld will complete a multimillion-dollar renovation this year, including a refresh of all 100,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor event space.


POPULAR PLACE 
A record 66.1 million visitors flocked to Orlando in 2015, up by 5.5 percent over 2014 numbers. According to Visit Orlando, about 10 percent of visitors came for meetings, conventions and incentive programs.


COCKTAIL IN A SHELL
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando's signature drink is the Peacock Egg --  ice spheres filled with gin, lavender syrup, blue curaçao and lemonade, all in a festive azure hue.
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ORLANDO

Local Update

 Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando has unveiled a renovation of its 1,000 guest rooms. The South Pacific-themed property's guest rooms now feature new décor and desks with USB connectors and multiple outlets. The property added 47,000 square feet of meeting space last fall, giving it a total of 132,000 square feet.

 This fall, Universal Orlando will debut the 1,000-room Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, which will be connected to the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Sapphire Falls will have 115,000 square feet of meeting space.

 Next year, Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort is scheduled to open two new towers comprising 400 guest rooms, adding to the property's current total of 1,800 rooms. Cabana Bay amenities will include two swimming pools, a lazy river, a 10-lane bowling alley, and walking proximity to Universal Orlando's theme parks and Universal CityWalk.

 The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel has unveiled the first half of its $125 million redesign, marking completion of a renovation of all 758 guest rooms and public spaces at the Swan. The Dolphin's 1,509 guest rooms and public areas will be upgraded by 2017. The resort offers a total of more than 329,000 square feet of meeting space.

 The expansion of Disney Springs (the former Downtown Disney) will debut this year. The outdoor venue has four distinct neighborhoods to explore -- The Landing, Marketplace, West Side and Town Center -- and will have a total of more than 150 retail, dining and entertainment outlets. New restaurants that have recently opened on-site include Morimoto Asia (from acclaimed Japanese chef Masaharu Morimoto) and the high-flying, aviation-themed Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar; this fall, Paddlefish will open in the former Fulton's Crab House.

 The 800-room Rosen Plaza completed a refurbishment of its guest rooms and suites at the close of last year. The property has 60,000 square feet of meeting space.

 All 1,501 guest rooms and suites at Rosen Shingle Creek currently are being upgraded in a project set for completion by the end of this year. This past January, the results of a refurbishment of all of the property's public spaces were unveiled. The hotel has a grand total of approximately 490,000 square feet of meeting/event space.

 LakeHouse, a new restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, has replaced the 815-room property's former Cascades eatery.

 The 1,417-room Hilton Orlando has unveiled 11,000 square feet of new meeting space, prefunction space and an additional registration desk. The expansion includes the new Key West and Key Largo meeting rooms, adjacent to the existing 15,000-square-foot Florida Ballroom.