A Mouthwatering Guide to Orlando’s Magical Dining Season

Here in Florida, we like to joke that we don’t really have any seasons; there’s just Summer and Not Summer. Of course, that’s not true. In fact, the Sunshine State actually has dozens of them! They may not be traditional seasons like spring and fall, but you can always tell the time of year by them.

There’s Art Festival season at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Park, Mardi Gras season at Universal Orlando, and Manatee season in the early part of the year, which is when our Crystal River Manatee Tours are at their most popular.

Then it’s Food Festival season in the spring — with Seaworld’s Seven Seas Food Festival and the equally tempting Food & Wine Festival at nearby Busch Gardens — as well as Flower & Garden season at Epcot. Summer brings Late Night season at all the theme parks, with Electric Ocean at SeaWorld and Awe-Summer at LEGOLAND Florida, plus the start of the epic Food & Wine season at Epcot.

Late August through to October 31 marks the official Halloween season at all the theme parks – and it’s also Magical Dining season! If you’re unfamiliar with this tasty time of year, don’t worry. As experts in Florida Tours and all things Sunshine State, we’re here to explain everything in this handy guide.

What is Magical Dining Season in Florida?

Magical Dining season has been a part of Orlando’s late-summer landscape for 17 years and, while it did start as Magical Dining Month, it soon developed into a fully-fledged season. It now starts in August and runs through to early October — a full 39 days of dining deliciousness!

Pioneered by Visit Orlando, Magical Dining is a chance to sample more than 100 of the area’s best restaurants at a set price of $40 per person. This is an absolute steal in most instances as many of the featured venues would normally be much more expensive when sampled a la carte.

Each restaurant produces a three-course prix fixe Magical Dining menu, and diners simply need to let their server know they want to choose from that menu. Drinks and any upgrades are extra, but the price still represents excellent value for money, especially at a time when it pays to be price-conscious.

Magical Dining is now one of Florida’s premier restaurant fiestas, a genuine opportunity for the cream to rise to the top, and for visitors to enjoy as much of that cream as they can in a week or two. We could talk for days about the best things to do in Orlando, Florida, but for foodies, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Where to Find Magical Dining in Orlando

The folks at Visit Orlando have built a valuable online resource for everything to do with their creation. This is where you can find more about the basics of the program and a list of every restaurant taking part, including their details, menu, any upgrades and enhancements, and even they have outdoor seating.

Check out the full Magical Dining Restaurant List to find out where every participating eatery is located, either by area or on a handy map. Some of the popular areas include the foodie Meccas of Winter Park, Restaurant Row (the portion of Sand Lake Road west of I-4), Walt Disney World, and Downtown. There is even a ‘My Favorites’ list, so you can do what the locals do and compile a personalised list of places to try.

Who Benefits from Magical Dining Season?

Well, every diner benefits from exceptional food at great prices. But Magical Dining is also a good cause. This dining experience has a huge philanthropic side — $1 from every single meal goes to the year’s chosen charity.

In 2023, this was the amazing The Able Trust, and specifically its High School High Tech (HSHT) program in Orange County, which aims to provide jobs or postsecondary education leading to in-demand careers for high school students with disabilities. So, while you chow down on memorable meals, you’ll also be contributing to an extremely worthy cause.

For an idea of the amount of money raised, in 2022, Magical Dining donated a whopping $289,291 to two organizations that help combat Central Florida homelessness.

Are There Any Catches?

Absolutely not! The program does exactly what it says on the tin; providing fabulous fare at one fixed rate. Don’t forget, this includes some of the very best restaurants in town, among them no fewer than six of Orlando’s new Michelin Guide honorees.

The only thing you might need to worry about is getting into some of the restaurants in question. Magical Dining has become hugely popular with locals – to the extent that we often sit and make lists about the venues, and menu items, we want to sample – and you will need to make advance bookings in most instances.

Looking for more Florida inspiration? Check out our picks for the top Orlando attractions for families!

What Should You Try During Magical Dining Season?

It’s tempting to say “Everything!” as this year’s line-up really does feature the crème de la crème of our foodie-centric options, including a variety of celebrity chefs, notably the new Four Flamingos by Richard Blais, Jaleo by Jose Andres, and Todd English’s seafood extravaganza, bluezoo.

Then there are those Michelin-commended half-dozen, which include the outstanding Winter Park hideaway of The Ravenous Pig and the hot new downtown choice of The Strand. Craving Sushi? That’s definitely on the Magical Dining menu. So are Mediterranean, Portuguese, French, and Spanish cuisines. Sensational seafood? At 28 different venues. Or how about a really good steak? You’ll find no fewer than 23 choices for that fine delicacy.

Make the Most of Magical Nights in Orlando Too!

In addition to the main program, a recent spin-off is the Magical Nights option, providing a night or two at a first-class hotel so you can get maximum value for your foodie fling. It features offers from top Orlando hotels and resorts, including many that are home to one or more Magical Dining restaurants, as well as weekend getaways, romance packages, stay-and-dine savings, and more.

Hungry for more? We think you’ll love our blog 11 Reasons Why Orlando is Now a Foodie Destination!

Combine Your Dining with Our Florida Tours

If we have inspired you to visit the Sunshine State for Magical Dining season, don’t forget to start planning the Florida Tours that will make your trip even more unforgettable. For example, Magical Dining is a great partner with an Orlando Magic basketball game, providing an opportunity to enjoy a pre-game dinner at one of 15 downtown restaurants. We provide ticket-only and Tickets-Plus-Transport options to suit all needs.

If you have any questions for us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Be sure to ask about our Price Match Guarantee. We do our best to always offer the lowest price, but, if you find a lower qualified price for an identical tour on another site, we will match it, no questions asked.

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