Fun New Year’s Eve events in Orlando, outside of the theme parks
*** This post is updated to include information for 2018. Bookmark it as updates are added regularly as new information is received. ***
New Years Eve is my favorite holiday of the year. I love the excitement, hope and anticipation for all the wonderful things the new year could bring. It’s the perfect time to get together with friends and celebrate. Orlando has plenty of fun options to choose from. Disney World and Universal Orlando, although quite crowded, have the most spectacular fireworks shows and certainly are a must at least once in your life. For those looking for great food and fun outside of the theme parks, I have lots of great options whether you want a multi-course chef-centric meal, a big fancy party, a show or a relaxed affair. I categorized the fun into nine types of celebrations depending on what kind of mood and experience you want. These are Go Epicurista’s Top 9 most Festive New Year’s Eve Celebrations in Orlando!
1. GO Dine In Style!
Want to ring the new year at an epic award-winning chef’s table or a phenomenal steak dinner? Check these spots out:
- CHEF’S TABLE AT THE EDGEWATER: One of only 2 restaurants in Central Florida selected for the Top 100 restaurants in America by Open Table and Zagat, and consistently voted one of the best restaurants in Orlando by Orlando Magazine, Chef’S Table at The Edgewater owners Kevin and Laurie Tarter will help you ring in the new year in foodie heaven. Offering a four course tasting menu using fresh local ingredients, this dinner belongs on every foodie bucket list. Call 407-230-4837 or click here for reservations. 99 West Plant Street, Winter Garden. 407-230-4837
- CHROMA MODERN BAR & KITCHEN serves up colorful small plates perfect for sharing paired with inventive cocktails, wines on tap and craft beers. Menu specials include Roasted Duck Breast and Confit Duck Leg with cherries, parsnip mousse, bourbon and crispy parsnips ($27), Wagyu N.Y. Strip with Grana Pandano, roasted red potatoes, charred trumpet mushrooms and demi-glace ($39). Lake Nona Blvd, Orlando. 407-955-4340 click here for more.
- DEL FRISCO’S DOUBLE EAGLE STEAKHOUSE: Indulge in a decadent four course meal featuring choice of crab cake appetizer and main courses including Prime Strip, Ora King Salmon, Broiled Lobster Tail and Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake with Godiva Chocolate Sauce. Kids are welcome, so bring the whole family to celebrate with a $20 children’s menu. Adults can enjoy a wine package that includes three glasses of either sparkling, red or white for $45. Reservations suggested, starting at 5 p.m. Click here for more.
- URBAIN 40: one of my favorite swanky restaurant in town is serving up cool jazz, classic cocktails and hot dishes prepared by legendary chef Tim Keating. The 1940s inspired setting offers a refined feel without the stuffiness. Start with the sizzling mussels and save room for pastry chef’s Amanda’s latest creation. 8000 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando. 407-872-2640. Click here for more.
2. GO Tropical Hot!
If you want to welcome the year in a tropical ambiance, with great Latin food and lots of Latin dancing, here’s two options that are ‘Muy Caliente’:
- Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, located in Pointe Orlando on International Drive, features an incredibly festive Cuban feast created by Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot and Executive Chef Jose Gonzalez with two dinner seatings. Reservations for the early seating will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Guests can select from ’s a la carte menu, which includes a variety of “tapas” or small plates, a selection of entrées and desserts, and other signature dishes reflective of Old Havana including several New Year’s Eve specials. Early seating guests who make reservations before 7 p.m. will receive a $25 Cuba Libre gift card per couple to be used during a future visit. For late night dining, with seating times between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., Cuba Libre will showcase an impressive New Year’s Eve buffet featuring dishes from Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot’s latest cookbook, Cuba Cooks, along with seasonal tapas and a carving station. The second seating is priced at $100 per person (alcoholic beverages, tax and gratuity not included) which includes a Champagne toast, DJ and dancing, and party favors for the Midnight celebration. Standout dishes include Croquettes de Pollo with cilantro-caper aioli; Cuban Porchetta, pork loin wrapped in pork belly and slow roasted with citrus, fennel and charred herb salsa; Filet Mignon, garlic and herb rubbed with red wine sauce and cilantro béarnaise; Taro Crusted Black Grouper with sour orange sauce and sautéed spinach; Pulled Grilled Goat Leg with charred vegetable marinade and baby red mustard leaves; Roasted Vegetable Empanada Pie with assorted roasted vegetables, served in a flaky crust, as well as Tamal en Cazuela with boniato. For dessert, guests can enjoy a selection of sweets including Chocolate and Rum Filled Mini Doughnuts; Flan de Queso in Caramel; Dulce de Leche Cheesecake; Arroz con Leche de Mami Totty; Cucuruchos, and Chocolate Rice Pudding Brûlée with guava marmalade. Guests at the second seating will be able to keep their reserved table throughout the evening. Additionally, partygoers who opt for the $100 buffet option can add an optional beverage package to their dining experience, which includes three premium drink tickets for an additional $25 per person. Reservations for the earlier seating can be made on Cuba Libre’s website. 9101 International Drive, Orlando FL. For more information.
- MANGO’S TROPICAL CAFE ORLANDO: Also on I-Drive, Mango’s Tropical Cafe Orlando is promising lots of sizzle on New Year’s Eve. Live entertainment, music, and dancing made famous in their South Beach location is now found in Orlando. General Admission gets you access to all 8 bars, the Cafe and the Voudou Room! VIP admission also available with gourmet menu and bottle of champagne. For Table Reservations call 407-673-4422 and Ring in the New Year in the Biggest New Year’s Party Spot in Orlando!
3. GO Craft Cool!
If you’re looking for craft cocktails and local sourced chef-centric bites, these are my top picks:
- THE COURTESY BAR in Downtown Orlando is the place to be if you want the best craft cocktails, free-flowing bubbles and cool tunes. Cocktail reception 8pm-9pm, open bar 9pm-12:30am, Special NYE cocktail menu, Release of barrel age cocktails, Endless bubbles, Bites from DoveCote Brasserie, live DJ, Ball drop on tv. $85 per person (includes gratuity!). Email [email protected] for inquiries and reservations. 114 N Orange Avenue, Orlando FL.
- DOVECOTE: Voted as one of the best restaurants in Orlando, DoveCote Chef Clay Miller offers French brasserie inspired classics paired with a killer craft cocktails program by Gene Zimmerman of The Courtesy Bar. Regular dinner service and menu – don’t miss the saison beer mussels and Steak Frites or if you prefer start celebrating early with New Year’s Eve Brunch. 390 N Orange Ave, Orlando. Call 407-930-1700
- HIGHBALL & HARVEST at Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes offers hand crafted champagne cocktails, a five-course menu with live entertainment. Expect a menu filled with local ingredients, including fresh produce from on-site Whisper Creek Farm, handcrafted cocktails by outstanding mixologists. Seatings starting at 5:30pm. $125 Adults, $45 Children 12 & under. Reservations required; 407-393-4846.
- THE OSPREY TAVERN in Baldwin Park has earned numerous accolades including Best New Restaurant by Orlando Magazine and Florida Trend. Enjoy a three course chef tasting menu which is sure to include decadent treats from Pastry Chef Kristy Carlucci and champagne toast. A la carte menu is also offered. Don’t miss one of their inventive craft cocktails and charcuterie boards. Click here for more information. 4899 New Broad Street, Orlando.
4. GO Bond Smooth!
Ever dreamed of being in a James Bond movie? Here’s your chance to live it up like Bond.
- Enzian Theater’s annual James Bond New Year’s Eve party is a “dress to impress” affair. Enjoy bubbles and signature cocktails, then tango your way into the new year. If you’ve ever wanted to say “My name is Bond. James Bond” or if you’ve ever wanted to be a smoldering Bond Girl, this is your chance! General admission and VIP seating available including open bar and more. $99+ per person. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland FL. 407-629-0054
5. GO Play!
If you’d rather play games on New Year’s Eve, gather a group of friends and check these spots out:
- GO bowling at Kings Orlando, retro styled bowl-a-rama not only has great bowling plus billiards, games, tons of TVs, DJ, two bars with fun cocktails and a full menu. You can bowl with the family earlier in the day (11:30a-10pm) or after 10pm for those 21+ A variety of packages including champagne toast available based on your group size. The evening festivities include a Willy Wonka inspired New Year’s Eve Party! Food & Drink Specials, Live DJ & Dancing, Lane Packages, Dinner Reservations, Party Favors & More! Call 407-363-0200. 8255 South International Drive, Orlando FL.
- Main Event Entertainment recently opened its first Florida location at Pointe Orlando, featuring state-of-the-art bowling, the first ever interactive virtual reality game room in the US, loads of video games, a high ropes adventure course, pool tables and other fun activities, along with chef-inspired food, creative cocktails, beer and wine. Their “Eat. Bowl. Play.” motto can be enjoyed on New Year’s Eve with an all day and all night play pass. Party with music, dancing, games, prizes and kid-friendly party favors. Don’t miss the mega balloon drop with thousands of prizes up for grabs! Complimentary champagne toast and prizes awarded. On New Year’s Day – Main Event will open at 11 a.m. and you can celebrate all day long. Each PLAYpass option features the 3-Hour Video Game PLAYpass and All-You-Can-Play Activities Pass. Call 407-352-3300. 9101 International Drive, Orlando.
- Top Golf is ringing in the New Year with their biggest party of the year. Enjoy live entertainment, a chef-inspired menu and an unforgettable midnight celebration. Upgrade to the VIP experience for exclusive access to an all-inclusive Premium NYE Feast with carving station and a bottle of bubbly to share with friends. All New Year’s Eve packages include unlimited game play from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. for up to six guests, front row seats to a midnight fireworks show and party favors to help celebrate NYE in style. Click here for information.
6. GO Around the World!
Looking for travel inspiration on New Year’s Eve, these hot spots will have you booking your next vacation!
- TAVERNA OPA, Orlando’s favorite Greek/Mediterranean restaurant in Pointe Orlando is known for their lively music, belly dancers and exceptional cuisine. On New Year’s Eve enjoy Taverna Opa Goes Live with live entertainment, family-style appetizers, dessert station, surf & turf entree open bar & champagne toast, starts at 9pm. $65 per person. Get your tickets. 9101 International Drive, Orlando.
- BULLA GASTROBAR: Travel to Spain with Bulla Gastrobar, Winter Park’s newest tapas sensation. The Bulla Buzz is filled with energy and fun so you know they will bring out the party on New Year’s Eve. 110 S Orlando Ave #107, Winter Park. Call 321-214-6120
- DRAGONFLY ROBATA GRILL & SUSHI: How about a trip to Japan? On December 30th, take part in a sushi making class! On December 31st, welcome the new year at Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi with a special prix fixe menu, bar specials all night long, and a free champagne toast at midnight. 7972 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando. Call 407-370-3359 for reservations.
- EARLS KITCHEN + BAR: The family-owned, independent restaurant Earls Kitchen + Bar at The Mall at Millenia offers a menu with tastes from around the world where you’ll find something for everyone. For diners who aren’t interested in spending hundreds of dollars on prix fixe menus, the restaurant will offer a refreshing alternative. Order whatever you like from the restaurant’s expansive global a la carte menu with signature dishes like Tuna Poke, Sicilian Calamari and Jeera Chicken Curry. While you dine, enjoy Earls signature cocktails like the frozen Harvey Wallbanger, or Earls Old Fashioned. A DJ onsite will set the festive mood and complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Earls is open from 11:00 am to 2:00 am on New Year’s Eve; and will open on New Year’s Day for brunch 10:00 am. 4200 Conroy Road in Orlando. Reservations are suggested. 407-345-8260.
- REEL FISH COASTAL KITCHEN: will transport you to coastal towns of the South with an homage to the rustic fish camps established in the 1930s. Enjoy fantastic sustainable seafood dishes (don’t miss the whole fish house specialty!) as well as top notch dishes from the land for the non-seafood eaters (the slow roasted half chicken is finger licking good!). The atmosphere is relaxed casual and the service is warm and hospitable. For New Year’s Eve, enjoy their full menu and half priced oysters, plus bottomless champagne for only $20.19 per person! Click here for information. Orange Avenue, Winter Park. 407-543-3474
- TAPA TORO: The paella pit at Tapa Toro, located in the I-Drive 360 complex, is sure to please on New Year’s Eve! Choose from an early seating 5pm – 7pm with champagne toast at 6pm which is midnight in Spain or late night option from 9pm to close. Multi-course menu by chef extraordinaire Wendy Lopez, champagne toast, open beer & wine bar, plus flamenco entertainment all night long. Tickets required. 8441 International Drive, Orlando.
7. GO Disney Springs!
Disney Springs is the foodie playground of Orlando with a wide variety of fun restaurants to choose from to ring in the new year in Lake Buena Vista. My favorite is to walk around from restaurant to restaurant, enjoying libations and bites from their walk-up windows, or you can choose one of these outstanding restaurant options for the night. Either way, you are in for a fun night! Here’s a few of my favorites which are offering New Year’s Eve specials:
- ART SMITH’S HOMECOMING KITCHEN: For a true taste of Florida, celebrity chef Art Smith welcomes you home! At Homecoming Kitchen, gather with friends around the table and enjoy dishes like Chef Art’s succulent Fried Chicken, spicy Shrimp and Grits and a slice of his world famous Hummingbird Cake. The Moonshine Flights and Shine cocktails are sure to make the evening jolly! Live entertainment is found in the outdoor patio.
- MORIMOTO ASIA: Go Pan-Asian at Morimoto Asia, the swanky restaurant by legendary Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. You can enjoy an amazing feast featuring Peking Duck, epic fall-off-the-bone sticky ribs and picture perfect sushi in the expansive restaurant or the intimate Forbidden Lounge. Lots of Sake choices and cocktails to choose from to ring in the new year in style. Call 407-939-6686.
- PADDLEFISH: Board a reimagined steamboat turned luxury yacht at Paddlefish Orlando. Ring in the New Year with a delicious Surf ‘n Turf special of Filet, shrimp skewer, crab hollandaise, and whipped potato ($49/adult), as well as live music on the rooftop deck. Don’t skip the lobster corn dogs, lobster guacamole and crab fries and save room for key lime pie! Reservations recommended. 407-934-2628
- RAGLAN ROAD IRISH PUB: Go Irish at Raglan Road Irish Pub. The bar was built in Ireland and brought to Orlando! It doesn’t get more authentic than that (oh and it’s also owned and operated by two very cool Irish guys!). You won’t need luck on New Year’s Eve to enjoy great Irish food, the perfect pint of beer, cocktails and the most impressive live Irish entertainment in town! Thirty musicians and dancers, audio and light technicians will delight throughout the evening including a special 10 minute blockbuster medley of Irish, holiday and New Year’s tunes on two stages during two rousing New Year’s Eve countdowns where you get to toast the New Year twice with complimentary champagne, at midnight in Ireland (7pmEST) and again at midnight in Orlando. The pub’s production manager, David Hayes, a Dublin native and multi-instrumentalist who’s directed Irish television and musical productions for decades says “Our Epic New Year’s Eve celebration will be the first of its kind with the entire Raglan Road cast of bands and dancers featured in the two countdowns. It’s a specially devised routine to give our guests a New Year to talk about for decades.” Guests can order from the full menu of modern Irish cuisine, craft beers, cocktails, whiskeys, flights and more. Best yet, there’s no cover and free parking. Call 407 938 0300 or click here for reservations.
- STK ORLANDO: With a live DJ pumping dance tunes, a variety of cocktails and a menu to tempt your tastebuds, the modern steakhouse and chic lounge at STK Orlando, is sure to be a happening spot on New Year’s Eve. Reservations recommended.
- TERRALINA CRAFTED ITALIAN, serves up Italian specialties created by James Beard Award winning chef Tony Mantuano and Executive Chef Justin Plan, in a setting inspired by Italy’s Lake District. On New Year’s Eve, dig into this special of grilled 8oz. filet of beef and Sambuca jumbo shrimp, saffron whipped potatoes, garlic and parmesan asparagus ($52). Don’t miss the Antipasti tower, Meatballs, and Crispy Eggplant Fries together with craft Italian beers, wines and cocktails. More info here.
- THE EDISON: Celebrate The Edison’s One Year Anniversary with a dazzling gala on New Year’s Eve showcasing its crave-worthy food, exceptional cocktails and world-class entertainment! Dance the night away and enjoy jaw-dropping entertainment including live band, burlesque dancers, aerialists and more! Your ticket price includes tray-passed hors d’oeuvres, live-action food stations and a wide selection of beer, wine and premium spirits from 7:30 p.m until midnight; plus, a selection of coffee, desserts and a celebratory midnight toast to ring in the new year! More info and to purchase tickets.
- WINE BAR GEORGE: Dine at Florida’s only Master Sommelier owned restaurant! A wine lover and craft cocktail lover’s dream menu paired with fantastic Mediterranean tapas. In addition nosh on Pork Pluma and Wagyu Short Rib special for the night. The wine list features many sparkling wines and Champagne for ringing in the New Year and are all available by the glass, bottle and ounce – perfect for building a custom sparkling wine flight! Read all about my 9 Reasons to Visit Wine Bar George. Bonus: stop by on New Year’s Day for BOGO bubbles all day! Buy one, get one on all sparkling wine (Champagne included) by the glass, bottle or ounce! Kick of 2019 with a sparkling celebration. Click here for more info.
8. GO Relax!
If you’d rather enjoy a relaxing getaway, a mini staycation to start the year rejuvenated, here’s a dinner and spa package deal you’re sure to love:
- Rosen Centre Hotel is offering an amazing New Year’s Eve package! Start with a four-course dinner by award-winning chef Fred Vlachos and a bottle of wine or champagne and entertainment by jazz band in Everglades Restaurant. After dinner, head to Sam & Bubbe’s Lobby Lounge to watch the Times Square ball drop and partake in midnight festivities with party favors and champagne toast. Spend the night in deluxe accommodations, indulge in an extensive breakfast buffet for two on New Year’s day and start the new year relaxed with Swedish massages for two at The Spa at Rosen Centre. Call 407-996-9840 or click here. 9840 International Drive, Orlando.
9. GO Fancy!
Orlando is home to some of the fanciest resorts for those of you that want to live it up in style! Book a room and spend the night or simply visit for dinner, either way, welcome the new year in style!
- FOUR SEASONS RESORT ORLANDO AT WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT:
Capa Steakhouse and Bar at Four Seasons Resort Orlando serves up fantastic steaks and seafood with one of the most striking views of Orlando in an ultra sexy space. Be sure to start with one of the crafted cocktails, their gorgeous Capa Gin and Tonic and tapas in the lounge. On New Year’s Eve a three course first seating or five course second seating dinner is available. The view from the top floor includes the spectacular magic of Disney fireworks at midnight! Call 407-313-6840. For a more casual setting but equally exceptional cuisine, visit Ravello, the Italian specialty restaurant features Executive Chef’s Fabrizio Schenardi’s favorite dishes in a sumptuous buffet. You can also get your tickets for a private New Year’s Eve celebration held in the Grand Ballroom from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. featuring a DJ, a dance floor, balloon drop and more. A champagne toast, desserts and appetizers are included and a cash bar is available. 10100 Dream Tree Blvd, Lake Buena Vista, FL.
- WALDORF ASTORIA & HILTON ORLANDO BONNET CREEK RESORT: Famed Bull & Bear hosts one of the fanciest New Year’s Eve celebration in Orlando. Indulge in a prix fixe menu of seven courses, unlimited Perrier-Jouët champagne, live entertainment and dancing all night to ring in the New Year. Formal wear is suggested. Call 407-597-5413 for reservations. La Luce, Hilton Orlando’s Italian specialty restaurant, serves up family recipes handed down from generation to generation. Delight in a La Luce classic, or try a dish from the New Year’s Eve menu, featuring Chef’s holiday favorites. Pricing varies. To make a reservation, call 407-597-3675. For something more casual, Zeta Bar “Bubble Lounge” at Hilton Bonnet Creek will feature a DJ until midnight, a selection of champagnes and a live screening of the ball drop on 10 large-screen televisions. No charge; no reservations required. How about a Twilight Cabana? Celebrate New Year’s Eve with your friends and family in a private cabana poolside at Waldorf Astoria. Each cabana rental includes a bottle of champagne, decorations and the best vantage point to watch the fireworks show. Twilight cabanas are available from 8pm-12am for $400. Reservations required – limited availability, please contact Concierge, Aquamarine or call 407-597-5500. At midnight, Bonnet Creek Resort celebrates with a private fireworks show . Prime viewing locations include the pool deck and Signature Island at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. (weather permitting.) 14200 Bonnet Creek Drive, Orlando FL.
- THE ALFOND INN‘s New Year’s Eve Gala dazzles with live performance the The Buzzcatz, chef stations in the Conservatory, premium open bar and champagne toast at midnight. Live streaming of the Times Square ball drop. Event starts at 8pm. $179 pp or you may attend the chic Bubbles and Ice Bash from 8pm – closing. Don’t miss taking a stroll around the property to delight in the fantastic art collection from the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins. Click here for reservations. 407-998-8090
- JW MARRIOTT & RITZ-CARLTON ORLANDO GRANDE LAKES RESORT: offer a plethora of choices to ring in the new year. We mentioned above Highball & Harvest, but you can also indulge in celebrity chefs restaurants. Melissa Kelly’s Primo Restaurant at JW Marriott serves up a five course dinner filled with Florida bounty. Ring in the new year with a champagne toast, live entertainment from 6 – 10 p.m. Five course menu $150 Adults; Four-course Menu: $40 Children 12 & under. Norman’s at Ritz-Carlton is Chef Norman Van Aken’s mainstay Orlando restaurant. The elegant restaurant serves up Chef Van Aken’s internationally acclaimed “New World Cuisine”, an exciting, healthful and delicious fusion of Florida with the power of Latin, Caribbean and Asian roots. For reservations, Call 407-393-4333
- HYATT REGENCY GRAND CYPRESS: Hemingway’s Restaurant at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress offers legendary dining in a relaxed resort setting. Enjoy three course chef’s menu with petite filet and lobster for $75pp as well as their a la carte menu. 1 Grand Cypress Blvd, Orlando. Call for reservations 407-239-1234
- LOEWS PORTOFINO BAY HOTEL: Welcome the New Year under the twinkling lights of the Harbor Piazza with Loews Portofino Bay Hotel’s New Year’s Eve Party on the Piazza from 8:30pm. A selection of wine and gourmet food from the hotel’s restaurants plus a midnight sparkling wine toast is included. $159/adult
Where will you choose to ring in the new year? Wherever it is, I hope you have a great time with family and friends. Go #MakeSomedayHappen and have a Happy New Year!