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Disney magic: Downtown Disney is among the group-friendly venues in central Florida.

By Mark Chesnut

Orlando may be known as the capital of Florida vacations, but its many world-famous attractions can also serve as memorable backdrops for business meetings, entertaining and enjoying time off after long days at work.

Among the newest venues is TurtleTrek, which debuted in April at SeaWorld Orlando, with a 3D, 360-degree film that allows viewers to follow the journey of a sea turtle.

Universal Orlando Resort has unveiled an array of new developments for 2012, including a new lagoon show, daytime parade, theme ride and miniature golf course, as well as a revamped Blue Man Group show and upgrades to the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman ride. Replacing the Jimmy Neutron attraction at Universal Studios Florida is a new 3D attraction based on the animated film “Despicable Me.”

The Walt Disney World Resort has plenty of new group- and business-friendly options, including Splitsville, a new attraction that opens this fall in Downtown Disney. With a 30-lane bowling alley, billiards, live music, dining and dancing, Splitsville is clearly designed to create a festive atmosphere.

At the Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom, the first phase of Fantasyland’s expansion is already up and running, with attractions including the Storybook Circus and Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride. When the project is complete, Fantasyland will be twice its original size.

Disney-bound travelers will also find a new option for accommodations, with the opening of the first group of guest rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, where suites are designed with — you guessed it — animation themes.

Central Florida attractions on a smaller — but still very business-friendly — scale include CSI: The Experience, a traveling exhibition that has opened up shop here through the end of the year. Based on the hit TV show, the venue allows visitors to try out their own detective skills. Anyone caught up in the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking, meanwhile, should consider Titanic: The Experience, which has reopened with new artifacts from the wreck site, including what is billed as the second-largest piece of the ship to be recovered.

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Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and publisher of, which focuses on travel to Latin America. He was a big fan of the Eastern Airlines “If You Had Wings” ride at Walt Disney World.

Tagged: Disney, Family time, Florida

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Mark Chesnut
Mark Chesnut is a travel writer, editor and photographer. He's written for Fodor's, the Huffington Post, the Miami Herald, Travel Weekly, various inflight magazines and the New York Times best-seller "1,000 Places To See Before You Die." He also operates a travel blog,, which focuses on travel to Latin America. Find more from Mark on Twitter @munderamedia and Instagram @mundera

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