In the current circumstances, we had wondered: Would it or wouldn’t it? Could it still thrive in the era of COVID-19? And now we have the answer – Magical Dining will return in 2020!
By Susan & Simon Veness
Orlando’s big annual dining promotion—which offers a well-priced prix fixe menu at a wide variety of top restaurants throughout the region—is set for its much-anticipated outing from Aug. 28 – Oct. 4 this year, and it will have an ultra-worthy charity to support, even by its own lofty standards.
The hugely popular Visit Orlando-organized program allows diners to experience fine dining in Orlando at great value, while showing support for local businesses and helping to feed others in need. The $35 three-course meals will also feature new additions that encourage dining with confidence.
Participating restaurants are going above and beyond with new safety measures, new takeout and delivery meal options for in-home dining, and the website now designates venues that also offer open-air and outdoor dining.
The Orlando Magical Dining website is now live for diners to review menus of participating restaurants, make reservations, and see options for outdoor seating, takeout and delivery.
Due to limited seating capacity at participating restaurants, diners are strongly encouraged to make reservations in advance to ensure securing their preferred dates and times. Foodies are encouraged to check the website for new additions.
Recognizing the significant impact of the pandemic on the local economy, this year’s charity provides food for local residents in need. The beneficiary, Feed the Need Florida, is feeding those who are struggling to access food during the COVID-19 crisis.
Since the program launched in late March, more than 1 million meals have been served, and funds raised through Magical Dining will help feed thousands more. The effort is led by Orlando nonprofit 4Roots, plus public and private partners, to support Florida farmers, preserve and create jobs, and prepare nutritious meals to be served throughout Central Florida.
“Visit Orlando originally started this program 15 years ago to support local restaurants during the off-season, and this year is literally the most significant and longest off season these businesses have ever faced,” said George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “Supporting this program is a positive benefit for all – residents get to enjoy fine dining at great value, local businesses can put employees to work, and Central Florida residents in need will receive meals through this year’s charity recipient, Feed the Need.”
“We are honored to be a beneficiary of this year’s Magical Dining program,” said John Rivers, founder and CEO of 4Roots & 4 Rivers Restaurants. “Although the COVID-19 crisis has shined a light on our efforts to feed those in need, the beautiful families and children we’re feeding today were hungry before COVID-19, and they’ll be hungry after COVID-19. We pray that others will join us in this cause, come beside us, and help make it happen.”
Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining will run for 38 days, including six weekends for diners to experience some of Orlando’s best restaurants. One dollar from each meal will be donated to Feed the Need to support hunger relief in the community.
Editor’s Note: Susan & Simon Veness freelance write for a number of publications, ours included. But here they write on behalf of the Central Florida Tourism Collective, a group they formed, and in which we are a part of, that aims to give visitors a reassuring message of life in the heart of the Sunshine State during these unprecedented times.