Growing up in Orlando, people often ask us if we go to the attractions every day. Do I live in Cinderella's castle, or do I wrestle alligators? Well, the answer to both is no. But one of the best things about living and owning a company in Central Florida is that we have unlimited access to good times.
As a CEO, I'm always looking for really fun and unique things to do with my team. Like I said, living in the Orlando area provides us with endless opportunities to make marketing agencies worldwide superjealous. :) How jealous? Here are a few spots that are off the beaten path for your company party in Orlando...
Take a ride on the wild side at Wild Florida: Usually when you're getting ready to plan a company party, food is one of the first things that comes to mind. So you may be thinking, How am I going to feed my team in the Middle of Nowhere? Well, Wild Florida may be known for its airboat rides and Gator and Wildlife Park, but they have a restaurant on-site that cooks up some of the best southern food, too! Their 2,500-square-foot Cypress Ballroom is air-conditioned and can seat up to 220 people. Chef Ramon, Wild Florida's very own chef, will cook up some custom dishes and have it all set up for you and your team in either the Cypress Ballroom or the covered deck area on the shore of Lake Cypress. After everyone's bellies are full, you can head out to the Gator and Wildlife Park where you can meet over 200 animals from all over the world... You can even feed some of them, too! After hanging out with some of the world's most interesting animals, you can head out to the swamp for an airboat ride. So if you weren't already the coolest boss in town, you definitely will be after you take your crew on an evening airboat ride. Yup, you heard that right – after the sun goes down you can take a ride in the swamp and discover animals you wouldn't be able to spot during the day.
Get into the holiday spirit at Christmas at Gaylord Palms: Just a warning, before we get into all of the shows and events the Gaylord Palms offers during the holiday season, you may want to set aside the entire weekend for your company party because you won't be able to pick just one activity! Two weeks ago, a few members of the Reach team got the chance to experience all the holiday fun that Gaylord Palms has to offer, so we're excited to tell you that it's everything we hoped for and more! You don't have to travel to New York City or Las Vegas for your gang to experience a high quality show. If you love Cirque du Soleil, and you love Christmas decor, glitter and gingerbread houses, then you need to put Cirque Dreams Unwrapped Stage Show on your list! Even though we were at the media preview event, I couldn't tweet fast enough to talk about everything I loved. Probably the highlight of this visit for me was when a certain holiday VIP arrived, a sweet little girl behind me squealed so adorably. It made my heart swell! This 25-minute Christmas dream show offers FREE seats for each show on a first come, first served basis. Score!
After the Cirque preview, we walked to the entrance of ICE! where we were greeted with Mike's Italian Ice – including frozen hot chocolate with marshmallows (whaaaattt!?) – and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts! My team rushed to the snow tubing in the Alpine Village because we live in Florida and we never have snow... like, ever. The eight-lane tubing hill, covered in real snow, will have your whole team laughing and having fun like little kids (don't worry, all ages are allowed to ride!).
ICE! itself is a Florida native's dream come true. From the two-million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures to the four ice slides to The Frostbite Factory (a live carving zone), it truly is a winter wonderland. The holiday attraction depicts A Charlie Brown Christmas and is kept at a chilly 9 degrees to really get you in the holiday spirit. While we were at the preview, they introduced us to Charles Schulz's family – his son, his daughter-in-law and his grandaughter. It was like we were among royalty and it made the story part of it very real. Your team won't be able to forget this year's company party when they get to experience a "real" winter in Florida!
Keep it casual at Broadway Pizza Bar's Wine Room & Patio: If you're looking for a more traditional company party atmosphere, BPB is the spot for your crew! It's a more intimate space that feels like home, but with exceptional service. The catering portions are great sizes and offer homemade Italian dishes including Penne Alfredo, Penne Roma and Antipasto Salad. Don't forget to add a few of their custom pizza pies to your company party menu, too! They also have a full beer and wine bar menu so you don't have to worry about bringing your own. The atmosphere allows for your team to keep it casual or get all dressed up if you want, and – trust me – that's a big plus to us gals!
So, if you're getting ready to plan your company holiday party, look into these three unique spots. Your crew will surely thank you!