Orlando and Atlantic City are downright masterful in after-hours soirees.
Attendees often make a beeline for their rooms after the meeting ends. But unwinding together may be the ultimate team building experience that planners too often miss, as these two hot destinations on the East Coast would attest.
Groups meeting in Orlando got a new place to meet and play this past August with the opening of the 600-room, 16-story luminous glass tower, Universal’s Aventura Hotel, which brought the total number of rooms at Universal Orlando Resort to 6,200. Perks include early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Volcano bay, and great views of and free transportation to all three theme parks: Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay water park. Universal also orchestrates exclusive after-hours theme park events, private use of CityWalk, its dining, shopping and entertainment hub, and creative team building such as scavenger hunts across theme parks. This past May, “Fast & Furious – Supercharged” opened as a new high-speed highway chase simulation with 3D effects, allowing passengers to ride virtually alongside popular characters in the blockbuster franchise—sure to be a hot after-hours spot for groups.
Another interesting backdrop to spur creativity is the new “Toy Story Land” and Pandora – The World of Avatar, Animal Kingdom’s largest expansion ever, where floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and flying Banshees are sure to inspire groups. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is adding to Orlando’s meeting matrix with an expansion that will add 500 rooms, a new rooftop restaurant and meeting venues and Marriott Orlando Downtown has renovated its entire property. And near the convention district, a fun meetings breakout is the 45,000-sf Main Event Entertainment at Pointe Orlando, a dining and entertainment complex offering the first free roam multiplayer virtual reality game in the US, as well as more than 100 virtual and interactive games and state-of-the-art bowling.
Attendees who are ready for the great meeting escape can certainly bond after-hours at Escape AC, where teams work together over the course of an hour to solve clues and escape from an extravagantly themed room. Follow this up with a trip to the Little Water Distillery for samples of small batch rum, whiskey, vodka and other artisan spirits. Those feeling a bit stir-crazy may be up for shaking a tail feather on a lit dance floor under the city’s largest disco ball to music from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s at Boogie Nights at the Tropicana Atlantic City and its array of celebrity impersonators. Or check out Cuba Libre here, offering a laid-back ambiance of tapas and Cuban culture. Likewise, a glowing Buddha sets the vibe at Buddakan, serving Pan-Asian cuisine and culture inside Caesars Atlantic City. Meanwhile, The Pool After Dark at Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City is one of the area’s hottest nightclubs. Here, celebrity DJs spin the latest tunes poolside.
When in town for a convention, groups should check out the pipe organ in historic Boardwalk Hall, a National Historic Landmark built in the late 1920s. The hall was Atlantic City’s first convention center and continues to host a diverse list of entertainers and sporting events.
AC updates include Resort’s Casino Hotel’s recent addition of 64,000 sf to the Resort’s Conference Center, and in Atlantic City’s Marina District, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s new bi-level 18,000-sf conference center.