Visit Orlando elects new board, marks 2018 achievements

Visit Orlando on Thursday announced that this year's Magical Dining Month raised a record $251,766 for two local charities.

The 13th annual event, held this year from Aug. 24 to Sept. 30, offered guests three-course, $35 dinners at 118 participating restaurants across Central Florida. One dollar from each meal was donated to charity.

“What another fantastic year for our Magical Dining program,” said George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “Along with our valuable members in the restaurant industry, we’re excited to make this record contribution to our friends at Best Buddies and the Down Syndrome Association.”

Best Buddies creates opportunities for inclusion and one-to-one friendships for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The donation from Magical Dining will help help expand the program, which is most often found in high schools, into middle schools. 

The Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida offers hope, acceptance and empowerment for all individuals with Down syndrome and their families. Proceeds from Magical Dining will help create funds for families in crisis, medical needs not covered by insurance, and therapy scholarship programs.

Since 2009, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month has raised more than $1 million for local charities. 

Also, during a ceremony on Thursday, current Visit Orlando Board Chair Don Engfer, who serves as Executive Vice President of the Tishman Hotel Corporation, passed the gavel to the 2019-20 Board Chair Adrian Jones, who serves as the Divisional Director of 
Merlin Entertainments USA Inc. 

"I really look forward to working with all of you over the next two years," Jones said, "and I hope I put my best foot forward in representing Visit Orlando."