Home Travel So What’s Still Open In Orlando Right Now?

So What’s Still Open In Orlando Right Now?

by SharonKurheg

Greetings from Orlando! This time of year is usually very busy, with many kids on Spring Break and therefore lots of families visiting The City Beautiful.

Not this year, though. Coronavirus took care of that.

There are, of course, lots of closures, although some places inexplicably (dangerously?) remain open. Here’s the low down on what’s happening in Central Florida.

The lay of the land

Walt Disney World’s property is mainly in Orange County, with a small part of it jutting out into Osceola County. With a small handful of exceptions, most other “Orlando area” theme parks and tourist areas (Universal, SeaWorld, Gatorland, I-Drive, etc.) are in Orange County.


PC: Dollar Rent A Car

I’m just going to focus on Orange County since that’s where the vast majority of “touristy” places are.

Directives from the County:

  • As of March 13, Orange County Government has declared a Local State of Emergency, which allows for normal processes to be temporarily suspended for better and more efficient emergency management.
  • Orange County and all of its municipalities are under Curfew, effective March 20, 2020 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. (Exemptions for the curfew include essential workers like medical, government and first responders, as well as residents reporting for regular work)
  • Effective 11pm of Thursday, March 26, Orange County will be under a 2-week “stay at home” mandate (Note: Osceola County is enacting the same thing).

The following is for the State of Florida:

  • As of March 9, the State of Florida has declared a state of emergency, allowing nurses and doctors from other states to work in Florida and pharmacists to issue emergency 30-day prescriptions. The order also allows officials to activate the Florida National Guard, purchase medical supplies more swiftly, and establish field hospitals.
  • March 17, 2020 – The governor ordered bars and nightclubs in Florida to close for 30 days and directed restaurants to operate at 50% of their maximum capacity to allow for social distancing.
  • March 20, 2020 – The governor signed an executive order to close the beaches in Broward and Palm Beach County, but not the rest of Florida’s beaches (an FL lawyer is currently suing him for not closing all beaches since social distancing is NOT happening by Spring Breakers and other beach visitors).
  • March 22, 2020 – All Florida state parks are closed
  • March 23, 2020 – the Governor orders a 14-day quarantine for travelers flying in from NY, NJ and CT
  • March 25, 2020 – The Governor expands his March 23 order to anyone who who flown from NY, NJ & Ct in the past 3 weeks must self-quarantine for the next 3 weeks AND tell every person they’ve been in contact with that they may have been exposed to the virus

There are other Executive Orders on both county and state levels, but the above are the ones that would be of the most interest to visitors.

What’s open?

Things to do

There doesn’t seem to be a set “official” list of what’s open (or closed). As a reference, the Orlando Sentinel has been posting an ongoing list of what’s open, if places write in and let them know. So as of late evening of Monday, March 23rd:

Fun Spot had been open but finally closed (hopefully because of all the shade people were giving them for the dangers of staying open at a time like this), effective March 23rd.

Places to eat

All restaurants and bars are only available for delivery or pick up. The Sentinel also posted a list on Friday, March 20, with restaurants that are open for business with a drive-thru, pick up or delivery options. They’ve been updating the list regularly. Click here to see it.

Drive-in theaters

You have to drive about 45 to 60 minutes to get there from Orlando, but the Ruskin Family Drive-In, in Hillsborough County (take I-4, towards Tampa) is still up and running, and showing current releases! Heads up that they’re cash only; no credit cards or checks allowed.

The Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre, which is located in Lakeland, FL, shows classic films.

So yeah…not a whole lot open for tourists. Even some “essential” stores in areas that cater to tourists are closed for the time being, simply because there isn’t enough business to justify keeping them open. So if you are in Central FL, before you go anywhere, call first. What is open today may not be open tomorrow.

So much is closed, but Florida is still open

As of this writing, as much as MANY people would like the state of Florida to have a “shelter in place” order to help slow the curve (our state alone already has over 1,500 active cases of coronavirus and that number is currently growing by about 200+ cases every day), the governor won’t do it. #DeSantisBetrayedFlorida (some NSFW language is in that link to Twitter. And deservedly so.)

Do me a favor. Do yourself a favor. DON’T COME TO FLORIDA. We’re on the border of being another hotspot, and there’s hardly anything to do anyway. So just don’t come.

#stayathome #washyourhands

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT March 26, 2020 - 6:13 pm

I want to visit Orlando NOW…my buildings need me…lol..j/k.

Any local reporting as to what (if any) of the hotels and/or condo resorts have closed?
I was really looking forward to the now cancelled convention in April at the Convention Center, and a bonus from the convention – the opportunity to visit Universal when the convention hosts rent out the entire park for the evening, a very pleasurable experience during normal times – that will be missed this year.

Have the restaurants in Orlando stopped carry-out? I’m still offering carry-out, and at the few of my locations that have a drive-thru, that option remains available.


SharonKurheg March 26, 2020 - 6:54 pm

Hi! Hotels have taken a huge hit. I’m going to post something about it next week.

Lots of restaurants are doing carry out – article above has a link to the list the Orlando Sentinel maintains. It’s not a complete list, but it’s something. Restaurants and bars are allowed to sell alcohol to go, as long as it’s in a sealed container. That includes mixed drinks. So if I really wanted a fig mules from Chef’s Table at the Edgewater, I could get one. But we have the ingredients to make it at home. And sometimes we do 😉

SO_CAL_RETAIL_SLUT March 28, 2020 - 12:20 am

The Edgewater’s prices – at least for carry-out are very reasonable! Next trip – I’ll try to stay in Winter Park for a night so I can enjoy The Edgewater and the Chef’s Table.

I’m looking forward to your review of closed (or very soon to be closed) hotels in greater Orlando.


SharonKurheg March 28, 2020 - 12:33 am

Chef’s Table is pretty expensive. Tasting Room (same owners/chef…just in a different part of the hotel) is tapas so their prices are smaller but so are their plates. REALLY good food, though.

Don’t think I’m going to do the hotel one after all – someone already did something similar this week. So here…Orlando Sentinel posted this a coupla days ago. Also, the Ritz Carlton at Grande Lakes is closing for a month.

Joe Richardson March 26, 2020 - 7:08 pm

Thousands of p̶e̶o̶p̶l̶e̶ idiots a day are importing the virus in to our state via Spirit Airlines (and Frontier) ….and $29. GOAA is too arrogant and reckless to close the airport. The sooner we get serious about this, the sooner we can get back to business. Now is NOT the time.

SharonKurheg March 26, 2020 - 7:16 pm

It’s not just GOAA and the airport. It’s DeSantis, who needs to shut the state down. It’s residents who need to stay home.

It’s a guy in charge who is more interested in his reelection and the economy than any of us.

Even if that means dying.

It’s everybody needing to do their part but only some of us doing it. It’s a disaster. It’s a worldwide disaster but for us, it’s a countrywide, statewide and countywide disaster.

Bob March 26, 2020 - 7:24 pm

For the millionth time it feels like… No mayor or Governor has the legal authority to close an airport, which is a federal facility, for a non-aeronautical event. Only the FAA has the authority to shut down an airport which is why you see places like Hawaii instituting mandatory 14 day quarantined for all visitors effectively eliminating their ability to “vacation”. The majority people that are “bringing” it into the state are residents who live there and are coming home.

SharonKurheg March 26, 2020 - 7:50 pm

Here’s a quick lesson on who owns airports

Joe Richardson March 26, 2020 - 7:41 pm

BOB, the FAA controls the airspace, airport operators control the passenger terminal, cargo areas, parking garages etc. Even during hurricanes, airports are never really “closed”…at least not by the FAA. The passenger facilities are however often closed by the airport operators…..in this case GOAA.

Lorie Rasmussen March 28, 2020 - 8:29 am

The kids and I are heading your way next week for a vacation.

Tina March 30, 2020 - 1:17 pm

Are you really? I suppose to go but, IDK we were not trying to shop or anything just to go and relax at home(vacation home) it has a pool and hot tub so we just going for relaxation and mind break,


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