<div id="fb-root"></div>
<script async defer crossorigin="anonymous" src="https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v17.0&appId=1360880647827568&autoLogAppEvents=1" nonce="nOICdQjC"></script>

10th Annual Magical Dining Month Starts Monday with More Than 70 Restaurants

Written By Scott Joseph On August 21, 2015

MagDinMo 15

Once confined only to the 30 days that September hath, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month is not longer only a month. It begins on Monday, August 24, this year for a five and a half week run. And with more than 70 restaurants participating, you’re going to need those extra days.

For the uninitiated, restaurants that are a part of Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month offer a special prix fixe, three-course menu, usually an appetizer, soup or salad, an entree and a dessert, with two or three choices in each category. In most cases the menu items are chosen to showcase the restaurants’ specialties. And the best of the restaurants offer the same portion sizes that would be served if ordered from the regular menu, even though the savings can be significant.

This year the fixed prix of the menus is $33, plus tax and gratuity and whatever drinks you have, which is the same price as last year. For some of the restaurants, however, it’s costing a bit more to be a part of the areawide event than it did previously.

For the last year or two, Visit Orlando has charged a $500 marketing fee for restaurants who wish to take part in MagDinMo. This year, membership in Visit Orlando is also a requirement. Scott Joseph Company is a seven-year member of Visit Orlando (since back when it was called the Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau), and I like being associated with the organization. And I’ve often recommended that restaurants join up, although some restaurants are bound to see more benefits of the relationship than others. Those on Restaurant Row and in the convention area are more likely to benefit from being members than, say, a restaurant in Lake Mary. So depending on the level of membership, the restaurant is in for another couple of hundred dollars or more.

Also, as in other years, the restaurants pledge to pay one dollar from the $33 menu price to Visit Orlando to go to a charity, which changes each year. Elevate Orlando is the 2015 charity. Elevate “meets the complex needs of urban youth by providing both character education and life skills training to help to move students from poverty to self-sufficiency.” Last year, $111,604 was donated to the Foundation for Foster Children, so the funds can be significant.

As you might guess, participating in MagDinMo can be a losing proposition financially for the restaurants, but most see it as a loss leader — an opportunity to entice new customers to come in and try their food with the hope of earning their business throughout the other non magical months of the year.

So that’s why there are so many restaurants eager to be part of the 10th annual Magical Dining Month. There are some newcomers, too, including:
Txokos Basque Kitchen
American Q
Urban Tide
Black Fire Brazilian Steakhouse
Artisan’s Table
Christini’s Ristorante Italiano (I never thought I’d see Christini’s participate!)

And there are several Flog favorites, including:
K restaurant
Rusty Spoon
The Oceanaire Seafood Rom

So, here’s how savvy veterans of MagDinMo work it. The key is to check out the list of participating restaurants at the official Magical Dining Month website, look over their menus, then go to the restaurant’s website (there’s a link on the MagDinMo page) and look at the regular menu (assuming that the restaurant is savvy enough to display its prices; no chance Christini’s will have its prices). Check out the items that are available through the MagDinMore menu and compare the $33 cost to ordering the items a la carte from the regular menu. Usually by the time you add everything up you’re looking at a savings by going with the special menu.

Also keep in mind that many of the restaurants won’t automatically offer the Magical Dining Month menu, so be sure to ask for it by name. Don’t just write down the three courses from the website and go in and order them off of the regular menu; it doesn’t work that way.

So get out there and try something new or revisit an old favorite. Save a little money and help out a charity. And remember, it’s customary to tip on the undiscounted price, so be kind to your servers.

We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
<div class="fb-comments" data-href="<?php the_permalink() ?>" data-width="100%" data-numposts="5"></div>
Scott's Newsletter