Visit Orlando announced at its annual yearend luncheon Friday that the 2023 edition of its Magical Dining promotion raised $269,272 for local charities. The majority of the proceeds will go to The Lifeboat Project, a local organization that raises awareness of the issue of human trafficking and assists those affected by it. Two thousand dollars will also go to a charity in each of Orange County’s six commission districts. Those charities are: Mustard Seed of Central Florida, Nuevo Sendero, One Heart for Women and Children, Salvation Army Orlando, Samaritan Village, and Wake Up Mentoring.
“Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining celebrates our destination’s vibrant culinary scene and makes an indelible impact on our local community,” said Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit Orlando. “In the 18th year of this program, we are appreciative for the enthusiastic support of a record-breaking 132 restaurant participants and grateful to all diners who helped us raise funds to combat human trafficking and support survivors.”
Magical Dining, which ran from late August until early October this year, features three-course, prix fixe menus at participating restaurants. For the first time, two menu options were offered, $40 and $60. The restaurants pledge to donate funds to the program’s charity for each diner choosing the Magical Dining menu, $1 for the $40 menu and $2 for the $60.
Four of the 132 participating restaurants were recognized at Friday’s event. Seasons 52-Orlando was the overall top performing restaurant. The Pinery in Ivanhoe Village was the top-performing restaurant with a $40 menu. Ava MediterrAegean was the top-performing restaurant in the $60 category. And the Nauti Lobstah was noted for having the largest increase from the previous year.
Since Visit Orlando added the charity donation in 2009, more than $2.5 million have been raised.