The University of Central Florida (UCF), the second largest university in the nation with 56,000 students, is 15 minutes northeast of downtown Orlando. UCF serves as a support system for the Central Florida Research Park, located adjacent to the 1,415-acre campus, nearby Kennedy Space Center in Titusville, and major corporations such as Lockheed, Raytheon and Siemens, which have an Orlando presence. UCF is the also site of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, a premier training institution for Orlando's hospitality professionals in the making. For this reason, UFC venues are more likely to understand the components of a good meeting better than most colleges and universities.
The UCF area is located 17 miles from Orlando International Airport via highways 528 east and 417 North, 14 miles from Sanford International Airport via 417 South, 25 miles from the Walt Disney World tourism corridor, and 19 miles from the Orange County Convention Center. The area surrounding UCF is brimming with office and technology complexes, restaurants and smaller, chain hotels with less than 200 rooms per property.
For large groups seeking a sizeable on-campus venue, the 10,000-seat UCF Arena offers an arena configuration for big events and "The Venue," a 1,800-seat theater setting. Other offerings include nearly 35,000 square feet of column-free exhibition space, various meeting rooms such as skyboxes and the Black & Gold Club and a 30,000 square-foot outdoor plaza directly in front of the arena, which can accommodate exhibits and lunch or coffee breaks for up to 2,000 people.
For a small, on-campus event facility, there is the 3,200-square-foot Live Oak Room, which can host 240 for a reception and 230 theater style, a-2,500 square-foot Cypress Room, 1,200 square-foot Garden Room and a 1,000 square-foot outdoor garden patio.
Hotels in the area with meeting space include the 149-room Radisson Hotel Orlando-UCF with 5,800 square feet of meeting space, 122-room Hilton Garden Inn Orlando East-UCF with 1,200 square feet of meeting space, and 197-room Holiday Inn Orlando-University of Central Florida with 4,220 square feet of meeting space.
When the dinner bell rings for attendees, most of the choices are casual dining, chain eateries in the UCF area. However, the community of Altamonte Springs, about a 10-minute drive from UCF, offers upscale options like Seasons 52, Kobe's Japanese Steak House and Omaha Steakhouse; as does Winter Park, about a 10-minute drive, with Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Houston's and Brio Tuscan Grille.
Photo by Flickr user : keone