Welcome to Orlando: Home of The Montessori Event 2024
The Montessori Event 2024 is happening March 7-10. The in-person event is being held at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, FL with added hotel space available through the SpringHill Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista with free shuttles to The Event.
Known as The City Beautiful, Orlando is full of wondrous, awe-inspiring views sure to take your breath away. You know that it is home to the two largest and most internationally-renowned tourist attractions, the Walt Disney World Resort and the Universal Orlando Resort, but there is much more to do and see (and eat) while you’re in town!
Whether you stay at The Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center or at the nearby SpringHill Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Marriott Village, there is so much to do and see onsite!
The Gaylord Palms Resort offers a variety of casual, quick service dining experiences for you to enjoy. You can find the freshest seafood at MOOR, a seafood restaurant aboard a beautiful sailboat. Catch one of your favorite games at Wreckers Sports Bar where you’ll find a 37-foot screen and more than 50 HDTVs to put you right in the middle of the action. Enjoy an attended buffet meal with modern coastal Mediterranean dishes at Villa de Flora. Gather with friends at Socio, the upscale, Cuban-inspired bar and lounge. Savor a famous steak and rare cheeses at Old Hickory Steakhouse. Lounge in paradise and refuel without even leaving the pool; SandBar serves refreshing salads, flavorful flatbreads, and mouthwatering sandwiches. There are also a variety of casual, quick service dining outlets for you to enjoy. Start your day with your favorite Starbucks treat from Emerald Bay Café; enjoy delicious and nutritious smoothies, fresh-squeezed juices, and made-to-order bowls at Jamba. Savor a specialty pizza from Artisan Pizza; or stop by Tacos & Tequila for some poolside snacks. For guests staying on site, the Gaylord Palms Resort also offers a la carte room delivery; choose from a menu of freshly-made meals and snacks and have them packaged to enjoy in your room or on the go.
When you’ve had your fill of delicious foods and beverages, fun can be found right inside the resort! The 4.5-acre enclosed glass atrium features thousands of native Florida plants, animal displays, replicas of Florida landmarks, and 360,000 gallons of aquatic life. Enjoy the on-site water park which features a large zero-entry pool, racing water slides, a drop slide, and a FlowRider surfing experience or get away and relax at the adult only pool.
SpringHill Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Marriott Village is offering group rates and event shuttles for The Event attendees. The hotel offers a variety of dining and cocktail options including American cuisine at the Connections restaurants and cafes. Quench your thirst at the hotel lounge, and enjoy a buffet breakfast—complimentary for guests!
Haven’t registered yet? Be sure to visit The Montessori Event 2024 page TODAY to learn more and secure your place online or in-person!
Where to Eat
With more than 6,000 restaurants, you certainly won’t leave Orlando hungry.
Try a bite at an acclaimed restaurant featured on the Emmy Award-winning TV show Atlanta Eats. Maxine’s on Shine, multi-year best of Orlando winner, is everyone’s favorite neighborhood hangout. Known for their brunch and happy hour, they offer a host of comforting dishes like fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles, and skillet lasagna.
Located in the heart of the Milk District, Bad As’s Sandwiches is perfect if you’re looking for comfort food in a bite. The menu focuses on a combination of elevated flavors and creativity using fresh ingredients with a unique flare.
The Strand features New American cuisine that emphasizes seasonal dishes made from scratch and inspired by fresh ingredients. The menu is constantly evolving to reflect the freshest ingredients. Check out their website for their current in-house offerings!
Orlando’s award-winning cuisine and venue, The Tap Room at Dubsdread offers fresh fish, prime cuts, homemade desserts, and a delicious burger! Located at the Dubsdread Golf Course, The Tap Room has been featured as one of the Top 25 Hidden Gem Restaurants worth traveling around the world for by KAYAK and OpenTable.
Enjoy a delicious experience at Aji Ceviche Bar, a Peruvian restaurant known for their intimate, inviting atmosphere and flavorful dishes: carretillero ceviche, pulpo antichuchero, and lomo saltado to name a few. Locals recommend that you ask for their spicy sauces which compliment many of their dishes.
Enjoy an authentic taste of Orlando at some of the area’s best Black-owned restaurants in the nearby town of Eatonville. Top options include Mad Crab Seafood & Wings and Soul Food Fantasy.
If you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan options, check out Market on South or Dharma Southern Chick’n. Market on South is a unique vegan collective featuring Main House Market and Kombucha Bar, Retro Roast, The Kind Cleaver, and Vegan Scoops. Whether you’re looking for something savory or something sweet, Market on South has you covered! Dharma Southern Chick’n (formerly known as Dixie Dharma) offers southern staples including sandwiches, salads, and nuggets. Don’t miss their mouth-watering fried green tomato sandwich complete with smoked eggplant remoulade, beet chow-chow, and garlicky kale on a thick Texas toast!
From The Boathouse and Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs to VIVO Italian Kitchen and Bigfire at Universal Orlando CityWalk, there are also an abundance of dining options near the attractions with delicious options as well.
Where to Explore
From sizzling entertainment to authentic, vibrant neighborhoods and wild ecotourism, Orlando has something for everyone to explore.
Home to the legendary Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain, Lake Eola Park is a great place to take a stroll and enjoy downtown Orlando’s central green space. Take in the spectacular view of Orlando’s skyline, photograph the live swans and other birds inhabiting the park, and even rent a swan-shaped paddle boat. You might even be able to catch a concert, movie, or play at the Walt Disney Amphitheater.
Harry P Leu Gardens is a 50-acre botanical oasis just north of downtown Orlando. Approximately a 40-minute drive from the resort, Leu Gardens allows guests to explore 40 different collections including a tropical rainforest, Florida’s largest formal rose garden, a butterfly garden, and much more! Leu Gardens is always blooming.
Visit the Pulse Memorial to honor those whose lives were so tragically lost on June 12, 2016. There are 3 viewing areas of the building, a ribbon wall of photographs, and an offering wall to leave flowers or mementos of love and support.
The staff of the American Montessori Society traveled to Orlando in summer 2023 for a working retreat and spent one day receiving a guided tour of the Pulse Memorial. Cynthia Barraza, AMS school quality manager, shared, “We were able to see what the onePulse Foundation has created and how the community has transformed a tragic event into love and support. It was evident that Orlando’s community has a sense of caring for all.” Due to limited parking, ride sharing is encouraged.
Located just a few miles from the resort, Celebration is a charming and quaint town originally developed by Disney as a master-planned community. Today, it is a local residence and a beautiful place to visit with numerous restaurants and shops clustered along Market and Front Street.
And we would be remiss not to mention the incredible theme park attractions. No other place on Earth has more theme parks than Orlando, making it the theme park capital of the world!
Explore the magic of Walt Disney World Resort where you’ll find Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT (where you can see what’s budding at the International Flower & Garden Festival, running from February 28th to May 27th, 2024), Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, plus Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water parks. Whether you love thrill rides like The Tower of Terror and Space Mountain, want to view some beautiful fireworks above Cinderella’s Castle, or are looking for a place to stretch your legs in the evenings, Walt Disney World Resort (including Disney Springs) has something for everyone.
Then head to Universal Orlando Resort— including Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure—for the excitement of action-packed rides like the Hulk Coaster and the fun of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Included with your theme park ticket, excite all of your senses with Universal Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval (running from February 3rd to April 7th, 2024). Enjoy dishes from around the globe, watch the parade, and catch a live concert on select nights. Universal also has its own waterpark, Universal Volcano Bay, full of wild thrills and complete relaxation. After a fun-filled day, enjoy a bite to eat or explore some more at Universal CityWalk.
Enjoy brick-building fun and kid-focused rides at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. LEGOLAND Florida Theme Park has an onsite water park and is home to the world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park, designed especially for little ones. No matter what kind of fun you’re looking for, Orlando has the perfect theme park for you!
Where to Learn
Orlando also offers some unique opportunities for those wanting to continue their learning outside of the sessions at The Event.
The Orlando Museum of Art and the Orange County Regional History Center offer exhibits that showcase and reflect the growth of Florida’s art and culture community and the 12,000 years of Central Florida’s rich heritage.
You can experience a taste of old Florida’s natural preserves via guided canoe or kayak tours of Shingle Creek, the Headwaters to the Florida Everglades, at Grande Lakes Orlando. Tours are led by a professionally trained Florida Master Naturalist and include observation of native species including alligators, bald eagles, osprey, and barred owls in their natural habitat.
One of the oldest African American communities in the United States, the historic Town of Eatonville should be added to your must-visit list. The childhood home of celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston (Their Eyes Were Watching God), the city houses the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum which includes gallery spaces and other special exhibits from artists of African descent. As previously mentioned, some of the Orlando area’s best Black-owned restaurants can also be enjoyed in Eatonville.
Enjoy a beautiful day in the neighborhood on a walking tour of Winter Park, the city that shaped Fred McFeely Rogers, lovingly known as the unforgettable host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Visit the college where Mister Rogers met and fell in love with his wife, learn about notable locations in Fred’s life, and discover what inspired this legendary man to leave his unique mark on the world. You can even combine this experience with a Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour where you’ll explore awe-inspiring mansions and estates of past and current business leaders and celebrities, including one of the homes that Fred lived in!
See You There!
The Montessori Event is the largest gathering of Montessori minds in the world. Our conference program continues to be aligned with AMS’s values of respect, integrity, diversity, inclusiveness, responsibility, and enthusiasm.
This year’s event includes more than 200 world-class speakers, 100+ sessions, and a series of special events throughout the weekend including Spotlight panels, leadership workshops, the Springtime Fancy, Championing Montessori in Public Schools Initiative, and more. Orlando promises an unforgettable experience!
Bookmark this page for your travel planning needs, and check out the map of Orlando below!
And if you’re unable to join us in person, we encourage you to join us virtually! The online exhibit hall will be available during The Event. All keynote and spotlight sessions will be livestreamed on the online Attendee Hub website and app, allowing you to watch and engage with attendees during each session via chat. In addition, recorded sessions will be released on Friday morning during the event, allowing for flexibility in your schedule as a virtual attendee. Most workshops will be available on the hub through April 12, 2024.
Whether you are joining us in person or online, we look forward to growing, learning, networking, exploring, and making memories with you in March!
Map of Orlando with all the recommended spots!
About the Author
Heather White, EdS, is a Montessori coach and consultant, content creator, and educator for adult learners, as well as a moderator and manager for the Montessori at Home (0 – 3 years) Facebook group. Formerly, she was a Montessori teacher, in-home caregiver, Lower Elementary coordinator, and associate head of school. She also has experience as a school psychologist intern. She is AMS-credentialed (Early Childhood, Elementary I) and is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP). Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The opinions expressed in Montessori Life are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of AMS.