• Orlando At Disney's Epcot Center, the new, 40,000-square-foot World ShowPlace can accommodate 4,000 people for receptions and more than 3,000 for banquets.

  • The Guinness World Records Experience in Orlando, an $8 million, interactive multimedia attraction, can accommodate 25 to 250 people for private evening functions.

  • At SeaWorld Orlando, Ports of Call, a banquet and special events complex with 12,000 square feet of indoor space and 17,000 square feet of outdoor space, can handle 750 for sit-down dinners and 1,200 for receptions.

  • Wet ’N Wild, an Orlando water theme park, has added the Lakeside Terrace, a 6,000-square-foot pavilion designed for special events, with built-in catering facilities. The park completed a $1.5 million face-lift last summer.

Kissimmee Horse lovers will enjoy the dinner show attraction Arabian Nights in Kissimmee. It features 60 horses, including Arabians, Appaloosas, and Lipizanners. Groups can use the 80-person VIP Skybox, an elevated, glass-enclosed viewing area.

Daytona The Bandshell Amphitheater, located in Oceanfront Park just off the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, was built of coquina shells in 1937 and can hold up to 5,000 people.

  • Adventure Landing water theme park in Daytona Beach, located adjacent to the Ocean Center, accommodates groups of 20 to 5,000 people.

  • Daytona USA, a 50,000-square-foot interactive motor sports attraction adjacent to the Daytona International Speedway, has a 250-person hospitality room, a 258-seat theater, and a reception area for 1,000.

Tampa The Cuban Club in Tampa's Ybor City, originally the social and political center for Tampa's Cuban-cigar craftsmen, has been fully restored. For meetings and events, venues include a 15,000-square-foot outdoor patio and ballroom that can accommodate 750 people.

  • Tampa Theater, a restored 1926 movie palace, seats up to 1,446 guests and is available for product introductions or other corporate functions.

Tampa In late April, Marriott Chairman & CEO J.W. Marriott Jr. welcomed media, customers, staff, and local luminaries to the opening ceremony for the Tampa Marriott Waterside, designated Marriott's 2,000th hotel. “I think I'm the only one here who was also at our first hotel ribbon-cutting 43 years ago,” he said. (That was the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel in Arlington, Va.) “It's been a long road.”

Local officials are thrilled that Marriott's road led to Tampa, as the city aims to become a top meeting destination. The hotel was somewhat of a catalyst for downtown development projects, including Channelside, a waterside shopping and entertainment center.

The 717-room Marriott has 50,000 square feet of meeting space and is adjacent to the Tampa Convention Center, which has 600,000 square feet of space. The hotel's dramatic two-story lobby features wrought-iron details and an indoor/outdoor bar. Waterfront windows along pre-function areas look over the Garrison Channel and out to Tampa Bay. Unexpected in a convention hotel is the Marriott's first-rate, 6,000-square-foot spa and fitness center.

Tampa Mayor Dick Greco, a major force behind the Marriott project (a meeting room is named for him), likened the downtown renaissance to that of another southern city: “San Antonio took a creek and turned it into the Riverwalk,” he said during a luncheon address in the elegant Florida Ballroom. “We had parking lots on our working waterfront; now we're going to have boat slips, parks, open spaces. This whole area is going to come alive.”

Plans also call for a historic trolley traveling a 2.3-mile track from the Marriott to Ybor City, to start up in late 2001.