Find Orlando Family Magazine on Facebook! Follow Orlando Family Magazine on Twitter!

A Perfect 10

Orlando Family Magazine celebrates its first decade!

We can hardly believe it, but this issue marks our 10th anniversary and we are beyond thrilled to celebrate with our loyal readers. Over the years, we’ve prided ourselves on finding exciting ways to show our creativity and produce engaging content. But, we’re far from complacent and hope to spend the next 10 years pushing things even further in an effort to deliver the region’s best lifestyle publication.

To help mark this special occasion, we put together a retrospective package that shows our evolution. Not only do we remember the biggest headlines to hit Central Florida in the past decade, but we also revisit some of the most-read stories from our pages. Our crew also eats out a lot—a lot—so after careful consideration, we are presenting our 15 favorite fine dining restaurants and why they hold a special place in our hearts. And because we’ve had the fortunate chance to speak with so many notable celebrities, we went back in time to choose our favorite quotes from our interviews.

Thanks for being there with us every step of the way, we look forward to showing you what we have in store next.

Though-provoking articles, celebrity interviews and other insightful looks at our region.

October 2016
History in Rio
Oviedo High School graduate Jenny Simpson made history at the Rio Olympics when she took the bronze medal in the women’s 1,500-meter race, becoming the first American to ever medal in that competition.

November 2016
Arnold Palmer
When Palmer passed the golf world lost a legend, but Orlando lost an icon. In our November 2016 issue, we put the “King” on our cover and spoke with locals about the impact he made in the community from children’s health care to his charitable work with Arnie’s Army.

March 2017
Star High School Athletes
Each high school sports season, we spotlight the top varsity athletes from across the region. Over the years, we’ve had the chance to feature several that have reached pro levels including current NBA players Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little and RJ Barrett.

May 2017
Finding Acceptance
We took a very in-depth look at what life is like for the local Muslim community and how they’ve been embraced in Central Florida despite rampant Islamophobia across the country.

November 2017
Close to Home
Central Florida became a hotbed for human trafficking and we examined its many forms and how Orange County was responding to the crisis with several proactive measures and resources that helped raise awareness.

February 2018
The Opioid Crisis
With opioid-related deaths rising dramatically, we talked with area families who have been touched by the crisis personally and the local organizations that are providing much-needed support.

March 2018
A Matter of Time
In the wake of the tragedy at Pulse nightclub, local law enforcement, health care officials and more shared how they prepare and train to be ready for the next terror attack.

April 2018
School Safety
With headlines of school shootings across the country dominating the headlines, we found out how local districts were prioritizing safety and having difficult conversations with students and their families.

October 2018
Contestant Confidential
In this issue, we caught up with some Central Floridians who tested their knowledge and skill by competing on game shows like Family Feud, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

November 2018
Stand Your Ground
Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law has long been a hot-button issue and we spoke with folks on both sides of the issue to find out what makes it so divisive.

March 2019
Ties That Bind
While many people have been using genetic testing to trace their family roots, the process has other uses as well like helping to catch criminals and assessing future health risks.

June 2019
Best of the Best
Each year, we spend months and months scouring the Greater Orlando region for the best food and drink items, retail shops, best fitness classes, beauty treatments and more. Because of the pandemic we shifted this year’s list to December, so be on the lookout for what we have in store.

December 2019
Tag Team
The biggest stars in the WWE are known around the world, but they got their start at a world-class training facility right here in Orlando.

March 2020
Helping to Heal
Ryan Seacrest and his sister spoke to us about their foundation and their involvement in helping hospitalized Orlando area children find happiness during their most difficult days.

April 2020
The Challenge Ahead
The arrival of COVID-19 changed everything and our first story in a series of pandemic coverage examined the challenges facing state and local leadership.

The biggest news to hit Central Florida in the past decade.

An Unthinkable Attack
After SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau’s death at the hands of a killer whale named Tilikum, things at Shamu Stadium were never the same. After questions were raised about the park’s handling of the captive animals, many changes were put into place, including ending the orca breeding program. This year, SeaWorld changed the nature of its shows to put more of a focus on education and less on performance.

With the Wave of a Wand
After two-and-a-half years of construction, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in June. An eager crowd, some of whom had been waiting for as much as eight hours to be one of the first to experience the new attraction, flooded the gates. Since then, guests both in and out of costume have faithfully visited for a chance to live out a real-life fantasy.

The Case that Captivated a Nation
The Casey Anthony trial made national headlines, but in Orlando the story hit especially close to home. Ultimately, Anthony was acquitted in the death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee and only found guilty of four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to law enforcement. Two years later, an appeals court threw out two of her convictions, but the court of public appeal had long formed their opinion as the case dominated the news cycle for months.

The Trayvon Tragedy
After the night of Feb. 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman became household names for the wrong reasons. Zimmerman famously shot and killed Martin after a physical altercation and the former was charged with the murder of the 17-year-old boy. Zimmerman was acquitted at trial after claiming self defense and the verdict sparked outrage across the country, instantly turning Martin into a symbol for social injustice.

The Magic is Gone
The No. 1 overall pick in 2004’s NBA Draft, Dwight Howard was the face of the Orlando Magic franchise. After numerous seasons of dominance and a trip to the 2009 NBA Finals, his relationship with the team soured and public trade demands began to fracture the fanbase. In August 2012, Howard was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers and both he and the Magic have arguably not been the same since.

Dynamic Destination
Always a popular tourist spot, Orlando set a new record in 2014 when it welcomed 62 million visitors to town. The previous record was 59 million set the previous year. The openings of FantasyLand at Walt Disney World and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley were believed to help drive the rush of visitors.

All Aboard
The SunRail made its debut in May 2014, connecting Central Floridians in Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Oscela counties. The commuter rail system had its fair share of detractors, but was also seen as a logical step to help fill the void left by a lack of public transportation in the region.

The Arts Come Alive
Spanning two Downtown blocks, the arrival of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts expanded Orlando’s cultural offerings greatly. Since then the center’s multiple stages have hosted everyone and everything from the Orlando Ballet and classical composers to children’s theater performances and some of the biggest names in comedy and music.

A Major Deal
After moving from Austin, Texas and spending three years as a minor league squad, Orlando City Soccer Club officially joined Major League Soccer in 2015. Over the course of the past handful of years, the team has built up a steady fanbase which was rewarded when Orlando City earned its first postseason berth in October. As of press time, the team was reportedly on the cusp of being sold to new ownership for a staggering $400 million.

The Ultimate Traffic Jam
When I-4 was originally built in the ’60s it was ideal to accommodate a much smaller Central Florida population. But, in 2015 the need to expand the roadway to better serve the crush of cars (more 1.5 million trips daily) became a reality with the start of the I-4 Ultimate construction project. The $2.3 billion overhaul was slated to be completed in early 2021, but delays have pushed that date back until at least next fall.

A Singer Silenced
Christina Grimmie was an up-and-coming singer from South Jersey who skyrocketed to popularity thanks to a star turn on The Voice. Tragically, she never had the opportunity to become the star she was destined to be. During a meet and greet with fans after a show at Plaza Live, Grimmie was fatally shot by a man who traveled by cab from his home in St. Petersburg.

A Harrowing Evening
What started out as a regular evening at Pulse nightclub ended up as one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history. Just one night after Grimmie’s murder, Omar Mateen opened fire inside the club, killing 49 and wounding more than 53 others. The attack had a profound effect on the community and the days that followed saw not only Orlando, but the entire country grieving the senseless act of violence.

Taken Too Soon
Family trips to Disney World often create lifelong memories, but for one Nebraska family, their vacation quickly became a real-life horror movie. While taking an outdoor movie night at the Grand Floridian, the family’s 2-year-old boy waded into the nearby lagoon and was snatched by an alligator. As his parents tried to desperately save him, the boy was pulled underwater by the gator and his dead body was found by a search crew.

A Storm to Remember
When Hurricane Irma made landfall in Central Florida on the night of Sept. 10, it was technically no longer an actual hurricane, but the storm’s aftermath was felt far and wide. The storm produced nearly 8 inches of rain in Downtown Orlando alone, some homes were destroyed, sewage flooded the streets and more than 1 million homes lost power. Even actress Kristen Bell was trapped inside a Disney hotel, sharing her lockdown with fans on social media.

A Bit of Sports History
In 2018, four players from the University of Central Florida’s football team were drafted into the NFL, but for one player in particular it was an historical moment. When Shaquem Griffin was selected by the Seattle Seahawks, he became the first one-handed player ever drafted. Adding to the excitement, his twin brother, Shaquill, had been chosen by the team the year prior. The two memorably shared a moment in last year’s playoffs when they combined to sack Aaron Rodgers.

The Pandemic
In a year that’s been one to forget, there’s been no escaping COVID-19. From the early days of the pandemic when supermarket shelves were empty to the record unemployment numbers to the recent spike in cases across the state, the coronavirus has been a daily nightmare that we can’t seem to wake up from. With several therapeutic drugs and vaccines in the works, here’s hoping that 2021’s biggest story is how the world bounced back stronger than ever before.

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s November 2020 issue.