- Chris Green
Amway Center – Orlando Magic
Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 4.43
Amway Center 400 W Church St Orlando, FL 32801
Year Opened: 2010
A Magic NBA Experience
Take an NBA team, plant it in a beautiful vibrant city, and build them a beautiful facility with modern touches that never seem to go out of style, and you have yourself the Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic. Chock-full of quality concessions, comfortable seating, great bars nearby, and friendly patrons – you would be hard-pressed to find a venue as enjoyable and inviting for a game of professional basketball.
Food & Beverage 5
The concessions at Amway Center are impressive; a giant plate of nachos runs $10, drinks range from $4.50 for a regular soda to $8 for a large, and beer ranges from $7.50 to $8.50, a fair price for any sporting facility. Perhaps the deal of the night, however, is the combos, where you can get a cheeseburger, fries, and regular soda for $14. The quality of the food items is also top-notch, with mouth-watering options on display at every turn.
Perhaps the coolest thing about the concessions at Amway Center, though, is the bar outside which overlooks the downtown skyline, while also providing a beautiful gathering space for some fresh air, good drinks, and TVs that show the action inside. But the best thing about the facility is the inclusion of local restaurants from the Central Florida area in Amway Center’s concessions, with bars serving local brews from local breweries, and Gringos Locos Tacos being the most popular spot in the main concourse.
Amway Center is stunning; from the vibrant and colorful concourse lighting that extends to the main entrance lobby, to the unique arrangement of the court’s flooring – everything here is visually beautiful. The arena looks like it is a new facility, not one that has been open for over seven years. The acoustics are also great, making the crowd roars loud and noticeably.
While not always at the top of the standings, the Orlando Magic’s seats are routinely full when it comes to ticket sales, meaning you always have the feel of a big game. But perhaps the best thing is that Magic games feel like they are a family affair; there are young fans at every game, and the team works to engage younger fans like few others. The family-friendly atmosphere penetrates everything you see and does at Amway Center, making it a draw for anyone looking to take in a night of professional basketball that everyone can enjoy.
What can you say about downtown Orlando? Amway Center is steps away from Church Street, the hub of Orlando’s rebirth as a foodie and entertainment destination. The City of Orlando has become a sports-thirsty destination over the last few years; with the explosion in popularity of Orlando City SC and a renewed interest in the Orlando Magic, the City Beautiful loves sports.
The immediate area around Amway Center includes suburbs to the west and the downtown city center to the east. There are tons of hotels nearby, and since the arena sits next to I-4, getting to other resorts and hotels in the greater Orlando area is not hard to do either. Fans can easily stay at the Crowne Plaza Orlando-Downtown, Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando, or the Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando Downtown, and still, walk to the arena with ease.
For local restaurants, Harry Buffalo is one of the most popular sports bars in the Church Street area. Fans also visit Aku Aku Tiki Bar, World of Beer, and Tin & Taco. And if you want to see the sights, Lake Eola Park is just a few blocks away; this park is an Orlando landmark that is also home to a weekly farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. Being in Orlando, you are also just a short drive from Walt Disney World, Sea World, or Universal Studios theme parks.
The fans at Amway Center are loyal and known to pack the house, regardless of the Magic’s record or opponent. Even on the last week of the season with the team long out of the playoff picture, an admirably full house can be found for matchups against equally lesser teams in the standings.
While the venue may have been known for being pretty relaxed over the last few years, a playoff run last season has re-energized the fan base, and everyone seems to have discovered the loudness that makes Orlando an arena with home-court advantage. Another one of the positives is the friendliness of the fans at Orlando Magic games; everyone is there to have fun, and that is reflected in the attitude of the fans.
How much easier can an arena be to get to? Driving on I-4 you pass within a few yards of Amway Center itself, so not finding the venue is quite arguably an impossibility. But if you do somehow get lost, signs all around the downtown point the way to the facility. Both the South Street exit and the South Street Express Lanes exit drop you off right next to the arena. Also, when leaving there is an I-4 express lanes entrance on South Street on well.
Once you get to Amway Center the Geico Garage is your best option for parking, and the best part is that the garage connects to the arena through a sky bridge across the street. There are also numerous other parking options nearby in parking lots and garages in the area; the only downside of late is the continuing construction in and around the I-4 corridor throughout the greater Orlando area.
Return on Investment 4
Taking in an Orlando Magic game can be a great event, but being an NBA game can mean it is a bit pricey depending on your seats, with parking and concessions added in. However, with what you get for the price you pay, Amway Center gives lots of entertainment value and quality, comfortable experience – an Orlando Magic game is a definite option for someone looking to see professional sports in Central Florida.
The Ozone located at the top of the upper level (behind one of the backboards) gives you a bird’s-eye view of the action, while also offering a great place to hang out and watch the action. There is also the Sugar Scull Rum Landing Bar, which provides stunning views of the downtown cityscape, and offers a beautiful outdoor area for fans to congregate for a drink during the game.
Fans can also enjoy the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame and other team memorabilia on the main concourse – these displays pay tribute to some of Orlando’s sporting heritage, community connections, and their best players of years past.
Finally, Amway Center has also partnered with Disney, meaning there are various displays and nods to the Orlando theme park throughout the facility, including large painted Mickey statues in the main lobby, and an entire suite inside sponsored by the theme parks.
The Orlando Magic may have fallen on some hard times recently in terms of their record, but Amway Center remains one of the best around. The facility is stunning, clean, and always comfortable; the surrounding neighborhood means you have plenty to see and do before and after the game; and getting to the arena is a breeze. Amway Center should not be missed by any sports fan, be they casual visitors or hardcore sports enthusiasts.