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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
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 Amway Center, the home of the Orlando Magic. Chock-full of quality concessions, comfortable seating, great bars nearby, and friendly patrons, you will be hard-pressed to find somewhere as enjoyable and inviting for a game of professional basketball.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The concessions at Magic games are impressive. A giant plate of nachos runs $10. Drinks range from $4.50 for a regular soda to $8 for large sodas. Beer ranges from $7.50 to $8.50, a fair price for any sporting facility. Perhaps the deal of the night are the combos, where one 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. Finally, perhaps the coolest thing about the Amway Center is the 'Ronas and 'Ritas bar that is outside, overlooking the downtown skyline while also providing a beautiful gathering space outside for some fresh air, good drinks, and TVs that show the action inside.
The Magic's home is stunning. From the vibrant and colorful concourse lighting that extends all the way 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 crowd roars loud and noticeable. Despite their lack of general success of late, the Magic 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 it is a family affair. There are young fans at every game, and the team works to engage their younger fans like few others. The family friendly atmosphere penetrates everything you see and do 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? The Amway Center is literally steps 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 and a renewed interest in the Orlando Magic, the City Beautiful loves sports. The immediate area around Amway Center is both suburbs to the west and downtown city center on 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. It can't get much better than this.
The fans at Amway are loyal and they are known to pack the house, regardless of the record or opponent. However, they are also not among the loudest in the league. While playoffs bring the noise, a regular season game at Amway Center can be laid back and calm at times. While this may be enjoyable for some in a way, other sports fans may thirst for that home-court advantage type of atmosphere you get in other cities like Miami, Cleveland, and Los Angeles. That may be the case when a game is close and in the dying minutes or during post-season play, but regular season games can bring a more relaxed feel. However, one of the other positives is the friendliness of the fans at Magic games.
How much easier can a stadium be to get to? Driving on I-4, you literally pass within a few yards of the arena itself, so finding the facility is quite arguably an impossibility to miss. If you do get off and somehow get lost, signs all around downtown point the way to the Amway Center. Finally, once you're there, the Geico Garage is your best option for parking, and the best part is the garage connects with the arena through a skywalk across the street into the arena's main concourse from the third parking level. There is also numerous parking options nearby in the parking lots and garages near the arena.
Taking in a Magic game can be a great event, but being an NBA game can mean it is a bit pricey, with parking and concessions added in. However, for what you get for the price you pay to get in, you are given lots of entertainment value and a quality, comfortable experience. A Magic game is a definite option for someone looking to see professional sports in Central Florida.
The Ozone bar located at the top of the upper end zone gives you a bird's-eye view of the action, while also offering a great place to hang out during games while getting some drinks.
There is also the Ronas and Ritas bar, offering a beautiful outdoor area for fans to congregate for a drink during the game with stunning views of the downtown cityscape.
Fans also can enjoy the Magic's memorabilia and hall of fame on the main concourse. This display pays tribute to some of Orlando's sporting heritage, community connections, and their best players of years past.
Stuff the Dragon is perhaps one of the best mascots the NBA has, and he is always engaging with the fans while taunting opposing players.
Fans also can make their own GIFs at the photo booth-style GIF makers the arena has.
Finally, the arena also has 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.
The Orlando Magic may have fallen on hard times in terms of record, but their arena remains one of the best around. The facility is stunning, clean, and always comfortable. The surrounding neighborhood means you have plenty of things to see and do before and after the game, and getting to the arena is a breeze. Amway Center should not be missed by sports fans, be they casual visitors or hardcore sports enthusiasts.
Member Review by StPeteRays
Orlando's official motto is "The City Beautiful," so with that type of billing emblazoned on City Hall, there's a certain expectation level that you would assume needs to be achieved. From the meticulously maintained Walt Disney World complex, which is actually in nearby Lake Buena Vista, to International Drive, almost everything seems to fit that billing, no matter how artificial. It's as though nothing less than perfection is allowed within metro Orlando, and for a city trying to bill itself as the family-friendly version of Las Vegas, I wouldn't expect any less.
Located about 8 blocks north of the new home, the old Amway Arena was the home of the Orlando Magic for the first 20 years of the franchise's existence and saw the near-coronation of the expansion team twice: 1995 and 2009, both years having made the NBA Finals. Great players have made their way through those doors - Shaq, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter, and Patrick Ewing, amongst numerous others - so, the closing of the Amway Arena was bittersweet for Magic fans. Does the successor building, having just opened on October 1, 2010, with all its flash and glamour, live up to being the worthy successor to "The O-Rena"?
Member Review by JimFolsom on Jan 24, 2013
The Orlando Magic have been playing in the NBA since November of 1989. Their original home was known as the Orlando Arena and was built in 1988 for the new expansion team. I was a charter season ticket holder for the new team, so I was there when they opened up the new arena. The Magic’s first game was also my first NBA game. So when I went to that first game and walked inside, it was awesome. Everything was so big and beautiful. Chairs were new. Toilets were new. Sinks were new. The floor was new. And it was huge. I walked inside and stopped before going to find my seat and just looked around. You could almost hear the angel choir singing in the background, “AAAHH”!
My only basketball experiences up until then were attending high school games. So this place was amazing. It had a giant scoreboard with a video screen hanging over the court. It had the concourse level with all the food stands and beer stands. It had a shop where you could buy Magic gear. It was awesome. So when the Magic built a new arena, I was skeptical. What’s wrong with the one you have? It’s a great place to watch a game. But the new arena? WOW! Little did we know at the time, but a concourse level doesn’t have to be elbow to elbow all the way across. And long lines at the bathrooms are not just something that you have to put up with at a game. Who knew?
Member Review by Drew4479 on Jan 07, 2014
Home of the Orlando Magic, the Amway Center is a beautiful palace of an arena in central Orlando literally yards from I-4. Walking up Church Street and into the arena concourse, you’ll be graced by one of the nicest venues in the NBA. Opened in 2010 as part of a plan to revitalize downtown Orlando, the Amway Center is currently the crown jewel of the project (although the upgrades to the nearby Citrus Bowl have stalled for the immediate future). Spacious, bright and colorful are all words best used to describe a night at the Amway Center.
The Magic became an NBA franchise in 1989, and spent most of their history housed in Amway Arena that resided less than a mile north of the current Amway Center. The current Amway Center is also home to the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL and hosted the NBA All-Star game in 2012.
Member Review by sportsroadtrips on Mar 31, 2014
Despite a lackadaisical crowd and almost no atmosphere through the first 3 quarters, ushers are constantly checking tickets, particularly down low, even later on in the affair. You would think you would want more fans and less empty seats.
The Amway Center is very well-designed, shiny and new, but the team is terrible and the fans disengaged, leading to a dichotomous experience, where the surroundings do not match the experience. It almost seemed like a pre-season game.
The high point might be the party plaza outside, where one tent was displaying live snakes and baby alligators that you could hold. Inside though, no party at all.
Member Review by HeatFan11 on Apr 18, 2014
Before I visited the other NBA arena in Florida, this was the best place I have been to. Since I am a Central Florida resident, I have been to 5 games. Unfortunately, the team isn't even close to competive and the atmosphere shows. It makes sense because all the teams I saw were mediocre teams (Pelicans, Celtics, Pistons, 76ers, Cavaliers). It also adds that they were spanked the last time I visited (119-98, Cavaliers). But take away the awfulness of the team and this place is a gem of Orlando. Church Street is gorgeous when you are walking to the stadium. It is worth visiting. And if the team improves, the Magic in the place will be back where it once was.
125 W Church St
Orlando, FL 32801
Orlando, FL 32836
6000 Universal Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819
7004 Sea Harbor Dr
Orlando, FL 32821
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