Amway Center – Orlando Predators
Photos by Aaron S. Terry, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57
Amway Center 400 W Church St Orlando, FL 32801
Year Opened: 2010
Indoor Football in Magic Country
Amway Center in Orlando, Florida is most well-known as the home of the Orlando Magic of the NBA, but is also used as the home of indoor football’s Orlando Predators – as a professional sports venue, the facility offers a wide range of concessions options, spacious concourses, and lots of bells and whistles. The Predators benefit from a lot of these amenities, but not all of them are used during indoor football games.
Food & Beverage 4
There are plenty of food and beverage items at Orlando Predators games, and they come with the slightly inflated prices you would expect from an NBA venue (e.g. $5.50 for bottled water, $6 for packaged candy, and $7.50 for a hot dog, which are the lowest priced items available here).
Other items include nachos, popcorn, pretzels, glazed nuts (the sweet kind sold in the cones), chicken sandwiches and tenders, burgers with ‘Predator’ sauce (these are mislabeled – the menu board says they have 2 half-pound patties, but in reality, they are much smaller), Papa John’s personal-sized pizzas (oddly the Papa John’s stand also sells the same hot dogs available at other stands), Dippin’ Dots, a Cuban stand with empanadas and Cuban sandwiches, and a Mexican stand offering chips with salsa, guac, or queso, as well as nachos and tacos, including double decker tacos (hard shell wrapped in soft shell).
Drinks include bottled water, soda, and draft beer, including several bars with seating you can see the field from, plus a couple of the new convenience-store-type stands that have a wide selection of different canned beer.
There are hardly any fans at Amway Center during Predators games (at least for a Friday night game, which is when I last attended), but that is a good thing in certain ways, as it allows you to take better advantage of some of the venue’s great amenities.
For example, there is a rooftop bar and grill called The Ultra Club, where you can sit and enjoy a drink or meal. There is also comfy seating in the concourse complete with USB charging (tiers of wooden seats with rows of charging outlets embedded on the seat fronts).
In addition, there is also a four or five-story lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows so you can see the view, complete with Disney-themed panels for décor, as well as the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame and fan experience displays – I have never been to a Magic game here, so I can’t say how crowded it is for basketball, but with hardly anyone here during Preds games, fans are easily able to explore the Hall and lobby, and use the charging stations, comfy seating, and Ultra Club with no waiting, and no pushing and shoving to get to them.
For the game itself, the action begins with pyrotechnics and motorcycles on the field, as you might see at many indoor football venues, and the staff has the typical contests (football tosses, etc.) and fan cams (in this case a bongo drum cam and a kiss cam). There are also TVs in the lobby so you can keep track of the action while walking around, as well as the Predators dance team.
What can I tell you about Orlando that you don’t already know? The attractions here are seemingly endless – Disney World, SeaWorld, Kennedy Space Center, Manatee Tours, LEGOLAND, etc. – more than enough for a weekend, or even a week or more, to surround your Orlando Predators visit. There are also plenty of hotels at all price ranges to choose from near the arena, as well as numerous restaurants.
Amway Center has hardly any fans show up for Predators games, so there is not much in the way of fan noise – there are also curtains blocking much of the seating, without which the facility would seem even more empty. There is a team gear stand inside the venue, but the prices are rather high for items, for example, an autographed official-sized football costs $100.
Getting to Amway Center is pretty simple, as several major freeways go right by it (I-4, Highway 408, etc.). There is also plenty of parking within a block or two of the venue; on the plus side, the low attendance at Orlando Predators makes it easier to get in and out of the facility. I never recommend parking in parking decks, as they can sometimes take a while to get out of after the game, but there are several surface lots nearby where you can park instead for about $10.
Orlando International Airport (MCO), about 20 miles from Amway Center, has flights from pretty much any destination you can imagine, thanks to all the tourist attractions in town. The airport is a little confusing as there are multiple “terminals” all inside the same building, making it hard to know where you are supposed to go.
Return on Investment 4
Including Ticketmaster fees, tickets to Orlando Predators games start at around $20 or $25 – the facility is great and worth a look, and coming here for a Predators game, as I mentioned earlier, is an easier way to take advantage of the amenities, given the much smaller crowds during indoor football games compared to basketball games. Parking is reasonable, and although the concessions prices are generally pretty high, you can find some better values if you look around at different stands.
There is a Kia SUV displayed on the suite level inside the venue; you can’t get that close to it, but you can certainly see it from inside the venue. The Predators logo itself is also pretty cool.
I think Amway Center is worth a visit, either for a Predators game or a Magic game, although the former might be a little easier on the wallet in terms of the hassle/traffic factor.