The numbers are in: Orlando received 72 million visitors in 2017, topping our previous visitor numbers, and making our city the most visited destination in the U.S.! We love our visitors, and are so proud and excited to welcome guests from all over the world to our city. But we know that when you’re visiting, it’s good to have reliable advice for navigating everything from the world-class attractions to the hidden gems.
While there’s no shortage of advice out there on how to navigate Orlando, here at Where, we’re including some of Orlando’s top social media influencers in the conversation. These are the folks that we turn to when our staff needs a dining recommendation, to find out what’s hot in the area of fashion and beauty and to learn about all things local. With their photography, they often show us a side of Orlando even we didn’t even know existed.
To help you live like a local, here are some great friends to follow. And that’s how you should think of them — as the friends you didn’t know you had in Orlando. Give them a follow on their Instagram handles below, check out their websites and have the best O-Town vacay yet!
Travel and Food
Margot Tejera started The Wandering Maven Instagram account in 2017. Since then, she has been capturing exciting food and travel spots throughout Orlando and during her travels beyond The City Beautiful. The Wandering Maven focuses on colorful and vibrant photos, with a recently launched companion website that shares stories, reviews, and events happening in Orlando and internationally. A theme park engineer by day, the idea of the blog came to Margot to share the uniqueness and excitement of what Orlando has to offer, and to showcase its incredible culinary scene. She has a deep love for the Orlando community and is excited to be featured on the cover of the July/August issue Where Orlando Magazine.
Florida native and nationally-known food blogger Ricky Ly loves to explore the hidden treasures of the Orlando food scene. In addition to his blog you’ll also find him moderating the Orlando Foodie Forum Presented by Tasty Chomps on Facebook, a great resource of all the latest restaurant happenings in the area. Ricky also serves on the board of directors for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, working to find sustainable solutions to end hunger.
Stephanie Patterson, Managing Editor
Orlando Date Night Guide was started by founder Kristen Manieri to give couples who both live in and visit Orlando an endless array of fun date night ideas. After all, as Kristen says — if you’re going to be in a relationship, you might as well enjoy it! Stephanie Patterson, a genius photographer and writer in her own right, helps to manage the day to day processes of the blog, while also maintaining her own little corner of the interwebs under the handle @Traveltasteclick.
Food and travel enthusiast Christina Thomas is on a mission to #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time. She aims to inspire everyone to take time out of their busy schedules to celebrate life with friends, and make every moment count.
Lisa Wilk enjoys exploring and participating in the food, wine and culinary scene in Central Florida in her off hours. Previously, she started the local wine education group, Orlando Uncorked, with the goal of making wine approachable, while also giving back to the local Orlando community. Orlando Uncorked eventually led to starting her own blog about her culinary adventures, both around town and in her own kitchen. Find Lisa teaching as part of the popular Tasty Trio, where Wine, Cheese and Chocolate are always perfectly paired.
AJ Wolfe launched Disney Food Blog in 2009 as a hobby, but soon found that her love of all things Disney food-related was universal. These days, Disney Food Blog offers in-depth reviews of food at all of the Disney Parks and crave-worthy videos on their YouTube channel. Get your Disney food fix by following along.
Orlando Food Guys
The Orlando Food Guys are two foodies who believe that food can often tell the best stories about a place. Chris has a background in restaurants and hospitality and brings his knowledge of the local industry to the team. Sean divided his time growing up between Los Angeles and Dundalk, Ireland. Growing up in LA with an Irish mother and Lebanese father, food was always an experience. Together with years of hospitality experience and drive between them, they created Orlando Food Guys to highlight Orlando’s impressive culinary scene, which is more than just the packed tourist trap places.
Chelsea Watson is an Orlando-based fashion blogger who has a flair for adding color and magic to everyday life. Her love of Disney heavily influences her personal style, and she loves sharing her tips and tricks for dressing for and enjoying the parks.
Shelby is a local blogger and social media influencer sharing her fashion, lifestyle and travel tips from Central Florida and beyond. Her Florida roots heavily influence her personal style, which, while ever evolving, is effortless, casual and colorful. In her free time, she enjoys grabbing a coffee, painting, visiting the theme parks and spending time with her Jack Russell terrier, Murphy.
Mattia Joyce Castellano
Mattia Castellano is a UCF business graduate, born and raised in Central Florida. She has a background in makeup and skin care and loves to share tips, tricks and photos about beauty, fashion, travel and lifestyle on her social media platforms. Mattia also serves as vice president and co-founder of Talia’s Legacy Children’s Cancer Foundation, which she started with her mom to honor her late sister, Talia Joy Castellano.
Alpa Rama was born and raised in Paris, France, to parents from East Indian origin. Both cultures inspire her fashion style, mixing the je ne sais quoi of the French style with a touch of Indian spirit. After moving to the United States, she decided to follow her passion and create her blog, where she shares about fashion, beauty and travel.
David Plowden is the owner and creative mind behind David’s Manor, which focuses on fashion, travel, theme parks, as well as Orlando’s diverse collections of restaurants and retail outlets. The blog incorporates David’s boundless adventures in Orlando, while allowing him to stay true to himself.
Brendan O'Connor is a transplanted Canadian who graduated from Rollins College and then never found his way back North. During the day, O'Connor works as the editor of Bungalower Media, a hyper-local media company that focuses on Orlando's downtown "bungalow" neighborhoods. You can watch him on FOX 35's Good Day Extra every Monday morning, hear him on Real Radio's Bungalower and the Bus or The Jim Colbert Show, or read his work on the Bungalower website and their monthly print magazine.
Lake Nona Social
Omar Hickman is the founder of Lake Nona Social, an online community blog that reaches over 50,000 readers per week, connecting its readers to what's developing in the Lake Nona area of the greater Orlando region, as well as breaking news, business developments and events.
Lindsey Thompson invites you to “explore the real Orlando & beyond,” with her. “Find your new favorite restaurant, meet local makers, locate street art and popular photo spots, and add new items to your exploration agenda. 100% for locals and visitors by a local. No content is sponsored or paid for and highlights the small business community in Orlando beyond the theme parks.”