I'm going to Orlando!

Next week.

And while I really do like it up here in fall (Lake Washington is gorgeous right now), it’ll be nice to see sunshine…and be warm outside.

What else should I see while I’m down there? Any day trips I shouldn’t miss? Any sights I have to see? Any restaurants that I must give a try? Anything I might otherwise overlook?

Well, my house is becoming one of our bigger attractions, especially among the ladies… :wink:

The Black Tulip in Cocoa Village (sorta by Cocoa Beach, I can give you directions if you like) is an amazingly good restaurant and is only about half an hour from Orlando if you drive like me.

There are all the theme parks and so on, of course- if you want to go to one, I strongly recommend Universal’s Islands of Adventure above anything else.

Keep in mind it’s actually been a little chilly (by Florida standards, at least) for the last week or so (about 60 on my balcony this evening), so you might need a jacket.

If you like clubs and such, Tabu and Antigua are really rather good; avoid Bar Orlando, unless you enjoy dancing in phone booths.

Not exactly a great deal by way of history down here, of course, so I can’t really direct you toward any of that. You might enjoy Lake Eola in downtown… you can rent a boat or a paddle boat, and the the view (sort of lake/tree/skyscraper montage) is really rather nice.

If you want any other advice, let me know…

Things to do in Orlando…
Visit Lake Eola. It is a mile around the entire lake. Scenic view of ducks and swans. Has a bandshell where free music is often played. Quiet and nice. You can rent a swan paddle boat or go on a gondala. Cost about $5

Visit Church Street Station which is downtown. It is a hot spot of shops, tourist attractions, bars, entertainment.

There is a Halloween Festival and Legend of Gator Man Haunted Cruise at Silver springs. 352-236-2121

There is Gatorland Zoo. It is a reptile zoo. Great shows and exhibits. Train ride. Good for kids. Reasonable prices.

A MUST GO TO PLACE TO EAT: The Black Hammock in Oviedo, FL which is minutes from Orlando. It is a Fish Camp with airboat rides and tons of alligators to see. Sits on the most alligator infested waters in the state. Good food. Casual atmosphere.

Universal Studios. Amusement Park. Cost is (I think $52 adult)
Currently having a special show called Halloween Horror Nights. Filled with Terror and is REALLY scary.

Disney World goes without saying. (I think) it is $52 adult to get in,

Old Town is a fine place to stop. Old car shows running nightly. It is a plaza of old shops and old fashioned treats. Ferris wheel, go carts and other carnival style rides to be enjoyed.

Medieval Times restaurant. It is a sit down dinner with a show. It is all based on “Medieval Times” you eat with your hands and have like a 4 course dinner. This is located in Kissimee which is a spit away from Orlando.

The Lone Cabbage which is in-between Orlando and Melbourne. It is a fish camp with a pier to eat on. Great food. Great prices. Very casual. Airboat rides.

I second Lone Cabbage. I was pretty drunk last time I went to the Black Hammock so I can’t rightly say if the food is any good…

Halloween Horror Nights is fun.

Everything in Orlando basically sucks though. I guess you should go to Lake Eola and do the whole swan thing but it won’t change your life or anything. Most of the stuff to do in Orlando is tourist-related. The best restaurants and clubs are at the Disney or Universal places. Downtown has a few gems but it basically sucks.

If you’re feeling particularly Stepford-ish, you can drive through Celebration, FL.

I forgot what it is called (it is somebody’s name) but there is an oyster bar that is really good. It is in Orlando (a little east).

Just stick to the theme parks if you haven’t gone and you should have fun.

Oh, and you must go to Kissimmee. :rolleyes:

Furthermore you should go to International Drive in Orlando if you want to do the whole tourist scene. That is like the pit of tourist attractions and food.

Also Kissimee offers you Dixie Stampede “Dolly Parton’s Newest Attraction”

Since you’re going to be down here, the Street of Dreams Expo is going on through mid November.

You get to tour six multi-million dollar homes for about $12.


Tu Tu Tangos on I-Drive is a fun place to eat. Bring friends, because they only serve appetizers, and you’ll want to share.

Oh, is it time for the manatees yet at Blue Spring State Park?

It might get cool later this week, at night, and not for long. By noon every day it will be 75 F and climbing. Think shorts and bathing suits. The humidity is always over 60%.

Here’s a start. There is so much more on the internet if you just type in “Orlando attractions” or anything like that.

Personally, I keep meaning to go to Boggy Creek Airboats If you have never been on an airboat, wow. I’ve wanted to get back on one since I was a kid.

The manatees at Crystal River are the best attraction in Florida, IMO. After having a horrible experience on my last deep scuba dive, I decided to quit for a while. I came out of retirement to dive with the manatees at Crystal River. That’s a life changing and affirming experience. They are like huge gentle vegetarian sea dogs.


(And thanks for the weather report, I was hoping for a bit cooler, but I’m sure I’ll like it once I’m there.)

I’m leaving Thursday morning, and I’ve never been near that corner of the country before, so I’m looking forward to it.

Nearly forgot… try Rock Springs… natural springs with little waterways you can swim in or float down in an innertube… almost no more relaxing day out around.

Oh, another one I forgot…if you like flowers and gardens, go to Leu Gardens. It’s only $4-5 to get in, and they have ACRES of plants, everything from deserts to tropical rainforests. It’s gorgeous, kind of like Disney for horticulturalists.

Skip EPCOT. It’s dull.

One more thing, you are in luck. This week “partly cloudy” appears to be mostly sunny until later in the afternoon – when you will be praying for clouds. Only people who live here are truly adjusted to the heat + THE HUMIDITY. It will feel like you were slapped with a wet towel when you get off the plane. It takes me an hour or so to adjust when I get back from California.

Point being, we had real “mostly cloudy” for several months recently. The rain was useful – especially for me, I grow tropical carnivorous nepenthes plants outside – but it was a bit dreary for Florida.

I like the manatee idea so much…

This is the big outfit down there, I think.

Or, put “Crystal River” and “diving” “manatee” “scuba” “boat rental” – whatever – into a search engine.

Seriously, other than seeing a space launch, manatees are something you should not miss while in Florida. Oh, and – of course – gators.

By the way, I’m not sure about that November – March thing. They might show up as early as October. Some of them may live there all the time. It’s a perfect place for manatees. IIRC, back to when I was a teen and Reagan was pres., I went in early November to see them, and the place was lousy with manatees. I’m not sure though. That was 19 years ago.

I’m going to break my own record, which is quite impressive, for posting addendums to a previous post:

Yes, they are there year round, and you can get scuba certified while petting them, if you want to.

What I said above was wrong, BTW. Mikes “Sunshine River Tours” is not the big outfit in Crystal River – but it rang a bell.

So, do what I suggested if you want to do the manatees at Crystal River. Use a search engine to decide how you want to interact with them, how long, and how much you want to spend.