Orlando - Disney World - Environs

Discussion in 'Travel Stories' started by giradman, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. giradman

    giradman
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    Susan and I are back in Florida for 5 nights - we visit each spring and usually alternate the east and west coasts, BUT this time decided to make a return to the Orlando area which we've not visited in nearly a dozen years; although since the late 1970s (bringing our young son) and up into the late 2010s (medical meetings - MANY over the decades), I've probably been to the area well over a dozen times. Just added to our local Triad airport is Spirit Airlines which had a non-stop flight to the Orlando airport (quite a complex); only 90 mins in the air!

    This time Susan picked the Caribe Royale Hotel & Convention Center - we are staying in one of the 2-bedroom suite buildings w/ a small private pool (see pics below) - yesterday was rainy but we had a nice afternoon and early dinner (upcoming post) - today, the fitness center in the morning and then a visit to Sea World which is off International Drive and probably just 15 mins or so from us). We have a number of planned other activities which will not include most of the Disney attractions ('been there, did that' kind of feeling), but I may mention some briefly from past experience because Disney World is the main reason families visit the area in the millions. Just a few pics below including the city of Orlando which I may have been in once or so - not the attraction here. Dave :)

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  2. giradman

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    Disney Springs - Shopping, Entertainment, & Eating

    On our first full day, we spent some time in the morning at the fitness center, which is in its own 2-story building and quite nice - the weather was light rain 'on & off' all day, which is not good in this theme park & golf mecca - SO, we decided to spend the afternoon at Disney Springs, which has had numerous names over the decades (see quote below) - since our last visit, the place has at least doubled if not tripled in size and further expansion is planned (see first pics below - close to our hotel - the aerial view is amazing compared to my previous visits here).

    Of course, this is a popular place on a 'rainy' day, i.e. a lot of indoor shopping and eating! Parking options are VAST and I decided to use the valet option at an extra fee (and glad that I did) - just a few web pics of the main area (now there are 4 'main' areas, in bold below) - we did some shopping, Susan spending the longest in Sephora, one of her favorite 'beauty' chains. We had an early dinner at the Boathouse - more on that later - there are dozens of eating options from fast foods, snacks, drinks, bars, and fancier 'sit down' restaurants, such as the Paddlefish and Boathouse. Pics below just a few web examples - we had a nice afternoon and a excellent dinner. Dave :)

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  3. giradman

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    SeaWorld Orlando - Part 1

    SeaWorld Orlando began decades ago and has expanded into a number of parks and remains a popular attraction - brief description below (check the link for the many offerings) at the park which include sea animal shows, rides (3 scary roller coasters which at our age were not an attraction BUT if a young family likely a thrill!), games to win prizes, exhibits (the Antartica Penguin was my favorite), plenty of food options (nothing fancy), and frequent gift shops mostly w/ stuffed animals - definitely a theme park that would attract the younger crowd.

    We mainly went to the exhibits and attended the live, excellent Dolphin Show (tried to get to the Sea Lion show but was full - anyone planning to go needs to time their appearances at these shows). Pics are mainly my own - loved to see the manatee rehab area w/ well over a dozen of these so-called gentle 'sea cows' - several in the rehab tanks had obvious injuries on their backs which looked like propellor blade gashes - hopefully part of our expensive entry fee goes to this effort? The Dolphin Show as mentioned was enjoyable and worth seeing (as are likely the other shows) - Part 2 of this posting are my own pics of some of the dolphin 'acts' - nice afternoon followed by a great dinner (coming up!) - Dave :)

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  4. giradman

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    SeaWorld Orlando - Part 2

    Just some more pics from our afternoon at SeaWorld - the live dolphin show, which also included beautiful macaws flying above the audience and landing on the arms of the trainers - tried to get some good images but none worth showing, sorry. Dave :)

    P.S. Tomorrow - planning on an all-day trip to the Kennedy Space Center on the Atlantic east coast - just an hour's drive.
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  5. scifan57

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    I'm looking forward to your post on the Kennedy Space Centre.
     
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  6. J. A.

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    Me too.
     
  7. giradman

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    Thanks Scifan.. & Johanna for chiming into the thread - hope that some of the Floridians or past visitors to the area respond w/ recommendations and eating favorites - Orlando has just a plethora of attractions, so being selective and planning your schedule are critical here. We'll be leaving for the Kennedy Space Center in about an hour - we've taken the main 'added' bus tour before, so will see what else is available. Dave :)
     
  8. giradman

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    Venetian Room - Boathouse - Oceanaire - Eating in Orlando!

    One of the main reasons for our return to Orlando is the wide availability of eating options - these can vary from inexpensive chains, to standard restaurants (such as Italian pasta places), plenty of pizza places, to rather expensive gourmet meals. If you like to eat, then this area offers much!

    Venetian Room
    - in our hotel and convenient for the first night - beautiful place (first 2 pics below) - the menu when opened lit up (like an iPad) which Susan loved (she often uses her iPhone as a flashlight to see menus) - Susan had the lamb chops and I a delicious veal chop (we love to eat 'baby' animals - ;))

    Boathouse - our first full day and located at Disney Springs - beautiful restaurant w/ obviously a nautical motif (noticed the boat near the entry pic below which is an eating booth) - little boats shaped like old Fords can be rented. We had ALL shellfish - started w/ a dozen oysters (one from the West Coast, our favorites, and one harvested for the Boathouse from Massachusetts) - Susan had a steamed lobster and I had two appetizers, i.e. the cold lobster and lumped crab meat - we had another half dozen oysters for dessert from Washington State.

    Oceanaire after our SeaWorld visit - this is a small chain throughout the USA (ate at one in D.C. last year and discussed in one of my other travelogues) - the images below may be from other locales but give the picture of the restaurant, inside and out. About 10+ oyster selections were available - we shared a dozen (6 from British Columbia and 6 from Washington State, all West Coast); also shared a delicious grilled octopus (one short tentacle each). Susan had their excellent lumped jumbo crab cakes (claimed to be 95% crab, like we've had in Maryland); I had the Monkfish in a wonderful sauce w/ some small mussels and clams. For dessert, we again shared a half dozen Washington State oysters - this time from Tetton Island. We might just return here tonight after our drive back from the Space Center - there are some good seafood restaurants at Cocoa Beach but the menus seemed ordinary, plus NO oysters! Dave :)
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  9. giradman

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    Monkfish - Eating Addendum!

    For those not familiar w/ monkfish - see quote below - one of the ugliest fish on the planet (see below); basically, only the tail is used and the fish is typically cooked in a sauce (the one w/ my dish was delicious w/ a lobster flavor) - the meat is white and has the texture of lobster (ofter called the 'poor man's lobster') w/ a mild flavor that is altered by the cooking method - if the description sounds appealing, give the fish a try (and don't worry about the head being on your plate - would not fit anyway!) - ;) Dave

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  10. giradman

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    Kennedy Space Center - Part 1

    Today, Susan & I drove about an hour (route below on map) east to the Kennedy Space Center (probably our third or fourth visit over many years) - the Center, including the Visitor's Complex is located in the huge Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (first quote below); next two quotes describe the John F. Kennedy Space Center, and the final quote the beginning Wiki article on the Visitor's Complex - check all of the links if interested in a visit.

    The Visitor's Complex is large w/ many different attractions - the pics are a combination of some from the web and my own (hard to obtain great images w/ the crowds around, sorry). We spent just over 5 hrs and probably did about a third of the many options, including extra paid attractions - if you really want to see the place 'thoroughly', a two day visit is recommended, so nice to be near the area. The complex map below shows the many building exhibits - the Atlantis Shuttle Building was particularly impressive - we were unable to see all of the many attractions, but did watch one outstanding 40 min iMax movie (numerous theaters show different films as part of the general admission); the gift shop is HUGE and there are plenty of eating opportunities (basic food fare - we had a light lunch during the bus trip, which I'll describe next). Dave :)


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