Orlando - Disney World - Environs

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

  1. giradman

    giradman
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    Central Florida - Lakes, Airboats, Gators, and other Wildlife

    Back home but will add a few more posts of some other activities that we've done over the years in the Central Florida area - of course, there are the many Disney and other attractions/theme parks to consider, especially for families. But there is also an contrasting option, i.e. natural Florida from the past which can still be appreciated - alligator parks (such as Gatorland), Wildlife Preserves/Parks, and plenty of airboat rides w/i a half hour's drive from where we stayed.

    In the past, the airboat rides have been a main attraction for us - probably have taken at least three from several of the places on the map below - so if the crowds, lines, and theme park atmosphere is getting to you, an airboat ride is a pleasant break - see pics below; also, there are numerous tour companies offering 'combo' packages that explore this 'wilder' side of Florida - SO, if you are in the Orlando area, then take a break and get away from the man-made stuff - :) Dave
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  2. giradman

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    Silver Springs State Park

    Silver Springs State Park is located about 90 miles north of Orlando (90+ mins drive) near Ocala. We have made multiple visits there but the last was likely a dozen years ago - Silver Springs was Florida's first tourist attraction (history below) and was a private enterprise until 2013 when the state acquired the property, combining it into the larger State Park; so, I'm not sure what major attractions remain from previous times - so if planning a visit, check the place out on the web, several links provided in this post.

    BUT - the main 'ride attraction' is the glass bottom boats - the colors and rock formations in this grotto-like setting are just beautiful; on our last visit, there was also a 'Jungle Cruise' and a 'Nature Cruise' - these likely have changed; canoe, kayak, cabin rentals seem to now be available. A number of scenes from Tarzan movies (mainly from the '30s) were filmed here - some discussion below w/ a pic. Again, for visitors to the Orlando area who tire of the 'theme park atmosphere', this is a pleasant day trip. Dave :)

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  3. giradman

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    Cypress Gardens - Famous Ski Shows - Now Closed

    In the past, another nice day trip from Orlando was to Winter Haven, home of Cypress Gardens, just an hour's drive and most famous for their water ski shows, beautiful gardens, boat rides, and Southern Belles, i.e. costumed young ladies placed throughout the gardens; however for us, the gardens and the ski exhibits were the highlights - we had made just a few visits but really enjoyed and a definite break from the world of Disney!

    Cypress Gardens started in 1936 and was closed in 2009 - the original theme park property was purchased and converted to Legoland Florida - apparently, the original Cypress Gardens can be seen w/ a Legoland ticket - for families w/ young kids, this is likely a wonderful 1-2 day adventure - check the link for those interested; we've never been so cannot comment. Apparently, some of the original Cypress Gardens ski team still performed monthly at nearby Lake Silver (see map and their website page). Dave :)

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  4. suenc

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    More food and shopping than you can imagine. Dave bought me a Minnie Mouse visor and shoes.
     
  5. suenc

    suenc
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    The old-fashioned “theme parks” are the best.
     
  6. suenc

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  7. suenc

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    Although I sometimes have been skeptical about the value of the space program, the Kennedy Space Center is exciting. The films and exhibits are great. I was gratified that several of the films featured female astronauts as the subjects and narrators.
     
    #27 suenc, Mar 30, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  8. suenc

    suenc
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    Breathtaking!
     
  9. giradman

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    Well, Susan finally 'chimed in' - she had a good time in central Florida and really enjoyed the food - BUT missed the ocean - next week we're off to Kiawah Island on the South Carolina Coast for just a 4-day get-a-away - will be plenty of ocean and yet some more seafood! Plus, we'll likely see several or more alligators (a la my pic just posted in that thread) - Dave :)
     
    #29 giradman, Mar 31, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019

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