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Orlando - Disney World - Environs

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giradman

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Winter Park - Small City Worth a Visit

Winter Park was founded in the late 19th century as a resort community and still has a 'small town' atmosphere (although parking is a pain!) with many attractions, including museums, galleries, various shopping options, eating and boat rides. On this our fourth visit we skipped the boat ride (at the bottom of Morse Blvd) which traverses the lakes and canals (see pics) - this is a favorite ride on the water for us and highly recommended if never done before. This time we visited the Morse Museum & ate at a wonderful Spanish tapas restaurant (upcoming posts). Dave :)

Winter Park is a suburban city in Orange County, Florida, United States. The population was 27,852 at the 2010 United States Census. It is part of the Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. Winter Park was founded as a resort community by northern business magnates in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its main street includes civic buildings, retail, art galleries, a private liberal arts college (Rollins College), museums, a park, a train station, a golf course country club, a historic cemetery, and a beach and boat launch. (Source)
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Morse Museum - Tribute to Louis Comfort Tiffany

Any trip to Winter Park should include a visit to the Morse Museum of American Art (check link for its origins, if interested) - the museum is beautiful inside and has the most extensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany's works, which include many different media, of course, with a concentration on stained glass and lamps - the colors are gorgeous - quotes below on the museum and beginning Wiki bio of Tiffany, whose father founded Tiffany and Co. in New York City. Pics all from the web - a definite recommendation and just our second visit. Dave :)

The Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), including the artist and designer’s jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps and windows; his chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; and art and architectural objects from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall. The Museum’s holdings also include American art pottery, late 19th- and early 20th-century American painting, graphics, and decorative art. (Source)

Louis Comfort Tiffany (February 18, 1848 – January 17, 1933) was an American artist and designer who worked in the decorative arts and is best known for his work in stained glass. He is the American artist most associated with the Art Nouveau and Aesthetic movements. He was affiliated with a prestigious collaborative of designers known as the Associated Artists, which included Lockwood de Forest, Candace Wheeler, and Samuel Colman. Tiffany designed stained glass windows and lamps, glass mosaics, blown glass, ceramics, jewelry, enamels, and metalwork. He was the first Design Director at his family company, Tiffany & Co., founded by his father Charles Lewis Tiffany. (Source)
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Oceanaire - Bulla Gastrobar

Well, our final two meals in the Orlando area - after returning from the Kennedy Space Center, we went back to the Oceanaire for more West Coast oysters - Susan had a stemmed lobster and I had two appetizers, Florida Stone Crab claws & a chilled lobster (just half of a small one) - delicious again!

In Winter Park, we wanted a 'change of pace' from oysters and the usual shellfish, so had an early dinner at the Bulla Gastrobar, a recommended Spanish restaurant - started w/ an excellent chilled (and refreshing) gazpacho veggie soup, then shared 4 plates, followed by 2 more - all superb (circled below) - Susan had a berry red sangria and I a couple of glasses of a Spanish Albariño, a dry floral wine that I rarely find on a menu. Then back to our hotel and an early AM departure. Dave :)

P.S. if in Winter Park and a fan of ethnic restaurants, another favorite from the past is the Bosphorus Turkish Cuisine!

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Morse Museum - Tribute to Louis Comfort Tiffany

Any trip to Winter Park should include a visit to the Morse Museum of American Art (check link for its origins, if interested) - the museum is beautiful inside and has the most extensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany's works, which include many different media, of course, with a concentration on stained glass and lamps - the colors are gorgeous - quotes below on the museum and beginning Wiki bio of Tiffany, whose father founded Tiffany and Co. in New York City. Pics all from the web - a definite recommendation and just our second visit. Dave :)




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When I was in Chicago I saw the huge Tiffany glass mosaic dome in the Marshall Field’s store( now Macy’s). It’s the largest of its kind in the world.
Chicago - Architecture & Cityscape: Tiffany Dome at Marshall Field's [Now Macy's]
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When I was in Chicago I saw the huge Tiffany glass mosaic dome in the Marshall Field’s store( now Macy’s). It’s the largest of its kind in the world.
Chicago - Architecture & Cityscape: Tiffany Dome at Marshall Field's [Now Macy's]
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Yes - I've been in that store a number of times and have seen that splendid dome - thanks for the memory!

Now sitting at the huge Orlando Airport, the busiest in Florida and almost in the top ten in the USA (see quote below) - interesting design to the terminals, i.e. like an octopus w/ connecting arms served by tram trains. Luckily, we had TSA pre-check and about to board our non-stop Spirit flight home - should be there about 1:30 PM - we'll have to explore some of the other 'non-stops' on that recently added airline to our local airport - will likely add a few more shorter posts of the many other attractions in Orlando that we've done in the past, just for those reading this thread who are planning a visit to the Disney World area. Dave :)

Orlando International Airport (IATA: MCO, ICAO: KMCO, FAA LID: MCO) is a major public airport located six miles (10 km) southeast of Downtown Orlando, Florida, United States. In 2018, MCO handled 47,696,627 passengers, making it the busiest airport in the state of Florida and the eleventh-busiest airport in the United States. The airport serves as a hub for Silver Airways and a focus city for Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and Spirit. Southwest is the airport's largest carrier by passengers carried. The airport also is a major international gateway for the mid-Florida region, with over 850 daily flights on 44 airlines. The airport also serves 135 domestic and international destinations. At 13,302 acres (5,383 ha), MCO is one of the largest commercial airports in the US. In addition, the airport is home to a maintenance base for United Airlines. (Source)
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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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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 :)

Silver Springs State Park, formerly known as Silver River State Park, is a Florida State Park located on the Silver River near Ocala. The park contains Silver Springs, Florida's first tourist attraction.The Silver Springs attraction dates to the 1870s. In 1985 the state purchased the land surrounding Silver Springs to spare it from development, creating the Silver River State Park. In 1993 the state acquired Silver Springs as well, though it continued to be operated privately. In 2013 the state took over control of Silver Springs, merging it with the adjacent parkland to create Silver Springs State Park. (Source)

In 1985, the State of Florida purchased approximately 5,000 acres of undeveloped land around Silver Springs to keep it from being developed. The land was turned over to the Department of Recreation and Parks in 1987, creating the Silver River State Park. The same year, Marion County Schools constructed the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center on the property. There was little else at the park until 1999, when the state began construction on a ranger station, campground, and kayak launch. In 1993, the state purchased Silver Springs with the ultimate intention of taking it over. The previous owners continued to operate the attraction under lease. It went through several operators before Palace Entertainment took over management of "Silver Springs Nature Theme Park" in 2002. In January 2013, after years of declining profits and increasing environmental problems, the state took over control of the park, releasing Palace Entertainment from their obligations. The same year, they merged Silver Springs into Silver River State Park, creating Silver Springs State Park. (Source)

Among the wildlife of the park are nine-banded armadillos, white-tailed deer, wild boar, wild turkey, foxes, American alligators, Sherman fox squirrels and gopher tortoises, as well as coyote, bobcat and Florida black bear. There is also a colony of non-native rhesus macaques which were introduced to the park in early 1938 to enhance his "Jungle Cruise" ride. A local legend that they are the descendants of monkeys used to enhance the scenery for the Tarzan movies that were shot in the area in the 1930s is not true, since no Tarzan movie filmed in the area featured rhesus macaques. The diversity of this waterway is among the highest in Florida. Since becoming part of the Florida State park system the increased interest and reduced barriers to entry have brought many new visitors to the park. The damage to the river grasses and wildlife is a real concern. (Source)
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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 :)

Cypress Gardens was a botanical garden and theme park near Winter Haven, Florida that operated from 1936 to 2009. As of 2011, the botanical garden portion had been preserved inside the newly formed Legoland Florida. Billed as Florida's first commercial tourist theme park, Cypress Gardens opened on January 2, 1936 as a botanical garden planted by Dick Pope Sr. and his wife Julie. Over the years it became one of the biggest attractions in Florida, known for its water ski shows, gardens, and Southern Belles. (Source)

It became known as the "Water Ski Capital of the World" because it was the site of many of the sport's landmark firsts and over 50 world records were broken there. Numerous movies were filmed at the park, including portions of This is Cinerama, the first feature filmed in the wide-screen format, and a string of Esther Williams films and TV specials in the 1950s and 1960s.[4] In the 1950s the Southern Belles attraction was introduced, in which young women dressed in the crinolines reminiscent of the Antebellum South. During the 1961-1965 American Civil War Centennial young men dressed in Confederate uniforms would be photographed with the Southern Belles. (Source)

In the early 1960s a custom photography boat named Miss Cover Girl was introduced, and the park became a popular site for the filming of television commercials. Many celebrities and dignitaries have skied and visited at the park, including Elvis Presley, King Hussein of Jordan and his son and successor, King Abdullah II. It was also the site of a Johnny Carson special. On April 14, 2014, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. (Source)
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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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More food and shopping than you can imagine. Dave bought me a Minnie Mouse visor and shoes.
 

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

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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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.[/QUOTE

Fun place, but I would have liked it better if there hadn’t been so many other people there.;)
 

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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.
 
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Morse Museum - Tribute to Louis Comfort Tiffany

Any trip to Winter Park should include a visit to the Morse Museum of American Art (check link for its origins, if interested) - the museum is beautiful inside and has the most extensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany's works, which include many different media, of course, with a concentration on stained glass and lamps - the colors are gorgeous - quotes below on the museum and beginning Wiki bio of Tiffany, whose father founded Tiffany and Co. in New York City. Pics all from the web - a definite recommendation and just our second visit. Dave :)




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Breathtaking!
 
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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 :)
 
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