Orlando Journals

Disney-Less Orlando

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A May 2006 trip to Orlando by shaunandtrish

Best Western Plaza International Photo, Orlando, Florida More Photos
Quote: A family holiday courtesy of Mom and Dad. A sister, a brother-in-law, and nephews came, too. They did the whole Disney theme-park extravaganza, but we decided we'd rather eat razor blades. Here's what we did do.

Disney-Less Orlando

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Overview

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
There may well be literature claiming that there's more to Orlando than "the parks", and that might be true to an extent, but in my experience taking the parks away the conurbation has little to occupy anyone for more than a day or two. There are highlights in all directions if you're prepared to drive for a couple of hours. These are described in my "other" Orlando journal, but Orlando's genuine attractions more-or-less start and end with the parks.Bargains of various sorts can be had. There are shopping choices to suit most budgets and tastes and good value accommodation choices in all classes abound. Eating out is generally good value. Options for those with a fondness for saturated fat...Read More

Best Western Plaza International

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Hotel

Best Western Plaza International Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
Before we embarked on our holiday, I referred to some traveller reviews of this establishment. Some were good, some weren’t, so frankly, we did not know what to expect. My own subjective conclusion, with the benefit of first-hand experience and hindsight, is that some people are unable to grasp the concept of "you get what you pay for". The Best Western is $55 a night, and you can fit a family of four in the room. "Go figure," as they say in America.So, what do you get for $55 a night? Well, you get a reasonably large room with large and clean beds, shower and bath that work, cable TV, the use of a pleasant-enough central pool area and bar, functional and hard-wearing (rather than plush or a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 19, 2006

Best Western Plaza International
8738 International Dr.
Orlando, Florida 32819
(407) 345-8195

Friendly's

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Attraction | "Friendlys"

Friendly's Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
I suspect that for the American reader, this may read like a review of tap water, but for the benefit of others, I will objectively review Friendlys. This particular Friendlys is right next door to the Best Western, a 2-minute slow walk. It opens its doors at 7am, but with the All You Can Eats around, it doesn’t seem to do so much of a roaring trade. This is a pity, because if you add your tax and drink on to the $3.99 all-you-can eat at the Ponderosa, for instance (the trough of choice for many, no doubt because of its kids-for-free discount offers), the prices charged at Friendlys for something you may actually want, cooked-to-order,...well, there’s not much to pick between them. ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on August 19, 2006

Friendly's
8718 International Drive
Orlando, Florida 32819
(407) 345-1655

Universal Studios Florida

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Attraction | "Universal Studios"

Universal Studios Florida Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
At $75 per adult admission, it isn't cheap by any means, but your ticket does include entry into Islands of Adventure right next door (whether you want it to or not).I have but one piece of advice for anyone using this park--GET THERE BEFORE 9:30am, and spend your first hour racing round the attractions as fast as you can when queues are 15 minutes or less. This first hour or so is great fun with few drawbacks. As the day draws on, the queues will become long and tiresome and FastPasses are charged extra.Shrek 4-DDelightful, funny, and surprising animation in a large auditorium. All senses touched in some way, like when Shrek sneezes, you get...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 19, 2006

Universal Studios Florida
1000 Universal Studios Plaza
Orlando, Florida 32819
(407) 363 8000

Universal's Islands of Adventure

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Attraction | "Universal Islands of Adventure"

Universal's Islands of Adventure Photo, Orlando, Florida
Quote:
I try to be as objective as I can when I review things, but for this I'll make an exception. I hated it. First, we didn't actually want to visit Islands of Adventure, but our "bargain" $75 ticket for Universal Studios meant we got this for "free." So there's a bit of a negative bias to start.Plus PointsVast and imaginative expanse of various worlds and islands, each with its own theme, like Jurassic Park, Ancient Egypt, etc., that are generally impressive and pleasing to the eye. Rides may well be the best in the world, capable of shooting you in every direction at once and persuading your insides to pop outside your body. Nice enough park to walk around. Plenty of toilets....Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on August 19, 2006

Universal's Islands of Adventure
Universal Orlando Resort
Orlando, Florida

Celebration Planned Community

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Attraction | "Celebration"

Celebration Planned Community Photo, Celebration, Florida
Quote:
Now, Celebration I did like.I was fascinated by the concept. A human experiment by Disney on a massive and semi-permanent scale, I expected to be able to smell the antiseptic on the approach road, but its actually the perfect antidote to the shenanigans of I-Drive and the parks.To say that it evokes thoughts of The Truman Show, Pleasantville, and The Stepford Wives is an understatement, but it IS a nice place to stroll around on a Sunday morning or, better still, at sunset.For those who don't know, Celebration is a distinct community or suburb just off the I4 as it leaves Orlando venturing south. A Disney Corporation Project opened in 1996, it is an attempt t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 23, 2006

Celebration Planned Community
NW Osceola County South Of U.S. 192
Celebration, Florida

I-Drive Eating

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Story/Tip

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
Eating on International Drive is easy. Especially if you don't count calories and have a fondness for various types of saturated fat. Here is a run down of some highlights and low-lights to suit the bottom to mid-range gastronomes out there.Ponderosa Steak HouseMight as well start at the bottom and work up. This is basically an all-you-can-eat establishment focusing on the quantity conscious diner. That said, for what you pay, the quality is not too bad, but its target market is more-or-less families with 4-10 hungry mouths to feed on a budget. Breakfast is billed as $3.99, but by the time you add on tax, tip and beverage (if yo...Read More

Orlando Shopping

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Story/Tip

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member
Quote:
Shopping choices in Orlando are good. The outlets are legendary, and the "bargains" often claimed to be had at such places maybe nearer to legend. The various options are all easy to reach off International Drive and certainly worth a visit on a day when the weather might not allow much else. Or maybe you just want to buy stuff.Belz Shopping OutletBelz Shopping Outlets occupy a largish expanse just off the north (Orlando) end of I-Drive, with various outlets inside like Gap, Guess, and Levis. It's generally a bit of a disappointment when you get inside and realise that only about two thirds of the units are actually occupied and there's not m...Read More