September 28, 2020

Orlando: A Vacation In Review

In February my wife and I took a week long trip to Orlando. We knew that we wanted to go somewhere warm but didn’t quite have the money to make it to a resort in Cancun or Jamaica. I am not quite sure how we ended up on Orlando but it fit the budget at the time and there certainly was plenty to do in town. Full disclosure, we did not make it downtown and whole lot and I think there is much more to Orlando to be desired than the International Drive, but that’s where we hung out most of our time. So here is a quick snapshot of our vacation in Orlando.

Disney

Let the record show, Disney was put on our itinerary partly because it was one of those “When in Rome” type of deals and I kind of wanted to catch a glimpse of some Star Wars characters while we were in town. Other than that, I don’t think Disney was necessarily for us. I do suggest, if you have not been to Disney yet, wait till you have kids and are planning some sort of family trip. We did have some fun, but to make the most out of a trip to Disney, I think the children’s factor can play more into an experience and making it a family vacation.

First of all, the lines for any ride are a 30-120+ minute wait, which is insane. I don’t think we waited in any line that was over 45 minutes long (yes I know) until we got to Space Mountain. Luckily it was our last thing to hit before Magical Kingdom closed for the night. We waited roughly an hour and 15 minutes before hopping on the coaster. Thankfully it was totally worth the wait, as Space Mountain is probably the best ride in the Magical Kingdom park.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios is an older park but undergoing some major additions to the place. There just wasn’t much to do there other than the Tower of Terror and some Star Wars sights to see, which are pretty cool. I wish we were there a little bit later in 2019 as the new Star Wars world is set to open, oh well. Then it decided to rain and by then we were over the whole theme park idea.

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Best part of it all was probably being yelled at by Kylo Ren. The dude is kind of creepy and just angry all the time. Unfortunate for him.

Grade: C+

Universal Studios

This was by far the most fun my wife and I had in Orlando, theme park wise. If we knew then what we know now, this would have been a two day deal. Luckily the park wasn’t all that busy and we got through both parks in one day before it started to rain on us. Also, for those who do not know, this is in fact where Harry Potter World is located. I am by no means a Harry Potter fan, but it was kind of cool to see the place and go through the ride inside Hogwarts. Which we actually did twice and may be by far the best ride in the whole park.

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Grade: A-

Miss

Unfortunately we did not make it to Sea World, though that may be on the itinerary if we ever do return to Orlando. Most people from Orlando had good things to say about Sea World.

Kennedy Space Center

We decided to rent a car and make the hour trip over to Kennedy Space Center. I felt like we were that close to it, we might as well. Overall the place is pretty cool and you can learn a lot from being there. I don’t think I could have spent all day there, though if you want to spend an extra $150 you can go on a two hour bus tour that shows you where the Apollos launched back when NASA was originally making their moves in the space race with Russia. I do think that would have been pretty cool, but just didn’t want to spend the money on it.

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It was pretty cool to see Space Shuttle Atlantis and go through what it may be like to be an astronaut. You do have the opportunity to go through a space shuttle simulator, it’s nothing crazy but it give you some sort of feeling of what it may be like during take off of a space shuttle. I do recommend at least making this trip to Kennedy Space Center if you ever get the opportunity.

Grade: B+

Restaurants And Entertainment

Before I get wrecked about some of my food opinions here, we are rather simple people and don’t go too crazy on trying new things. I prefer my burgers and fries and will die on this hill, but Orlando does have a wide variety of restaurants all over the city and here are some of my favorite stops along the way. Certainly this is not all, but I don’t think we have enough time to cover each specific stop.

Yardhouse

The Yardhouse would probably be considered an upscale sports bar. When you walk in it definitely doesn’t feel like you are in one. The décor is well done and there is not a sight of sports memorabilia anywhere, thankfully there are just sports on TV. Anything you can think of is on the menu from burgers to tacos all the way to seafood. I had the tacos and they were phenomenal. Plus side, they have beer that comes in giant glasses, I don’t necessarily think you get more than a regular large beer, but the giant glass looks cool.

Tin Roof

This spot was generally your typical bar food but made in a restraint style, so it didn’t feel like you were getting food off a greasy grill or fatty fryer. Nothing crazy here on the menu that stood put but if you want a quick bite plus a show of some sort, Tin Roof is for you. They allow all kinds of local talents to come in and put on a show for whoever may bet there.

Uncle Julio’s Mexican Restaurant

I am a sucker for good Mexican food and this restaurant was wonderful. First, free chips and you add in some queso, you really can’t go wrong. This queso was the best I have ever had, they blended all sorts of cheeses and spices to make this and I could have eaten that all day. Everything is made from scratch and you can tell. I had enchiladas and my wife had chimichangas. We both left full and had no complaints. I think this is a must stop if you find yourself in I-Drive in Orlando someday.

Howl At The Moon

My wife is in love with this place, probably more so than me. If you love a good piano bar and wide variety for drinks and don’t mind spending a few extra bucks then this place is for you. Most Howl at The Moon locations around the country, and this one included, are loaded with great talent and they can play pretty much any song that you can request. If you ever have the opportunity to get to one, do it!

Grade: A-

Overall, Orlando is full of fun things to do. I personally probably would have taken out one of our Disney visits and maybe gone somewhere else. We definitely did not cover everything there was to offer and I don’t think you honestly could in one week. We would certainly go back but I think our next trip may be to some sort of all inclusive resort without a bunch of screaming children running around! Until next time Orlando!

Chaplin
Matthias Schwartzkopf
Matthias Schwartzkopf 19 Articles
Staff Writer

He is Matthias Schwartzkopf, the Highlander. Born in 1592 in the Highlands of Scotland and he is still alive. He is immortal. For four hundred years he's been a warrior, a lover, a wanderer, constantly facing other Immortals in combat to the death. The winner takes his enemy's head and with it, his power. I'm a Watcher, part of the secret society of men and women who observe and record, but never interfere. We know the truth about Immortals. In the end there can be only one. May it be Matthias Schwartzkopf, The Highlander.

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