Weekend Update Oddlando Edition for October 18, 2008
by, 10-17-2008 at 06:52 PM
As I mentioned in our last Weekend Update, I am in the Orlando area this week for MiceChat's Invasion III, including the Florida version of our signature Gumball Rally event and the second edition of our Sip 'n' Nibble event. Due to our busy schedule here in Orlando, I am changing our format for this week to bring you a very special report on some of our activities here.
For the last few years, I have been wanting to see some of the Orlando sights outside of the Disney and Universal parks so we decided to check out the tourist traps on Internationial Drive and also the Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (also known as Highway 192). We kiddingly refer to this area as ODDLANDO.
Our first stop in ODDLANDO this morning was Tiki Island Adventure Golf.
We didn't play mini golf but we asked if we could walk through and take pictures and received gracious permission from the person at the counter.
The place was pretty cheesy and the dinosaurs needed some TLC - most of them had holes in them. There were only two parties playing golf when we were there, but it was mid-morning. I imagine most of these places see an upsurge in traffic after the parks close.
Our next stop was McDonald's. Not just any McDonald's as you can see from this sign:
Unique it was. It looks like they stuck a McDonald's PlayPlace on steroids onto a regular McDonald's restaurant from the 70's:
If children go into this McDonald's expecting the PlayPlace of their wildest dreams, they will be painfully denied. This McDonald's features quarter-sucking arcade games identical to those that can be found in your local Dave & Buster's. They try to hide the greedy intent of the game room by decorating it with random and hideous decor from a Ronald McDonald nightmare:
I think that the food that they offer in this MickeyD's may be from the aforementioned nightmare:
Next stop, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum. I have to say I had very low expectations but I was quite surprised at how enjoyable this place was. I have always avoided these museums in other cities, so I can't say how this one compares, but we were reasonably entertained for an hour or so. It's hard to see from this photo, but the building is built to appear that it is sinking into the ground:
They are big on optical illusions here:
Mona Lisa made out of tiny little pieces of toast:
Bed pan collection:
Piece of the Berlin Wall:
After Ripley's, we ventured down International Drive just a few blocks to WonderWorks. You'll notice that the sight gag here ups the ante on Ripley's - while Ripley's is merely sinking into the ground, the WonderWorks building is completely upside down!
The theme is carried out in the lobby.
Can you see what's coming here? That's right, two floors of Children's Discovery Center type exhibits. You know the ones: step into this chamber and a fan will make you feel like you are in a tornado -or- step into another chamber and it will shake and make you feel like you are in an earthquake. You get the drift.This once top-secret laboratory was located in the Bermuda Triangle when it was ripped from its foundation by a horrific tornado and carried thousands of miles away.
This tornado was man made and created by a group of scientists from around the world who were trying to find answers to the unexplainable. During their experiment, something went awry and the power of the tornado was unleashed throughout the laboratory. Remarkably, all of the experiments remained intact and functional.
WonderWorks "Official Survival Guide"
($2.00 additional with purchase of admission)
By the time we were finished with two floors of this stuff, I was yearning for portraits made out of tiny pieces of toast!
And what do we have on the third floor? How about some more quarter-sucking arcade games, of course, and LazerTag!
Unless we were with some kids, we would NOT return to WonderWorks. Anyone want to buy a slightly used WonderWorks "Official Survival Guide"? Cheap?
After WonderWorks we decided to go to Old Town Kissimmee. We have been wanting to visit Old Town since we stayed in Kissimmee for our very first trip to Walt Disney World in 2004. During that trip we were staying only one block from Old Town and we could see the neon lights of the rides from our room, but we were so entranced by Walt Disney World that we never made it over to Old Town. It has been on our list every trip since, but it was never a priority so it never happened. Since it seemed a prime candidate for an Oddlando experience, we drove across town to Kissimmee.
I haven't been able to verify this, but Old Town Kissimmee looks very much like a genuine old-fashioned downtown area that evolved into a tourist trap with the advent of the Disney parks just a few miles away. As a downtown business owner myself, I can imagine that the Kissimmee businesses just gradually evolved into visitor-serving type businesses, and eventually the whole downtown area turned into this cheesy tourist magnet.
The main drag through this area has been closed to vehicular traffic and each end of the four block long area has been outfitted with the very latest in County Fair rides. Every possible visitor need is fulfilled in Old Town Kissimmee. You name it, they have it: salt water taffy, flavored popcorn, palm reader, Florida souvenirs, diecast cars, pet clothing, hawaiian shirts, T-shirts, to name just a few. There is even a haunted house and blacklight mini golf!
One of Old Town's promotional gimmicks is the old car cruisin' thing, so there is quite a bit of old car stuff and Fifties stuff sprinkled around. This is inside the A & W food stand:
These static displays of old cars are scattered about. It's a shame to see these old beauties rusting away in the Florida humidity.
That's it for Old Town Kissimmee. Definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We won't be needing to go back there for a while.
We'll return to our regular format next week. Thanks for reading.
Your Editor - Rixter
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