Beyond Disney

So I’m pretty new here–about a year and a half under my belt as an Orlandonian (or is it just “Orlandan”?)–and I don’t know much about the details of the area yet, especially its many fine obscure entertainment offerings.

But my family did come down here pretty often on vacations throughout my life, and we were pretty much Disney diehards.

Looks like I was missing out. John Frost over at The Disney Blog suggests supporting some of the region’s more obscure attractions, or else they may go away when times are tight:

Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld are better able to absorb these lean periods, but the smaller attractions (like Gatorland, Cypress Gardens, and the Citrus Tower) really struggle to keep the gates open and keep their facilities fully staffed. Back In the day these smaller attractions served as inspiration for the larger theme parks to come. Like the three listed above, they were here long before Walt Disney brought change to the area. I hope they’ll be here for decades to come as well.

Ultimate Orlando has a handy list.

Like I said, this is totally unexplored territory to me, but I have an urge to try and sneak away some Saturday and visit a totally forgotten, underrated Orlando-area tourist attraction. Any suggestions?

4 Comments so far

  1. John from (unregistered) on January 7th, 2008 @ 7:18 pm

    If you haven’t already been to see Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, you’re too late. At least for the Orlando location. It just closed today.

  2. Terry Howard (unregistered) on January 7th, 2008 @ 9:52 pm

    My favorites are the Maitland Art Center (wife and I said our vows in the outdoor chapel there), Leu Gardens and the Morse Gallery in Winter Park (great collection of Tiffany Glass.) Best film experience is the Enzian Theater. The Orange County Historical Museum downtown is way less boring than it sounds as well.

    A nice little day trip if you love fishing like me, or just want to take in some natural beauty and animals like gators, manatees, birds and more is to hit the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge just across the Indian River from Titusville. Also home to the best beaches around at the Canaveral National Seashore.

    PS: Orlandonian is what I’ve always said.

  3. MB (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 1:00 am

    This post is right up my alley. I would recommend you visit the ruins of the Bongoland amusement park in Port Orange. It’s one of my favorites. Or take a ride across Lake George on the Fort Gates Ferry for a very retro ferry ride. I like going around looking for all of the natural springs in the Orlando area too. Lately I’ve been searching out all of the tiny springs that nobody has ever heard about, but the big ones are wonderful to see too, especially if you snorkel.

    You may like my website. It’s all about this type of stuff…

  4. Matt (unregistered) on January 8th, 2008 @ 9:12 am

    John: Thankfully, I managed to make it to Dixie Stampede last Christmas…but I will miss that bastion of quality country kitsch, for sure!

    Terry: I’ve driven by the Maitland Art Center many times; I should get in there one of these days. And I have made it to the Enzian, but don’t get there often enough…I would have loved to have seen Blade Runner there in its rerelease.

    MB: Thanks for the link and the info…neat site.

    I need to quit my job so I can go explore Central Florida. Anyone want to take on a thirtysomething ward? I eat light.

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