Archive for the ‘Best of Orlando’ Category

Orlando is the #5 Most Wired American City

Check us out, Orlando is determined by Forbes magazine to be the #5 most wired city in the U.S. (actually, we tied for #5 with Baltimore.) This is based on a combination of broadband adoption, wireless hotspots and range of service providers. Interestingly, Atlanta, another southern berg tops the list at #1.

Based on this list we beat out famous mega-metros such as NYC, Chicago, Washington DC, and Boston. I imagine the tourism industry with WiFi at hotels and conference rooms flooding the air had something to do with the results. I wonder if the cancellation of the downtown WiFi project was taken into account or the survey was done previous to this announcement. Maybe this is a good notice for the city government to understand that hey, people want this stuff!


Scruffy Murphy’s: Not Scruffy, Very Murphy

Living in and around Chicago, IL for the first twenty-six years of my life, I got a good sense of what it takes to operate a successful Irish pub.

It’s one of those things that seems incredibly easy, but isn’t. There’s an art form to a place like Cork & Kerry on Western Avenue, where Guinness is always on tap and most nights a crusty old Irish gent is crooning folk songs in the corner. Too much ambiance, and it’s Bennigan’s; not enough, and it’s boring.

Scruffy Murphy’s seems well on its way to becoming a great Irish pub. I’ve been twice, once on a Saturday afternoon for a beer and fries, and then again on a Sunday for lunch. Both were great experiences. On both occasions, the place was relatively empty, but I didn’t exactly show up at peak Irish pub action times; the real test for Scruffy will be how it feels at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night in May.

WrestleMania 24 is Coming to Orlando

Letttttttt’s get ready to rumbllllllle!!!

About 3 weeks ago City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Central Florida Sports Commission President John Saboor and World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman Vince McMahon announced that WrestleMania 24, scheduled for Sunday, March 30, 2008, would be held at the Citrus Bowl Stadium.

wwe_logo.jpg For the past almost quarter century, WrestleMania has been considered the Super Bowl of professional wrestling, or as McMahon prefers to call it, “sports entertainment”. Dyer and Saboor estimated that the event would bring up to 60,000 visitors to the city for the pay-per-view card of matches that is broadcast around the world, as well as the Fan Axxess, media gatherings, conferences and Hall of Fame ceremony, all of which take place in the 5 days leading up to WrestleMania.

WrestleMania 23, which took place last Sunday in Detroit, Michigan, drew an estimated crowd of 80,000 to Detroit’s Ford Field (more than Super Bowl XL, by the way). And when you think about it, you know there was no other reason for all those people to be there, unless they wanted to come into town and watch all the laid off auto workers standing around on street corners. Let’s face it, when you think of a place to vacation, Detroit is not on your list of first choices. Not even the top 10. Orlando is an already established tourist destination with Worlds, Studios, Kingdoms and 3 for $10 T-shirt shops all over the place. Fans of McMahon’s brand of sports entertainment are going to LOVE coming here to enjoy all the other attractions we have to offer.

Officials also estimated that WrestleMania 24 would pump about $25 million into Orlando’s economy, but that estimate was before this past week’s WrestleMania, which brought in $30 million to Detroit. Given that figure, I’ll go on record (you can check the archives a year from now) that WrestleMania 24 will bring a minimum of $40 million into Orlando.

wwe_champion_cena.jpg WrestleMania events draw in people from all 50 states, as well as 23 foreign countries. Their website averages 16 million hits per month, so every time a visitor surfs over there, they’ll be seeing Orlando, Florida as the site of WrestleMania 24. There will be events over the next year leading up to WrestleMania 24 that will put Orlando in the spotlight on numerous occasions.

And, I have to admit, this was a pretty shrewd move on the part of Mayor Dyer (who apparently became the first city official to ever approach the WWE and ASK for WrestleMania to be held in their city), because he can use this to bolster his move to have the out-dated Citrus Bowl Stadium refurbished. Or maybe he’s just a fan of professional wrestling. I can just see hizzoner sitting down every Monday night at 9 pm to watch RAW and Friday night at 8 pm to see Smackdown. Anyway, the Citrus Bowl currently seats 70,000 (about 300 more if temporary stands are placed in the North end zone), but that’s in the stands and for this type of event, they can place the ring at the mid-field point and position chairs around it on the field and perhaps gain another 3,000 seats (that’s just a guess based on visual observation and assumption, I really have no educated estimate of how many seats could be added).

Sometime over the summer announcements will be made as to when tickets will go on sale. When they do go on sale, they typically sell out within a day so if you plan on going you’ll need to be online or at the ticket outlet that day. And if you can’t wait for a year to see the WWE here in Orlando, have no fear, they’ll be bringing their Smackdown brand show here on Tuesday, June 5, 2007 at the Amway Arena (it still embarrasses me to call it that) with a bell time of 7:30 pm.

Best of Orlando – Eola Wine Company

index_26.gifLet me start off this review by saying that I’m a VERY inexperienced wine drinker. Sure, I’ve have had more than my fair share of wine in the past through a variety of circumstances. I have never found a wine that I loved. I have found plenty that were just “ok” and for the most part, don’t consider myself a wine drinker. Since going to EOLA WINE COMPANY that has changed forever!

Last week I met with some new friends at the Winter Park location of Eola Wine Company. I was NOT planning on drinking anything beyond the compulsary glass and then switching to water. But after my first glass in this charming setting, without realizing it, I found an unbelievable wine that I’m sure to have over and over again. If you’ve never tried Schloss Vollrads Kabinett Riesling, you must try it. Only… don’t drink too much of it because when I go back, I don’t want them to be out of it!

I don’t know much about this wine except that it’s delicious. A word of warning though…. don’t go here expecting to get run of the mill stuff. And while they have a huge list of beers, you might not recognize a single name there either. But isn’t that what makes part of this adventure fun?

The staff there is amazing and they can help you pick out something to your taste. You tell them what you like and they instantly have some suggestions for you. Not much food to choose from (I really wish they’d expand their very slim appetizer menu), so make sure you don’t go hungry. There is seating outside as well as inside and there is a lot of lively conversation along with a nice humidor with some lovely cigars stocked there for your pleasure.

If you like or love wine… this is sure to be a treat!

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