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'[OT] What to do in Orlando?'
2012\03\19@170457 by William Couture

face picon face
So, I'll be attending a trade show in Orlando (NPE, if anyone is
interested) at the end of
March / start of April.  I'll be staying at the Doubletree next to Seaworld..

I'll have one evening (Friday March 30th) and one full day (Sunday
April 1st) to do whatever.

Any suggestions?

Sure, "go to DisneyWorld", "go to Universal", and ""go to Seaworld"
are easy answers,
but as a middle aged white male by myself, I'd look "creepy" among
throngs of familes
and children, and I'm not sure I want to remember throngs of screaming kids..

Anything else I should check out?  Anything to avoid?


-- Psst...  Hey, you... Buddy...  Want a kitten?

2012\03\19@171105 by Anthony Toft


What interests you? What form of transport will you have?

The space center is not too far away (45-60 minutes or so)

On 2012-03-19 17:04, William Couture wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2012\03\19@171217 by Josh Koffman

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On Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 5:04 PM, William Couture <> wrote:
> I'll have one evening (Friday March 30th) and one full day (Sunday
> April 1st) to do whatever.

I had a decent time out at Kennedy Space Center. It's a bit touristy,
but it was pretty neat to see the Vehicle Assembly Building in person.
One thing I regret is not looking into the "special" tours. Apparently
there was one that day that let you go in the VAB and the last shuttle
was inside, hanging, and being refurbed. That would have been
something to see!

-- A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
        -Douglas Adams

2012\03\19@174112 by Carl Denk

Fantasy of Flight in Polk, Fl. A super aviation museum, owned by a rich guy (Kermit Weeks), it's his hobby. Polk is located West of Orlando along I-4, probably an hours drive. Also another hour down I-4, South side of Lakeland, South side of Lakeland Airport, the Experimental Aircraft Association has a nice smaller Aviation Museum. And as a little side trip, In Cocoa Beech, Ron John's Surf shop, is a fun spot. :)

If had more time, Sarasota, St. Armand's traffic circle (100 neat shops, restaurants) at Lido Beach

2012\03\19@175249 by PICdude

Hey... I just moved here to Orlando 2 weeks ago!

I've been avoiding all those Disney/Universal touristy things so  far... until my nieces come over and convince me to take them.  But  I'm sure you'll get opinions on those activities from others.

As a techie I'd lean you towards a 1.25-hour-ish drive to Tampa for  the Tampa Mini Maker Faire if you can make Saturday available.  Sunday  April First, the Orlando makerspace (Familab) has a GameJam (the  specifics of which I'm not too familiar with yet).

Also not too far away (prob an hour drive) is Cape Canaveral, Kennedy  Space Center and all those related activities.  No launches that I  know of during that timeframe though.

Are you going to NPE by any chance?


Quoting William Couture <>:

{Quote hidden}


2012\03\19@181645 by PICdude

Quoting PICdude <>:

> ...
> Are you going to NPE by any chance?

Fail on my part.  I'm supposed to be at NPE also.  I'll email you offlist.

> Quoting William Couture <>:
>> So, I'll be attending a trade show in Orlando (NPE, if anyone is
>> interested) at the end of
>> March / start of April.
>> ...

2012\03\19@185349 by Carey Fisher

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You HAVE to go to  <goog_1778751078>Skycraft
Surplus<>. 2245 West Fairbanks Avenue
Winter Park, Florida 32789
(407) 628-5634Last time I was there (4-5 years ago for the Orlando
Hamfest) they had the coolest NASA surplus stuff anywhere.  Rack mount
console panels full of lighted pushbutton switches, test equipment, wire,
cable, parts...  Their online catalog doesn't do justice to their
inventory.  You can spend hours rummaging around in the goodies

2012\03\19@193236 by Jesse Lackey

If you go to Universal and take the "rock and roll rocket" rollercoaster (or whatever it is called) they use 30-ish of my LED controllers on it, they are retrofitting one car at a time, I think, not done yet.  RGB LED blinkyfadey fun!  :)  I have not seen it.  They use supercapacitors that are charged up while it is in the staging area and people are getting off and on.  They do some serious aerospace-grade rework/remounting/ruggedization of all the electronics on the thing...


PICdude wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2012\03\20@010608 by Sean Breheny

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If you are going to the Kennedy Space Center, then I would recommend
also visiting:

Valiant Air Command

This is a strange, modest-looking museum which has an incredible
collection which you can get very up close and personal with because,
for some reason, very few people seem to go to this place. They even
let me walk around relatively unsupervised in their restoration
hanger. They had an F-4 Phantom II in the process of being restored
and I was even able to open some panels and look inside, etc. Once
they find out that you are a techie type, interested in aviation, and
that you won't manhandle stuff, they will show you lots of things.
They also seem to have a close relationship with the military because
they get some amazing hand-me-downs directly from the US Navy. They
have an F-14 which is in pretty much flyable condition (it was flown
in there to give it to them). They also have a MiG-21, MiG-15, L-39,
A-4 Skyhawk, etc. etc.


On Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 5:04 PM, William Couture <> wrote:
{Quote hidden}


2012\03\20@014428 by Forrest Christian

Yes, you can now buy a tour at kennedy which includes the inside of the VAB.  Highly recommended for any geeks.

Chances are I'll be there roughly the same time as you (Bill) are...  I'm exhibiting over at a show for the Wireless ISP industry which is being held on-property at Disney.

If I had your schedule I'd do the Nasa thing, maybe hit a beach that day.  Don't forget the astronaut hall of fame which is significantly different than I thought it would - lots of cool space hardware inside.

I'd also consider universal citywalk, and perhaps the Blue Man Group show.

If you're a foodie, and aren't scared of dropping nearly $100 for dinner on yourself, I highly recommend Emeril's at CityWalk.

Downtown disney is also fun, and a bit more adult.


On 3/19/2012 3:11 PM, Josh Koffman wrote:
{Quote hidden}

> Josh

2012\03\20@095646 by Alexandros Nipirakis

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I have lived in Florida (central) for about 8 years -- I used to
actually live just minutes out of Downtown and my (now) Wife used to
work at hard rock cafe' at Universal.   For fun times, Universal Citi
Walk (and Hard Rock across the way) are quite fun.  Bob Marley's is
particularly good (at night for Jamaican Reggae music or in the day
for authentic Jamaican cuissine), I used to love to go to the Groove
(this is a youngish type club -- but still quite fun no matter what
the age).  There is a latin club at the back of Citi Walk that I hear
is quite fun ( but I have never thought to go to it).  The nice thing
about Citi Walk is that you pay one price (at least this is how it
used to be) and you can go into whichever club you wish.

Pat O'Briens is also fun -- Dueling Pianos definately something to see.

Downtown Disney isn't what it used to be -- use to have clubs now
mostly restaurants.  If you are into downtempo -- then Downtown Disney
might be fun.  No parking fees (contrasted with Citi Walk which is 7
or 10 dollars -- I can't remember).

If you are into clubbing -- Downtown Orlando is quite fun.
Personally, I like I-Bar, Antigua, and of course Latitudes (Latitudes
is on the roof, with Big Belly Brewery on Second Floor, and Chillers
on Ground Floor).  Walking around downtown, particularly on a Friday
night is quite fun.  The wife and I found a bar called Stigma that has
a tatoo parlor right in the place (again, I am not sure what you are
looking for, but it is quite fun).

If you are staying in the I-Drive area, Mings Court is quite nice for
Chineese food.  This isn't New York style (exactly), it is quite
up-scale.  I believe on most nights they have authentic Chineese
musicians playing classic Chineese music.  It is definately one of my
favorite places to eat.  There is (of course) also Tu-Tu-Tango which
is more artsy and I believe they have Tappas.

Kenedy is a must see -- it is quite fun :)  I haven't been there in a
long time (before the shuttle program was canceled) but the tours are
quite nice, and definately worth the ticket in.  It is more touristy
than I suppose it used to be (since I lived here it has been run by a
private amusement company) but it is still good.  If you are in the
area, the beaches by Kenedy are quite nice and the weather here is
certainly warm enough to enjoy them (Cocoa Beach is particularly fun,
with no trip to Cocoa being complete without a walk out the pier).

We also quite like Ormond Beach and New Smyrna -- but I would
generally avoid Ormond right now because of it's proximity to Daytona.
I believe there is still "festivities" going on up there (you may
wish to participate, I generally avoid it like the plague).  Although
Bike Week is over, there is still lots of Spring Breakers out there,
and they are genuinely obnoxious.

You are quite right to want to "miss" the parks.  There is really
nothing there unless you are twelve years old.

Have fun -- I still love trips to Orlando :)


On 20 March 2012 01:44, Forrest Christian <> wrote:
{Quote hidden}


2012\03\20@134234 by Dave Lagzdin

picon face
On 19 March 2012 17:52, PICdude <> wrote:

> Hey... I just moved here to Orlando 2 weeks ago!
> Cheers,
> -Neil.
Don Garlits museum for Neil

2012\03\21@060536 by Grant Tudor

picon face
Heading off to Orlando myself on Fri (19 hrs flight time, about 26 hrs
door-to-door) for the GameTech Conference and related activities next
week. Some good ideas in this thread - will make sure I check out
Valiant Air Command and Skycrafts Parts. I have also had BPB Surplus
recommended to me (but haven't been there myself):

Staying around I-Drive? - my favorite restaurants are Texas D'Brazil
(near the Outlet Mall) and Vito's Chophouse (near the Convention

On Wed, Mar 21, 2012 at 4:34 AM, Dave Lagzdin <> wrote:
> On 19 March 2012 17:52, PICdude <> wrote:
>> Hey... I just moved here to Orlando 2 weeks ago!
>> Cheers,
>> -Neil.
> Don Garlits museum for Neil!

2012\03\21@094042 by Lee Jones

> attending a trade show in Orlando

Chain of pretty good BBQ -- Sonny's Bar-B-Q Restaurants.
Several around the Orlando area.

If you like stained glass, the world's most comprehensive
collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) is
housed at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.

Museum is at 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789;
407-645-5311; .  As I recall, it's
museum hours (daily to 16:30 or 17:00).  Winter Park is
about 20-25 minutes by car north of Orlando via I4.

While there, you can swing by Rollins College to see more
Tiffany stained glass windows.


If you're willing to drive 2 hours west, you can be in
Tampa & St Petersburg: Museum Of Science & Industry (MOSI),
St Petersburg suspension bridge, Dali Museum, Busch Gardens,
and others.  Best Western All Suites hotel on 30th is very
close to the above, reasonable price, & including nice
breakfast (note: it's been a few years since we were there).
Use I4 to go from Orlando to Tampa (and return).

About 1/2 hour northeast of Tampa on I4, at exit 25, is
Florida Air Museum in Lakeland at Linder Regional Airport.
EAA holds Sun'N Fun fly-in there each spring -- it's March
27th to April 1st this year.

After 15 minutes farther northeast on I4, use exit 32, go
north for 3 minutes.  There's a Sonny's BBQ.  Their smoked
turkey sandwiches are quite good; great when traveling.
Easy to get back on the freeway in either direction.


About an hour east of Orlando is Cape Canaveral & Kennedy
Space Center.  Saturn V (laying on it's side); visitor
center; see rocket launch if your timing is _really_ lucky.


No suggestions for south of Orlando. :-)

                                               Lee Jones

2012\03\21@102921 by Carl Denk

A few days ago, I mentioned "Fantasy of Flight", on I-4 West of Orlando. Yesterday, the PBS had a segment on the area. It's the world's largest collection of vintage aircraft, and I believe most of them are in flying condition, and do take to the air occasionally. They didn't say where Kermit Weeks, the founder owner, got his money, but he does have one of the world's largest dredging (marine excavation) operations that is a first class operation. To me this would be a preferred visit. At  sun-n-Fun in Lakeland, huge crowds, and to get on to the flight line and be able to touch (don't) the aircraft, you need to become an EAA member, which not cheap. Check it out first

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