Almost a free ticket to Florida

Orlando Travel Blog

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Complying with my overwhelming feeling to get out of town,  I was religiously scanning the sites of multiple airlines when I found and I scored a fantastic deal to Orlando.  My non-stop on Allegiant Air was $9.99 to Orlando and $29.99 on the way back.

Arriving late into the Sanford, FL (SFB) airport, I picked up a rental car (need one with this airport) and headed to my lovely hotel in Lake Mary. The Hyatt Place is the perfect location to stay! Purchased on priceline it was cheap, conveniently located off of interstate 4, 30 minutes from Disney, 35 minutes from Daytona, and nestled in a clean, quiet, and upscale neighborhood. A Winn Dixie grocery store was across the street and a 24 hour Walgreens right next door.

The weather was a perfect 88 degrees and sunny, traffic was light, and the Memorial Day crowds had not kicked in yet. Florida schools also had not let out yet, so I went to Epcot on Thursday...... and miraculously, did not have to wait more than 5 or 10 minutes for any of the rides!  I had never been to Epcot before. They did a pretty good job of recreating the sensation of traveling a bit around the World.  The buildings were beautiful and I enjoyed that the employees of each "country" were from the same country.  I was also pleasantly surprised that the food inside of each country were quite good.

The only drawback really of Epcot on this trip for me was that every single restaurant takes reservations for evening and fills up immediately so they are sold out.
   If you plan on staying for Illumination at 9pm then I suggest you either have a big late lunch (3pm was an excellent time as there were absolutely no lines), plan to eat dinner offsite after you leave the park, or stop at one of the restaurants early in the day and make a reservation for dinner.

The second day on the town I dropped my travel companions off at another Disney park while I explored the city.  I worked my way up through the city on International Drive and stopped where ever I was interested.  I am not a shopper, ironically, but the selection of discount stores and good deals made it irresistible to stop and replace missing or worn out personal items. 

My next stop on the random bumming tour was for lunch. I had a craving for sushi so kept my eyes open for a place that looked tempting.
I happened upon an upside down house.  It was the similar theme as the one in Wisconsin Dells so I stopped to check it out.  The business was called Game Works.  I didn't go in because I was familiar with that business, so instead I parked and ambled through the web of walkways and discovered that this place called Point was an ethnic foodie's paradise.  There was Cajun, Japaenese, Greek, barbecue, burgers, more.  I was intrigued with the name of one placed called the Wine Monkey. They were just opening and I was the first customer of the day. A beautiful contemporary interior that catered to the wine lover. I sat at the bar, ordered a sushi roll, and talked to Davis, the bartender, who filled me in on the history of the restaurant and the area.
What a warm welcome!  The food was fantastic, the service was perfect, and the wine selection was incredible.  I also learned that they are the only place in Orlando that offer a free dinner show on weekends.  This weekend happened to be a drag, burlesque show.  I would have loved to go back to see it, I bet it was so much fun! 

After leaving my sushi/wine place I headed to the upper level of the complex. I found a beach bar, sans beach.  It was the perfect temperature to sit outside in the shade.  Jessie the bartender had just gotten out of the military so I had a fascinating chat with her about her experiences and her plans for the future. 

About the time I got back on the interstate to head to the hotel there were accidents which caused traffic jams on 4.
  As the sky filled with lightning and the windshield filled with draindrops, I exited downtown and headed back to Disney to collect my friends who were leaving the Disney park.  On my way I had the chance to see downtown.  I think it would be fascinating to walk through the historic district and check out some of the smalls shops and restaurants there.

The evening was full of more Disney. We went to Downtown Disney, which reminded me of an expanded version of Universal's Citywalk located in Studio City, California.  It was worth the stop to see this place, it is pretty elaborate, just as Disney is.

Finally, Saturday was spent soaking up some sun at Daytona Beach. The pier, beach umbrellas, and clean beach for miles, was the greatest place to people watch.  I certainly could have been perfectly happy not seeing the 65 year old overly tan man in a thong.  Glad I didn't eat before seeing that!

robzvoice says:
Awesome blog, Elle!
Posted on: May 31, 2010
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Orlando Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Swank, Contemporary Interior Seating You Among Wine Bottles
I stumbled upon this place driving north on International Blvd. It is situated in fairly vacant shopping mall and competes with some great restaurants… read entire review
82 km (51 miles) traveled
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photo by: Reephboy