Thursday, November 30, 2006

Are you kidding me?

So I'm standing at the top of a very, very tall tower at Wet & Wild in Orlando, looking down a waterslide that seems to plunge straight down and disappear behind me. I look at the attendant who just smiles and says "You're next". People behind me are murmering with impatience as I glance up and watch the guy next to me get released from "the Rocket", which is even steeper. The floor just dropped out from under him as he screamed like a banshee on his way down. I consider the options. 1) I could pretend to be violently ill and make my way safely down the stairs or 2) I could puff out my chest and ride the slide.

It was over before I realized what happened. I have never been more terrified as I lay there at the bottom hearing my heart thump out of my chest and the attendant somewhere in the distance saying "sir...sir...are you allright?" My legs felt like rubber as I struggled up from the shallow pool and weakly smiled at the crowd. "How was it?" someone asked and I replied "hizmerfladbpxk" and gave a weak thumbs up. I staggered over to the wave pool and plopped down into a lounge chair, exhausted.

After a giant soft pretzel, I composed myself and made for the Lazy River for a calm tube ride. At least that's what I planned. As I was floating along an urge began to well up inside me. I tried to fight it but the craving was undeniable. I stepped out of the Lazy River and threw down my Tube.

Next thing I knew, I was climbing a very, very tall tower.


Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Dinner Show in Orlando, Florida is a rootin', tootin' good time. Part Grand Ole' Opry and part Heehaw, this Show is one of the newest arrivals to the Orlando Dinner Show scene. The preshow featured a wonderful Juggler Comedian, while snacks and drinks could be purchased before the main event. Once inside the arena, you cheered for either the North or the South during the show. Excellent horse riding and lots of slapstick comedy makes this a show for all ages. The whole flavor is very Southern and fun for everyone.

Oh Billie, Billie, Billie

I can truly say I have never had an experience like at Billie Swamp Safari and I loved it! The closest town is Clewiston to reach this Seminole Tribe attraction in South Florida. If you want Old Natural Florida than it doesn't get any better. The drive is part of the journey to reach this destination and you roll through scrub and swamp and farmland before arriving in the parking lot. Your day is scheduled to include the activities you want at certain times and my adventure began with a swamp buggy ride and airboat ride then ended with a delicious pork chop sandwich on fry bread. You can even stay on site in authentic "Chickee" Huts. The main area is not large but full of authenticity. Understanding the Florida wilderness from this perspective is a pleasure. You won't find flat screen displays and cutting edge exhibits at Billie Swamp Safari and that is why it works.


Who doesn't want to be a pirate? Shivering Timbers and Yo, Ho, Hoing. Well, here's your chance. The Pirates Dinner Show in Orlando might be the most interactive in town. Groups of audience members are invited to join the Show throughout the evening and even the kids get involved. Of course, upgraded packages are sold to insure that you are chosen but often random folks were selected, too. The preshow includes a Pirate Museum and opportunities for face painting and palm readings while you sip a drink and enjoy appetizers. The main show is set up at this time with lots of piratey shenanigans and each section is assigned a color for their pirate in the show. Dinner is served but most folks seem to focus on the Show as the attraction. Once inside the main arena the stage set is impressive and there is lots of swinging from the rigging and acrobatics to tell the tale. No shortage of cheering here and for a while you feel what it's like to bring on the Grog in Orlando.

Old Town Memories

Orlando offers lots of nostalgia and Old Town in Kissimmee on Route 192 is a great place to spend an evening stepping back in time. The street looks like mainstreet USA and everyone in the family will find something fun. Of course, there is shopping and eating but you will also find carnival games and rides and a fantastic vintage car parade. The "people watching" is top notch while you sip on an A&W ice cream float. It reminds me of going to the boardwalk at the beach when I was a kid. Good times remembered.

Arabian Nights, Arabian Days

If you love horses this is a great Show.

Arabians Nights Dinner Show in Orlando, Florida is one of many Themed Dinner Show choices in the area. It seems loosely based on the book 1001 Arabian Nights, with a nod to Alladin. Dinner is provided but most folks focus on the Show as the star of the evening. The Preshow was also very good with displays of talent featuring a belly dancer who brought the kids up on stage and danced out into the audience. Once inside the arena, the energy and excitement is contagious. Lots of opportunities to cheer the heroes and boo the villians. Horse lovers of all ages will appreciate the beauty and majesty of the Arabian Nights Dinner Show. Make sure to arrive early to get the full affect and be prepared to be dazzled in Orlando.

Titanic enjoyment

Titanic: The Experience, formerly located in The Mercado on International Drive (*update: This attraction is moving and will announce a location soon.*) in Orlando Florida is one of my favorite attractions. They blend authentic objects from the ship with theatrical sets and costumed actors that bring the story alive.

It begins with your ticket. Printed there is the name of a passenger from the Titanic, who you represent during the passage. Your guide is another passenger from the historic ship and you experience the story from construction of the unsinkable vessel to the point where you discover whether the passenger you represent on your ticket survived the journey or not. This is a powerful moment near the end after you have seen and heard the details of this terrible tragedy in 1912. Titanic: The Experience calls itself the first permanent exhibit of this compelling event. It is much more than an exhibit. It stirs up emotions and curiousity in almost anyone who experiences this wonderful attraction in Orlando. Don't miss it!