Tag Archives | smaller orlando attractions

Spotlight: Fun Spot America – Great Entertainment

Fun Spot America has offered great a entertainment value in Orlando since 1997 when the first of two locations opened. The International Drive location go-kart tracks became a famous attraction for local residents and tourists alike. A second location on Highway 192 in Kissimmee opened in 2007 with other rides, such as the SkyCoaster. Both locations offer plenty of arcade games, thrill rides and family fun.

The famFun Spot Americaily-owned and operated amusement parks have used the tag line, “It’s HUGE!” for years. Now more than ever, that statement rings true. Their International Drive location has recently expanded from 5 acres to 15 acres with even more room for growth. This expansion includes a food court, new flat rides, a new go-kart track and two new roller coasters.

Fun Spot America Highlights

Fun Spot America has bragging rights in a couple areas. For one, the Kissimmee location SkyCoaster ride is the tallest in the world at 300 feet. The Orlando location’s SkyCoaster is second at 230 feet. This thrill ride provides a great view of the attraction area, as you are lifted high up into the air. Hang on! You’ll be swinging and swaying as you drop down to your original location.

Secondly, the White Lightning roller coaster is Orlando’s only wooden coaster. It is a steep, twisting ride with drops and plenty of airtime. Located at the International Drive location, it is paired with another coaster called Freedom Flyer, a suspended steel roller coaster with inverted rolls. Kissimmee’s location has plenty of thrill rides too. Included in their lineup is the Rockstar Coaster that contains sharp tight corners producing plenty of G-forces. One ride found at Kissimmee and not Orlando is the fun Bull Ride. Perfect for the cowboy-wanna-be in your group.

Fun Spot America Roller Coaster

Attraction Ticket Deals

In addition to a wide variety of rides and arcade games, Fun Spot America offers a unique ticket deal. It offers free admission! Buy a single day pass which includes most of the go-kart tracks and rides ($40.95), then pay as you want for additional arcade games and the SkyCoaster ride. ($40 for a single rider, $35 each for double riders and $30 each for triple riders.) If you are unsure or have a limited amount of time, you can simply pay as you ride. Another unique ticket deal is their Chauffeur pass. This is perfect for a little one that needs to ride with an adult on certain rides. The cost is only $9.95 for an adult to ride along. The rest of the time, sit back and watch with free wi-fi. What’s not to like?!

In celebration of the recent grand re-opening a special ticket deal is being offered. For only $74.50 per person, you can attend either park for the rest of this year with no black out dates! While this deal does not include the SkyCoaster ride or Bull Ride, it does include Gator Spot and all other thrill rides at both parks. Hurry! This deal expires September 5th.

Other Offers

Fun Spot America offers ticket deals a few times a year. They often offer a great birthday deal in June. Speaking of birthdays, they offer a free single day pass on your birthday. If you want to have your birthday party at Fun Spot, they offer special packages for groups (rides/food/party space). They can also host group and corporate events.

Compare Fun Spot Locations

The two locations have many similarities. Both parks are usually open from 10:00 a.m. to midnight. This makes it a fun thing to do after the major theme parks have closed. It also provides a great half-day attraction if you are looking to fill your schedule. Here are the two location’s particulars:

International Drive Fun Spot America

  • White Lightning- Orlando’s Only Wooden Roller Coaster
  • 4 Go-Kart Tracks: 3 multi-level, 1 speed track
  • 7 Family/Thrill Rides including Paratrooper, Rip Curl and Revolver
  • World’s Second Tallest SkyCoaster at 250 Feet
  • Cadet Go-Kart Track designed for 4, 5 and 6-year-olds
  • 8 Kid Spot Rides for Preschoolers
  • Over 100 Arcade Games 2 stories of indoor fun

Kissimmee, Highway 192 Fun Spot USA

  • World’s Tallest SkyCoaster
  • Bull Ride
  • 4 Go-Kart Tracks: 2 multi-level, 2 speed tracks
  • 10 Family/Thrill Rides including Rockstar Coaster and Screamin’ Eagles
  • 8 Kid Spot Rides for younger ages
  • Over 60 Arcade Games – indoor fun

For half the cost of the big theme parks, Fun Spot America is a great bargain. It is a lot of fun and will remind you of what attractions used to be decades ago.

Another attraction at half price is Orlando’s best dinner show deal at Capone’s Dinner & Show. Tickets are 50% off when purchased online. It is another unique attraction that is fun for the entire family. Either attraction will “hit the spot” for fun at a bargain price.

Restaurant Attractions: Capone’s is Here to Stay!

It’s not easy being an attraction AND a restaurant, however, Capone’s Dinner & Show proves it can be done. Showing stamina within both categories, this Kissimmee restaurant and Central Florida attraction has withstood the test of time for over 20 years. As a dinner theater, you have several elements that need to be good to be successful, including your show (to be an attraction), and your food (to be a restaurant).

Many dinner shows have come and gone, including the recent closing of Arabian Nights, a show that only made it about one year Rat Pack & Friends, and the not-so-recent closing of Dolly Partin’s Dixieland Stampede. Two new smaller Orlando dinner shows have opened fairly recently. They include Treasure Tavern (adults only) and an unusual one called Manor Professional Wrestling Dinner Theater. Time will only tell if they have both, a great show and food, to have any longevity.

Kissimmee Restaurants

Then you have the Kissimmee restaurants that have opened and closed recently, which are far to numerous to list. If you travel along Hwy. 192 or along I-Drive, it seems the Orlando & Kissimmee restaurants and businesses change on a regular basis. Just recently a new Chuy’s opened at I-Shops (intersection of Sand Lake Road and I-Drive). Hopefully the decision to add this Texas-based chain restaurant was supported by the success of their existing Kissimmee restaurant on Hwy. 192.

There are also themed dining restaurants within the Orlando attractions that have come and gone. You can read about several restaurants coming to Universal Studios in one of our earlier posts. Speaking of Universal, it is also noteworthy to mention Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, within Loews Royal Pacific Resort, will be undergoing several enhancements – including a new chef, manager, lunch & dinner menus and expanded offerings in the sushi bar. They are one of only two Orlando restaurants that feature cuisine prepared in a Robata Grill, and have been at it for over a decade!

Themed restaurant Kouzzina by Cat Cora

Kouzzina by Cat Cora®, located at Disney’s BoardWalk is set to close later this year.

Disney will also have its share of themed restaurants opening and closing. We just recently heard the announcement that Kouzzina by Cat Cora® at Disney’s Boardwalk will be closing after September 30th this year. It was open for five years, and celebrity chef Cat Cora (Food Network’s Iron Chef America) created a great experience for numerous families that dined at this Walt Disney World Resort restaurant. There have been no annoucements as to what will replace Kouzinna. Other Disney BoardWalk restaurants that remain open include Big River Grille & Brewing Works, ESPN Club and the Flying Fish Cafe as well as several other smaller eateries.

Long-running Kissimmee Dinner Show

With Tommy Guns in tow, the gangsters at Capone’s Dinner & Show will continue to defend their turf in the mix of Kissimmee restaurants and Orlando attractions. The wise guys (and dames) seem to have it figured out. If you’ve never experienced this Orlando attraction, and are looking for a great Kissimmee restaurant, their value-based dinner show is definitely worth a visit. Step back in time, and “don’ worry ‘bout” the restaurants and attractions that will come and go. Just enjoy the show & food – Big Al is here to stay!

Bok Tower Gardens: Enrichment for the Senses

Bok Tower Gardens

Orlando attraction planning does not have to be limited to theme parks and water parks in the area. Yes, most vacationers come to Orlando, FL to visit these famous theme parks; however, there are many people looking for that special, quiet place to relax away from it all. “Bok Tower Gardens” is the place for these people, and everyone. Once a person visits they make it a plan to return.

Founded in 1929 by an immigrant from the Netherlands, at the ripe age of six years old, the “Gardens” has been visited by over twenty-three million people. The “Bok Tower Garden” web site states why it is visited by so many people every year: “Through its historic landscape gardens, unique Singing Tower carillon and magnificent 1930s Mediterranean-style mansion, the Gardens offer unparalleled opportunities for artistic, cultural, personal and spiritual enrichment.”

With that type of description, everyone should have this Orlando attraction at the top of their list. To find enrichment in all these areas, in just one place, arouses curiosity as to how it is done.

The Garden itself consists of extraordinary, winding landscapes. Creating the garden as a meditation area in a comfortable woodlands locale offers guests different romantic retreats while providing peaceful resting spots. The Garden offers a spectacular view of the “Singing Tower” and has striking views of the land. There are acres of pines, ferns, oaks and palms which create a lavish setting for the blossoming shrubbery surroundings.

The Garden of this Orlando attraction alone could stir up all types of “enrichment” or “enlightenment” inside a person. The breath-taking view can bring the feel of “heaven” to a person.

The “Singing Tower” carillon is a 205 foot neo-Gothic and art deco structure. Looking up at the tower and listening to the concerts created by the 60-bell carillon, set for one and three o’clock every afternoon, is an experience like no other. Checking calendar events at this Orlando attraction will offer scheduled “concert” performances from the carillon.

Two genre-busting bands will be featured in Bok Tower Garden’s annual Concert Under the Stars on April 27. They include the Alison Brown Quartet and the Duhks. The annual springtime event takes place on a hillside beneath the historic tower. Guests bring picnics and lawn chairs to listen to the three-hour event.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of show. Tickets for children age 5 to 12 are $10 in advance, $12 day of show.  For tickets or more information, go to BokTowerGardens.org.

A three quarter mile walking trail is available at this Orlando attraction. The “Pine Ridge Nature Trail” located at “Bok Tower Gardens” is a longleaf pine, turkey oak habitat to partake in. This trail takes a person through its unique habitat; once covering millions of acres in the Southeastern part of the United States. Although at risk of disappearing, “Bok” has been able to preserve a portion; allowing visitors to experience and learn from the longleaf habitat.

A new trail just opened called the “Preserve Trail.” Being an education for visitors relating to the natural landscape, it is a major part of “Bok Tower Gardens” mission. This mile and a half trail will inspire visitors to learn about Florida’s most endangered ecosystems. “Bok” has taken great measures in restoration of the ecosystem with continued restoration efforts.

It is no wonder why people come to become enriched at this Orlando attraction. Reading about it can start to enlighten someone to something bigger than themselves. Go to “Bok Tower Gardens” and become enriched in all your senses.

 

Coming Attractions Update

With all of the Orlando area theme parks competing for tourists to visit their park, the area’s attractions are in constant upgrade mode. What will keep the theme park on the top of every visitor’s must-do list? How can the attraction best hold the interest of their current guests and future guests? Constant change has become the constant.

While Disney continues with the Fantasyland expansion, other Orlando theme parks are busy working on their new attractions. Universal Orlando continues construction of the Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. SeaWorld Orlando has set a grand-opening date for TurtleTrek; its domed, 3-D film will debut on Friday, April 27. Legoland Florida will soon open their Warner Brothers Game Zone in the park’s Imagination Zone where kids will be able to play Lego-based video games on kiosks and iPads. They also have their water-park area set to open the Saturday before Memorial Day.

A couple other lesser known Central Florida theme parks have also announced new attractions they will soon be offering to lure the tourist to visit their attraction. Florida EcoSafaris, located at Forever Florida in Osceola County has outdone themselves with their new zipline attraction. These are not your ordinary ziplines, and enthusiasts and thrill-seekers are sure to place this attraction on their “to-do” list while in the Orlando area. In April, guests will be able to ride a zipline as if it were a roller coaster. Four new lines, the Rattlesnake, Panther Pounce, Peregrine Plunge and Swooping Crane will take guests over and through Florida’s outdoors like never before.

Another coming attraction is a new concept geared toward visitors with a scientific and investigative mindset. CSI: The Experience will open March 20 at the new 7220 Exhibition and Event Center located on International Drive. It will feature props, special effects and labs where guests will investigate and solve multiple mysteries. The exhibit will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and cost $19.95 for adults and $12.95 for children 5-12.

Editor’s Note: CSI: The Experience closed October 2015.

If you’re familiar with the I-drive area, you’ll also want to note the I-Ride Trolley Service will soon be implementing 15 new trolleys equipped with a state-of-the-art automated vehicle location system known as NextBus. NextBus technology provides predicted vehicle arrival information and live maps to visitors. Each of the 105 trolley stops will also provide a QR tag that visitors will be able to scan for access to the resort area’s mobile website where the next trolley information is available.

This year will also mark the 20th year that Capone’s Dinner & Show has been performing in the Orlando tourist market. Unlike a few of the chain dinner attractions which you can see in other parts of the United States, Capone’s is one-of-a-kind and is locally owned and operated. It’s huge success is due to the entertainment value, quality performances, exceptional food and overall desire to treat each guest like one of “the family.” When compared to the other area dinner shows, no one can match the value with a delicious dinner buffet and more drink selections, which are also unlimited. This includes alcoholic drinks and virgin mixed drinks. When more details about the special anniversary celebration become available, they will be posted here. Until then, your gang will continue to enjoy a great evening at Capone’s Dinner & Show. When the anniversary celebration begins, you’ll have another reason to return – just like all of the other Orlando Theme Parks. A little change, an upgrade, if you will, is a good thing!

Zipping over the crocs!

Hold on to your shoes! Don’t dangle your feet! Soon, you will be able to get your thrills by zipping over jumping crocodiles and alligators at the unique Gatorland attraction in Orlando. Known as the alligator capital of the world, Gatorland is home to thousands of gators, including the rare Albino gator. Plans for the new Screamin’ Gator Zip Line have made a few jaws drop when they mentioned they would be zipping directly over the alligator breeding marsh, jumping crocs, and through the parks’ bird rookery. The zip line tower tops out at 75 feet high, and park officials are excited that this new addition will allow people to really see some diverse animal habitats. (That is if you can keep your eyes open!)

This 110-acre Orlando theme park and conservatory has been here since 1949 and is also home to many birds, bears, crocodiles and more! Some of the exciting attractions here are the live shows such as the Gator Jumparoo and live Gator Wrestling. Park admission is not expected to change, but there will be an additional cost for the zip line experience. The Screamin’ Gator Zip Line should be open by June. Happy zipping!