Venture off the beaten path in Orlando and you’re sure to find an eclectic mix of food, culture, and fun. Wondering what there is to do in Orlando aside from the Camping World Kickoff? We’ll we’ve got you covered.
Orlando is known as ‘The City Beautiful’ (Yes, Coral Gables uses that slogan as well. Let’s agree they are both beautiful and move on.)
Orlando is the vacation capital of the world, and as such is very family friendly. There are illustrious theme park attractions that dominate the headlines, but there are also local spots that deserve some of the limelight.
Welcoming tens-of-millions of visitors per year, both Disney and Universal have their draw. These are the well known obligatory tourist traps, but believe it or not, some people have actually never visited Orlando, so we don't want to leave out the must see gems.
Disney and Universal can certainly be an entire trip’s worth of fun on their own, so I won't belabor the point anymore than that. Go and have fun there during the week if you're able.
Disney World - https://disneyworld.disney.go.com
Universal Orlando - https://www.universalorlando.com
Sea World Orlando - https://seaworld.com/orlando
Aquatica Orlando - https://aquatica.com/orlando
Fun Spot America - https://fun-spot.com
It would be a mistake to overlook Orlando’s abundance of other activities because the metro area is full of similar family-friendly attractions like waterparks, giant aquariums and zoos, shows, airboat tours and plenty of golfing opportunities.
I’ll give you a couple of Gems to check out for each topic.
FOOD & DRINK
Mi Bandera Supermarket
I’m frugal and the first place I would like to mention I personally recommend after eating at this spot for well over a decade. Mi Bandera is a Dominican supermarket that has an impressive spread of fresh cooked, hot foods. Yes, it’s a bodega. Yes, it’s small. But BOY is the food good!
They have a plethora of options available including chicken, ribs, steak, beef, fish, pork, etc and you get to pair it with various types of rice (Yellow, White, Congri [Black beans and rice cooked together], Con Gandules [with pigeon peas], etc) and beans of your choice [flavorful Red Kidney beans or seasoned Black beans].
The plates start at $3.99 for rice, beans, and a meat of your choice. They have every imaginable dish during lunch and the lines get long. The beauty is the lines also move rather quickly. It’s somewhat beneficial to be in the line because you get a chance to see all of the options available and decide what you want with confidence. The place has a limited amount of seating available out front, but people are cognizant of that so they tend to eat and leave without wasting time. They have added a bakery up front so you can get your homemade sweet treats before leaving. The hours are 8am-8pm, but your best shot at the full selection is 10am-3pm or so. They move a lot of plates so there is no worry of the food not being fresh. They speak both English and Spanish here (and sometimes creole!) so come one, come all.
Good bbq, and a good mission. I love their burnt ends sandwich and the Krispy Kreme bread pudding. The sauces are awesome, and the homemade sweets are delightful.
There are several locations in Central Florida so look around here: https://4rsmokehouse.com
Yummy House Orlando - Authentic & Award Winning Chinese Food - I like it, and so will you.
478 E. Altamonte Dr. #102 Altamonte Springs, FL 33701 (407) 339-8877
Twin Peaks - 8350 International Dr Orlando, FL 32819
Dave & Busters - 8986 International Dr Orlando, FL 32819
Wall Street Plaza - 25 Wall St Orlando, FL 32801
Orlando International Premium Outlets - 4951 International Dr Orlando, FL 32819
Orlando International Premium Outlets is Florida’s largest outlet shopping destination spanning over 773,586 square feet and welcoming more than 17MM visitors annually. Located in the heart of Orlando’s booming hospitality industry, the center is only 5 minutes from Universal Orlando Resort and 10 miles from Walt Disney World Resort. Visitors and locals will enjoy an array of more than 180 outlet designer and name-brand outlet stores including adidas, Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Tory Burch, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Steve Madden, Old Navy, Michael Kors, Coach, kate spade New York, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, St. John Outlet, Ted Baker London, Forever 21, Nike, Under Armour, Victoria’s Secret (only outlet in market), Havaianas and Guess.
The Mall at Millenia - 4200 Conroy Road Orlando, FL 32839
The Mall at Millenia, Orlando’s luxury shopping destination, provides an unparalleled shopping experience with 150 stores, services and eateries, including 40 market exclusive stores. This stunning center features an array of luxury boutiques and in-demand brands, including: Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Louis Vuitton Men’s, Gucci, SAINT LAURENT, Rolex, Tiffany & Co., Apple, Sephora, Ted Baker London, Abercrombie & Fitch, Under Armour, H&M, plus Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s department stores. World-class dining options include The Capital Grille, The Cheesecake Factory, PF Chang’s, Brio Tuscan Grille and Earls Kitchen + Bar. These outstanding retail offerings are surrounded by captivating architecture, breathtaking glass ceilings and one-of-a-kind art pieces to create an impeccable destination.
The Florida Mall - 8001 S Orange Blossom TrailOrlando, FL 32809
Located minutes from the Orlando International Airport, Walt Disney World Resort and popular area attractions, The Florida Mall is Central Florida’s largest shopping center. Spanning 1.7 million square feet and welcoming more than 20 million visitors annually, this dynamic shopping destination offers more than 250 retail, dining and entertainment options enjoyed by domestic and international guests, local residents and families alike. Prominent department and anchor stores Macy’s, Dillard’s, JCPenney and Dick’s Sporting Goods complement best of brand retailers like Armani Exchange, Apple, Tesla, Banana Republic, H&M, MAC Cosmetics, Michael Kors, Mayors Jewelers featuring Rolex, Victoria’s Secret and ZARA.
Exclusive to The Florida Mall in Central Florida, American Girl, the Crayola Experience attraction, the M&M’s World store, Carlo’s Bakery and The Disney Store distinguish the property as a must-visit family shopping destination. Don’t miss The Florida Mall’s world-class Dining Pavilion, offering flavor-packed fare for every appetite and more than 1,400 indoor and outdoor seating options. The curated lineup of 23 restaurants and eateries features an international mix of exclusive-to-market selections offering visitors an expansive array of dining choices and health-conscious eateries. Families can also enjoy our Play Park located next to Crayola Experience. This interactive play area offers more than 3,000 square-feet of fun and room to play – all set in a beautiful, nature-inspired area.
The Camping World Kickoff entered a partnership in 2019 with Tailgate Guys. Your tailgate has now been gentrified. The one stop shop for information surrounding the Camping World Kickoff can be found here: https://www.campingworldkickoff.com
They have also recently published an event guide with TONS of information.
8 a.m. — RV Parking Lots open (SOLD OUT)
10 a.m. — Parking Lots open (SOLD OUT)
Noon — Downtown Shuttle Service begins (read more)
2 p.m. — FanFest opens (read more) — FREE with game ticket
Location: Tinker Field at Camping World Stadium
Five hours prior to kickoff, fans can enjoy interactive games, inflatables, face painters and more. Admission is FREE, but a game ticket is required for admittance. A wide selection of food and beverages will be available for purchase from local vendors.
TBD — Stadium gates open - (Will likely be somewhere around 5:00pm)
7 p.m. — Kickoff
Parking is always hard to come by at this stadium, and this game will be no different.
THE GEICO GARAGE NORMALLY OPENS AT 10AM - BUT CALL AHEAD 407-440-7000
NOTE: The first floor of the GEICO Garage maximum clearance is 8’ 2”. Clearance is 7’ 2” for all other floors. First floor parking is limited on event days, patrons should consider a surface lot as an alternative.
THE HD SUPPLY GARAGE OPENS AT 12PM
The public gameday stadium shuttle will start at Noon.
Rideshare pick-up and drop-off will be at Jones High School. (A short walk from the stadium.)
There will NOT be a taxi stand at the stadium for this game. Fans traveling by taxi are encouraged to depart downtown and ride the shuttle to and from the stadium.
Downtown Shuttle Location: Pine St. between Division Ave. & Terry Ave.
Stadium Shuttle Location: Nashville Avenue and Church Street, one block from the stadium.
Following the game, shuttles will pick up where the pregame shuttle dropped off, at Nashville Avenue and Church Street.
Postgame shuttles will run for approximately one hour following the end of the game.
NOTE: The neighborhoods are predominantly low income areas, and the residents make a fair amount of their income off of parking people in their yards, and at area businesses, on game day. Some companies also utilize their location, a somewhat industrial area surrounding the stadium, to park cars for a fee. Don’t freak out. This is a normal occurrence, and the residents and businesses are actually quite adept at the process. Consider supporting these “Entrepreneurs” with your patronage. If this seems too sketch for you, head on over to the “official” offsite parking area listed above. No worries.
WORTH NOTING, THERE ARE OTHER EVENTS TAKING PLACE IN DOWNTOWN ORLANDO DURING THE CAMPING WORLD KICKOFF THAT WILL COMPLICATE THE EXPERIENCE IF YOU AREN’T PREPARED FOR IT.
BACKSTREET BOYS CONCERT – AMWAY ARENA - 08:00 PM - UNTIL
Why it matters
You should be aware that stadium parking for the game will be non-existent now and on game day. The good folks over at FCSports have rerouted parking for the game to the Amway parking lot located a few short miles East of the stadium and have shuttles to carry fans back and forth, but they likely didn’t account for an event taking place the same night at that venue which will likely fill the parking garage and local area. Take heed.
WALL STREET PLAZA BLOCK PARTY - 08:00 PM TO 02:00 AM
Every Friday and Saturday night Wall St. Plaza takes over 2 city streets and throws the ultimate Block Party! Under the night sky and market lights you’ll find 7 venues, outdoor bars, patio seating, Palm trees, DJ’s, bands and more.
Why it matters
You have locals that are looking to get downtown and party it up, and some fans that didn’t have tickets to the game searching for the answers to their loss at the bottom of a bottle and/or wildly celebrating their teams road to victory.
Lots of people, in a little space, is never a recipe for success. Take heed.
This may be a point of contention for some, but WE prepare so that we aren't upset on game day, Right? Riiiight.
Camping World Stadium (CWS) has partnered with a company out of Texas (Tailgate Guys) to provide the tailgating for the game. The tailgate location is on Tinker Field, which is directly in the shadow of the stadium on the West side (opposite side from downtown). I spoke with a representative of Tailgate Guys and he informed me that they sold 100% of the initial tailgate space immediately after opening it up to the public.
They have a revenue sharing partnership with the stadium, and CWS recently provided them some additional tailgating space, but at this time they only have Club packages left which are going for a cool $2,500.00 and can accommodate up to 60 people.
Here is where things get sticky
Camping World is requiring EVERYONE entering the tailgate to have a ticket for the game! Yes, you read that right. You will be prohibited from entering the tailgate area if you do not have a game ticket with you at the time of entrance to the tailgate.
Camping World Stadium is also requiring a clear bag policy on game-day which has become standard in most sporting venues. You can read more about that here.
Tailgate Guys clarified that these are requirements of the stadium, not theirs.
This is sure to catch folks off guard on gameday, so please share this info with your circle of friends/tailgaters.
If you're balling, and you would like to pickup a Club package, you can reach out to Chase Skaff - firstname.lastname@example.org (786) 457-3533 and he can square you away.
For the rest of us, we’ll have to find another way to entertain ourselves during the pregame.
OTHER BUDGET CONSCIOUS ACTIVITIES:
Natural Springs & Things
Wekiva Springs - 1800 Wekiwa Cir. Apopka FL 32712 $6 per car
With emerald springs feeding the Wekiwa River and lush tropical hammocks, this unique park just minutes from Downtown Orlando is Orange County’s longest-running tourist attraction, the azure waters of Wekiwa Springs have been a popular leisure retreat.
Wekiwa Springs has very high visitation on weekends and holidays. The park will close when it reaches capacity (250 cars) and no vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians will be allowed to enter until space becomes available.
Rock Springs - 400 E Kelly Park RD Apopka, FL 32712 $3 per car
Kelly Park features a free-flowing natural spring (68 to 72 degrees year round), full-service concession, picnic pavilions and playground. Tube rentals are available from vendors outside the park; guests may bring their own pool noodles or floats, which must be less than five feet in length or width.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive - 2850 Lust Road, Apopka, FL 32705 $FREE
The drive is a one-way, 11-mile drive meandering through the eastern portion of the property. It begins at Lust Road and ends on Jones Avenue in Orange County, Fla. The drive is open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays, opening at sunrise and the entrance closes one hour before sunset. This trip takes 1–3 hours, depending on the usage and how many stops visitors choose to make along the way. The speed limit is 10 mph and the maximum vehicle length is 25 feet; no trailers allowed.
There are maps, guides, and a free audio tour on their website.
Aloma Bowl - 2530 Aloma Ave Winter Park, FL 32792
Aloma Bowl is one of my longtime favorites. This place has bowling, an arcade, billiards, food (Good Food), live music (Saturday nights) and a full service bar.
The specials they offer vary, but there is usually something for everyone.
This is one of my favorite:
Picture Show - 130 E Altamonte Dr #1200, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
Remember the old dollar theaters? Well, this is one of them. A good one too.
A family friendly movie theatre that provides entertainment at affordable prices. We want families to be able to Share the Experience of Hollywood’s amazing productions, all together and more often, without breaking their budget. Each location has affordable concession prices with $1 hot dogs and popcorn combos that can fit any budget.
Ticket Pricing: All Everyday: $1.75 - Tuesdays: $1.00 - 3D Surcharge: $1.75
Cinemark - 5150 International Drive, Orlando FL 32819
Amazing THX Certified XD auditorium, wall-to-wall screen, and 11.1 surround sound! You’ll feel like you’re in the movie! Cinemark’s Luxury Loungers are Oversized, plush electric-powered reclining seats with extendable footrests that are excellent to watch a movie in, and even better to nap in. RealD 3D is the experience you never knew you needed. They serve alcohol, gourmet foods, and premium ice cream along with all the usual theater eats.
Ticket Pricing: Prices vary per showing & amenity, but drop in before 4pm for the best prices
Need a quick shape up or fade that's clean? Hit up Knockout Barbershop.
Address: 5905 Tomoka Dr, Orlando, FL 32809 Hours: Opens 9:30AM Multi-lingual
They love boxing and serve clients such as Miguel Cotto, Omar Henry, and Danny Abbadi.
Phone: (407) 223-5672
Open Date: Fri, Aug 23, 2019 - Close Date: Sun, Aug 25, 2019
The always popular Orlando Fall Home and Garden Show is returning to the Orange County Convention Center and this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better than ever! For one weekend only, North Hall B at the convention center will be transformed into a home and garden spectacular, with celebrities, local home and garden experts, kitchen and bathroom contractors, interior designers, and much more. In addition, local Central Florida companies will exhibit everything from front entrance décor to backyard landscapes.
Location: Orange County Convention Center - 9400 Universal Boulevard Orlando, FL 32819
Hours: Fri. 12pm-7pm, Sat. 10am-7pm, Sun. 11am-5pm
Admission: Pay Once, Get In All Weekend. Cash, Check & Credit Card Accepted.
Adults 17+ $8.00, Seniors 65+ $7.00, 16 and Under FREE, ISD Employees w/ID FREE, Active Duty Military w/ ID FREE, First Responders w/ ID FREE, Retired Military w/ ID $7.00,
Phone Number: (877) 663-6186 - Alt. Phone Number: (800) 645-7798
This guide isn’t meant to be all inclusive, but it is a good starting point for you to have a good time while you visit The City Beautiful. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to do something on the list. We’d love to hear back from you on your experience. Feel free to share your thoughts on other places to eat, play, or visit in the comments section below.
Let’s enjoy ourselves, be safe, HYDRATE, drink responsibly, BEAT UF and make it home in one piece!
#GoCanes #TNM #CampingWorldKickoff