Orlando Area Travel Guide

Gators star at Orlando Wetlands Park

9:51 PM EDT, March 11, 2012


Jim Abbott on Travel: Gators star at Orlando Wetlands Park

The Postcards column often is laced with whimsy, but today's edition is powered by fear.

Florida Shopping Guide: Orlando and Central Florida

July 6, 2010

Florida Shopping Guide: Orlando and Central Florida

From souvenirs at the theme parks or amazing discounts at the outlets, to picturesque Park Avenue, Central Florida stores offer something for everyone. Whether you visit Downtown Disney for the day or spend an afternoon at the Florida Mall, you can't go home without a purchase.

Wild Orlando: Outdoor adventures abound in Central Florida

February 11, 2010

Wild Orlando: Outdoor adventures abound in Central Florida

On a recent, chilly evening, I looked up and saw more stars than I ever had in the Florida sky. I was 45 feet above the ground and my heart was racing. Then, I stepped off my platform into an inky abyss. I could barely see the glimmer of a swamp below.

Tours find ghostly host in downtown Orlando

October 31, 2008

Tours find ghostly host in downtown Orlando

In an ornate, late-19th-century building on downtown Orlando's historic Church Street, a trendy Spanish tapas bar and restaurant is abuzz with tourists and locals. Upbeat rhythms from Seville fill the air.

August 20, 2009

Pope names Disney-area shrine a basilica

Even though Mary Jo Smith and her husband had just arrived in Orlando to start their vacation late the night before, they still showed up for noon Mass at the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe before hitting the theme parks with their five children.

March 19, 2009

Downtown Disney's Tren-D sells icons with edge

For shoppers, there's trendy ... and then there's Tren-D — a women's clothing and accessories store opening today at Downtown Disney. The concept is Disney meets Anthropologie, with a target audience in the 18-to-35 range.

January 14, 2009

Dewayne Bevil: Central Florida's Zipline Safari takes riders atop the trees

Zipping through the treetops is no longer just for the birds.

May 2, 2004

B&B complex has history and charm

Standing in the leafy garden of the Courtyard at Lake Lucerne, with its tropical foliage and the sound of water trickling from fountains, I find it hard to believe the spot was once a parking lot.

May 2, 2004

Camping out with Mickey Mouse

Here in the land of make-believe, where theme-park creators can launch you into space, take you on safari and spin you through a fantasyland of flying elephants, there's another novel experience to be had.

February 1, 2005

Mount Dora: Heaven for antique hunters

A mecca for collectors, this quaint town has more antique stores per square foot than most places in Florida. Located 25 miles northwest of Orlando, via U.S. 441, it is a lovingly preserved, frozen-in-time town (pop. 8,000) with a dozen turn-of-the-century buildings clustered around its downtown shuffleboard courts, including the eerily exuberant Steamboat Gothic Donnelly House straight out of a Charles Addams cartoon.

Ten best dinner attractions to extend your Orlando fantasy

April 3, 2005

Ten best dinner attractions to extend your Orlando fantasy

It's been a long day at Central Florida's theme parks and you are tired and hungry, though still ready for another dose of fantasy. Head for one of the many themed diners in Kissimmee and the surrounding area. They are fun and family-friendly, so parents and grandparents can bring the kids without a second thought.

May 25, 2003

Winter Park provides travel outing off the trendy trail

For my first visit to Florida, I had only one requirement. I didn't want the experience to be one big theme park. No problem, as it turned out; I was sent there to work, at a trade show in Orlando. With my colleague Dwayne, a landscaper and avocational botanist, I flew in a couple of days early to seek out remnants of a low-tech, untrendy, offbeat Florida.

Old Florida survives in Arcadia

It's becoming increasingly difficult in this state to find lil' ol' hideaways, places that really fit the overused phrase, "Florida the way it used to be."

Bok Tower and Gardens is spot for a serene Central Florida getaway

May 5, 2002

Bok Tower and Gardens is spot for a serene Central Florida getaway

Bok Tower and Gardens in Central Florida is a quietly beautiful, serene sanctuary for birds and people. Visitors enjoy just wandering around the paths, looking at the flowers and foliage and feeling tension drain away. It's a great stress-buster.

Road rules for Disney with kids

In much of the United States, most kids wouldn't their childhood slip by without trying to persuade their parents to take them to Walt Disney World in Orlando.

The lord of the flies

November 3, 2002

The lord of the flies

The prime parking spot in front of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame still is reserved. The bronze sculpture depicting the late Boston Red Sox slugger sitting in uniform on a bench remains undisturbed, save for two small American flags that have been placed in its grasp. Since Williams' death on July 5, the museum has attracted thousands of fans looking to pay their respects.

July 14, 2002

An oasis in downtown Orlando

There are not many inns in the state, or the country, sitting smack dab in the center of a major metropolitan area, but downtown Orlando has one, or rather four of them, called collectively the Courtyard at Lake Lucerne.

Lasting charm of Winter Park hotel makes it well worth the drive

Lasting charm of Winter Park hotel makes it well worth the drive

The Florida innkeeping industry is not plagued by the here-today-gone-tomorrow problems of restaurants. There are many inns, in large towns and little settlements, that have been pleasing an escape-hungry clientele for years and years.

Chalet Suzanne a real high spot in Lake Wales

Chalet Suzanne in Lake Wales is my choice for Florida Inn of the Century. Greeting guests for 70 years of that century, it's listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places and has been owned and operated by the Hinshaw family ever since the Depression, when the indomitable Bertha Hinshaw turned her home into an inn and hammered her simple, hand-made "Chalet Suzanne -- Lake Wales" signs on trees and fence posts around the country.

Lake Helen: Clauser's captures spirit of settlers in peaceful setting

Florida's country inns escaped the ravages of summer's flames and floods, but several came close to total disaster, including a Victorian charmer tucked into a forested yesteryear in Lake Helen, a few minutes from the spiritualists in Cassadaga and only seven miles from DeLand.

Holyland theme park

Now that the furor has died down about some covert plan to convert Jews, it's possible to look at Holy Land Experience as its owners wanted people to: As another theme park in Orlando. How does it stack up?

October 10, 2003

Ex-astronauts help launch Epcot ride, give it thumbs up

The last time astronaut Charles Bolden Jr. vaulted from the Earth was in February 1994 when he was commander of the space shuttle Discovery.

Escape hustle-bustle in lovely Mount Dora

If you're yearning for a time-warp weekend free of theme parks and other excesses of modern-day living, think about an escape to the New England of Florida, the antique capital as well as the rose capital of Central Florida. Think Mount Dora.

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