There is More to Orlando than Disney

This post is not only for the tourists that visit Orlando, but also for locals who get bored with the same old song and dance in O’town. There is so much more to Orlando than just theme parks and a mouse.

Good Eats!

If you do not mind driving off the beaten path a little, I highly recommend visiting Yellow Dog Eats in Gotha, Florida. The owner and chef, Fish Morgan, is a free spirit who is very passionate about his creations. His pulled pork is to die for, ribs are finger licking good and club sandwich is like nothing you’ve ever tasted. I am not usually a coleslaw fan, but I promise you it is the best you’ll ever have! I’m not sure if it’s the nutmeg or the dried cranberries that make this coleslaw so mouth watering, but whatever it is you are going to love it.

Another favorite is Beefy King located in historic downtown. This restaurant is an Orlando landmark! You will walk inside and think you are still in 1967 when the restaurant was founded. You will be glad you visited once you taste their infamous beef sandwich! The meat is cooked on-site daily and steamed per order. It doesn’t get any fresher than this! Don’t forget to pile on the horseradish and their unique hot bbq sauce! Add some tasty spuds (tater tots) and your mouth will be very happy!

TooJays Gourmet Deli is famous for its New York style delicatessen specialties. There are several locations throughout Central Florida and they all tend to get very busy (the locals know where to eat). Do not get discouraged, the food is worth the wait. You can also order meals to go and sit outside the restaurant or take back to your final destination. I highly recommend the tuna salad, it is delicious! Please note, the meals are enormous but it is critical to save room for their delicious carrot cake.

If you enjoy Thai food, then you will love everything about Thai Thani! The decor is beautiful, atmosphere is relaxing and food is delicious. My personal favorite menu item is the Yellow Curry with Chicken, it is yummy! The restaurant is a popular lunch destination for locals and service can sometimes be slow.

Places to Visit:

There are two zoos located within an hour from Orlando and both are worth visiting. The Central Florida Zoo is in Sanford and a great place to take your little one. The Brevard Zoo located in Melbourne is my absolute favorite place to take my son. Make sure to visit Africa so you can feed and touch the giraffes. After your Brevard Zoo experience, stop by Cocoa Beach to splash in the water. Kennedy Space Center is not too far either and is a great place for kids of all ages.

Gatorland (aka The Alligator Capital of the World) is another legendary place to visit while in Orlando. It began in 1949 as a roadside attraction and is now a 110 acre theme park. It’s definitely worth a visit.

Mt. Dora is a quaint little town with charming tree-lined streets, antique shopping, historic inns, cottages and bed-and-breakfasts. There is even a small winery to check out. Enjoy strolling in this picturesque town and afterwards enjoy lemonade on the Veranda at the Mt. Dora Inn. You will not be disappointed!

While in Mt. Dora, stop by Renningers and enjoy a little antique shopping. Three times per year (the third weekend of January, February and November) there is an Antique Extravaganza where more than 1400 dealers set-up their treasures on 117 acres of rolling countryside.

If you enjoy antiques, Ivanhoe Village in downtown Orlando has a few shops worth stopping at. Afterwards, you must visit Park Avenue in Winter Park for shopping and dining. While there, I highly recommend you stop by The Wine Room and choose from over 150 wines and, with the push of a button, taste them in 1, 2.5 and 5 ounce measures. The cheese platters are delicious too!

If you are into wine, why not visit Lakeridge Winery in Clermont? Lakeridge currently has 80 acres of vineyards planted which include hybrid and muscadine grape varieties. It’s a fun place to visit and enjoy a bottle of wine, just don’t forget to take home a bag of Route 11 Potato Chips from my home state of Virginia!

Shopping!

Take advantage of the incredible shopping in Central Florida. We are blessed to have Prime and Premium outlets as well as two terrific shopping malls (Mall at Millenia and The Florida Mall). In addition to the upscale stores, The Mall at Millenia also has great restaurants such as P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, McCormick & Schmick’s and Brio Tuscan Grille.

What do you enjoy doing while in Orlando? Are there any additional activities or places to visit that I have not mentioned?

Thanks for visiting The Unemployed Mom!

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3 Thoughts to “There is More to Orlando than Disney”

  1. Oh I have to comment on Yellow Dog Eats! Such great food! Luv them! I haven’t tried Thai Thani yet but Thai Blossom in Downtown Winter Garden, FL is so delicious! They have a fantastic lunch special for $6.95 which includes soup, salad & entree! Their curry is the BOMB! So if you’re in the area, this is a must try place. 🙂

  2. I forgot to mention, The Wine Room is the BOMB too! I’ve been there with Hubby & friends. What a great night. Love the Park Ave. atmosphere!

  3. Great list. I’d also add the Farmer’s Markets in Lake Eola and Winter Park on Saturday and Sunday. Blue Bird Cupcake along with Pom Pom’s Tea House are two excellent venues. And you can’t beat a casual stroll downtown through the tree-lined streets. Cheers!

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