Viewing entries in
Attractions

How to Get a Taste of Japan in Orlando

 Senso-Ji Temple in Tokyo

Senso-Ji Temple in Tokyo

I love Orlando because I can always reminisce about my travels at a restaurant, theme park adventure or festival.  If you are missing Japan or just want to experience a little local flavor, please take a moment to stop by some of these places for a taste of Japan.

1.       Epcot.  Walt Disney World’s Epcot Theme park has the World Showcase where you can experience Japan first hand. There are 11 different countries to visit and if you only have a day, Japan is a great place to visit and dine.  There are several different options for Japanese digning at Epcot:  Tokyo Pairing ($60+ per entrée), Tokyo Dining ($15-35 per entrée), Teppan Edo ($15-35 per entrée), Katsura Grill (under $14 per entrée), Kabuki Café for desserts (under $14 per entrée), and the Hibachi Experience (over $60 per entrée).  All of these places are wonderful, but please try to make a reservation using the Walt Disney World app or calling +1 (407) 939-5277.  At any of these restaurants you should be able to hear the sounds of the live bands beat the drums and dance to the traditional Japanese music.  You can also view a performance During Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, booths fill the walkways with local foods to purchase (tapas sizes).  They always have a nice frozen green tea or sticky bun that is delicious.

 Front entrance at Epcot

Front entrance at Epcot

 Japanese food at Epcot

Japanese food at Epcot

2.       Disney Springs. Disney Springs has two opportunities to experience Japanese fashion and dining:

a.       Uniqlo is a Japanese department store with everything.  Bill loves the AIRism “innerware” (underwear), but they have classic styled dresses and clothing.  The Disney Springs Uniqlo has everything from kimonos to Disney clothing. It’s often open late (11pm or later) so it is a great place to visit after the parks or dinner.

b.      Morimoto Asia.  If you are in the mood for some Peking Duck, then look no further than Morimoto Asia ($15-35 per entrée).   Curated by Celebrity Iron Chef Morimoto, this Pan-Asian restaurant has beautiful décor including a jeweled jellyfish shaped chandeliers, two floors for dining, a bar and sushi counter.  While the Peking Duck was delicious, keep room for the fried rice and dessert.  They had a Japanese soda during magical dining month that was delicious. 

c.       Yesake.  This food cart offers hand rolls and sake slush drinks.  We haven’t tried it but for under $14.99 per entrée per person it is worth checking out if you are pressed for time or have a limited budget. 

 Entrance to the Uniqlo store at Disney Springs

Entrance to the Uniqlo store at Disney Springs

 Kimonos at Uniqlo at Disney Springs

Kimonos at Uniqlo at Disney Springs

 Dining Area at Morimoto

Dining Area at Morimoto

 Peking Duck at Morimoto

Peking Duck at Morimoto

 Japanese Soda at Morimoto

Japanese Soda at Morimoto

3.       Whole Foods in Dr. Phillips.  Can you believe that I found some Mochi (a Japanese dessert) at Whole Foods?  It is a little more expensive than the Mochi I found at 7-Eleven in Japan, but the experience of having this authentic ice cream dessert is awesome.   (1 mochi costs $2 and 12 are $24).

 Mochi at Whole Foods

Mochi at Whole Foods

4.       Other great eateries:  Kobe Ichiban Steakhouse is named after the Japanese city.  It is a hibachi style grill similar to the one that we experienced at the New Otani Garden Restaurant in Japan.  The steaks are good.   We also like Seito Sushi and Bento Cafe.  Both are good restaurants for decent Japanese food.  The freshness of the fish can’t compare to Japan, but it is still good.  My favorite Seito Sushi is in an Orlando Community called Baldwin Park, but the both Seito Sushi and Bento’s have locations in Dr. Phillips near Restaurant Row.   Finally, there is one local eatery off the tourist path for more authentic Japanese cuisine.  Sapporo Ramen has just what you think, good ramen and also good curry.  It’s on the west side of town and in the inner city, but if you want to venture off the beaten path for good Japanese food, this is the place to visit.

 Bento Cafe

Bento Cafe

Coca Cola Store at Disney Springs

One of the coolest new stores at Disney Springs is the World of Coca-Cola at Disney Springs. It is the place where you can find anything related to Coca-Cola. 

 Items available at the World of Coca-Cola.

Items available at the World of Coca-Cola.

IMG_7380.JPG

The World of Coca-Cola has four floors of awesome merchandise. The most incredible thing is that on the roof you can purchase soda and float drinks with flavors from various Coca-Cola products. It is a truly fun place to hang out and enjoy all the delicious Coca-cola products. The rooftop balcony has a great view of the rest of Disney Springs.

Hours 10:00 am to 11:00 pm Daily

https://www.disneysprings.com/shops/coca-cola-store/

Winter Club Indoor Ski and Snowboard

Winter Club Indoor Ski and Snowboard

The newest attraction to the Orlando area is the WinterClub Indoor Ski and Snowboarding facility in Winter Park. It is a great place to train and learn both snowboarding and skiing.

Winterclub is a one stop place for practice and learning to ski and snowboard. The facility has all the necessary equipment so you don't need to bring anything other than to wear pants and a long sleeve shirt. They have all sizes in both ski and snowboarding boots, various sizes or boards and skis and all the necessary sizes of helmets for use.

The experience is a little different than being on an actual ski slope because you are on an angled conveyor belt moving upward to simulate the downhill motion. The belt is made of a carpet that is sprayed down to create a low friction surface.

What is really special about the experience is they have qualified instructors that can help you learn or improve your skiing or snowboarding skills. The instructors are equipped with a remote control that allows them to stop the belt at anytime and help to correct any problems with your technique. I personally would say it was more useful than some of the lessons that I have had on actual ski slopes. Because the instructor can stop the belt at anytime you really get the instant feedback and correction to quickly help you improve. When you are on an actual slope you have to factor in the time you spend on the lift getting back up the mountain.

The facility also has a ski simulator to help with downhill training. The simulator is set up on a track and is also a great workout!

First time visitors have to enroll in the introductory session that is priced at $35 per person. After that pricing is based on what type of lesson or time you want on the slopes. Group lessons are priced at $44 per person ($39 for Children) and $59 per person  ($49 for children) for a semi private lesson. True private lessons are priced at $99 per session ($85 for children). All lessons are set for 1 hour. Winterclub also offers rental of the entire slope for $230 (Maximum of 6 participants). The sessions are set up in 10 minutes on 10 minutes off increments. This is to combat fatigue, you can quickly work up a sweat on the conveyor belt. Time on the simulator is set up at $29 per session. For additional information check out pricing on their website.

A visit to Winterclub is a fun time and truly a great place to train or learn skiing or snowboarding.

Winterclub Indoor Ski and Snowboard

2950 Aloma Ave

Winter Park, FL 32792

407-618-1123

http://www.winterclubski.com/

Winter Park Concours D'Elegance

Winter Park Concours D'Elegance

The Winter Park Concours D'Elegance is a great activity to attend if you are visiting the greater Orlando area. The event has a great mix of modern, classic and rare vehicles for show. It is a fun event because many of the cars are entered in judging for various categories. Another cool thing about the show is that many of the owners are with their vehicles and can answer questions about their car.

The show also has a number of exotics cars on display.

An incredible event.  It is held each November in Winter Park. This year it was held at the Winter Park Country Club but, past years it was held right on Park Avenue in the heart of Winter Park with the streets blocked off. If you are visiting Orlando or live in the area and enjoy car shows this in definitely one to attend!

http://www.winterparkconcours.com/

Crayola Experience

Crayola Experience

The crayola experience is a fun family visit with plenty of activities to keep everyone involved.

The Crayola Experience is a great place to spend an afternoon with your young kids. If you ever enjoyed coloring then Crayola Experience will be a fun and education visit. It offers hands on opportunities for kids to learn how crayons are made and use them to create fun and artsy things if they want. If you have younger children this is an easy place to educate and entertain. If you are visiting the Orlando area this is a great rainy day alternative to the parks since it is fully enclosed and has many different activities for kids. You can easily pass a rainy Orlando afternoon here. It is also an easy place to entertain adults and children alike because it is located in the Florida Mall one of the top shopping destinations in the area.

Crayola Experience is a bright colorful place that has all types of activities for kids.

 Kids play area

Kids play area

 Color work area

Color work area

Crayola Experience is a great place to have fun and interactive time with your kids. It is worth planning a trip!

Crayola Experience

8001 Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32809

(407) 757-1700

Hours

Daily 10:00 am to 8:00 pm

I-Drive's Newest Wonder: The Orlando Eye

I-Drive's Newest Wonder: The Orlando Eye

 Foreground shot

Foreground shot

If you have driven past the I-Drive attraction area in the last six months you probably noticed the new 400 foot observation wheel under construction. Well now construction is completed and the Orlando Eye is open for business. The observation wheel allows riders to see Orlando from a truly unique vantage point, 400 feet above all the hustle and bustle. The experience starts with a brief 4D video experience highlighting some of the great views of Orlando via a helicopter with all the necessary special effects to make you believe you are flying.

 Counter Area

Counter Area

 Waiting area screens

Waiting area screens

After completing the short video you are then whisked out the door to the waiting line to board the eye. The capsules can hold about 10-15 people although when it is not crowded the usual number of riders is from 8-10. Inside the capsule there is plenty of space to move around and take pictures out the windows. If anyone in your party has fear of heights there is a seating area in the center of the capsule.

 Capsule

Capsule

Inside the capsule as you ascend you are able to view out in every direction. It will be easy to see certain landmarks like Downtown Orlando, the dome at Epcot Center or the Orange County Convention Center.

 Downtown Orlando

Downtown Orlando

 Epcot Center

Epcot Center

Operating Hours - Orlando Eye
May 4th - December 31st, 2015