Running Clubs In Orlando

Running is one of those activities that brings together men and women of all ages and backgrounds to bond together as their feat pound the pavement on a regular basis. Running is a religion for many. Some prefer the loneliness that running offers to individuals needing an escape from the responsibilities of life. For others, running in a group offers a unique comradery and helpful accountability. Running clubs in Orlando offer individuals a chance for regular running in a community or a pack of runners.

Running Clubs in Orlando

Why Run In A Group?

For most, running in a group provides motivation, encouragement and accountability. Distance running presents equal mental challenges as it does physical challenges; as such, having a group keep you accountable can help you fight the mental fight. Whether it means getting you out of bed before the sun comes up to get in a few miles or merely pushing you on while you’re exhausted in the middle of a long run, the group dynamic is beneficial for many runners.

Running Clubs In Orlando

  • The Orlando Runners Club has been around since 1976 and includes original members such as the owner of local running shop Track Shack. For almost 30 years, the club has been running an 11 mile route in the Winter Park community of Orlando every Sunday morning. The club’s website claims that one of the main goals of the club is to provide training partners, and the relationships have gone even further than that. Some relationships formed in the club have turned into marriages! The club meets at 7:00am at the corner of Park Ave and Welbourne in Winter Park each Sunday morning. Sunday morning runs typically range between 5 and 11 miles. Learn more at www.orlandorunnersclub.org.
  • Orlando Runners is a group formed on meetup.com that plans frequent local runs for anyone interested in Orlando. The group was founded in 2008 and has been going strong since. The Meetup group features over 1,000 members. Learn more at meetup.com.
  • Orlando Running Club for Women is a weekly group running club for women in Orlando. The group meets every Saturday morning at various locations (check the schedule on their website) for groups runs typically ranging in 4 to 6 miles. They request individuals to RSVP to limit each group run size to 35 participants. The club emphasizes a buddy system which pairs runners within the group to stimulate encouragement and keep all runners safe. Learn more at www.orlandowomenrunners.com.
  • Lake Nona Run Club is an Orlando running club specific to the Lake Nona area. They offer early morning and night runs for groups looking for a run in the Lake Nona area. Learn more at www.lakenonarunclub.com.

Running is a fantastic activity for staying healthy both physical and mentally. Many casual runners find it difficult maintaining a regular running schedule. Dedicated runners typically encourage runners to find a local group or club to run with. The community led encouragement, motivation and accountability do wonders for runners looking to stay on schedule and potentially train for a long run such as a half marathon or full marathon. It’s no surprise that the community aspect of club running has moved into other fitness areas such as CrossFit.

Check out the running clubs noted above, and if we’re missing any notable running clubs in Orlando, add them to the comments section.

For more information on all things running and Orlando running events, check out Track Shack.

Best Oysters In Orlando

Best Oysters In Orlando

Fewer cuisines are as polarizing as eating oysters. It seems like someone either hates eating the slimy food from the ocean or they’re obsessed with it. If you haven’t yet had a great experience eating oysters, it is possible that you just haven’t had the right type or had them from the right venue. If you’re obsessed with them, well, there’s no need to convince you of how fun it can be to eat oysters, but maybe we’ll provide you with some new restaurants to check out here in Orlando. Here is our oyster eating guide along with our list of restaurants to find the best oysters in Orlando.

Before we point you in the direction of finding the best oysters in town, here are a few tips

The R-Month Rule

In oyster eating circles, there has been a long standing rule for eating oysters. The rule says that you shouldn’t eat raw oysters in months that do not have an “r” in them. For example, May, June, July, August. In other words, don’t eat oysters during the summer, when it is hot.  This is especially the case in Florida as water temperatures are higher in this region than the other parts of the country. Many oyster fans disregard this rule and eat them at will, but if you’re cautious or new, eat your oysters in the cold months.

How Oysters Are Prepared

Oysters are prepared a few different ways typically. First, it’s important to discard oysters that are already opened or cracked as it maens the oyster is likely dead and won’t be good for eating. Wash them right before preparing them (rather than washing them ahead of time) as this will ensure they stay alive the longest which means the freshest oyster possible.

Many enjoy oysters steamed. Steaming the oysters for 5-10 minutes will result in most of the oysters opening. Typically, you discard the ones that did not open.

Roasting oysters means cooking them on the grill. You can roast them either on the half shell or whole. Typically 5 to 6 minutes is all that is needed.

Some also fry oysters, and of course, eating them raw is very popular.

Shucking Oysters

Typically, if you’re shucking oysters, it means you’re eating them raw. To shuck the oyster, you’ll need a short knife  or something with a thin edge that you can work in between the oyster shells to pry them open. Need more help on learning how to shuck? Try this instructional video:

Now that you’ve learned more about eating oysters, let’s discuss where we can eat the best oysters in Orlando.

Lee and Rick’s – 5621 Old Winter Garden Rd

This longstanding local joint is simply the best if you’re looking for Oysters in Orlando. Located on the intersection of Kirkman Rd and Old Winter Garden, Lee and Rick’s is ideal for those looking for excellent oysters, inexpensive drinks and a great local atmosphere. Lee and Rick’s is about impressing you with their oysters and that’s it. There’s no pretense at this local place. Go there, hand over some cash and get some buckets of oysters in return. If you’re an oyster enthusiast, you will not be disappointed.

Big Fin Seafood Kitchen – 8046 Via Dellagio Way

Big Fin is located on Sand Lake’s “Restaurant Row” which is known for its higher end restaurants. Big Fin has the feel of a more casual seafood kitchen and the selection of oysters to eat is fantastic. Their experienced staff will explain the different types of oysters that they offer and the areas they come from. Examples include Blue Point, CT, Cape Spear, NB, East Bch Blonde, RI, Fanny Bay, BC and more. They offer Chef’s Choice dozens which include a variety of the various oysters which allows you to try different kinds and find the best oysters that fit your tastes. Big Fin Seafood Kitchen also has great outdoor seating with a fun outdoor bar area.

Johnnie’s Hideaway – 12551 State Road 535

Johnnie’s is a great restaurant offering much more than oysters, however, if you’re an oyster fan, head into this spot for happy hour between 4:30 and 6:30pm. Their happy hour offers some great oyster options for great prices. Johnnie’s has a fantastic deck with a bar and seating overlooking a pond which is great for happy hour.

Other Honorable Mentions

Cityfish Restaurant – 617 E Central Blvd

King Cajun Crawfish – 914 N. Mills Ave

How To Meet The Frozen Princesses at Orlando’s Disney World

Disney’s “Frozen” animated film has taken the world’s kids and adults alike by storm since its debut in 2013. While families flock to movie theaters and television screens to take in the instant classic film, there’s another way for fans to experience “Frozen”. In Orlando, at Disney World, fans can meet the Frozen princesses in person.

It is rare that a Disney film features two Disney princesses and depending on which child you ask, one’s favorite princess will differ between Elsa and Anna. Throw in the sister dynamic between the two main characters and millions of little girls have become enamored with the Frozen princesses. But, it’s not just little girls. Because of the film’s wide array of characters like Olaf and Kristoff, little boys love the film as well. Moreover, the extraordinary music helps draw in the adult fans.

Disney hit a home run with its Frozen movie and you can expect the company to continue to leverage the characters of Anna, Elsa and the others in many more ways to capitalize on the immense worldwide popularity of the film. Disney’s longtime model of leveraging their popular films to create theme park experiences will be fully visible with Frozen.

So, how can fans meet the Frozen princesses? Until recently, the way to meet Elsa and Anna was to head to Epcot’s Norway Pavilion. The experience was very difficult to get into with lines lasting all day. If you’re not staying at a Disney property, you can’t enter the park until 9:00am. Even if you’re the first into the park at this time and you sprint to the Norway pavilion, you’ll still encounter lines up to 6 and 7 hours in length. How? Because Disney allows the hotel guests into the park an hour early. If you’re staying at a Disney hotel, you had access into Epcot an hour early and of course, these guests went straight to Norway to meet Elsa and Anna.

As of April 2014, to meet the Frozen princesses, you will now have to head to Magic Kingdom. The princesses will be joining the other characters at Magic Kingdom’s Princess Fairytale Hall. So, can you expect a better experience as a result of the move from Epcot to Magic Kingdom? The answer is a resounding yes, and that is because the Disney FastPass is an option for the Princess Fairytale Hall. As such, rather than spending the entire day waiting in line to meet the princesses, you can obtain a FastPass and return at the designated time for entry into the experience. Fathers of little girls tasked with the responsibility of waiting in line for 6 hours will appreciate the ability to utilize Disney’s FastPass system now.

It’s likely that the Frozen princesses become as much of a main stay for the Disney brand as the historical characters of Sleeping Beauty, Ariel and Belle. Elsa and Anna are the obsessions of the next generation of Disney’s fans, and Disney indeed understands how to maximize the opportunity. You can expect kids to line up to meet the Frozen princesses for years to come. Maybe Disney will allow guests to meet Olaf as well at some point?

 

The 4Rivers Creator’s New Restaurant: The Coop

John Rivers and his 4Rivers brand of Central Florida BBQ restaurants has become one of the most successful local dining stories in recent years. Patrons have become accustomed to the long lines reaching out the door at the various 4Rivers locations whether it be Winter Park, Winter Garden, Longwood or now out by UCF.

4Rivers New Restaurant

When it became known that Rivers was working on a new restaurant concept, the buzz was immediate. After conquering the BBQ scene, Rivers is now turning his attention to southern comfort foods, and the excitement is building for the opening of “The Coop” in Winter Park this month.

Fried chicken will be a focal point of the menu. Chicken dinners coupled with sides, buckets of chicken or chicken tenders are all options on the menu. An item that has many talking is the Chicken N’ Biscuits w/ Bourbon Maple Drizzle appetizer. Is your mouth watering yet?

Other items include Shrimp Po Boy, Chicken and Waffles, and Shrimp and Grits. If you enjoy the selection of sides at 4Rivers, the “fixins” at The Coop might be enough to bring you in alone. Pimento Cheese Grits, Hush Puppies, Skillet Cornbread and Fried Chicken Crispies are some of the offerings. Moreover, if you’re concerned about calorie consumption, there are a couple salad options on the menu. You can view the entire menu here.

As you might expect, the restaurant will follow a similar flow and format of the well tested 4Rivers concept where guests will order at the counter rather than offer full table service. With the buzz of this concept and the history of 4Rivers, you can expect exceedingly long lines especially in the months immediately after opening.

Also, similar to some 4Rivers location, desserts and sweets will be an offering and will include items tailored to the Southern concept of The Coop. Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding, Old School Banana Pudding, Coop moon pies and “Sweetie Pies” make up the dessert section of the menu.

It appears that John Rivers will once again debut a successful restaurant to local Orlando residents. As the 4Rivers brand expands in Central Florida and into cities like Gainesville and Jacksonville, it’s not hard to imagine The Coop following a similar growth trajectory if the concept shares similar success with the BBQ sister brand.

The Coop is located at 610 West Morse Blvd. Winter Park, FL 32789. You can call the restaurant at 407-THE-COOP.

Orlando Birthday Party Ideas

Whether you’re throwing a birthday party for a child, teenager, young adult or seasoned adult, many Orlando birthday party ideas await here in Central Florida.

Upscale Birthday Party Ideas

If you’re looking for a an upscale way to celebrate a birthday, we’ve got you covered. There are a number of great restaurants locally that offer private and quiet spaces for a group of ten or so to dine. A few restaurants with small private rooms perfect for such a gathering include The Palm at the Hard Rock Hotel, Bice at the Portofino Bay Hotel, the brewery room at Cask & Larder, and the Barrel Room at Moonfish.

If you’re looking for an upscale restaurant option for a smaller group that might be a little out of the ordinary, or a little more special for a birthday dinner, consider Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at the Royal Pacific Resort or the California Grill on top of the Contemporary Resort at Disney (stay for the fireworks). For a special, purely local  option that you likely haven’t had before, check out Chatham’s in Dr. Phillips or Christini’s across the street. If you’re not a regular in the Winter Park area, the food and atmosphere at Prado is indeed tough to beat.

Orlando Birthday Party Ideas

If budget permits, a large birthday dinner at a resort restaurant like Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton followed by a night at the hotel is definitely a special way to spend a birthday. Wake up and enjoy the amazing pool facilities at the resort. Other similar options might include Blue Zoo and the Dolphin Resort at Disney or a downtown restaurant and the Grand Bohemian Hotel.

Casual and Fun Orlando Birthday Party Ideas

Two of the top restaurants in Orlando for a fun and casual birthday party are Cafe Tu Tu Tango on International Drive and Rocco’s Taco’s on Sand Lake Road. At Cafe Tu Tu Tango, if you have a group of 10-12, try to reserve the special wooden table with the chairs built into the tree trunk. It’s one of the more unique tables in all of Orlando. Cafe Tu Tu Tango is a great option for drinks and smaller, unique dishes, then combining dinner with something fun on International Drive like bowling or catching a movie.

Looking to get a little loose? Try Universal’s CityWalk. You can have dinner at Emeril’s, Margaritaville or the brand new Antojito’s and then stay and bar hop at the various clubs. Plenty of dancing can be had at Margaritaville with the house band or, if you’re looking for more of a club atmosphere, check out the groove. When you’ve built up enough courage, head to Rising Star and take a stab at the best karaoke in town.

Of course, heading downtown to catch an Orlando Magic game is also a great way to spend a birthday. With the new Amway arena, going to a Magic game is hardly about basketball anymore. The venue itself is half the fun, and the group is sure to have a blast even if several have no interest in basketball.

Family Oriented Orlando Birthday Party Ideas

Looking to have a family birthday dinner involving fun and festivities for both adults and kids? As we stated above, Cafe Tu Tu Tango can also work with kids and a nearby activity like miniature golf.  House of Blues or Bongos at Downtown Disney can be a fun venue for a family as well.  For families with little ones, consider Rainforest Cafe or the T-Rex restaurant. Follow up dinner at Downtown Disney with some fun at Splitsville.

Outdoor activities (more on these in the next section) can also be great for the family. A popular activity for families on special occasions is heading out to Wekiwa Springs State Park. Here you can do a picnic lunch followed up with either kayaking down the river or swimming in the spring.

Of course, enjoying some of the resort pools in town is also a great time for family fun. Some of the best pool resorts are the Hyatt Grand Cypress and Disney’s Dolphin Hotel. Spend a day poolside with some food and drinks while the kids splash around. Hotels like the JW Marriott Grande Lakes and the Hilton Bonnet Creek have lazy rivers if that’s more your style.

Outdoor Orlando Birthday Party Ideas

Orlando offers a number of outdoor activities. In the warmer times of the year, spending time on the many lakes in Central Florida is a great way to celebrate a birthday. The Sportsman’s Club in southwest Orlando is a common, lakefront venue for celebrating a birthday party. You can rent out one of the facilities or simply use the open picnic tables and/or spaces. The grounds include a playground, volleyball court, and of course the Butler Chain lakes for plenty of water fun.

If you’re in the mood for something different, check out one of the Orlando water parks such as SeaWorld’s Aquatica park. Setting up shop on the lounge chairs at Aquatica is a very fun day with some sun, food, drinks and water slides.

For the golf enthusiasts of course, Orlando offers a wide range of golf courses. Groups frequent the Orange County National facilities for golf and parties quite frequently. You can even stay the night if you plan to enjoy some adult beverages.

Lastly, you might consider heading out to Downtown Winter Garden and enjoying some time on the West Orange Trail followed up with a meal in the very underrated historic Downtown Winter Garden.

As you can tell, Orlando offers a myriad of birthday party ideas whether you’re looking to get dressed up or dressed down. We hope this was helpful in planning your next birthday party here in Orlando.

Publix brings the Orlando cooking school to its new Dr Phillips store

Orlando cooking school 2

Its commonly known as restaurant row in Orlando with its wide selection of restaurants up and down the Sand Lake corridor in Dr. Phillips, but soon the upscale Dr. Phillips area might be known for its grocery stores. With Whole Foods and Publix less than a mile apart and a Trader Joes on the way (along with a Fresh Market close by), Publix has opened a new prototype store just across the street from the existing Publix. This new format also includes its Aprons Orlando cooking school.

The new Publix store is located in the Dr. Phillips market place in the old Albertson’s space that was a very popular store for many years. As Sand Lake Rd. was developed and the newer Publix and Whole Foods stores were built, Albertson’s struggled to maintain its customer base. When Publix built a liquor store in the old Albertson’s liquor store space, it foreshadowed that Publix would eventually take over the entire space occupied by the old competing grocer. It couldn’t have come at a better time as the north end of the Dr. Phillips Market Place has struggled to retain tenants with the loss of Albertson’s. The new Publix store which opened at the end of 2013 has been quite a hit; the wide open parking lot is now full of cars every day.

Publix says that they will be keeping the existing Publix across Sand Lake open. Why two Publix locations on the same intersection (Dr Phillips Blvd and Sand Lake Rd)? With its new store, Publix is testing a new format with some unique offerings. The prototype store does indeed feel more upscale when you walk inside. Additionally, you’ll notice the wide selection of ready-to-eat menu offerings built for individuals and families looking for a quick bite to eat (very similar to what customers are used to at Whole Foods down the road). Publix subs are a hit (and you can still get them here), but there is also a sushi counter and more fresh deli offerings.

New Publix in Dr Phillips

One of the other main attractions of this new store is the inclusion of the Orlando cooking school branded as the Aprons Orlando Cooking School. Located in the back-right portion of the store, individuals can sign up for cooking classes from expert chefs and get hands-on experience from culinary experts right inside the Publix store. You can view available classes here.

The Orlando Cooking School located inside the new Publix

Orlando Cooking School inside Publix

Overall, the store is very nice. It has many of the features that residents love about Publix, but also includes new elements which are sure to increase the frequency of visits from regular customers. The fresh food offerings is an obvious attempt to win business from Whole Foods loyalists, and the available cooking classes add yet another dimension.

The upscale area of Dr. Phillips is a great place to test out the new prototype of the Publix brand, however, positioned smack dab between a Fresh Market store and a Whole Foods, it will be interesting to see if they can grab a fair share of the high end grocery market. One thing the store absolutely has going for it when compared to Whole Foods is ease of getting in and out. The Market Place parking lot is a breeze to navigate compared to the awful intersection of Turkey Lake Road and Sand Lake right off Interstate-4. Getting in and out of the Whole Foods is a nightmare, and you can bet that at least some of the Dr. Phillips residents that used to pass the Dr. Phillips Market Place in order to travel to Whole Foods will find themselves stopping short at the Market Place and heading into this new Publix store.

International Drive’s Biggest Attraction: The Orlando Eye

Orlando’s International Drive is getting a massive face lift for the years and decades ahead. Just south of Sand Lake Rd on International Drive, the Orlando Eye is being erected which will tower the city of Orlando in a similar fashion to the London Eye in England’s major city.

The Orlando Eye will be a 425-foot-tall observation wheel (for comparison purposes, the London Eye is roughly 443 feet in height). Yes, the Orlando observation wheel will be enormous, higher than the nearby Hyatt (formerly the Peabody) Hotel tower.

Where is the Orlando Eye?

The newly built complex is on the east side of International Drive, south of Sand Lake Rd, just north of Point Orlando. Heck, just look in the sky for it once you approach International Drive, and you’ll be able to see it!

What else will be at the Orlando Eye or nearby?

It will be a part of the Orlando Eye complex (originally named I-Drive Live) which will include a number of other attractions such as a Sea Life aquarium and a Madame Tussauds wax museum. These attractions along with the Orlando Eye  itself will all be operated by the international company Merlin Entertainments Group (the same group that operates the London Eye).

In addition to these major attractions, a number of restaurants such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Carrabba’s, Yard House and more will also be included in the complex. Additionally, the Titanic and Bodies Exhibit will possibly be tenants in the complex.

Lastly, the complex is adjacent to the Kings Bowl and Charley’s Steakhouse on International Drive, and is also just down the road from the Point Orlando complex.

What does it cost to ride the Orlando Eye?

This is yet to be determined, but for comparison purposes, the London Eye typically has ticket prices starting at roughly 26 pounds which is over $40 US. You can expect that the Orlando Eye ticket prices will be a minimum of $35.

When will it open?

The Orlando Eye is under construction and is scheduled to open by the end of 2014. The owners have a goal of having the attraction open in time for New Years Eve at the end of 2014.

Will the Orlando Eye be popular?

The attraction will be hugely popular. It will be a landmark attraction for the city and is perfectly located on International Drive, smack in the middle of the convention and resort area. International Drive also has quite a bit of foot traffic.

Ideally, the Orlando Eye will have a price point that is significantly less than attending a theme park (I believe it will). A ticket in the $35-40 range should do very well. Additionally, the Orlando Eye will be a great option for resiednts and tourists alike that are looking for unique activity be it daytime or nighttime.

The views itself from the Orlando Eye will undoubtedly be worth the price of admission. The gigantic observation wheel is actually a fairly unique attraction for a city full of attractions and known as the theme park capital of the world. The timing is good and the revitalization of International Drive will be a major success.

Orlando Eye Photos

The following photo shows the construction progress of the Orlando Eye. Notice the large parking garage adjacent to the new complex.

The Orlando Eye Construction

The Orlando Eye Under Construction

Guide to Orlando Brew Pubs

According to Wikipedia, a brew pub (sometimes spelled brewpub) is typically defined as a pub or restaurant that brews beer on the premises. Orlando brew pubs have increased in numbers as locals continue to flock to quality eateries with unique offerings for eating… and drinking. In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the best brew pubs in Orlando and other places to, well, get great beer.

Orlando Brew Pubs

Orlando Brewing

One of the older microbreweries in town, Orlando Brewing has a tasting room great for enjoying some new beers. They have some staple beer offerings along with a number of seasonals that will rotate through.

Cask & Larder Southern Public House

C&L is a newer restaurant in Winter Park, owned by the folks who own the popular Ravenous Pig. The craft beers brewed onsite are tasty, and the menu is extremely unique. Ravenous Pig and C&L both have a goal to offer great food and great beer together. Try them both.

BJ’s Brewery

While this is a chain and they don’t brew the beer onsite at the Millena Mall location, they do have their own craft beers and they’re very decent. They have a large menu with inexpensive food and lots of TVs for you sports fans. They offer a good sampler of their own beers and it won’t empty your wallet.

World of Beer

Another chain, but it’s tough to beat the beer selection at the World of Beer venues. With several locations in Orlando such as Dr. Phillips and Lake Mary, World of Beer has hundreds of beers. Note that they do not serve food at WOB.

Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour

Probably one of the most well known places to get craft beer in Orlando, Redlight Redlight has an enormous selection. The crowd can be a bit on the hipster side, but if you’re a lover of beer, you’ll fit right in. It can also be loud. It’s not for everybody, but if you haven’t been, you should definitely give it a try. Great local spot.

Prato

Another trendy spot mixing good eats and a unique beer selection is Prato on Park Ave in Winter Park. They typically have a very nice selection of beers brewed locally with a very vibrant bar area.

Red Eye Bar & Grill

This little BBQ joint is located next to the Publix off Maguire Rd. in Windermere and has good pork sandwiches, but also a great draft beer selection. The owner loves his BBQ and meats, but it’s clear from the selection that he also loves his beer. The restaurant also has a “beer garden” out back for those days where you just have to drink a beer outside.

The Pub

This British themed restaurant at Pointe Orlando is just that, a huge British pub. Not only is the food and beer selection immense, but they even have “Pour your own beer” walls where you can get a mug and try a myriad of beers and pay by the ounce or pint.

Ollie’s

Formerly known as Jax, Ollie’s is a staple to College Park residents. They have a nice selection of draft beers along with some good bottled beers as well.

Fiddler’s Green

Fiddler’s in Winter Park is a staple of the community. They have a number of beers on tap including many Irish favorites. You can do a draft sampler here where you get four small glasses of your choice for $5.00. If you’re looking for Irish food, it’s one of the best in town as well.

Marlow’s Tavern

A newcomer to the Pointe Orlando complex, Marlow’s Tavern is American cuisine with craft beers. They have a nice selection of beer and bring in many local favorites. It’s a quiet and comfortable venue on International Drive, much different from the more noisy Taverna Opa and Cuba Libre venues at Pointe Orlando.

Bloodhound Brew Pub & Eatery

With two unusual locations in town (Kirkman Rd. in the old Pizza Hut building and the Whirly Dome venue on International Drive), the Bloodhound Brew Pub & Eatery is yet another newcomer to the scene with good eats and craft beers. They have over 100 beers including 40 craft beers on tap and 70+ options on bottled beer. If you’re looking for something new, check out Whirly Ball then stay and eat and drink at Bloodhound. It’ll be a unique evening, I assure you.

Raglan Road

If you’re looking to mingle with some tourists, Raglan Road at Downtown Disney is actually a fantastic venue. The prices will be a little high considering it is Disney, but Raglan Road is a great spot. They have good options of import draught beers and American crafts. You can also do some great flights of beer if you want to taste a variety of options.

Like many cities, Orlando’s beer pub scene is diverse and expanding. Orlando residents are always on the look out for a local place to get good food at a good price and have a wide variety of beverage options. Orlando brew pubs are the answer for many. While not all of these options brew their own beer, you’re sure to find many favorites on the above list. Give them each a try in the months ahead.

Trader Joes Orlando: Locations and News

Trader Joe's OrlandoTrader Joe’s is an extremely popular chain of specialty grocery stores located in various markets in the United States. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, the chain has nearly 500 stores across the nation.

Trader Joe’s stores are different from typical grocery stores in that they carry significantly less variety in its inventory. A typical grocery store carries up to 50,000 items while a Trader Joe’s typically has around 4,000. Also, roughly 80% of the products bear the Trader Joe’s brand name. The private label products at Trader Joe’s claim to not have artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or trans fats.

The chain has a reputation for being environmentally friendly, having a wide selection of organic and healthy foods and a lower price point from stores such as Whole Foods Market.

As the company has grown into new markets, the following of Trader Joes has indeed grown. Many fans swear by the store and seek out a local Trader Joe’s store when visiting other cities.

In Orlando, local residents have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Trader Joe’s even with a number of locations of Whole Foods and Fresh Market stores.

The presence of Trader Joe’s in the state of Florida has been somewhat limited with stores in Gainesville and Sarasota, but that appears to be slowly changing.

As of August 2013, Orlando residents can be excited to hear that there are two Trader Joes Orlando locations coming.

Trader Joe’s in Dr Phillips

A 12,500 square foot Trader Joe’s store will be built in the Dr. Phillips area at Sand Lake Road and Sandpoint Boulevard. The store is a logical location given the density of high income population and quality restaurants. The location is an anchor tenant of a new retail center adjacent to the Dellagio complex on Sand Lake Rd. The new complex dubbed Parkside at Dr Phillips will be on the other side of Sandpoint Blvd from Dellagio (closer to Apopka Vineland Rd.) The Trader Joe’s in Dr Phillips will be within a mile of a Whole Foods store and just a few miles down Dr Phillips Blvd from a Fresh Market store.

Trader Joe’s in Winter Park

On the other side of town, in Winter Park, Trader Joe’s will open in Lakside at Winter Park near Lake Killarney opposite of Morse Blvd. Like Dr Phillips, Winter Park is a logical location given the high income residents and number of Orlando “foodies”.

We will continue to watch as Trader Joe’s expands their presence in the Central Florida market and update readers as new Trader Joes Orlando locations come online.

To hear about anything new with Trader Joe’s in Orlando before anyone else, sign up to our email list using the form on the top-right portion of this page. Then you’ll get an email straight to your inbox with any new Trader Joe’s Central Florida news.

Fun and unique Orlando bachelor party ideas

Are you planning some festivities to celebrate your buddy’s approaching wedding? No need to book airfare to Las Vegas as we’ve got you covered with some excellent Orlando bachelor party ideas. Sure, there’s always Downtown Orlando, but you’ve been there and done that. For your bud’s bachelor party, it’s time to get a little more creative and do something a little more out of the box and memorable.

Rocco’s Tacos and Corona Cigar

If you’re looking for festive food and drink, fewer places are more fun than Rocco’s Tacos on Sand Lake Rd. This rockin’ joint took the space of the old Samba Room adjacent to the Publix on Sand Lake Rd. If you’re heading here on a weekend night, be sure to put in a reservation (and you’ll likely still wait). This place gets utterly slammed on weekends. It’s an ideal mix of a loud, fun, energetic restaurant environment that serves good, inexpensive food and a plethora of libations. You’ll see groups ordering shots in the middle of dinner, and you’ll notice a handful of couples get up and dance in the middle of the restaurant. Get the guacamole and some drinks, then go light on actual dinner. You’ll be plenty full.

Follow up the dinner action with a low-key wind down in the manliest place in Orlando: Corona Cigar Co. Go inside and light up some stogies. Find some seats on the king chairs around the big screen TV and order some cold beers. Corona doesn’t serve liquor, so your options will be limited to beer and wine.

Be sure to take a taxi home, of course.

Orange County National golf overnight

Looking to integrate some golf action into a bachelor party event? Look no further than Orange County National. Orange County National has multiple golf courses and an onsite lodge. Golf two days in a row and do some eating and drinking at night at the lodge. No driving around town necessary as you’ve got everything you need on property.

As for the golf courses, they are in excellent shape and have enough variety to keep all golfers very interested.

Grande Lakes golf and pool 

If you’re looking for a more upscale overnight location in Orlando, consider the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton properties at Grande Lakes. Frankly, the JW Marriott is such a fantastic property, it’s not necessary paying a little more for the adjacent Ritz-Carlton. The pool at the JW Marriott will treat you well. It’s a lush tropical environment, not too crowded, and one that serves plenty of food and drink in the sunshine.

bachelor party ideas

The Grande Lakes golf course is a high end course. You’ll pay a little extra for it, but it’s a fantastic course.

Looking for something similar, but don’t want to head to Grande Lakes? Consider the Hilton and Waldorf-Astoria (near Disney) which has a very similar setup to Grande Lakes.

Texas De Brazil and Kings Bowl

If you’re looking to eat well and incorporate a fun activity into the bachelor party night, consider a tandem of Brazilian Steakhouse Texas De Brazil and nearby Kings Bowl. Texas De Brazil (or recently added Fogo de Chao) is a Brazilian Steakhouse on International Drive where meat lovers flock to. The variety and volume of meats available to consume will leave you stuffed.

After leaving with a full belly, head over to Kings Bowl (opened in 2013) which is a high-end bowling alley that is half night club, half bowling. If you have a group of 10-15 guests, consider the private room in front of the building which has your own lanes and even an adjacent outdoor bocce court on the patio – very cool. If not, get some lanes in the back room near the pool tables and shuffle board.

Orlando Grand Prix

Golf and bowling too tame for you? Consider getting the competitive juices and adrenaline flowing by heading over to the Orlando Grand Prix near the Florida Mall. This indoor go-kart facility allows extreme speeds on some killer indoor tracks. The facility can even time the racers and allow you to compete against your buddies. Orlando Grand Prix has two tracks and some basic food & beverage options. Plan on heading to dinner somewhere following the grand prix experience.

Want to get even more extreme? Consider heading out to Richard Petty Driving Experience and take a few laps riding shotgun in a real race car or an exotic Lamborghini at speeds topping 125 MPH.

Want to do something competitive and fun, but racing not your style? Check out Whirly Ball and the Whirly Dome on International Drive.

Conclusion

Bachelor parties are meant to bring you and your friends together to celebrate the upcoing wedding of a close friend. Don’t sell yourselves short by limiting your bachelor party event to some downtown Orlando bar or club hopping. Bring together a number of these Orlando bachelor party ideas to put together the ultimate night that you’ll remember for years to come.