Orlando's International Drive

There is much to see and do at Orlando's International Drive. Spectacular shopping, dining, and lodging are all found within this three-mile stretch of highway.

There is so much more to Orlando than the theme parks that usually come first to mind. It is a city of lights, glamour, and constant activity to keep guests occupied both day and night. If it is the theme parks you are traveling to see, you will find all the Disney parks, including the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and other Disney parks and resorts in Orlando right at your fingertips. Also calling Orlando home are Sea World, Universal Studios, Disney/MGM Studios, and Holy Land Experience.

If your vacation's scope is beyond the parks, there are areas to find many other things to do and see, such is Orlando's International Drive. Whether you are seeking fabulous shopping, top-notch lodging, or cultural activities, it's all found along this three mile stretch of highway.

The first order of business should be deciding how to get around while visiting International Drive. Traffic is heavy during the day and again at nighttime, considering the boundless array of night life in Orlando, so you may choose to use the I-Ride Trolley. Get a day pass and embark/board where you choose. The trolley makes many stops along International Drive and the rounds are every 15 minutes. I-Ride runs seven days a week, year-round, from 7:00 in the morning until midnight.

Dining and lodging are plentiful in this area. All major hotel chains are found in both Orlando and nearby Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway in Kissimmee. Whether you are looking for fast food or the most elegant of meals, you will find it. The Orlando area is also famous for its dinner theaters. There are about a half dozen of them that offer theater shows of all varieties while dining.

If your stay in Orlando is family-vacation related, International Drive offers much to see and do. At the Mercado Village, you will find a portal to step back in time and become a passenger on the ill-fated Titanic. Costumed guides will take you, the passenger, through this grand adventure. When you purchase your ticket at 8445 International Drive, it will have the name of an original Titanic passenger on it. The museum offers the full story of the Titanic, and includes some artifacts rescued from the site of the sinking.

After the tour through the museum, you will be able to check the lists to see if the person you were portraying survived the tragedy or not. Be a first class passenger on the world's largest luxury liner. See the interior, and then stand on the deck with strains of Nearer My God To Thee playing as you hear the water and sounds of other passengers. The room is very cold and dark and you will see and hear the water and see the stars. Although it feels very cold, the room is actually 20 degrees warmer than the passengers felt on that ill-fated night.

Nearby is the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. Take a good look at the building. The architecture is such that the building appears to be sinking into one of those Florida sinkholes at one end. Inside are housed hours of entertainment for the young and old alike.

The museum has some interactive things to do, and brain teasers to try and figure out. Displays range from awe inspiring to the ridiculous. See the oddities that made Mr. Ripley famous, including the biggest, the tallest, the smallest, and the strangest of things.

See part of Robert Ripley's 40 year collection of oddities at the Orlando location. The focal point at Ripley's is a 1907 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. What is odd about this vehicle is that is was crafted from one million, sixteen thousand, seven hundred eleven matchsticks. It measures 13 feet in length and is 3/4 scale.

While on the subject of incredible but odd buildings, the WonderWorks themed attraction at 9067 International Drive is difficult to miss while traveling through this section of Orlando. It appears to have been built upside down with things such as street lamps and palm trees hanging upside down from the top of the building.

WonderWorks houses an interactive entertainment center. There are many hands-on experiences at this attraction. Whether you want virtual reality activities, or you would like to experience hurricane-force winds or an earthquake, this is the place to find it. Your hunger can be satisfied while visiting WonderWorks with Mazzarella's Pizzeria on site.

A trip into the macabre world is found at Skull Kingdom, located at the intersection of International Drive and Universal Blvd. Step into the castle behind the giant skull and you will find a domain of special effects, fright, and robotics for a genuinely frightening escape from reality. You may just encounter a live monster while walking through the fog and other special effects.

Is shopping on the agenda while vacationing or doing business in this area? There are numerous shopping plazas on International Drive. Find 50 shops at the Belz Designer Outlet Center and 80 shops at Pointe Orlando. Other shopping areas are Dowdy Plaza, Gooding's International Plaza, Quality Outlet Center, and Mercado Mediterranean Village. An FAO Schwartz toy store is also found on International Drive.

Finally, if a respite from Florida's glorious sunshine-produced heat is warranted, International Drive's Wet "˜n Wild water park will fill the bill. This water park is staffed with certified lifeguards.

There are thrill rides and kiddie rides, an arcade, and volleyball. Shorts, cutoffs, or clothing with zippers or buckles are not allowed here, and you will need an appropriate bathing suit to use this water park.

When the day is over and it is time for dinner or some night life, International Drive offers many restaurants of varied cuisines. Perhaps most renowned are the Orlando dinner theaters. There will surely be one to fit all tastes in food and entertainment. These dinner theaters are found in or very near to Orlando. Reservations are strongly recommended at each.

Mark Two Dinner Theater's fare is a buffet at which the main course changes with the show. Live Broadway shows are performed here. To see a wonderful equestrian performance, the dinner theater to visit is Arabian Nights. It is a fantasy land of princes, princesses, and glorious horses and the main course of the meal is prime rib of beef, but vegetarian meals can also be requested.

A musical review based on Al Capone's life is found in the 30s-style dinner theater called Capone's Dinner and Show. Dinner is an Italian/American all-you-can-eat buffet. For dinner and show in a medieval castle, try King Henry's Feast. You will see things such as an aerial ballerina, jugglers, jesters, another other things to keep you entertained as you enjoy a four-course meal.

Step aboard a galleon for stunts, aerial acts, and adventure... find them all and more at Pirate's Dinner Adventure and enjoy dinner at the same time. Guests can help solve a murder mystery at Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Shows. Try to play detective as you enjoy dinner and dessert.

For a wild west theme, Wild Bill's Wild West Dinner Extravaganza will be the place to visit. Go back to 1876 and see a traveling western show while enjoying your four-course meal.

Cost for dinner shows in the Orlando/Kissimmee average $40 per person for your meal and entertainment. Discount coupons are offered for most of them in print style from free coupon books distributed around the area, and many of them have online discount coupons to print.

Fine dining, luxury lodging, spectacular shopping... all are found on the exciting strip of highway called International Drive in Orlando.

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