Getting Goofy in Orlando

The famed Florida destination continues to astonish

Lately, it’s been downright impossible to discount the luscious, shirtsleeve temperatures in Florida. From Miami to Jacksonville to Panama Beach, the warm and toasty side of winter is on full display, giving avid Colorado golfers an Eden-esque alternative to our El Niño-amplified snowstorms.

Orlando is very much part of that appeal—even more so thanks to a bevy of new attractions, entertainment and dining options that underscore the city’s world-renowned theme parks and golf resorts. Here are five reasons why Orlando should be on your winter travel itinerary:

1. Orlando shines with more than 170 golf courses, 20 golf academies and a plethora of sensational resort properties, including 36-hole Grand Cypress Golf Club (above), 72-hole Walt Disney World, 54-hole Reunion Resort, Bay Hill Club & Lodge and the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club.

2. Take a break from the area’s amazing theme park rides and shows with something entirely different. Orlando is also famous for outdoor adventures like airboating, ziplining, hang gliding, water parks and eco-safaris. We suggest a snorkel or scuba amongst Central Florida’s clear blue, 73-degree natural waters at nearby Wekiwa Springs (above), Rock Springs or Kelley Springs.

3. Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World has awakened The Force and is transporting guests to a galaxy far, far away at the new Star Wars Launch Bay. Get up close to replica props, models, costumes and artifacts from the popular film saga, and learn how a new filmmaking generation is crafting the iconic future of Star Wars.

4. Iron Chef America elevated Japanese master chef Masaharu Morimoto to superstar status. Savor his stylish Pan-Asian cuisine now at his newly opened restaurant, Disney Springs—Morimoto Asia, with appetite-swelling appointments that include 20-foot-long chandeliers, Shanghai-influenced lounges, private dining spaces and more. For something more casual, fuel up at the new Raiders of the Lost Ark-inspired Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, also in Disney Springs.

5. If shopping is a passion, ignite it at I-Drive 360, Orlando’s newest major retail, dining and entertainment complex. Among its new Facebook-posting temptations are the 400-foot-high Orlando Eye observation wheel, SEA LIFE Aquarium and Madame Tussauds’ interactive celebrity wax experience.


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Chris Duthie is a Durango-based contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via