The first thing that pops into most people's minds when they think of Orlando is Mickey Mouse and Disney World, but the bustling city offers so much more. Credit Union Times asked some local credit union leaders to offer up some local flavor advice on must see attractions while in Orlando.
Everyone almost automatically thinks about our great theme parks. Visitors may not realize that Orlando is a thriving city with a great downtown area. On a nice day, I would encourage you to check out our thriving downtown area and take a walk around beautiful Lake Eola where you can even take a Swan shaped paddleboat out on the water! You can go shopping in Thorton Park or have a bite to eat while sitting outside at a great restaurant downtown. Orlando is more than just a theme park, so I always encourage visitors to check out some of our city's other great attractions!
Business Development Specialist CFE Federal Credit Union After Florida was ceded to the U.S. by Spain in 1821, Native Americans from the Southeast were pursued throughout the state by the U.S. Army. The army built small forts throughout the state at intervals of about 20 miles (a day's march). One of those was Ft. Christmas, began on Christmas Day, 1837, during the 2nd Seminole Indian War. About 20 miles east of Orlando on Ft. Christmas Road, north from SR 50 1.5 miles, is a full replica of that fort with many historical artifacts and exhibits. Also on the site are several original pioneer buildings and homes, moved from other locations. Picnic pavilions complete the environment for a get-away day that will make you so smart your dog will want to learn from you! Mike Murray President/CEO UCF Federal Credit Union When in Orlando most make the trip to Walt Disney World or Universal Studios, but few take in the natural beauty found amongst our many lakes and gardens. One of the best-kept secrets in Orlando is the Harry P. Leu Gardens (www.leugardens.org). Perfectly preserved and nestled just 10 minutes from the heart of Downtown Orlando, you can enjoy more than 50 acres of beautiful flowering plants and trees including over 1,000 rose bushes and the largest collection of Camellia's outside of California. You can also take advantage of the Butterfly Garden and the Leu House Museum as part of your $5 admission fee. No trip to Orlando would be complete without a visit to this paradise in the middle of the city! Kelly White Public Relations Director FAIRWINDS Credit Union A great place to visit is the Orange County Regional History Center. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown. It is a wonderful place to learn about and experience our rich history. From discovering what Spanish Moss filled mattresses felt like to the first pioneers to sitting behind a judge's bench in the restored courtroom. A variety of exhibits offer something for everyone to enjoy. Orlando is more than Mickey! Shasta Smith Community Development Liaison Martin Federal Credit Union A visit to Orlando isn't complete without eating lunch or dinner at Dexter's of Thornton Park. The atmosphere is fun, there are plenty of beer and wines from which to choose and the food quality is wonderful. It's hard to choose from the variety offered, but try the Dexter's Special sandwich or one of their signature entrees and don't forget to start with a basket of sweet and hot sweet potato chips. Reasonable prices and local art on display for purchase round out the dining experience. And when your meal is complete, walk two short blocks to beautiful Lake Eola and watch the swans. Annabelle D. Snyder Marketing Director HealthCare Federal Credit Union On the northwest side of Orlando's city limits, sits one of the finest steak houses in America. Del Frisco's Prime Steak & Lobster has won every major award for several years running, and is a favorite spot of Orlando residents. Every entree is a culinary delight, but their specialties are the filet mignon prime steak and the Australian cold-water lobster tail. An extensive wine list (5,500 bottles), huge side items (enough for sharing), and fantastic deserts enhance your meal. Award winning service and great ambiance ensure a perfect meal. Prices are high, but worth the money-you will not find a better restaurant in Orlando. Advanced reservations are strongly recommended as tables fill up fast. Wayne Schneck Marketing Manager McCoy Federal Credit Union A "must see" show is Cirque de Soleil's La Nouba. La Nouba is performed twice nightly in a state of the art theatre located in Downtown Disney. To fully experience this show get seats in the middle of the theatre. La Nouba is not just a show it's an experience that will leave anyone from 8 to 80 completely amazed. If there is just one thing you do while in Orlando this is it! Lynn W. Owen III President/CEO Insight Financial Credit Union