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Showing posts from February, 2013

Rick Yancey Speaks at Winter Park Public Library

On Tuesday, March 5, 2013, Young Adult author Rick Yancey will speak at the Winter Park Public Library (460 E. New England Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789). Yancey will touch on his memoir Confessions of a Tax Collection along with many of his books and series. His next book, The 5th Wave, is expected to come out in May. The 7p event is free but registration is required.

Film Review | 21 & Over | Paint-by-Numbers Youth-Behaving-Badly Flick Is Instantly Forgettable

Orlando Lens
By Nicholas Ware Twitter
Orlando, let me tell you. I've debauched. I've had nights that I've only remembered in pieces.  Later, those pieces have mutated into stories, increasingly fanciful, until the telling of the night resembles a Joseph Campbell monomyth. I leave the kingdom (karaoke bar), slay the dragon (salty redneck), and marry the princess (nice girl from Ohio). I love to tell these stories. I tell them knowing that there's a unspoken pact between my audience and myself that what is being told is not history but literature. Others do the same. Nobody begrudges the small lies that become big lies that become pure entertainment. Chances are the audience for 21 & Over, the new a-night-they'll-never-forget sinfest comedy from the writers of The Hangover, will not begrudge the film its utter implausibility, its inanity, or its Three Stooges-level disregard for what constitutes a reasonable amount of punishment the human body can take. These are ex…

State of City Address 2013: Governor's run, Harry Potter, Police Cameras, MLS Soccer Stadium

City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer gave his State of the City Address on Wednesday, February 27, 2013, to a full house at Orlando City Hall. Below are the highlights. You can watch the video or read the transcript of the entire speech on the City of Orlando website. 

 The biggest news to come out the address is Dyer’s very clear statement that he will NOT be running for Governor.
“After careful consideration, I have decided that I will not run for Governor. I believe that I have a responsibility to the people of Orlando to finish what we started. The next few years are going to be critical in terms of Orlando’s economic recovery and our efforts to create the jobs of the future. The decision not to run came down to a simple question. Are the next several years better spent on the campaign trail? Or, are they better spent at City Hall working every day to make Orlando the best place on earth to live, work, learn and raise a family? When boiled down to that question, the decision was remarka…

Orlando Travel Trends Infographic

On February 27, 2013, shared an infographic made by FlipKey, TripAdvisor's vacation home rental site. Its got tons of great data about Central Florida. Click here to see a bigger size. 

Image via

Springtime Swap & Shop Orlando | Other Peoples Property

The next Swap & Shop, Other Peoples Property's fantastic clothing event, is Friday March 15, 2013, 6-9pm, at 1300 Brookhaven Drive, Orlando, FL 32803. Tickets are $12. The Daily City, Yelp and The Naked Grape are the event sponsors.

Would you vote us "Best Blogger" in Orlando Magazine's Best of Orlando 2013?

Would you vote us "Best Blogger" in Orlando Magazine's Best of Orlando 2013 reader survey? 

TOASTED Winter Park | Grilled Cheese & Burger Restaurant

Toasted (1945 Aloma Ave) opened Wednesday February 27, 2013. It's a grill cheese and burger place. See photos from opening day below. 

Toasted Menus: Regular Menu Vegan Menu
Toasted Links:  Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest

20th Annual EPCOT International Flower & Garden To Feature Food (Including a Spiced Rum Version of the Dole Whip)

The 20th Annual EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival kicks off Wednesday, March 6 and this year a number of new additions have been added to the festival. 
New Topiary Additions: Join the Party with Mickey and Friends, Mike and Sully of Disney•Pixar's "Monsters Inc.", Phineas and Ferb, and many others. Garden Marketplaces: Getting around Epcot is thirsty, and hungry, work! Luckily, you’ll find a robust offering of gourmet bites and beverages, inspired by Spring and the international flair of World Showcase. Illuminated Gardens: Stay and play as select topiaries and gardens now light up the evening. It’s an extra sprinkling of pixie dust, and a most magical way to end your day. Land of Oz: Discover an all-new garden and children’s play area inspired by the new Disney film “Oz the Great and Powerful", featuring Cozy Domes® and Evos® play systems, designed to stretch imaginations and muscles. Garden Passport, Presented by HGTV: Pick up this complimentary guide…

Will Matildas Pub & Barbie Bring Jager Girls, Beer Pong, and Drinks by the Yard to Upscale Park Ave in Winter Park?

Scott Joseph is reporting that Galopin, the restaurant on the busy and popular Park Ave in Winter Park that took over the Circa space, closed. That was quick. The space is rumored to be cursed due to the high number of failed restaurants it swallows whole and spits back out. 

Enter Matilda’s Pub and Barbie, a brand that is part of a restaurant group based out of Newark, Delaware. It's scheduled to open in the cursed location in March 2013. That was quick.

Based on the content of the Newark location's Facebook page, we wonder if the Winter Park location will resemble the one in Newark.The bright orange décor of the Newark location has an Australian based surf bar feel, like the Senor Frogs on I-Drive. 

Also, that one call itself a sports bar. It touts college nights, drinks by the yard, live DJs, beer pong tournaments, wing eating contests, and Jager Girls.

Matilda's in Winter Park will sit across from St Margret Mary's Catholic Church and School and adjacent to the Morse M…

Darden Restaurants Talks Square app, Lobster Aquaculture, Growth Plans, and Walmart Consumer Goods at Investors Conference

Darden shared some interesting news in its annual analysts and investors conference on February 25-26, 2013. The Orlando Business Journal touched on some of the big stories of the conference such as; 

Plans to cut in half Olive Garden’s growth schedule- Updated growth plans now call for 15 new openings per year verses 36 per year that was previously reported. Price hikes will be lowered on an average guests check. Previously price hikes averaged around 2-3% per year, now Darden will focus on keeping them at around 1%.  The conference also gave us some great insights into Darden's take on a number of topics.

How Darden is investing in its own future- 
Clarence Otis - Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Executive Committee --“we're investing in the development of lobster aquaculture because we think that's critically important in order to preserve Red Lobster's ability to offer price accessibility over the long term.”

Cabana Bay Beach Resort At Universal Studios Orlando Announces Details Including Opening Date

While construction has been going on for a few months already Universal has been pretty tight lipped about details surrounding their new resort, the fourth hotel for the Orlando property. On Tuesday, February 26, 2013 they finally released some information regarding the resort. 
The hotel will offer 1,800 rooms spread out over two themed areas broken into a North and a South courtyard.   The two sections will each feature a unique take on the 1950’s and 60’s theme of the hotel and each will feature their own pool area.   The resort will offer two suite options- a value-priced standard room and a moderately priced family suite that sleeps 6.  The suites are a stunning 430sq ft (that almost the size of my apartment and bigger than almost any of those IKEA houses).

Orlando City Lions to Host Fluminense FC in International Friendly

With so much focus on Orlando City Lion’s new stadium the actual team has seemingly taken a backseat in the news.  Luckily though that hasn't stopped them from remaining sharp on the field, no matter where that field may be located in a few short years.  Orlando City SoccerClub announced an international friendly in cooperation with Fluminense Football Club, the reigning Brazilian Champions.  The international friendly will take place on Saturday, June 22 at the Lion’s home field which is currently at the Citrus Bowl.
“We are delighted to be hosting the reigning Brazilian Champions, Fluminense,” said Orlando City President Phil Rawlins. “They are one of the very best teams in all of Brazil and have a host of world-class players in their squad. I’m sure it will be a great spectacle for our fans.”
Fluminense FC competes in Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A, the top level of Brazilian soccer.  This year they are also one of the sides representing Brazil in the prestigious Libertadores of A…

Car Hits Restaurant at Intersection of Mills & Colonial

These are photos taken of Anh Hong restaurant on Thursday Februaury 26, 2013 at the corner of Colonial and Mills. A car hit the restaurant and was gone by the time we arrived.

Aloma Cinema Grill | A Winter Park Diamond in the Rough

Orlando Lens
By Nicholas Ware Twitter
There are many places to see a first-run mainstream film in the Orlando area. The vast majority are posh, staid Regal or AMC multiplexes that offer the comforts of stadium seating, expensive drinks and snacks, and even beer and wine. 

There is nothing wrong with these theaters. 

They are interchangeable in nature, but perfectly suited for the ordinary filmgoer. They have the expected double-digit standard ticket price for an evening show, and the expected amenities. 

However, those who are willing to go a little bit out of the way will find that Winter Park's Aloma Cinema Grill(2155 Aloma Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32792) offers an alternate experience that gives a little more sense of community, a bit of a throwback to an earlier age of movie-going, and a pretty great bargain.

The Dr Pepper Snapple Group Partners with KaBOOM for New Winter Park Playground

The city of Winter Park was recognized as a Playful City USA community by KaBOOM! and was selected as one of the Playful City USA communities to receive a “Let’s Play” City Construction Grant.  The grant is part of the “Let’s Play” community partnership led by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.  

On Saturday, March 2, 2013, a new playground will be built at Fleet Peoples Park in Winter Park. This is just one of an estimated 5,000 playgrounds that will be built or fixed up this year as part of the initiative.

250ft Skycoaster, Formerly of Las Vegas' MGM Grand, Now at Fun Spot America on International Drive

By Ken Storey
Twitter | Blog

If you’ve driven along I-4 in the tourist district lately, you probably noticed a new addition to the skyline. A 250ft tall Skycoaster was erected on February 23, 2013 at Fun Spot America. 

 The structure, the second tallest on I-Drive and 10th tallest in all of Orlando, was formerly at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. It is the second tallest Skycoaster in the world and the first being at Fun Spot USA in Kissimmee. 

This newly erected one is a bit different than the Kissimmee Skycoaster, using a metal frame structure instead of beams. The new one will feature bright green lighting at night and, due to its height, will feature FAA required aircraft lighting.

State of the City Address To Be Given By Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will give Orlando’s State of the City address on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 10:30am.  The event is open to the public and will take place in Orlando City Hall Council Chambers.  

Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Orlando | More Details Revealed in New Animated Video

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is quickly growing in downtown Orlando.  The performing arts center is scheduled to open Phase 1 in 2014, but the building has already made a major impact on the downton skyline. 

Phase 2 is currently in the midst of a fundraising drive as the last $75 million is raised.

DPCPAjust released an updated animated fly through video of the center.  The new video shows signage placement, more theatre features, and more details on the lobby, including a long look at the central staircase.

Downtown Orlando Food & Wine Festival 2013 | Photos

By Jen Thuy-Tien
Contributing Writer
Twitter | Facebook

Food, wine and music lovers gathered at the heart of downtown this weekend for the fifth annual Downtown Food and Wine Festival 2013. Forty restaurants and over ten wineries lined up on Robinson street along Lake Eola.