5 Restaurants to Try on I-Drive Orlando

Restaurants International Drive Orlando

Whether you are visiting Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando or Sea World, you can find lots of different and really, really good restaurants along I-Drive in Orlando to end your day with a great meal. Everyone should visit I-Drive at least once when they are in Orlando because after all, there’s more to Orlando than theme parks!

Restaurants I Drive Orlando
Photo Credit: InternationalDriveOrlando.com

International Drive, commonly known as I-Drive, is a major 11.1-mile roadway in Orlando, and is the city’s main tourist strip. The International Drive area is home to the Orange County Convention Center complex, the Pointe Orlando entertainment complex, major hotels, SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica (Sea World’s water park), Fun Spot America amusement park, the Orlando Eye Ferris wheel, the I-Drive 360 entertainment complex, museums, themed restaurants, bars, outlet malls, mini golf courses like Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf and other tourism-related properties and tourist attractions such as Air Florida Helicopter Inc, Wonder Works and The Magical Midway. The I-Ride trolley system provides bus transportation along the I-Drive district primarily for tourists and convention attendees. 

Cafe Tu Tu Tango

Located at 8625 International Drive, this spot has a great atmosphere that has artists paint as you eat. It’s a really funky tapas spot with live entertainment plus a patio and a bar. The cafe offers brunch on both Saturday and Sunday with bottomless bloody marys and mimosas. Monday thru Friday, 3:30 to 6:30 you can enjoy 2 for 1 drink specials. Cafe Tu Tu Tango offers an entirely small-plate menu that is extensive, eclectic and diverse with everything being prepared from scratch.

Brick House Tavern + Tap

Located at 8440 International Drive, offers Friday, Saturday and Sunday steak nights and offers brunch on Sunday. Brick House also hosts “Happiness Hour” Monday thru Friday with a dedicated drink and snack menu. Daily and seasonal specials make the Brick House Tavern & Tap a fun spot to visit more than once since the menu will be slightly different with each visit.

Copper Canyon Grill

Located at 9101 International Drive in Pointe Orlando, Copper Canyon Grill offers patio seating, private dining room and a chef’s table. It’s a perfect location for lunch or a glass of wine. You can expect an energetic atmosphere and welcoming staff. The menu features a selection of freshly prepared items daily. Copper Canyon has happy hour daily from 3 to 7 p.m. with a nice selection of appetizers and drinks. The restaurant also has a dedicated gluten free menu.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House

Located at 9150 International Drive the restaurant offers two floors, two state-of-the-art bars, four private dining rooms and a picturesque patio. It’s the perrfect place to relax and celebrate. Featuring a diverse wine list of more than 1,200 labels, diners are sure to find their inner Sommelier while they dine. Del Frisco’s offers one of the best happy hours daily from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., except Wednesday when they’ll keep you happy from 4 p.m. until closing! Dinner is served Monday through Friday starting at 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday starting at 4 p.m. They also offer a dedicated bar menu with some great choices!

The Oceanaire Seafood Room

Located at 9101 International Drive, The Oceanaire Seafood Room offers fresh seafood and an outstanding happy hour and bar menu. Only fish from the world’s most reputable suppliers is served, and each dish is carefully crafted to ensure the restaurant’s high standards of quality and flavor are exceeded. The menu is based on market availability, therefore selections change each day. Happy hour is every day from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Monday through Thursday it starts up again at 9 p.m. to close in the bar only and on Sunday 8 p.m. to close.

Do you have a favorite I-Drive restaurant?




Next Time You’re in Orlando – Take a Florida Brewery Tour

Brewery Tour OrlandoI don’t know about you but I know I’m always looking for something to do in Florida that doesn’t have me heading to a theme park. Something the adults can do together without the kids. Something to do with a group of friends – or even a date with my honey! There really is more to Orlando than theme parks!

What could be more fun than a brewery tour!!

Beginning August 3, 2017 there’s a fun, new way to experience Central Florida’s breweries – Hop On! Central Florida Brewery ToursThe bus tour will take you to breweries located in the downtown Orlando area. There are future plans in the works to include locations throughout Sanford, Winter Garden, and other areas.

You can be a part of Central Florida’s rapidly growing craft beer scene and sample some of the finest brews the Sunshine State has to offer! Choose an experience, sit back and enjoy personalized guided tours with local podcast celebrities, games, music, trivia and of course…beer!

The 12 to 14 passenger bus will collect you at the Broken Cauldron Taproom on W. Church St. and have you visit nearby breweries on a four-hour excursion. During the ride, you will enjoy trivia and live-streamed sports games, while the tour guides discuss each brewery’s history. Before arriving at each stop, your guide will tell all about what’s on tap. At each location you will be able to sample the offered brews for approximately 45 minutes. Tickets start around $35 for a four-hour tour.

Photo Credit: Hop On Tours

Here are a few of the other packages Hop On will offer:

Growler Tour: Enjoy a beer flight at each location along with trivia. $55 per person.

What Ales Ya Signature Tour: Local podcast celebrity Brian Quain of the What Ales Ya podcast will lead tour-goers through five Orlando-area breweries. It includes a special glass, tastings and a chance to meet the breweries’ owner or brewmaster. $85 per person.

Orlando City Ticket and Pregame Package: This pre-game tour will take participants on the Growler Tour — and to see Orlando City soccer play. $99 per person.




The Orlando Area on a Budget

Orlando Area Budget Travel

Bringing in over 50 million visitors each year, Orlando is most well-known for Disney, but there’s so much more to this great city than the Mouse! Orlando is a great city to visit year-round, whether you’re traveling solo or with a family. There are so many things to do and see! Vacationing in Orlando on a budget is pretty easy because there are quite a few free things to do.

You’ll spend the most money on lodging, and transportation to get here, plus transportation to get around if you rent a car. Orlando is not right on the beach, but there are several beaches within driving distance. What I like to do is map out each attraction I want to spend time at, and then map out each day so I can maximize my time (and money!). This means if there are three things in close proximity of each other, I’ll do those in one day. The next day, I’ll do others that are nearby. It helps save gas (and headaches) if you aren’t driving zig zag all over the place!

Beaches

Like I said, the beaches aren’t super close but they’re definitely worth a drive! The closest beaches are:

Daytona Beach: Located just above Cape Canaveral, Daytona Beach is one of the most visited on the East Coast.

Cocoa Beach: Not quite as popular or touristy as Daytona, it can be a bit more relaxing but does get busy during high season. Cocoa Beach is located just below Cape Canaveral.

New Smyrna Beach: Gorgeous beach! At low tide, the beach is up to 500 feet wide.

Clearwater Beach Morse Museum of American Art offers free admission for children under 12, as well as free admission for everyone on Fridays from 4PM til 8PM (November through April). Morse Museum is technically in Winter Park but is less than 20 minutes from downtown Orlando.

Also located in Winter Park, the Albin Polask Museum and Sculpture Garden is home to exquisite art and serene sculpture gardens. Admission for children under 12 is free, admission for adults is $5.

A one-of-a-kind Holocaust Memorial has both permanent and traveling exhibits to communicate the history of the Holocaust. Admission is free.

Chalk Artists in Orlando

Everything Else

Disney Springs (previously Downtown Disney) is a great way to get a Disney experience without the cost of the theme parks. With shopping, dining, and diverse entertainment, you’ll be able to spend an entire day here. However, you might want to pack a lunch because everything definitely has Disney pricing.

Orlando Brewing Company offers free tours. Call ahead to find out hours and other information.

Black Hammock Adventures offers air boat rides, alligator tours, and more. While the prices aren’t too high, it could get expensive if you have a large family. With that being said, it’s an adventure of a lifetime so it’s worth the cost if you can swing it!

What’s your favorite thing to do in Orlando that doesn’t break the bank? Let me know in the comments!


Previous Posts in the 2017 Traveling on a Budget Series:

Doing Maui on a Budget

Doing Key West on a Budget




Look What’s Coming to Orlando in 2017

Orlando Travel Attractions 2017

Orlando is one of my favorite destinations. Since I live in South Carolina I can pop down to Orlando for a long weekend, for special events and to visit friends. There is so much more to Orlando than theme parks and 2017 will bring lots of new things for visitors to the area to see. New theme park attractions, a new water park, new entertainment and unforgettable sporting events – 2017 is going to be a great year for family fun and travel to Orlando.

The NFL Pro Bowl game returns to the traditional NFC – AFC conference match up with the inaugural game scheduled at the Camping World Stadium in downtown Orlando on Sunday January 29, 2017. Along with the game the NFL is also introducing a brand new Pro Bowl Week, which will include accessible team practices at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, along with a variety of youth football and family fun activities across Orlando.

The highly anticipated new addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the recreation of the mythical world Pandora, which is the largest expansion in the history of Animal Kingdom. This AVATAR-inspired land is a visual experience of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests, and soaring Banshees for guests to see, hear, and touch. In addition, Pandora includes a family-friendly attraction called Na’vi River Journey. Take an adventure and set out in a canoe to explore a mysterious, sacred river hidden within the bioluminescent rainforest. Gaze your eyes upon the exotic glowing plans, amazing creatures, and even experience an encounter with a Na’vi shaman!

universalUniversal Orlando Resort is well underway with building a new water park opening in 2017, called Volcano Bay. This new breathtaking water park will offer innovative, thrilling attractions, peaceful moments of relaxation, and an entirely new guest experience. A highly themed, completely immersive environment is planned, inspired by postcard-perfect tropical islands. The new park will be located within Universal Orlando Resort, just south of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

Universal Orlando Resort announced a new ride set to open in 2017: “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon”. The ride will invite guests to join the Tonight Show’s studio audience on the ultimate race through the streets-and skies-of New York City, from the deepest subway tunnels to the tallest skyscrapers with colorful characters, famous landmarks and more from the mind of Jimmy Fallon.

As virtual reality continues to grow in popularity, SeaWorld Orlando will be the first in Florida to apply the technology to a roller coaster ride experience. Beginning next summer, guests can have the option to wear specially designed headsets and take part in an digitally immersive deep sea mission and encounter mythical sea creatures, including the Kraken itself. The ride vehicle itself will also be getting a facelift with the debut of the new experience in the summer of 2017. Better get Kraken!

Enhancing the way that guests can see the park’s youngest dolphins, SeaWorld’s Dolphin Nursery will also get new enhancements next year. Guests will be able enjoy above water and under water viewing of the baby dolphins and nursing mothers through newly installed acrylic windows designed for young children to get up close and personal encounters. Included in the expansions will be all new educational and conservation elements.

One of the most exciting restaurants at Disney Springs is nearly ready to open! The Edison is currently under construction inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, which has a lavish “Industrial Gothic” style restaurant and bar. The Disney Springs location will replicate the themed 1920s-period power plant for a nighttime destination recreating era of invention and imagination. In addition, it will have classic American food, crafty cocktails, and live entertainment such as cabaret and musical acts.

Orlando’s newest family-friendly raft attraction will be located at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, which is set to be among one of the longest in duration at any Disney water park. This new high seas adventure is called Miss Fortune Falls. Once aboard their treasure rafts at the entry point, guests will take an adventure through Captain Oceaneer’s past right before they plunge into a white-water rafting voyage! Guests will see rare artifacts that Miss Fortune collected on her many worldwide treasure hunts!

legoland-florida

Coming to LEGOLAND Florida early next year is a new immersive land and dark ride. LEGO NINJAGO World is where guests can live their ninja LEGO adventures. The interactive ride will include opportunities for gests to blast fire, lightning and ice with their hands.

New over-night accommodations are coming to LEGOLAND Florida. Opening spring 2017, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat will feature 83 single-story duplexes. The property will include a themed pool, sandy play area and new restaurant.

Attention all American soccer, football if you prefer, fans! One of the leading teams in Major League Soccer will be getting their very own multipurpose Soccer Stadium right before the 2017 Major League Soccer season. It will be located in downtown Orlando around the corner from the Amway Center, which is quickly becoming an epic entertainment center! The new soccer stadium will seat 19,500 fans and serve as home to the Orlando City Lions soccer team.

Orlando’s continued expansion of leisure resorts welcomes the Margaritaville Resort Orlando with much enthusiasm! This massive waterfront destination resort is a welcomed addition to Central Florida’s thriving attraction and tourism scene. This resort is unique in that it not only boasts a 187-room hotel but also 1,000 Margaritaville-themed vacation homes, 550 condominiums, 300 timeshare units, 30,000 square-feet of function space, 170,000 square feet of festive retail space, a dining and entertainment district, a 12-acre water park, a wellness center, miles of fitness trails and a destination water taxi system. The resort will also host destination weddings. Once you arrive you will never want to leave.

The new openings continue even after 2017. Get a sneak peek at what’s coming to Orlando in 2018!

A new entertainment complex on I-Drive, is set to break world records by bringing the world’s tallest roller coaster to Orlando in in 2018. The 570-foot-tall (174 meter) structure will be the tallest in Central Florida, and feature the first Polercoaster, a vertical ride dubbed the Skyscraper, weaving in and around the whole tower on coaster-length tracks. The SKYPLEX tower will also offer views of the city via an observation deck, restaurant and lounge at the top. Additionally, a second ride, called Skyfall, will be the world’s tallest drop ride once it opens, rising up to 460 feet (140.2 meters) and then dropping riders at 90 miles (144.8 km) an hour.

Universal Orlando Resorts reeves up the thrills with the new action-packed ride experiences inspired by one of the most successful film franchises of all time, The Fast & Furious! The official name is “Fast & Furious: Supercharged” and will join its remarkable lineup of attractions in 2018, adding to the unprecedented growth of the destination.




Westgate Resorts to Give Away 1,000 FREE Orlando Vacations to Military Families on Veteran’s Day

Westgate Free Vacations Military Families

Westgate Resorts will dedicate an exclusive weekend in May at Westgate Town Center in Central Florida to honor U.S. military who have recently served in combat and Gold Star families

For the sixth year, Westgate Resorts and CEO David Siegel are continuing the company tradition of honoring our U.S. military personnel and their families by giving away 1,000 free vacations on Veteran’s Day. For the first time, the complimentary vacations will be part of an exclusive weekend-long celebration at Westgate Town Center in Central Florida from May 5-7, 2017. The free vacations are specifically for current active duty military personnel who have served in combat and their families, as well as Gold Star families. Eligible candidates can register at www.WestgateSalutes.com starting at 9 a.m. EST on Nov. 11.  

All eligible military personnel and families will receive complimentary accommodations in a spacious villa, access to special activities and events including live entertainment, a pair of passes to Westgate Town Center’s Shipwreck Island, the resort’s exclusive on-site waterpark, as well as access to resources that support veterans, all free of charge.

“We owe so much to our U.S. military and their families. Our desire is to give those active military personnel who have served in combat a chance to spend some quality time with their loved ones,” said Siegel. “Dedicating a special weekend to these men and women who have served on the front lines allows us to really go all out and give them and their families the special attention and recognition they deserve.”

Beginning November 11 at 9 a.m. EST, the first 1,000 eligible service members who complete the online military appreciation form at www.WestgateSalutes.com and place a fully refundable $75 deposit will receive a complimentary three-day, two-night vacation for up to four people at Westgate Town Center May 5-7, 2017.

With the addition of this year’s families, Westgate has honored our nation’s heroes with more than 23,000 free room nights for military families over the past six years.

In addition to the 1,000 complimentary vacations, Westgate Resorts will offer a special 25 percent savings on Veteran’s Day for rooms across their entire portfolio of 28 properties for all U.S. military veterans. For more information, visit www.WestgateSalutes.com.

About Westgate Resorts

Founded in 1982 by David A. Siegel, Westgate Resorts is one of the largest resort developers in the United States. Westgate features 28 themed destination resorts with over 13,000 luxury villas in premier locations throughout the United States such as Orlando, Florida; Park City, Utah; Las Vegas, Nevada; Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Williamsburg, Virginia; Miami and Cocoa Beach, Florida; Branson, Missouri; Mesa, Arizona; and Tunica, Mississippi. Most Westgate Resorts locations feature a variety of unique restaurant, retail and spa concepts, including Drafts Sports Bar & Grill, Westgate Smokehouse Grill, Edge Steakhouse, Westgate Marketplace & Deli and Serenity Spa by Westgate. For more information about Westgate Resorts, visit www.westgateresorts.com.

* Offer valid as of November 11, 2016, at 9 a.m. EST. Offer available by going online and filling out an availability form at www.WestgateSalutes.com. Based upon availability. Valid military I.D. required upon check-in. A credit card and $75 refundable deposit is required to book the reservation. Deposit is refundable if vacation is canceled at least seven (7) days prior to stay. Only ONE reservation per family. Complimentary vacation limited to four guests. Additional guests may be added as an upgrade. Offer valid for the first 1,000 reservations. No resort fee will be charged. No Resort Preview Required. Not valid for Westgate employees. Upgrades and additional nights available at discounted rate. Two Water Park Passes provided complimentary with offer.