Don’t get me wrong─Mickey Mouse and Tinker Bell’s pixie dust still rule, but the city of Orlando, Florida’s tourism epicenter also embodies a plethora of treasures designed to satisfy the adult travelers’ insatiable thirsts. Forget packing the kids and a salivating Labrador in the family SUV for a multi-day, whine-a-thon. It’s the 21st Century folks. It’s time for some “Grown Folks Magic!”
The new kid on the block and beacon of light in the city skyline is the Aloft─the quintessential hotel and hub for millennium travelers seeking “style at a steal.” The usual bells and whistles dubbed amenities are inclusive, but these rooms boast some serious cool; the sleek ambiance alone frees endorphins. Eclectic décor complements massive living space and mature guests gather nightly in the WXYZ lounge for wasabi almonds and Smirnoff smiles.
Valet park and experience frugality with finesse by engaging downtown Orlando on foot ─ grown folks hate traffic! Cultural entertainment is on deck at Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center (November 2014) and a brisk walk several blocks leads to Church Street Station for hip nightlife and diverse dining from sushi to subs. Start with happy hour and end with midnight martinis. All choices in between are ideal for responsible adults perusing town sans wheels. When you’re ready to bounce, Orlando Magic hoops are a trek away at the Amway Center.
But, what about your inner child? For those who still crave youthful engagement, I’ve got three words for you: The History Center. This multicultural museum is “Smart, Surprising, Fun” and welcomes The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons through March 2014. So, get ready to revive your Looney Tunes memories. What know this generation about a Wabbit or a Putty cat? Orlando is the popular cultural capital of the world for its theme park allure, but this exploratory jewel is so inexpensive, it’s free every Monday during the summer. “Grown Folks” love free!
Hidden in the heart of Orlando’s municipal district, the Orange County Regional History Center is a Smithsonian Institute affiliate encompassing four floors of a restored 1927 courthouse. Interactive limited release exhibits complement permanent installations like the impressive How Distant Seems Our Starting Place. James Weldon Johnson’s poignant poem birthed the title and patrons of every race can celebrate African-American heritage. Ancestral beginnings progress to an awareness of Central Florida trailblazers like Bessie Coleman, the nation’s first licensed black pilot; Folklorist and author Zora Neale Hurston; and Paul Perkins, the areas first black lawyer.
Meet the Mack Daddy of Magic in exhibits that chronicle how Walt Disney altered the city landscape with a world that now includes Africa ─ no passport required. A short drive invites you to indulge the Disney Animal Kingdom Resort and Serengeti. Embrace authentic African cuisine at Jiko [The Cooking Place] or head back to town for soul food at Chef Eddies, a 40- year legacy.
For business or just a quick getaway: visit Orlando. It’s ripe with options and “grown folks” love alternatives. —Penny Dickerson