Maybe it's the themed activity areas. Maybe it's the vibrant color splashed across each of the walls. Whatever the reason, kid stepping into Amaya Papaya's play lounge know that they're not walking into your average play date. Instead, they pass their time in a hybrid lounge that combines the best elements of indoor playgrounds, event and party spaces, and local shops for kids up to five years. Seven themed areas fend off boredom, with a creativity corner allowing kids to color on the chalk and paint walls and a construction corner letting them design cost-effective skyscrapers out of wooden blocks.
While kids play during drop-in playtime Monday-Friday, parents pass their minutes browsing the toys, games, and educational resources that populate the center's shop. After ringing up purchases, they can also kick back in comfy seats, keeping an eye on their child's play session while taking a break for themselves.
Amaya Papaya's staff also leads classes before open play and after closing time for both parents and adults, such as art and language classes and CPR training. To keep things fresh, they constantly rotate toys and pull out their etch-a-sketches to plan special events such as meetings with children's authors. Amaya Papaya is also available for private birthday parties on the weekends.
Twin brothers Tom and Rusty Bolton both have a pedigree in furniture, as both have been managing Wood You Furniture franchises in separate markets since the 1980s. That longtime experience has fueled their love of real-wood furnishings, giving them an opportunity to bring the community long-lasting furniture less likely to end up in landfills as well as the chance for the pair to grow a business together. Their store decorates interiors with sofas, bedroom sets, and accessories made from finely crafted solid wood, shunning the likes of particleboard for sturdy planes of alder and parawood. Bolstered by the design skills and artistic eye of fellow team member Faith, tasteful displays fill the showroom and help customers envision what their homes would look like with each piece inside. Patios and gardens also become inviting venues for backyard barbecues with umbrellas and benches, and kids' playrooms blend utility and whimsy with a selection of tyke-size desks and bunk beds. The store’s furniture and accessories also extend to designs made for home offices, living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms, and secret passages that deserve better aesthetics.
Between 1984 and 1986, Michael Echevarria. For three years running, he out-hoisted all comers to become, and stay, the U.S. Air Force powerlifting champion in his class. But it wasn’t until 1996, when he started training for bodybuilding competitions—which emphasize aesthetics and pageantry over raw power—that he learned how hard it is to shed body fat.
As a personal trainer and owner of Fitness by Example, he leverages that struggle to deliver tailored programs and boot camps to his clients that help them lose weight and build muscle. Clients, ranging from 11 to 91, amp up cardio strength during outdoor boot camps or glean all kinds of benefits, such as lower cholesterol, during one-on-one sessions. When he’s not helping patrons hit their target weight right in its smirking face, Echevarria authors myriad articles that outline clever tricks for speeding up metabolism or the benefits of flexibility.
Though they lead group classes at multiple studio locations, the instructors at Latin Explosion Dance School don't need an official dance floor to showcase their moves. They've twirled on the Orlando Magic's basketball court during halftime, and they visit clients' homes for private lessons in salsa, merengue, bachata, and hip-hop. Such versatility enables them to teach a wide span of styles, from Latin dances such as flamenco and tango to ballroom and belly dance. They pass on their learned footwork to pupils of all ages, encouraging their diverse base of protégés to mingle at in-house talent-show socials and group travel events. A more intensive lesson plan comes in the form of their four-week workshops, during which they help dancers develop techniques and impress key differences between dance styles, including the variances in mambo versus salsa beats and how to distinguish a conga line from a linear group hug.
The golfing gurus at Edwin Watts Golf Academy diagnose and correct their students' poor swing and putting habits in an effort to help them improve their shots and lower their scores. In one-on-one swing-analysis sessions, students learn a repeatable swing that eliminates tendencies they may have to slice, hook, push, or pull the ball. A special laser attaches to the end of the player's club and tracks the swing path while JC Video swing-analysis software records the session from two separate angles, lest analysis be thrown off by only looking at the golfer's good side. Putting analysis employs Tomi technology to measure eight separate parameters of the putting stroke, from clubhead orientation at address to swing path and tempo. After swing and putting lessons, students may access the recordings on a password-protected website, so they can forward videos to friends or sports-documentary filmmakers.
Marino Dance Club founders Cindie and Jose Marino each bring more than 28 years of experience to the dance floor as they edify couples, kids, or solo dancers in the art of ballroom dance. Students can bring a partner or meet someone new in the intimate studio characterized by warmly painted walls and lighting that turns down when the music comes up or multiple microwaves are used at once. Group or private lessons cover the fundamental steps, spins, and transitions of styles such as the waltz, tango, and cha-cha, and practice parties provide a social gathering to try out newly acquired skill sets. Twice a year, Marino Dance Club invites its student body to the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Orlando to showcase their talents with freestyle dances and solo exhibitions in front of a panel of judges and an enthusiastic audience.