Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate treats travelers to deluxe lodgings with a tropical touch. Guests roll into the resort beneath an imposing arch and cruise a palm-tree-lined parkway prior to arriving at the hotel's expansive lobby. Within a premier room, a king bed or two doubles topped with foam and feather pillows greet sleepers to be, speaking of dreams sweet enough to use as sugar substitute. Visitors inspired by views of the surrounding beauty, which includes a 36-hole golf course and 15 acres of pools and recreation activities, can craft hotel-themed poetry in an easy chair or invent a new facial expression in front of the marble vanity. After the night gives way to anti-night, vacationers cocooned in luxury linens and more than 400 square feet of butter-hued walls will emerge from their plush pupae, ready for a new day of blinking and walking around. To satisfy morning appetites, Trevi's unfurls a bountiful breakfast buffet for suitemates or sweethearts.
You could say that Orlando Balloon Rides' crew of FAA-certified pilots is impressive, but that would probably be an understatement. One has flown across the English Channel three times, another trained stunt pilots for the Bond movie The World Is Not Enough, and a third manned a balloon up to the stratosphere. It's a good thing they're so talented?and have an unblemished safety record among them?as they fly one of the largest balloons in the Western Hemisphere.
The 11-story, 425,000-cubic-foot behemoth can carry up to 24 people in its 1,600-pound basket, which is made of aircraft-grade steel and basket-grade wicker. Or put more simply, an average balloon can fit inside this balloon. Whether choosing to ride in this or a traditional-size balloon, passengers are treated to expansive views of orange groves, swampland, Orange County mansions, and sometimes, a certain magical kingdom on the horizon's distance, which actually isn't a mirage. After any flight, a champagne toast contributes to what USA Today called a "spectacular sunrise adventure" and one of Orlando's 10 most romantic attractions.
Just as it does from the deck of a creaky ship, the wide blue sea appears to stretch out till it meets the edge of the sky on the wall mural at Banana Jack's pirate-themed fun center. A row of arcade games stands below the mural, where patrons roll skee-balls or dunk basketballs to earn tickets for prizes or engage in friendly competition. The indoor playground holds plank bridges, webbed caves, and curved slides. Toddlers enjoy exclusive access to a boat ride and a jungle carousel where they encounter critters and ask them to be their spirit guides. Before they set sail for home, families refuel in the café with salads, burgers, and freshly baked pizzas.
At The Finer Taste Wine & Beer Emporium, Italian-made wine-dispensing machines distribute 100-plus wines gathered from all corners of the globe. Stations for red and white wines or premium products stand ready to pour 1-ounce, half-glass, or full-glass pours with each fill-up. After thanking their dispenser in fluent Italian, patrons can return to their spot—either at a pub table, in the lounge, or outside on the covered patio, where pets are welcome, and where live entertainment can be heard every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening. Gourmet tapas anchor a finger-friendly food menu, and more than 30 craft beers offer a tasty alternative to wine.