Kissimmee's prime location near the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios makes it a popular home base for park hoppers. For a brief escape from the amusement-park hustle and bustle, the shops along downtown Orlando's Ivanhoe Row are filled with antiques and unusual finds, such as kitschy vintage clothing and Mickey Mouse's childhood report cards. Closer to the hotel, shoppers can stroll down the clean streets of Celebration, Florida, a Pleasantville-esque community designed by the folks at Disney. Pastel-hued specialty shops along tree-lined boulevards hawk home goods, clothing, candy, and jewelry. Fewer than 2 miles from the resort's doorstep, the Walt Disney World Resort's four theme parks and two water parks draw visitors from around the world. Disney's Hollywood Studios recreates the magic of Tinsel Town with décor influenced by the 1930s-era silver screen. Housed in a reproduction of Grauman's Chinese Theater, The Great Movie Ride journeys through legendary moments in cinematic history, including scenes from The Wizard of Oz, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Singin' in the Rain. At the 300-acre Epcot park, the World Showcase presents the culture, architecture, and cuisine of 11 countries.
Houlihan’s chefs unite diners with mouth-seeking meals culled from a menu of inventive recipes produced with local and all-natural ingredients and flanked by expertly crafted cocktails. Savory lunches arrive tableside in 15 minutes or less, swiftly occupying chompers with midday delicacies such as So-Cal fish tacos with tilapia, chipotle mayo, honey-cumin dressing, and pico de gallo ($8.95–$10.95). Dinner announces its approach with sophisticated cocktail heralds including wines, martinis, and specialty mojitos in flavors such as guava, raspberry, pomegranate, and snozzberry ($6.75–$7.75). Garlic-herb cream cheese nuzzles into the center of savory chicken breasts served over gold mashed potatoes and the vegetable of the day ($15.95–$18.95), and wild mushrooms romp through a blend of cheeses within corn tortillas blanketed by smoky mozzarella sauce in the wild mushroom enchiladas ($13.95–$15.95). Crisp calamari crowns napa cabbage and banana in the University Boulevard location's popular calamari salad ($14.95), with an aromatic banana-ginger vinaigrette that's also sold in incense form.
Nestled in the shadows of ancient oaks and towering cypress trees, Kissimmee Bay Country Club's 18-hole course takes golfers through 6,486 yards of fairways and greens lined with serene water hazards. In total, the course features a dozen ponds that come into play on nearly every hole, challenging players to try forced carries and other crafty shots. The verdant course also peppers a dash of wildlife into rounds, as sand hill cranes are often spotted along the fairways and waterways. Before taking to the course, golfers can warm up their swings at the driving range or motivate golf balls by showing them how easily they can be replaced at the pro shop.
Course at a Glance: