Ornate chandeliers cast their brilliance across a sprawling hardwood dance floor, but the crowd's eyes aren't directed toward the shimmering lights. They're focused instead on the intricate steps performed by a professional dance instructor, just one member in The Sovereign Dance Academy's talented team. With experience that spans from international competitions to television work, these professionals help others discover a passion for dance that extends beyond gracefully popping bubble wrap. Their mission is reflected in their curriculum, which offers a step-by-step approach that allows students to focus on American Smooth ballroom styles, such as the waltz and tango; International Ballroom styles, such as the foxtrot; or Latin and Rhythm styles, such as the rumba and hustle. Instructors work one-on-one with students—who can be adults or children—and let them know when they are ready to grapevine on to the next level.
Aside from the standard curriculum, The Sovereign Dance Academy leads specialized workshops and private sessions in which engaged couples can hone the dance they'll perform atop their wedding cake. On select nights, the space transforms into an area for social events such as girls' night out.
At first glance, Battleground Orlando’s grassy Field F may look suspiciously unoccupied, dotted with only trees, a few wooden forts, and some stacks of tires. But the regulars know better. They sit still as statues, gripping their laser guns and surveying the landscape for peeking heads and dashing bodies. This mix of strategy and stealth resembles a video game, and that’s by design. The course, inspired by the video game Call of Duty, is one of six courses at Battleground Orlando Laser Tag, each with their own mental and physical challenges, ambiance, and 99-life-granting cheat codes.
Keeping with this realistic aesthetic, the laser-tag facility hands out advanced lasers designed for military use and outfitted with a red dot sights, sight rails, infrared beams, and RF signals with a 1,000-foot range. Players can partake in team battles as well as scenario games such as “capture the flag,” “last man standing,” and “whiten my teeth before my big job interview.” The facility, which also houses Orlando Paintball, is the largest indoor and outdoor laser tag facility in Florida, and it's open daily from noon to midnight and until 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
iFLY Orlando's state-of-the-art indoor wind tunnel lets acrophobic and aerophobic adrenaline junkies experience the sensations of skydiving under safe conditions. iFLY Orlando will suit you up with a helmet, goggles, flight suit, earplugs, and a can of gravity repellent, before an instructor teaches you the basic maneuvers and hand signals. Once you've learned a lesson, you'll be unleashed into the vertical tunnel’s artificial wind current for two one-minute rotations of air time at terminal velocity (real skydives usually allow for about 40 seconds of air time). The entire process lasts about an hour, including waiver signing (flyers under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign), a 15-minute class, and a flight slot during which your group takes turns flying. In addition to the flight experience, the multimedia package includes a DVD with a recording of your flight.
Indoor skydiving is accessible to a wide, family-friendly age range, meaning that Grandma and Grandpa can celebrate their 60th anniversary with more than the traditional cake shaped like Andy Griffith. iFLY Orlando's free observation deck allows for maximum show-offiness, so invite along an audience of hard-to-impress friends, lovers, and butlers to marvel at your simulated plummet through the heavens.
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats. ####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
The only way to get into Gatorland is to walk straight into an alligator's toothy maw. The giant mouth provides entrance to 110 acres of marshy wildlife preserve––home to a vast ecosystem populated by thousands of alligators, crocodiles, and birds, including rare wading birds and four rare white alligators. Among these, more than 130 gators splash and lounge in the park’s breeding marsh, which visitors can view safely from a three-story observation tower or while sitting on the shoulders of Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Yet one of the biggest thrills of Gatorland is the reptile's raw power. Visitors can see this on full display during the Gator Jumparoo show, where alligators leap four to five feet out of the water to snag food directly from a trainer’s hands, or during the Gator Wrestlin' Show, where a handler demonstrates survival skills. True thrill-seekers can even dangle over the breeding marsh while riding the 65-foot-tall Screamin’ Gator Zip Line. And to experience the unsettling sensation of stumbling upon a swamp filled with alligators at night, the Night Shine takes participants deep into gator territory armed with only a flashlight and a few hot dogs.
Lying face down, the students press into their hands into the floor, lifting their heads and shoulders toward the ceiling into cobra pose. As the studio's 100-degree heat pervades their muscles, students feel their spines lengthen, their shoulders broaden, and their chests open. The instructors of Bikram Yoga West Orlando lead participants through this and Bikram‘s 25 other postures every day, combining them with two breathing exercises in a specific sequence that strengthens and lengthens muscles and joints while pumping oxygen-rich blood into the organs, glands, and internal hard drives. Every 90-minute class follows the same routine and challenges participants of all ages and practice levels. Bikram also encourages dedication—the more students practice, the deeper they can go into each pose, reaping benefits including decreased blood pressure, relief from back pain, and lowered stress levels. In addition to their yogic discipline, Bikram Yoga West Orlando's team also arranges spa services, including massage and skincare.