fading florida tourist destinations

I’ve lived in the same house here in Orlando since 1985, which is a hop, skip and a jump from International Drive, or I-Drive. There are some places on I-Drive that have been here as long as I have, or at least they seem to have been. These places are very kitschy looking, but they also harken back to a much simpler time, when folks just liked to have a little visual fun. Some folks may be appalled when they see them, but every time I do they bring a big of a guilty smile to my face.
I’ve decided to start documenting some of these places before they disappear for good. I-Drive is split into a north end and a south end, with the dividing line Sand Lake Road. Everything north of Sand Lake up to and past Kirkman is “old school”, while everything south of Sand Lake is “next generation” businesses that are attempting to cater to a “higher class” (i.e. higher spending) tourist. The south end is anchored by the Orange County Convention Center complex. While pretty in an empty sort of way, the south end (at least down to the Beachline Expressway) is pretty devoid of anything approaching the personality of the north end.

But the north end is slowly being taken over by the bigger major tourist companies. For example, Universal has purchased Wet-‘n-Wild. Scuttle-butt has it that once Universal finishes its own water park on Sandlake, that it’ll shut down, then tear down, Wet-‘n-Wild. What goes up in its place is anyone’s guess.

There are other places scattered around the tourist locations, such as 535 near Disney and 192 in Kassimmee. I need to document them as well before they completely disappear.


I used the E-M10 with the 14-42mm EZ pancake for all of these. Then I decided to post process them using Snapseed on an iPad Air 2, a tablet I’ve used since November 2014 starting with my December 2014 trip to Tokyo. Then I decided to use the iPad version of the WordPress app to write this post. That’s when things went a bit wonky. Specifically, the photo sizes were all over the place, literally. To clean up the photo sizes I had to open this post up using the web-based WordPress editor and custom set each photo to 500px width. Once I did that the photos looked a lot better size-wise. It would appear that the WordPress app has a problem with multiple photos in a blog post, especially if they follow each other directly. I wish in a way I could get the source to the WordPress app; there’s some things that need fixing, and there’s some things I that need adding.