Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Other Orlando

A high-end trip to Orlando doesn't have to include Goofy and the gang


Whether dragged by out-of-towners, a convention, or an important meeting, there's no need to dread your next trip to Walt's town.

Far from the theme park entrances and chain restaurant row, there's another Orlando of gastropubs and untouched parks with no sign of Mickey. 

Forget DuckTales, Bambi, and Dumbo. The only animal you want is a piggy. Luckily, The Ravenous Pig's husband and wife chef team James and Julie Petrakis have created a temple where pig-loving foodies come to worship. The menu changes always, but be sure to end things with the swine tails, which are, thankfully, curly donuts. 
1234 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park (407-628–2333)

Take the trendiness of the W, then combine it with an art gallery and you have the eclectic Grand Bohemian Hotel. It's the plush rooms, though, that help the Bohemian land on just about every list of Florida's best hotels.
325 S. Orange Avenue Orlando (866-663-0024)

Any trip to International Drive will make you long for the days before Walt turned Central Florida into theme park land. And Wekiwa Springs State Park, pictured, serves up the original Orlando, with crystal clear ponds and forests thick with old growth.
1800 Wekiwa Cir., Apopka (407-884-2008)

OK, yes, you'll need to head to Walt Disney Raceway for this one, but besides the name, things won't feel anything like the theme parks. Instead, the Richard Petty Driving Experience promises to turn you into a NASCAR driver, at least for the day. 
3450 N. World Dr., Lake Buena Vista (800-237-3889)

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