This is in my Disney Bucket List! Check it out to discover my adventures as Cultural Representative!
Oh, moving and exploring your city for the first time! Oh, Downtown, the core of city life and all the interesting things you’ll find there! Oh, the first US city you explore, with skyscrapers and diversity and plenty of things to do!
…Maybe not Orlando, Florida. But I live here now, and I couldn’t just stay in the parks area and not exploring it with some Italian friends.
The city centre stretches out around Lake Eola and its beautiful, relaxing park, a pretty good place to chill and spot ducks, huge swans, squirrels (is there a place in Florida where you can’t spot squirrels?) and the transparent bird – so thin that you can actually only see its profile. It is also possible to rent a swan boat, but be aware of the big fountain in the centre of the lake – you might get wet on windy days, and here it seems to be windy every day.
Just cross the street near Disney Amphitheatre, and you’ll find a free-entrance orthodox church – definitely worth a quick visit, don’t be discouraged by its external appereance and by it not being a beautiful european cathedral. And, if you’re a bookworm like I am, take your time to visit Orlando Public Library, just round the corner: your town library back home might be more evocative, but it is dramatically lacking compared to this one.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much what Downtown Orlando offers to tourists. You might just take a walk in the streets nearby – they’re pretty, but there’s literally no people around, and bars are really not tempting before dawn, and later they won’t be tempting at all if you don’t like big loud crazy crowds.
In fact, when it comes to city centre, Orlando is a big delusion. I really would like not to say that, but it is one of the worst cities I’ve ever been to – not worth a visit, unless you are a basketball fan and you’d like to see Amway Center, where Orlando Magic play. Go to Disney Springs or Citywalk instead – resorts know how a cool city should be.