Florida

Spot Cool Stuff Orlando Week

Common wisdom among most members of the Spot Cool Stuff audience is that Orlando is not a cool destination to travel to. While we love defying common wisdom, in this case we think our readers have it mostly right.

Mostly.

Yes, Orlando is full of theme parks and tacky souvenir shops. Yes, its themed hotels are not as elaborate as, say, Vegas. And, yes, Orlando seems to find ways to nickel-and-dime tourists from the moment they drive onto the toll road from the airport. But if you can bring along your inner child there’s fun to be had in Central Florida. And if you are taking along your actual children there are ways of optimizing your own Orlando enjoyment.

With that in mind, our posts for this week:

Monday ICEBAR: Orlando’s Coolest Nightlife
Tuesday The Magical Way to Avoid the Lines at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Wednesday Luxurious Orlando Hotels With Free WiFi
Thursday Discovery Cove: Orlando’s Un-Theme Park
Friday The Pentax Waterproof Ultra-Compact Digital Camera


 Spot Cool Stuff Orlando Week

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One Fish, Two Fish,
Places That Look Dr. Seuss-ish

Anyone who grew up on The Cat In The Hat and Green Eggs and Ham remembers the illustrations of one Mr. Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss. Trees with elongated trucks or with improbable collections of limbs. Stark and scraggly landscapes with oddly balanced rocks and unlikely geometric shapes. Architecture with unusual protrusions and awkward angles where no two windows exactly the same. These were some of the hallmarks of the world Dr. Seuss illustrated in his 60 children’s books.

Here’s a look at some places on Planet Earth—places you can visit on your next vacation—that resemble scenes from a Dr. Seuss illustration. So, in the words of the doctor himself . . .


…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


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The World’s Best Toy Stores

There's a hand-carved (!) carousel, 18-hole mini golf course, Kool-Aid waterfall, gourmet fudge shop, vintage toy museum, huge children's book selection, llama petting zoo, puppet shows and, oh yeah, you can also buy toys.

It’s a tough job but someone has to take on the task of finding the world’s best toy stores. So Spot Cool Stuff assigned ourselves.

Here’s a look at our favorite shops for indulging your kids—and your inner child:

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7 Downside-Up Houses

Constructing the upside-down house was so disorientating for the builders that they could only work in three hour shifts

˙uʍop ǝpısdn plɹoʍ ǝɥʇ uɹnʇ ʇɐɥʇ—puɐloԀ puɐ ɐıɹʇsn∀ ‘˙∀˙S˙∩ ǝɥʇ ‘ʎuɐɯɹǝפ ‘ɐpɐuɐƆ ‘uıɐdS uı—sǝɹnʇɔnɹʇs uǝʌǝs ǝsǝɥʇ ɟo puoɟ ʎllɐıɔǝdsǝ sı ɟɟnʇS looƆ ʇodS ʎɥʍ sı ɥɔıɥM ˙ʎʇılɐǝɹ uo ǝʌıʇɔǝdsɹǝd ɹnoʎ ǝƃuɐɥɔ uɐɔ ʎǝɥʇ :ǝɹnʇɔǝʇıɥɔɹɐ puɐ lǝʌɐɹʇ ɥʇoq ɟo ʇɔǝdsɐ looɔ ǝuO

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Ice Bars In Warm Places

At almost any bar in the world you can get a drink with ice. At a few you can get a drink in ice. While sitting on seats made of ice. At a table made of ice. Surrounded by walls made of ice.

The concept of the ice bar originated, logically enough, in Sweden where both water and freezing temperatures are abundant. These icy drinking establishments soon became popular around Scandinavia, partly because they combined two elements Scandinavians tend to embrace (cold and alcohol) and partly because these bars’ LED lighting, artworks of frozen water and and intimate settings made them great places to chill out. (Pun. Sorry.)

Today, there are more than two dozen ice bars around the globe including ones in Amsterdam, London, Poland, Canada and Alaska. Not all of these frozen saloons are in places with cold climes. Hence this Spot Cool Stuff overview of ice bars in warm places.

For the purposes of this review, a “warm place” is anywhere it doesn’t snow in the winter and regularly gets hot in the summer. So, the ice bar in Beijing doesn’t count. The one in Shanghai would have had it not recently closed.

All of the selections on this list, like most of the ice bars anywhere, charge an entrance fee to get in. Usually this fee includes one free drink and use of cold-weather clothing that is designed as much to protect patrons from the bar’s sub-freezing temperatures as it is to protect the bar itself from the patrons’ body heat. To help keep their establishments below freezing, ice bars also have strict limits on the number of people allowed in.

And with that, let’s kick back with a cold one and tour the world’s ice bars in warm places . . .

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4 High Design, High Value, South Beach Miami Hotels
Yes, there are high design Miami hotels that offer high value too. We’ve scoured the options and found four especially worthy. Looking for optimal funkiness? The Pelican Hotel is the choice. A beautiful beachfront location? The Townhouse. A pool and spa resort? The Standard. And if you want to be close to the South Beach scene while feeling far away there’s a Sanctuary for you. Read on for the full scoop . . .

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Jules Undersea Lodge

Wow. This two-chamber hotel 30 feet (10 meters) underwater off the coast of Key Largo, Florida truly feels like you are spending the night in a different world. Guests are surrounded by views of tropical fish and lagoon water. But the vibe of this place is what makes it truly memorable — the lighting and sounds here are different than they are living on land. And since no hotel staff stays overnights below you’ll be free to explore around this underwater space station in privacy. To make the dive down to the lodge guests are required to take a three hour course if they are not already scuba certified. “Mer-chefs” are available to cook dinner. One guess what sort of food is on the menu.

LEARN MORE & BOOK | READ

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World Erotic Art Museum

Somehow we didn’t get to The World Erotic Art Museum when we took that junior high school field trip to Miami. Don’t you make the same mistake the next time you are in the south Florida.

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