Orlando kitschy vacation
March 1, 2013 7:24 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I are taking a quick vacation in Orlando this weekend. We've both visited the area several times before (usually for work) so have visited the big parks and usual tourist attractions. We want this vacation to be different.

What are the kitschiest tourist traps in the area? We're talking alligator tours, sand-castle museums, tiki bars, etc. Anything that you can recommend as being so bad it's good, or anything that you'd steer us clear of because it's just plain bad.
posted by Eddie Mars to Travel & Transportation around Orlando, FL (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is an awesome idea.

This is the Florida section of one of the routes in the book "Road Trip USA" - it's a book I used when I was on a similar hunt for kitsch in a different area (I can't speak to any of the things they mention, but I can speak to its calibre of kitsch). They mention an Alligator Farm somewhere north of Daytona Beach, for one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:34 AM on March 1, 2013

Ooh, also - have a look at the Florida section of the Roadside America web site. You can pull up the map and just see what's all near the Orlando area, or read the list of highlights and decide whether something's worth a pilgrimage. (On the map I'm seeing "The Holy Land Experience," a private home that someone built as a replica of Graceland, and a McDonald's with gourmet food.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:39 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think you might need to take the monster truck swamp tour at the Showcase of Citrus.
posted by steinwald at 7:40 AM on March 1, 2013

We went to the Holy Land Experience and it fit my idea of kitsch!
posted by cestmoi15 at 7:44 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Orlando resident here. We're happy to help you be ironic. Gatorland is probably good for this sort of thing.
posted by Tanizaki at 7:50 AM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yes, Gatorland, of course.
posted by saltwater at 7:52 AM on March 1, 2013

If you want to do Tacky/Kitsch-y isn't Daytona calling your name?

Would Silver Springs or the Mermaids at Weeki Wachee fit the bill?
posted by JPD at 7:54 AM on March 1, 2013

And Cassadaga, the "psychic capital of the world," is nearby and a good afternoon trip. Strange and kitschy.
posted by saltwater at 7:59 AM on March 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Not sure where you're coming from, but if you're passing through Plant City on I-4 on your way to Orlando, you HAVE to go to Dinosaur World.

Here's some more information on the McDonald's with the world's largest Playplace.

Also, I think this is closer to charming than kitchy, but the swan boats at Lake Eola are some of my favorite things in the area. (Pictures here)

I'll 3rd Gatorland.

On preview: Weeki Wachee is not really that close to Orlando, but it is kitschy/cool Old Florida.
posted by Flamingo at 8:00 AM on March 1, 2013

It's not necessarily kitschy, but the Serpantarium is kind of cool, and definitely unusual.
posted by COD at 8:11 AM on March 1, 2013

I just did an airboat ride on Lake Jesup outside of Orlando and it was awesome! There's a fried food-oriented restaurant there where you can get fried gator bites too. And cheap beer.
posted by something something at 8:12 AM on March 1, 2013

This is Disney related, but the Hoop de Doo Revue at Fort Wilderness might fit your agenda.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:07 AM on March 1, 2013

Seconding airboat rides. I did one at Boggy Creek some years back that was pretty good. The scenic boat tour in Winter Park is also pretty nice. You get to go through the canals and see a bunch of stuff from the wrong side.
posted by wierdo at 2:15 PM on March 1, 2013

I can't recommend the Holy Land enough.

I am told Old Town is kind of a weird old trashy area.
posted by jennybento at 9:38 AM on March 4, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! Unfortunately, Mrs Mars was sick with the flu the whole time, so we got to see a lot of the hotel bathroom, but not much else.
Maybe next time!
posted by Eddie Mars at 6:59 AM on March 5, 2013

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