First Day In Orlando, Florida

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November 2nd 2010
Published: November 29th 2010
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Moline, IL to Orlando, FL

My Rental CarMy Rental CarMy Rental Car

A 2010 Ford Mustang. It was sunny and 80 degrees. Yup, I pretty much have to have one of these now
On Tuesday, November 2nd 2010 I flew from Moline, IL to Orlando International Airport for what was to be a short trip to (not) see the final launch of NASA space shuttle Discovery…more on that later. I was initially supposed to spend my time with a grad school friend, but a previous delay in the shuttle launch had pushed the trip outside of her availability. Now on a solo vacation I rode the uneventful flight to Orlando, FL, enduring a brief layover in Atlanta. Once at Orlando International Airport (11:50AM) I rushed from the Air Tran terminal to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car kiosk only to find myself at the end of a VERY long line. This had to be one of 6 or 7 in-house car rental agencies and it was the only one with a line. Uggg.

After I checked in with Enterprise I headed to the car lot where I waited another 15 minutes or so. No big deal. I was just happy to be standing in tropical 80 degree weather and out of the tundra that was Midwestern Illinois. For some reason the Enterprise employee felt bad that I had been standing around for a while, offering me
My Hotel RoomMy Hotel RoomMy Hotel Room

Stayed at the Motel 6 Orlando - International Drive. The room was $26.99 per night and the location was great...and nope, can't think of anything else positive to say about it :)
a free car upgrade and a 10% discount off of my already locked in rental price (yay!). My choice of upgrade was either a black 2010 Chrysler Sebring convertible or a red 2010 Ford Mustang convertible. Being a 27 year-old man and not a 55 year-old grandmother I hopped in the Mustang, dropped the top, turned on the GPS and headed for my hotel on International Drive.

In an out of character attempt to save money I’d decided to stay at a Motel 6 (mistake). The cost of the room, you ask? How about a whopping $26.99 per night! The location was exactly what I wanted, being almost within walking distance of Universal Studios and an hour’s drive from Kennedy Space Center. Once at the hotel I couldn’t help but notice…well, how much it sucked. My only real concern was that the rental car would get keyed… yeah, that and for my personal safety too. What happens to a laptop when you leave it in a car trunk all day in 80 degree temperatures? Guess I would find out because it surely wasn’t staying in the hotel room while I was gone 😊

I probably hadn’t been at
View From Hotel RoomView From Hotel RoomView From Hotel Room

Hey, it was nice one minute and now it looks like rain. Must be in Florida! Notice the shanty-like awning. Also, in the distance you can see the good hotels!
the hotel for more than 30 minutes when I heard the news I had been afraid of. NASA had decided to yet again postpone the shuttle launch which had been set to go up on Wednesday, November 3rd. There was now no definite date set for the launch but it looked bad; hydrogen leak, cracks in the external fuel tank. Well, there goes seeing a shuttle launch in my lifetime. But safety first!

Although the point of the trip to Florida had been to see the final launch of space shuttle Discovery I chose to keep my attitude positive. What can I say, it was a HUGE disappointment but when you are “stuck” somewhere for a few days I can’t think of a better place to be than Orlando, FL. Disney World, Universal Studios, MGM Studios, Epcot, Sea World. Need I go on? Now early in the evening I decided to take a ride in what I planned to tell attractive women was my brand new Mustang. I wanted get a feel for the area, clear my head and plan out the next days itinerary...I also felt like driving fast!

For those of you that haven’t been, International
NASA Launch PackageNASA Launch PackageNASA Launch Package

Never got to use it :(
Drive is a fun place to be while in Orlando! Each side of the street is lined with resort hotels, restaurants, shops, palm trees and smiling tourists. I cruised around for an hour or so, enjoying the beautiful weather and wondering how high I would be able to get the speedometer once on the interstate (I won’t tell). I ended up stopping at an Uno Chicago Grill. That’s right: Orlando has an Uno’s! I ordered a pizza, picked up some beer and headed back to the hotel for a quick meal.

After relaxing for a while I went over to Universal’s City Walk. The City Walk is a great place to be at night, even with the amusement parks being closed. It is full of bars, night clubs, restaurants, live music and shopping. For me the highlights were Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville / Lone Palm Bar, NASCAR Sports Grill and the NBA City Restaurant aka home of the best chicken penne I have ever had. I hung out for a few hours then headed back to the hotel.

It was pretty late when I arrived at le chateau de Motel 6. I set my alarm for 7:00AM then attempted

Orlando has an Unos!
to get some sleep. Between the room parties, arguments in the parking lot and constant slamming of doors I figure I got a good 3 hours in. But hey, $26.99 per night right?...wrong, I would gladly have paid $200 to not have had to deal with the unwanted noise. How is that for an endorsement? Oh well. The next day was to be fun filled and the adrenalin would have to get me through!

Additional photos below
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Airtran now charges $20 for each checked bag; I refuse to pay. So I didn't have room in my backpack for toothpaste. Only $2 AND it had Snoopy stickers!

30th November 2010

better hotels
Okay, I haven't been to Orlando much. . . but have stayed in some awesome hotels that in themselves were a destination. . and NOT for kiddies looking for Mickey. . purely for adults! And, can I add one more comment? - - - this writer would have chosen to drive the Sebring - - - - So, um, Joe, you may have lost your chair in my kitchen, and won yourself a case of chocolate wine! Edit baby! Edit!! ;)
30th November 2010

Jackie: Hotels
In the past I have stayed on Disney property, and at the Radisson Resort Parkway - Kissimmee. Ha, MUCH better options than Motel 6. I was just tyring to pinch pennies this time. But you def get what you pay for! For sure won't be Motel 6in' it again :)

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