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November 1, 2013

Off the Beaten Path - Fun Spot USA - Kissimmee



Believe it or not, even we can opt for a break from Disney on occasion. However, this doesn't mean that we want to sit on our hands watching the grass grow. After all, there's much more to Central Florida than the beloved mouse. We keep seeing these... um... well... memorable ads from another local fun spot. In fact, that's what it's called - Fun Spot! When we had the family brainstorm session over what to do, Fun Spot sprang up from the well of ideas. I have to admit, I wasn't going into this convinced it would entertain this bunch, but I also admit that we really did know very very little about what there was to do there. I had only read a couple of vague reviews online, and never ran into an honest, in-depth look at Fun Spot, but it seemed to meet with enthusiasm among the family, so Fun Spot it is! 


The ads for Fun Spot promise that "it's huge", and it really is bigger than I expected.There are two nearby locations - Kissimmee and Orlando - we opted for the Kissimmee version. Being our first visit, we figured that if it was a flop, we knew that Old Town (one of our favorite Kissimmee spots) was directly next door as a last minute bail out. We got a wee bit confused by parking as we tried to figure out where Fun Spot ended and Old Town began, but once we got our bearings, selected our FREE (big deal around here) parking spot, and made our way to the fun, we were impressed! The attractions encircle a gorgeous sparkling blue pond. On a day as nice as this was, it just makes for a great place to sit and relax while people watching. No admission charges at Fun Spot, either! You only pay for what you actually choose to do!


Pricing for FunSpot could easily get overwhelming if you don't pay attention. Again, there is no admission cost here, but you pay for what you do. Much like a country fair, you pay per ride. Also like a county fair, you can choose to purchase an armband for unlimited ride access - obviously, this is the wise choice if you plan on doing more than a ride or two. Ride prices range from $3 for the kiddie rides and other smaller rides, to $6 or $9 for the more exciting/ thrill rides. Armbands are $39.95 or $29.95, based on height. (See above photo for more pricing detail.) The armbands provide unlimited access to all rides, except the SkyCoaster, which is on its very own pricing scale. Aside from the armband option, you can often save money at Fun Spot by looking for deals online. They're great about offering these up everywhere! I've seen discounts through Groupon and LivingSocial before. This time, we saved over $10 each on armbands purchased through  BestofOrlando.com! Fun Spot offers discounts when you combine visits to both locations, PLUS fair annual pass pricing ($120 both parks).

Okay... we get that it's huge already!!
One of the big draws for Fun Spot is the originality of their go-kart options. The Kissimmee location alone has four tracks, each offering a different sort of experience. There's the Road Course, the Slick Track (the "flat tracks"), and two multi-level courses: the Chaos and the Vortex.
  • Road Course: Pretty standard go-kart track with alternating straight stretches and super-tight, hairpin curves. A fun course that allows for challenging passing and racing opportunities. Just remember... no bumping!
  • Slick Track: Initially looks mild and unassuming, but wait till you get behind the wheel! This track is set up to provide the best conditions for crazy drifting and gliding. Hard to worry about winning the race here... You're happy to just keep control!
  • Chaos and Vortex somewhat intertwine at the far end of the park. In fact, I had trouble playing photographer as I couldn't follow my family as the tracks of these two different courses mingled over, under and through each other like a barrel of snakes! Both of these courses offer double-seat karts so that riders can accompany drivers in one car, or opt for the single rider vehicles. The pretzelwork courses tower 40 feet above the ground for a birds eye view of the park... if you can take your eyes off the road long enough. The descent ramp from the top of the Vortex course is steeper than you'd expect, so hold on to your seats, folks! Incidentally, the Vortex also boasts the world's steepest banking go-kart curve.


Of course, there's a lot more to Fun Spot than the go-karts. Personally, I've never been a huge fan of those... I left that to the rest of the crew this time around. I am, however, a HUGE fan of carnival-style rides, and Fun Spot had not only some of the great standards, but some that were pretty unique to me, like Surf's Up...

Click on the images above for larger versions. Surf's Up moves you over a simulated wave, up and down, then round and round, as you stand, facing outward on a huge surfboard, with mini surfboards serving as your "backboard". Hard to explain, but put the words with the pics and it all just may make sense.

Other traditional favorites...


For those seeking high flying thrills, the Hot Seat may be appealing. I'll work my way up to this one... maybe...

Gino and Tony seemed to enjoy it though...

For the truly insane... or, ummm.... brave (?), this is also where you'll find the world's tallest Sky Coaster. They say it's "part sky diving, part hang gliding". However you describe it, it's 300 feet up in the air!!! Up to three people can fly together, and prices range from $25-$40.

Yeah... This is as close as I'm coming... 


Fun Spot thought of the little ones too! Kidspot has a plethora of pleasures for the wee ones... or those of us who remain young at heart.



Hands down, our absolute favorite was the Rockstar Spinning Coaster! It rivals the similar styled versions at Animal Kingdom and Busch Gardens, and has the added advantage of NO LINES! The circular cars spin as they travel the track. I've always compared these to the innards of a pinball machine. These are the only rides that STILL get my 17 year-old daughter giggling like a little girl again. LOVE IT!


  Fun Spot also houses an indoor snack bar and arcade (along with varied outdoor booths for snack purchases). The arcade was decent. It had all the usual necessities - skee ball, air hockey, Ms. Pac Man, and more. The snack bar was fair, although we opted to grab snacks at a booth near the go-kart tracks instead. My one big complaint in this department... the drinks. My kids wanted sodas, and I was shocked to be charged $8 each for Cokes! The price was for souvenir cups that were refillable for free during the day's visit, but the cups were not of the usual size or quality for average "souvenir" reusable cups at area parks. Besides... since when is this the ONLY option available for soda purchases? I felt a bit conned and stuck with that little sneak there. I was none too pleased at all. My kids were promptly told to drink up! LOL

All in all, I was pleased with our first visit to Fun Spot! The number one advantage I found is the lack of crowds and lines. Sure, it's nice to be surrounded in Disney theming, and if I came here spending $10,000, I'd expect talking trash cans and singing fountains too... BUT there's something to be said for simple, effortless, traditional fun. Besides, isn't it kind of nice to DO things for a change rather than just look at all the pretty fixtures and costumes? Don't get me wrong... I'll always be a Disney girl, but I'm now very anxious to check out the Orlando Fun Spot location next. If that one serves to surprise me as much as Kissimmee did, we may be considering those annual passes! After all, it does say a lot that Fun Spot has me admitting to unfair prejudgement. I rarely crack my negative attitude for such an admission. I just couldn't help but have fun... even though I didn't expect to. Expect a follow-up report after we get to checking out Orlando!

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