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Showing posts with label reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reviews. Show all posts

September 23, 2017

REVIEW - Brio Tuscan Grille's Fall Seasonal Favorites Menu


When a hurricane drives a weary evacuee your way, and you've been battling storm aftermath yourself, words cannot describe the appreciation of a good meal. What a perfect time to take advantage of the Fall Seasonal Favorites menu at BRIO Tuscan Grille! Through October 1st, BRIO offers guests the hearty flavors of autumn in a special menu including three dazzling entrees with seasonal wine pairings and a brilliantly fresh dessert. Chef Daniel was all too happy to give us a tour of these inventive creations.

BRIO serves authentic, Northern Italian fare. inspired by the flavors of Tuscany. There are BRIO locations in more than 20 U.S. states, including over a dozen in Florida. Our nearest BRIO is at Millenia Mall - a location with smartly maximized space, providing an assortment of tables and booths indoors and outdoors, as well as bar seating. Orlando's tourist corridor tends to relax on attire expectations, but it is safe to consider this one to be a notch above "casual".

September 17, 2017

REVIEW - Taking Flight at iFLY Indoor Skydiving


I've long been curious about iFLY, but a little uncertain about it at the same time. I realize that my self-induced limitations are a bit unfounded at times, but the concept of indoor skydiving unnerved me. Call me crazy, but I feel rather comfortable with solid ground under my feet.

As much as I'd like to be a thrill-seeking adventurer, I'm unfortunately a wee bit of a chicken. What I didn't realize is that this is a good reason why iFLY is a perfect fit for me! As the company describes their concept: "indoor skydiving is the simulation of true freefall conditions in a vertical wind tunnel. It’s where the dream of flight becomes a reality".

I am fully aware that there is no chance that I will ever skydive in this lifetime... and I am completely okay with that. However, it's nice to know that an option exists for people like me to still get an understanding of the experience. iFLY makes that possible with a vertical wind tunnel technology that really is quite fascinating! Learn more about it here. The science behind the concept provides a great basis for STEM learning, which makes for unique and engaging educational programs as well. Learning a bit about how it works before I went set me at ease a bit, but I soon pondered a new concern I hadn't realized until I arrived.

September 12, 2017

REVIEW: Buca di Beppo - New Location at Celebration


If you have been a ComeSeeOrlando fan since the beginning, you may have caught my previous article on how to do Christmas, Italian-style at Buca di Beppo. Way back then (in 2013), I was reporting on a South Florida location, and hoping we had one closer than we did here in Central Florida (Maitland). Well, it seems that the Buca gods heard my plea, because they recently decided to grace us with a brand new location in Celebration, just minutes from my home. I don't think I've ever been so happy to have such a tempting assortment of calories so accessible, but I would gladly accept a few additional pounds for this! (Don't judge... there's a big menu to work through, after all. It's my duty!)

September 4, 2017

Then and Now: Returning to I-Drive 360


Ah, the nostalgia! Remember the good ol' days of watching The Orlando Eye progress from a simple base to a full-fledged super structure? Seems like forever ago now that the I-Drive 360 complex is so well-established and thriving as one of the most unique and diverse entertainment districts in Orlando, but the (now) Coca-Cola Orlando Eye only started spinning guests high into the sky little more than two years ago. So much has changed in that brief period of time!

REVIEW - Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club and Tarpon Springs


Just about two hours from Orlando, on Florida's Gulf Coast, lays the tiny little Greek-infused coastal village of Tarpon Springs. Following its founding in 1887, Greek sponge divers brought Tarpon Springs to life in the early 1900s, centered around the thriving area known as the Sponge Docks along the Anclote River. 


August 20, 2017

REVIEW: Coca-Cola Store at Disney Springs


I've visited the Coca-Cola Store at Disney Springs a handful of times since it opened just over a year ago (on July 2, 2016, to be precise). I've gone to gawk at the treasure trove of Coca-Cola merchandise sprawled across two floors in the shop - clothing, accessories, home decor, kitchenwares, polar bear gear - and, speaking of polar bears... I may have popped in just for photo shoots a couple times with a furry friend who resides on the second floor - don't judge.

August 19, 2017

REVIEW - Sierra's 21st Birthday Celebration at Planet Hollywood


We recently visited Planet Hollywood Observatory for the first time since its reopening. In retrospect, I can confess my regret in taking so long to stop by! From pre-remodeling visits, the whole family had already been huge fans of the blissfully inventive Cap'n Crunch Chicken, so the venue had passed our approval long ago with that alone. Considering our diverse tastes and varied opinions, we don't always have a lot of luck finding a restaurant that we are all equally impressed by, but our post-remodeling pop-in reminded us how much we loved Planet Hollywood before... and it has only gotten better. We were so dazzled by the entire experience that we didn't even have to consider alternative choices for celebrating Sierra's 21st birthday this month. This milestone provided the perfect excuse for a return - and a great reason to check out Planet Hollywood's Stargazers Bar!

July 30, 2017

REVIEW: Marlow's Tavern Summer Menu Highlights

Photo: Marlow's Tavern
Marlow's Tavern has launched a fresh new summer menu featuring creatively trendy new dinner and drink offerings, as well as the decadent "sweet stuff" menu. Grilled salmon or chicken, roast chicken panini, tuna salad, and Marlow's Famous Hummus accompanied by refreshing side items like mint barley risotto,  orange and radish slaw with citrus vinaigrette, roasted fingerling potato, and grilled, toasty pita points are all so very tempting, but I rarely get the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy dessert because I have yet to locate a second stomach. This time around, I'm taking full advantage of being an adult. I'm breaking the rules and going straight to dessert - spoiling my dinner completely - because the "sweet stuff" genuinely warrants a spotlight of its own. Let's delve into Marlow's Tavern - Winter Park!

July 27, 2017

REVIEW: The Dinner Detective PLUS Interview With Creator Scott O'Brien

They say you can't reinvent the wheel, but this isn't entirely true. After all, haven't most of us experienced a product or service that left us thinking, this could be SO much better? While most of us only think it - some people take the initiative to DO it. Scott O'Brien is one of those people, and he is the force behind The Dinner Detective.

With a BA in Communication and a minor in Business, O'Brien found himself lured to Los Angeles where he worked as a Production Assistant in film and television before breaking into development and writing under the legendary David E. Kelley. O'Brien justifiably sees Kelley as the "best television writer of our generation", and he considers his time spent working with him as "the greatest television education you could ever imagine".

Wisely sponging valuable knowledge from brilliant minds on the set of shows like "Ally McBeal" and "The Practice", O'Brien developed a keen insight for quality entertainment - smart entertainment.

Attending a mystery dinner show at the urging of his then-fiancee, O'Brien was intrigued by the concept, but he left the show feeling that it could be better. The actors doubled as servers - the scripts were outdated and falling flat. His fiancee casually challenged him to try it himself if he felt it was so easy to improve. Challenge accepted - and met.


July 12, 2017

REVIEW: Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress



I can genuinely appreciate an array of hotels and resorts, as most really do have the potential to appeal - it's just a matter of finding those qualities that make it awesome, or seeking out the advantages it has over other locations. Every now and then however, you stumble upon something that takes absolutely no effort to appreciate, and no narrowed audience to uncover. That is the case with our latest Summer Series Spotlight Resort - Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress! Covering a vast 1,500 acre site, bustling with lush gardens and tropical features, the resort boasts 815 non-smoking guest rooms and suites with views overlooking Lake Windsong or the half-acre pool. Opened in 1984, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress underwent a $30 million renovation in 2013.

Click on any image for full-size


The wow factor is in full effect from the moment you drive up, and it kicks into high-gear as soon you enter the lobby. The main building is just stunning. It's an open-air atrium, awash in natural light. The elevators are walled in glass, allowing for tremendous views all the way up and down the building. Contemporary lighting and decor add just the right level of POP and style to every nook, cranny and landing.

Guests are offered a glass of champagne at check-in, providing the perfect excuse to roam the lobby for a cozy place to lounge out and soak it all in. Ample seating options beckon to locales flanked with fountains, televisions, lounges (of which there are three on-site, by the way), lush greenery, and a few other surprises.

July 9, 2017

REVIEW: Splitsville - Disney Springs

There's a lot of "combo" venues in the Orlando area - locations that kill two birds with one stone... er, visit. It's brilliant to maximize your time by combining your fun with your dining, for example, and one place that makes this appealingly possible is Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Disney Springs. Actually, if we're to be entirely technical - Splitsville is a triple threat... there's a gift shop, too.


Splitsville is abundant in options (and you know how much I LOVE options). Come for dining, bowling, drinks, or all of the above! If you're just strolling through Disney Springs with no real goals, you can even just stop for a quick song by the outside bar.

July 2, 2017

REVIEW: Planet Hollywood Observatory - Disney Springs

So much has been transforming in and around Orlando! Brand new venues are springing up, and familiar icons are unveiling dramatic aesthetic overhauls and revamped menus. I've always been a fan of Planet Hollywood, and I was thrilled to see the final product of the yearlong, $25 million remodel to its flagship "Observatory" location at the ever-evolving Disney Springs.


There's enough glitz and glamour within this colossal space to leave you feeling like an A-lister from the moment you enter! So, what's new at Planet Hollywood Observatory? 



For starters - a fresh paint job and spiffed-up facade can make a world of difference! The new exterior is just as eye-catching, but they went with a cleaner, more modern upscale look - toning down the loud, somewhat gaudy display put forth since the original opening in 1994.

The building serves as a four-story bar, restaurant, shop, and museum - to put it simply. New features include a 4,500 square-foot video wall incorporating innovative 3D technology, a 5,000 square-foot outdoor, open air terrace bar, and of course - a reimagined menu with feature contributions from celebrity foodie, Guy Fieri.
(Don't panic, Planet Hollywood loyalists... the Cap'n Crunch Chicken is still on the menu!!)
When you enter, you're immediately greeted by the impeccably courteous staff, sleek double stairway, and a few tantalizing bits of memorabilia to gawk at. As you reach the second level, take a moment to pause and discover the encased wardrobe tributes on display. I immediately honed in on Dorothy's gingham dress from
The Wizard of Oz beside a Walter White original from Breaking Bad, but then... something happened...

June 26, 2017

REVIEW: Studio K - Orlando

Our Spring/Summer Series focuses primarily on restaurants and hotels, but we do make room for those exceptional fun spots that need to be worked into your spring/summer plans. Studio K (a strikingly original dance studio, run by an equally remarkable woman) is a bit different for us, but easily a fast favorite! Regardless of your age, size, experience, or even your status as a local or a tourist - you may be surprised to find that Studio K is absolutely perfect for YOU!


Photos: Studio K

First, a little background as to how we came to find Studio K. This was actually a fateful stumble upon as I was trying to help Sierra find a ballet class. We quickly discovered that this was no easy feat! Call after call - and everyone seemed to have classes for three types of people: beginners who were toddlers and young children, adults who had been dancing since diapers, or the very wealthy who could invest in high-priced private instruction. Sierra is a beginner, 20 years old, and a retail cashier, so none of these opportunities fit her at all. Then, I found Studio K. Something about the philosophy displayed on the Studio K website really spoke to me, and I knew I had finally struck gold! As I perused the class schedule, I was stunned to discover that some of the classes even intrigued ME, and I had absolutely no interest in dance at all. I am the furthest thing from graceful, and I am not the picture of youthful fitness. No way could I (or should I) be trying to dance in a public place, where people could actually witness such a debacle! BUT... Studio K has lightsaber fitness! How could I pass up the opportunity to share that with our readers? I decided it was worth the sacrifice of my dignity to give it a shot.

June 25, 2017

REVIEW: The Florida Hotel - Orlando

This "Spring/Summer Series" spotlight takes us back to our home turf in Orlando. Originally opened as a Crown Plaza more than thirty years ago, The Florida Hotel is a 511-room facility with the distinction of being recognized by TripAdvisor as Orlando's "Friendliest Hotel". 



The Florida Hotel is anchored to The Florida Mall - a nearly two million square foot, indoor, shopping center that is home to a wide variety of retailers, dining establishments, and unique attractions like The Crayola Experience and M&M World. Designated parking is fenced off and separated within the mall parking lot. Valet parking is available for $20 per night. The hotel's location is more centralized than the majority of the area's accommodations - nearer to the airport than most tourist zones, but still within 15-25 minutes of our theme parks and the culture-rich downtown district.

June 10, 2017

MegaCon 2017 - Recap and Observations

MegaCon 2017 delivered its annual deluge of fandom insanity over four action-packed days, May 25-28 at Orlando's Orange County Convention Center. A festival of fun and fantasy - this year's event was speckled with memorable highlights, incredible encounters, and uniquely diverse talent. It was also a year for change, with many notable differences in the event's processes, presentation, and staffing procedures. One thing that remains consistent - MegaCon is never a disappointment. 

If you asked multiple people to explain the appeal of MegaCon, you'd likely get vastly different descriptions from each of them. The ComeSeeOrlando staff is a prime example. Though three of us consider MegaCon a must-do event, none of us agree on our favorite aspect - nor do we share common goals or expectations for our time there. When an event packs such a colossal punch, it's not much of a challenge to find something you'll enjoy. What you discover may surprise you! We've pinpointed our "Mega-motivators"... what are yours?

May 22, 2017

Destination: Clearwater - East Shore Resort

This year's "Spring/Summer Series" ventures beyond our Orlando borders to explore some nearby destinations to consider when you need a little getaway from the hustle and bustle of Orlando. You may be surprised to discover a whole new world just a short drive from theme park paradise. Speaking of paradise... we discovered a nice little slice of it, less than two hours west of Orlando, in Clearwater Beach!


It's immediately obvious how Clearwater Beach earned its name... crystal clear waters. Paired with that pure white, soft Gulf Coast sand, it's the kind of combination that you just can't resist. Growing up in Texas, I have always had a special love for Gulf Coast beaches, so this was a sight to behold! 

April 16, 2017

REVIEW: Disenchanted! The Hilarious Hit Musical at The Plaza Live


Who doesn't love a Disney story? Even if the tales we associate with Disney didn't actually originate there, Disney is the company that breathed new life into many classic stories, and made them household names - evergreen stories that we all know and love... stories that fill us with warmth, hope, strength and victory. But, truth be told, Disney is also the company that bastardized these tales. Oh, they call this "re-imagining", right? Re-imagining... that's cute.

March 26, 2017

REVIEW: The Makeup Show Orlando 2017


The Hyatt Regency Orlando on International Drive proudly hosted The Makeup Show Orlando over St. Patrick's Day weekend. Celebrating its fifth year, The Makeup Show Orlando registered thousands of attendees representing a wide range of industry professionals descending upon International Drive for a weekend of fun, education, shopping and networking. More than 75 brands were represented in rows of booths, photo ops and demonstration areas, with separate areas for dozens of seminars and presentations on a variety of topics pertaining to the art of beauty.  

March 25, 2017

REVIEW: Runaway Country 2017 at Osceola Heritage Park


St. Patrick's Day weekend saw the return of Runaway Country Music Fest to Osceola Heritage Park. This was the seventh year for the formerly-Melbourne-based event, and the second year in a row that the festival called Kissimmee home for three days of music, food, and fun of the country variety!

March 12, 2017

REVIEW: Disney's The Little Mermaid at Dr. Phillips Center

Mark and Tracy Photography
I often find myself doing things that I might not have necessarily pursued if not for being invited to review them for this site. Much to my surprise, this had led to me being introduced to many new things that I have thoroughly enjoyed, and new passions that I've enthusiastically embraced. Over the last two years, for example, I have come to love theater - especially when presented at Dr. Phillips Center. Of all the shows I've enjoyed there, The Little Mermaid was easily one of my most anticipated. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I left disappointed and underwhelmed.