Top 10 Things I Miss About Living in O-Town

14 05 2009

Heading back to Orlando with Cindy to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this weekend got me thinking about what I liked about that town and what I miss most.  When we left, I really was pretty much done with the place.  It had left a young Greg broke, tired, out-of-shape and uninterested in any line of work that included me having to pretend to be nice to people who refused to be nice back to me.

So as I sit here in the eve of the return visit, I present my top 10 things I miss most about living in Orlando:

#10 – Never a shortage of cheap shopping with outlet malls close by.  If there was a nice pair of sneaks to be had, you could get them in Orlando.  With multiple Nike®, Adidas® and other name brand sports shops around, your feet would always look great.

#9 – 1 hour to the beach. I’ve never been a huge beach person, but I could get there quickly in a pinch when I needed to.  Daytona, Melbourne, and the like were a quick 50 minute drive and I could be in the water or on the sand in just over an hour.

#8 – Plenty of young single fun people – Orlando, unlike South Florida, is a young town.  It’s a place where men and women just out of college, or of college age, come to spend a few years having fun, working in average jobs and spending nights out partying and meeting other people their age.  There’s never a shortage of opportunity to meet people in Orlando.  It’s a great time when you’re a young man.

#7  – No State Income Tax – Thanks to the generosity of the millions of bright pink, fannypack wearing tourists who flood into the state annually, Florida has not state income tax.  That makes things much simpler on payday and around tax time.

#6 – The Orlando Sport & Social Club – This is the place where I met the people who became my closest friends in Orlando.  Whether you were a well-oiled volleyball machine, or a drinker with a volleyball problem, the club, at the time I participated was a great organization where people could meet, have fun and, as I said before, drink beer.

#5 – Calling my friends in January to talk about the weather. High of 88-95.  Low of about 70.  Mostly clear skies.  Showers at 3 pm.  Every day.  365 days a year.  Some call it boring.  It sure makes it easier to plan a wardrobe.  Or a party.  Or whatever.  Plus it pisses off anyone north of Atlanta when you call em in the middle of the winter.  “Dude – it is cold here today.  Only got up to like 62.”  Click.  “Hello?  Are you there?”

#4 – Pleasure Island – This place is closed down now, but in it’s day, it was a great place to be.  8 to 10 bars, one cover charge, a different club and music genre in each place.  Mannequin’s.  8-Trax.  Rock n Roll Beach Club.  The Adventurer’s Club.  BET Soundstage.  Comedy Warehouse.  Motion.  Wildhorse Saloon.  This place, whether you thought it was cool or not, was fun.

#3 – The Orlando Ale House – Nothing personal against the Carolina Ale House, but the Orlando Ale House was, for a long time, my favorite place to meet friends and watch a game.  The Ale House on Kirkman Road was HUGE, had about a thousand TVs and their chicken nachos could feed a small family reunion.

#2 – Publix Subs – If you’ve never had one, I can’t explain it to you.  If you have, then you know what I’m talking about.

#1 – Universal Halloween Horror Nights – I understand that the Mouse made Orlando what it is.  I realize that they run the town.  I actually worked there and I get it.  But for my money, there is no more uniquely Orlando event than Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights.  When I think of that town, it’s always one of the first things I think of.  I love being scared and being chased through a haunted house by characters with movie studio quality make-up is first class.  The whole park – the WHOLE park – becomes a huge creepy funhouse.  The Bill & Ted Show is legen (wait for it) dary.  If you ever get to Orlando in the fall, it would be the one thing I’d suggest you put at the top of your list.

There it is.  My top ten things I miss about living in Orlando.  There are others that didn’t quite make the list – Seeing Space Shuttle Launches (and hearing the landing) live.  Christmas at MGM Studios.  Bass Pro Shops.  The Daytona International Speedway.  Have you been there?  Have you lived there?  Share your favorites.

Next up – Top 10 Things I Hated about Living in O-Town.