The UConn men’s basketball team lost its first and only game in the American Athletic Conference tournament on Thursday. Men's basketball beat writers Steph Sheehan and Tyler Keating and associate photo editor Charlotte Lao avoided the nor’easter and escaped to Orlando to cover the tournament. But since our flight wasn’t supposed to leave until 11 p.m. Friday, we had an entire day to explore all that Orlando had to offer.
Since we all partook in this great fun, we decided it would greatly benefit you all if we reviewed everything we did in case you ever fly down to Orlando and your men’s basketball team loses.
Travelodge is located is Downtown, Orlando and pretty much had everything we needed. It had beds and a bathroom, I mean that’s all you need. As a bonus, the water pressure in the shower was better than those in NextGen, I mean Werth Tower. It was a motel, so it wasn’t some 5 star hotel. So yeah, it was old and had a peculiar smell to it and the door could not open and none of the outlets were working, but there were some small perks to this motel.
It had a T.V. and Tyler’s firestick saved us cause we just watched season 2 of the office. It had a balcony that had a great view of the pool. Oh yeah, there was a pool! We couldn’t tell you about the pool cause we didn’t swim, but they had a pool. It also had an ice machine and morning coffee, which was nice. The motel was also walkable distance to several places like Lake Eola and Your Pie, which was like Blaze. The pizza was good, but was it as good as Blaze, well I can’t give you the answer to that. You’re gonna have to taste it yourselves. The closest one is only in Maryland! Overall, the motel did its job.
The Sugar Factory (Drake went here, not the one in Orlando, but)
This wonderful place was located in a big tourist-y plaza with other gift shops and chain restaurants. This place… oh, this place. You may have gone to a Sugar Factory in NYC, Chicago or even in Dubai. But we were in Orlando. And I bet the food all tastes the same-- like there’s way too much sweetness in it.
I ordered Cookies n’ Creme pancakes, which sound amazing. But honestly, I kind of vomit in my mouth when I think about my meal. The pancakes were like, corn meal texture. They were crispy on the outside and kind of crumbly on the inside. And they tasted like butter. Who puts butter *in* pancakes instead of *on* them? I could barely finish one pancake in my stack of three.
I bet those milkshakes with chocolate on the side and a twinkie stuck on top are good, but I don’t even know how you can have a full meal in addition to one. Plus, the menu was the size of a small novel. Though, I bought one of those whirley lollipops in the candy shop attached to the restaurant, so that’s a redeeming quality. But If you find yourself in a Sugar Factory, just get a burger or something. And tell me if it has powdered sugar on it.
The Orlando Eye
The Orlando Eye (or the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye) is a giant observatory ferris wheel. You basically spin around in a little bubble with modern love songs playing very loudly over the speakers as you crawl from the ground to the sky, then back to the ground over the course of about 35 minutes.
We took some very awkward pictures in front of a green screen before we started (that we, sadly, did not spend $40 to purchase at the end), but the actual experience was pretty cool. I mean, Florida is really flat, so the natural scenery isn’t breathtaking. But we’re pretty sure we saw the Epcot Ball from the sky, and since we passed on the chance to empty our life savings for a day at Disney, I’d say we won in the end.
Honestly, I’d go on the Eye again. It was only $25 and it was really relaxing to watch the cars go by underneath you and stare out at the world. You can get a season pass to that thing. If I lived around here or went to UCF or something, I’d get the pass.
Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf
Now, listen. I like to consider myself a mini golf connoisseur. I vacation to Cape Cod every summer, and for such a skinny piece of land, it’s got a lot of mini golf courses. One of the courses on Cape Cod is called Pirate’s Cove, a chain of “adventure golf” courses around the country. Much to my delight, there was one right across the street from the big tourist plaza.
There are two courses on Pirate’s Cove: The Redbeard course and the Blackbeard course. The Blackbeard course is tougher, but the Redbeard course is more scenic. Since we’re tourists, we went the scenic route. There were a lot of downhill holes, but it was very easy to get a hole-in-one, so it made for a lot of excitement. I have to give Tyler props for having a strong putt game, but when it came down to it, I made all my short putts and beat him by three strokes. (Charlotte tried her best but the golf clubs were for right handers so she was at a disadvantage) A rematch is probably not going to happen, making me the all-time champion.
If you’re in Orlando, go check out Pirate’s Cove. You get a free flag!
Rating: 5/5 (for excitement)
The Escape Game escape room
The Escape Game is an entertainment place where you pay the operators some money, sign a waiver of some kind and get locked in a room for an hour, sometimes with random people. Our threesome was teamed with a kind young couple to take on some challenge called “Classified,” in which the goal is to defeat a clandestine terrorist organization and save the world by pouring out coffee beans and unlocking dusty cupboards.
Now, I solved a puzzle in “Wheel of Fortune” on Xbox One the other day without a single letter, so I went into this thing with a big stupid head full of hot air. It didn’t take long to be humbled. The other members of my group were finding keys, opening secret tunnels and shining blacklights on hidden codes while I twiddled my thumbs in the corner. But I stayed strong and eventually contributed something to the team when the chips were down with a few minutes left on the clock. We made it out, ensuring that at least one group of students from UConn won something in Orlando this weekend.
The Office Season 2 (which we watched in its entirety in our loads of down time)
Arguably the finest season, with the fifth season close behind. The Jim/Pam intrigue is at its highest, Michael Scott is in fine form and the peripheral characters haven’t overstayed their welcome yet. “Casino Night” is a series highlight.
Hi, Steph here. I have a confession: I have never seen “The Office.” I’m glad we watched season 2. Apparently, it’s very good. Since “The Office” is just part of the modern arsenal of things people reference that they expect you to understand, I already knew about Jim and Pam, but it didn’t make “Casino Night” any less amazing. Also, I’ve been saying “Why are you the way that you are?” in real life without ever having seen the episode, so now I feel like I can say it with some fresh confidence. Also, “I hate so much about the things you choose to do” is a brutal roast.
I’m glad the show lived up to the hype placed on it, because I think I’m going to watch the whole show over spring break now, even enduring through those gross seasons after Michael leaves. I watched all 10 seasons of “Friends” over winter break once, so I think it should be a cinch to get through “The Office,” considering we watched literally an entire season in less than 24 hours’ time. I’ll even let you guys know when I finish. Follow me on twitter @steph_sheehan.
Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, etc.