Best Of 2015

Best Salvaging of a Stadium Deal
Photo via Orlando City Soccer Club
For the better part of two years, there’s been a tug-of-war between Orlando City Soccer Club (with support from Mayor Buddy Dyer) and the state Legislature over securing additional funding needed to build a Major League Soccer stadium in the Parramore area. Dyer was able to convince the county to chip in some cash, but negotiations with the state went afoul as the budget negotiations between the House and Senate collapsed this year. Not one to waste time, OCSC co-owner Phil Rawlins scrambled and managed to pull together the cash to finance the stadium on his own, leaving the county and city with dollar-sign smiles and potentially allowing some of the funding that was set aside for the stadium to fix other things, like the second phase of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Sports & Recreation

Sports & Recreation
Best Beach
1. New Smyrna Beach

2. Cocoa Beach

3. Playalinda at Canaveral National Seashore

Best New Place on I-Drive  to Get High
Photo by Rob Bartlett
8401 International Drive, 866-228-6438,

Looking to get elevated on I-Drive? We’d never advise anything illegal (and there’s absolutely no smoking inside the air-conditioned capsules), but we can’t think of a better place to get reeeeeally high than Merlin Entertainment’s new Orlando Eye observation wheel at I-Drive 360. During your 20-odd-minute odyssey up to 400 feet and back, you’ll be able to see for miles and miles and miles – so long as a sudden lightning storm doesn’t turn your revolution into a bad trip.

Best Billiards Hall
1. Sportstown Billiards, 2414 E. Robinson St., 407-894-6258,

2. Trick Shots, multiple locations,

3. Spatz Billiards and Liquor, 1025 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-647-3354,

Best Boot Camp
1. Camp Gladiator, 2501 General Rees Ave., 512-494-6966,

2. Orlando Fit Body Camp, 1223 N. Mills Ave., 407-536-9540,

3. SWEAT, 727 W. Smith St., 407-701-7430,

Mayor Carl T. Langford Park
Ashley Belanger
Mayor Carl T. Langford Park
Sure, the city randomly selected the trees that they dubbed “significant,” but we’d be stumped to find a more appealing way to while away a fall day than visiting Orlando’s most scenic parks (Dickson Azalea! Leu Gardens!) and most prestigious live oaks (Constitution Green Park’s 175-plus-year-old luminary! Loch Haven’s Mayor!). It’s a little shady how they chose the honorees, but luckily it’s even shadier in the tree tour’s mossy embrace.
Best Ball Kicking

Forget adult coloring books – blow off your adult frustrations with the game you always played during recess in elementary school. The World Adult Kickball Association is alive and kicking (har dee har) in this area, with three leagues playing at Barnett Park in Orlando and Soldier’s Creek Park in Longwood.

Best City Park
1. Lake Eola Park

2. Mead Botanical Garden, Winter Park

3. Dickson Azalea Park

Best Throwback
Photo via Universal Orlando
6000 Universal Blvd., 407-363-8000,

The new Peter Jackson Kong movie is on its way, so naturally the powers that be at IOA are planning to tap into the hype behind the blockbuster, as well as capture the sentimental set who still remember the epic Kongfrontation ride that closed in 2002.

Best Dog Park
1. Lake Baldwin Park Dog Park (formerly Fleet Peeples), Winter Park

2. Dr. P. Phillips Community Park

3. Barber Park Dog Park