Best Of 2016

Best Theme Park Ride That's Not Even a Ride Yet
Photo via Walt Disney World

Star Wars Launch Bay

When Star Wars Land was announced for Disney's Hollywood Studios last summer, even casual Star Wars fans got excited about it. The prospect of 14 acres devoted to rides and attractions from everyone's favorite galaxy far, far away is something that plenty of people have been dreaming of for nearly 40 years. But Disney isn't exactly known for completing attractions in record time. Remember when the still-unopened Avatar attraction was announced for Animal Kingdom, way back when people actually gave a shit about Avatar? Thankfully, the Star Wars Launch Bay attraction opened up back in December to let fans check out life-size sets and props from the franchise, as well as interact with the likes of Darth Vader, Kylo Ren and Chewbacca. It may not be quite as much fun as a ride in the Millennium Falcon, but it definitely whets the appetite for more sights in the future. Plus, you can trade junk with Jawas for special droid parts, and there's nothing not fun about that.

Sports and Recreation: Orlando's best dog parks, sports leagues, tourist attractions and more

Sports and Recreation
Best Tree
Photo by Rob Bartlett

The Mayor

Loch Haven Park 900 E. Princeton St.

This 200-year-old live oak outside the Mennello Museum is the best tree on Orlando's Significant Tree Tour. (Yes, that is a real thing; download the map at The Mayor is one of the oldest trees in the area and is a testament to its species. Live oak limbs grow upward and outward as they get older, touching down to the ground for added support and then curling back up into the air, creating a dome of resurrection-fern-filled goodness. This is one of the only trees on the map that has had enough uninterrupted space to extend its canopy outward naturally, and reach out to wiggle its branches freely. It's had only two major breaks in its lifetime – one time in 1998 and another in 2008 – though recently two teens managed to break off a branch by jumping up and down on it. Not cool.

Best Bugs in the Teeth

The Iron Lilies Harley group

Motorcycle clubs have come a long way from their scary stereotype of meth-dealing white supremacist biker gangs. These days you'll find riding groups made up of every kind of people: accountants, AARP members, church pastors ... all bound by the need for speed and the desire to feel the wind in their hair. The Iron Lilies are one such group: Eight women who ride Harley-Davidsons, inspired by three historic "Lilies" – Lillian LaFrance, who became a "wall of death" rider in 1924; Lillian Hauerwas, who logged more than 65,000 miles on her Harley by 1921; and Lillian Farrow, who became the first female motorcycle dealer in the world in 1927. Among the eight are a scientist, a psychologist, a journalist, a hairdresser, an MBA, a burlesque dancer and a few Harley techs – they may come from different walks of life, but they're all badasses.

Best Adult Sports League

1. Orlando Psycho City Derby Girls

2. Orlando Sport and Social Club

3. XL Soccer

Best Beach

1. New Smyrna Beach

2. Clearwater Beach

3. Siesta Key

Best Billiards Hall

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

2. Trick Shots, multiple locations,

3. Clicks, 2524 S. Semoran Blvd., 407-275-6064,

Best Bowling Alley

1. Colonial Lanes, 400 N. Primrose Drive, 407-894-0361,

2. Splitsville, 1494 E. Buena Vista Drive, 407-938-7467,

3. Boardwalk Bowl, 10749 E. Colonial Drive, 407-384-0003,

Best Canoeing/Kayaking

1. Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, 407-884-2009,

2. Blue Springs State Park, 2100 W. French Ave., Orange City, 386-775-3663,

3. Kelly Park/Rock Springs, 400 E. Kelly Park Road, Apopka, 407-254-1902,

Best City Park

1. Lake Eola Park

2. Lake Baldwin Park

3. Mead Botanical Garden, Winter Park

Best Dog Park

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

2. Paw Park, Sanford

3. Barber Park Dog Park