Best Of 2018

Best Accidental Dick Joke
Photo by Seth Kubersky

Disney's giant Woody

Back in April, Disney was very excited to open Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, and in doing so, they announced to everyone that they had erected a giant 20-foot Woody at the entrance of the new land. Though there was no mention of girth, Disney did also tell us the statue had a 7-foot-wide hat and a 4-foot-tall yo-yo. Naturally, the announcement made all stand at attention.

Best Fuck It, We're Doing It Anyway

UCF Knights "championship"

Oh god, this again. For fans of the University of Central Florida football team, the fact that they claimed to have won a national championship after an undefeated 2017 season and then hung a permanent banner on the team's stadium is the gift that keeps on giving. As for the rest of us – those who don't revel in the truth only when it's convenient – it's become a bit of a headache. But the show must go on ... the shit show, that is.

Best Magical Queue

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Theme park lines occupy – or, really, are – a special place in hell, especially the ones in Central Florida, where standing under the Florida sun usually results in enough back sweat to fill a kiddie pool. One place, though, stops us from Avada Kedavra-ing ourselves – the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. With meticulous attention to detail and the Harry Potter canon, Universal engineers have created immersive waiting areas that are just as magically engaging as the ride itself. Talk to the castle portraits while you wait for the Forbidden Journey ride, trade dollars with a goblin at Gringotts before exploring the bank's secret passageways, or leave the Muggles behind as you cross a seemingly solid brick wall into Platform 9 3/4 for a journey on the Hogwarts Express.

Best Place to Drop 
in Your Board

Lake Ivanhoe

Ease and convenience are nothing to sniff at for even the most rugged outdoorspeople, and for kayakers and paddleboarders looking to spend a quick couple of hours basking in Florida's blasting sun, Lake Ivanhoe delivers. There's even a dock for kayaks, paddleboards and canoes that's separate from the boat ramp. With pristine, silky-smooth waters and nearby bars and restaurants to round out the afternoon, it's the right fit for anyone looking to make a ripple without making a whole big thing out of it.

Best Place to Get Away From the Noise
Photo by Monivette Cordeiro

Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area

When Orlando gets too loud, this nearly 1,700-acre jewel of a preserve on the outskirts of Lake Nona is the perfect place to reconnect with yourself and old Florida. Named after a 200-year-old tree on the property that survived being split down the middle (probably by lightning, but no one's sure), Split Oak is home to threatened gopher tortoises, Florida scrub jays, sandhill cranes, gopher frogs, deer, indigo snakes and bald eagles. Enjoy it while it lasts, though – Central Florida transportation officials are proposing to extend a road right through it.

Best Place to Leave Your Trash
Photo bv Jeremy Reper

Orlando City Stadium pitch

Ah, soccer fans. Nothing says "good sportsmanship" like the way Orlando City SC and Atlanta United FC fans threw trash all over the pitch at Orlando City Stadium during a heated match in May. It was bad enough that Orlando City's administrative top dogs got a little peeved when Atlanta United didn't address their fans' behavior issues, so they revoked the supporter groups' privileges, meaning they can no longer walk into the stadium early or bring in things like, say, flags. So, like an empty beer can, we'll just leave this ... here, for now.

Best Revolving Door

Orlando Magic head coach position

The Orlando Magic's new head coach is named Steve Clifford, but we don't expect you to remember it, because he's now the head honcho of an NBA franchise that's lost more games than any other club over the past six years – 335, to be exact. But welcome to the fam anyway, Clifford, as the Magic's fifth coach in six seasons. Here's to not being one of the league's basement dwellers in 2018-19, though we shouldn't get our hopes up.

Best Rumble in the Jungle

Mayhem on Mills

Hosted by Total Punk

April 22, 2018

There's no better post-brunch dessert than watching grown men and women beat each other with folding chairs and throw each other onto thumbtacks, all while you sip a Pabst tallboy. That's why we were so impressed when Total Punk Turnbuckle Tuesdays, the weekly hangout for fans of '80s wrestling videos and cheap beer, put on their inaugural Mayhem on Mills in the Will's Pub parking lot. Nothing screams a good time like amateur wrestlers writhing and screaming for mercy while punk bands rip it up, after all. As Russell "Maximus" Crowe would say, "Are you not entertained?"

Best Theme Park for 
Beer-Loving Dads


Sure, SeaWorld still has a way to go on things like improving customer service, updating its fading facilities and correcting its still-questionable ethical treatment of animals, but it is hands down the best park for dads. There's pretty much beer everywhere, and best of all you get two free beers just for dragging your family there in the first place. Got a little kid who can't ride shit? Take 'em to that dog and cat show. Got a dumb teen that complains about everything? Buy 'em a $19 fastpass and don't see them for the rest of the day. If you're smart, you'll get the season pass, which is stupidly cheap and essentially includes a free pass to Aquatica.

Best Underdog Story
Photo courtesy of UCF Athletics

Shaquem Griffin

C'mon. Who else would we be talking about besides University of Central Florida alum and, now, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin? After all, the one-handed wunderkind proved to be one of the best defensive players in college football over the previous two seasons, achieving levels of excellence two-handed players could only dream of. And now he's defying expectations as a professional athlete alongside his twin brother, Shaquill Griffin. Keep warming our hearts while you crack skulls, guys.