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Another Roadside Attraction - Old Town


Old Town
5770 West Irlo Bronson Highway, Kissimmee 34746
(407) 396-4888
www.old-town.com

Admission: Free. Rides are extra.
Hours: Daily 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Location: About 1 mile east of I-4, just past Mile Marker 9

Take away the window dressing and Old Town is just a mall filled with gift, novelty, and souvenir shops. But the window dressing is fun and obviously popular with the crowds that make Old Town a lively place to visit and shop during those sultry Florida evenings.

Behind a small, brightly lit amusement park facing route 192, a vaguely Western Main Street stretches through a few blocks of 70-plus shops, cafes, and entertainments to a tiny carousel, a mini roller coaster, and other rides on the edge of the Kissimmee night. It’s pedestrians only, with frequent benches for weary strollers and a constant swirl of visitors from around the world.

The dozen or so rides are of the carnival midway variety and are paid for with tickets purchased from a booth at the front ($1 per ticket). Rides cost anywhere from two to five tickets, so a $25 ride-all-day pass will pay for itself fairly quickly. A tiny go-kart track collects a separate fee of $6 for a 13-lap, 4-minute ride. Old Town also boasts a haunted house, the Haunted Grimm House. Admission is $10 ($6.75 for kids 10 and under) for a 5- to 10-minute stroll through 20 rooms of shocks and surprises courtesy of special effects and a handful of live actors. If you don’t plan on visiting the more elaborate Skull Kingdom (see below), and absolutely must visit a haunted house, the Grimm establishment is a satisfactory substitute. The Wax Museum ($5 for all ages) is a Madame Tussaud’s wannabe featuring reasonable facsimiles of kings, queens, and movie stars.

Lazer Runner ($5), the resident laser tag game, works an interesting variation on the theme — the floors are inflated and the walls padded, allowing the shoeless players to dive and roll like action movie heroes as they fire off their laser weapons at all and sundry. For the fearless (or foolhardy, depending on your point of view), the Human Slingshot beckons. For $25 ($20 more for a DVD record), you can be shot into the sky in a seat powered by a giant rubber band.

Old Town lays on a number of free events to draw crowds and keep them entertained between bouts of shopping. An outdoor stage down one of the side streets offers musical entertainment on an irregular schedule. More predictable is the 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday Night Cruise of vintage automobiles. Over 350 cars show up on the average Saturday, and Old Town claims it’s the largest such event in the world. It’s great fun for anyone who grew up in the age of those great finned monsters. Live rock ’n’ roll adds the perfect musical accompaniment to the nostalgia.

Nearby: Arabian Nights, SkyCoaster, G-Force. Orlando Ghost Tours

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