There’s always something to howl about

Unchained in Orlando: Scouting Disneyville for the perfect location

We got to go to StarPower this year as guests of Russell and Wendy Shaw, which was very gracious on their part and positively dispositive on ours: We could not have made the trip without them. I’ll write more on our StarPower experience, because we came away with some very interesting ideas to play with.

For now, I want to talk a bit about Orlando. It was my first time there, and I might have passed on StarPower if I hadn’t had the secondary objective of getting the lay of the land in the Magic Kingdom. In fact, we didn’t even see anything of Disney — other than Disney-dazed kids, that is — but we got a very good feel for the area around the Orange County Convention Center where BloodhoundBlog Unchained in Orlando will be held.

Here are some photos, just for fun:

This is the North/South building of the Convention Center. It’s immense, but, even so, it’s much smaller than the West building.

This is just the main entrance to the West building. This is where you will find the trade show floor of the NAR Convention. The NAR has also reserved all of the available meeting space in the nearby hotels, to what end I do not know.

Everything you’re seeing here is along International Drive, a fun, walkable commercial district lined with hotels, restaurants, shops and other attractions.

Here’s a little bit of International Drive’s whimsy. StarPower was held at a huge Ritz Carlton/JW Mariott golf resort, but we stayed in a hotel off of International Drive. We had a rented car, and I can navigate with some confidence in this Southwest quadrant of greater Orlando.

We’re Realtors, and we never go anywhere without looking at the real estate. Friday night while I was negotiating the sale of one of our listings, Cathy was in a state of complete rapture as we drove very slowly along South Bay Drive. If you’re looking for a place to play Google StreetView games, this is it.

Orlando in July was surprisingly pleasant. In November, it should be simply heavenly.

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7 Comments so far

  1. David Shafer July 28th, 2008 6:50 pm

    November is a very nice time of year. Good weather and before the majority of tourist show up!

  2. Russell Shaw July 28th, 2008 8:58 pm

    I am so glad you and Cathy could go – this one was the 2nd to last of this type. Next one is Howard’s last. Oddly, we didn’t think WE would like it and had decided this one would be our last and we wound up really liking this one too.

  3. Craig Klein July 29th, 2008 5:40 am

    Next time, you should visit Disney. Its a study in retail marketing. No opportunity to separate you from your cash has been missed.

    When you stay in on-property hotels, you can’t even get a newspaper and TV channels are limited to Disney/ABC owned channels.

  4. David Shafer July 29th, 2008 7:01 am

    Yes, it goes beyond that. Disney is the only corporate entity (that I know of) that is allowed to have a private police force with all the rights of the public police force. There was a little book written by Carl Hiaasen a few years back called “Team Rodent” that is a jewel toward understanding the full force of Disney in Orlando. And it is pretty amazing the way they have designed the park to vacumn money out of folks wallets.

  5. Sean Purcell July 29th, 2008 11:32 am

    Now before anyone goes and says anything they can’t take back…

    Disney is a Magical Kingdom. Let’s please keep our acerbic analysis to real estate and not ruin one of the few refuges I have left. 🙂

  6. Barry Cunningham July 29th, 2008 4:11 pm


    Hey gregg..did you actually go in wonderworks? Pretty cool place. It is kind of freaky though.

    Hey Greg,,any thoughts on what ocurred or did not occur in the Google page rank update over the weekend?

    I’ll be getting with Brian in a day or so.

  7. Greg Swann July 29th, 2008 4:26 pm

    > did you actually go in wonderworks?

    Of all those fun spots on International, we went to Pizzeria Uno. Not as good as Tempe, way not as good as Chicago. We went to the the World’s Largest McDonald’s, though. Lousy food, lousy ambience, incredibly brilliant repeat-traffic marketing. The highlight of Orlando for us was South Bay Drive.

    > any thoughts on what ocurred or did not occur in the Google page rank update over the weekend?

    Our two months in purgatory kicked us back to PR5. We’re PR4 on many of our other sites, so our internal networking power is that much stronger. I haven’t looked to see what happened elsewhere. What are you seeing?