Minor League Baseball Returns to Orlando!

The Florida Fire Frogs are the newest professional sports franchise in the Orlando area.  The Brevard County Manatees relocated to Kissimmee following the 2016 season and will play it’s first season at Osceola County Stadium this Spring. Read More

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Where’s Santa – in Orlando?

If you have young children who are busy making their Wish List for St. Nick, you are likely looking for a place to take the kids to present their Christmas wishes for the man himself. Here’s five festive options for parents looking for those annual photos and holiday memories:

  • Disney Springs is a great place to stroll outside on the grounds of Disney and take the kids to meet Kris Kringle.  Walk up and pick up a pager, walk around to see all the new additions and they’ll buzz you when Santa is ready to visit.
  • Mall at Millennia goes all out with their “Hollyville” set up.  Photo packages are available as well as an option to take your own photos (with a minimum $10 donation to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital).  Check out their website for details about how to get in and their featured video on Santa’s arrival.
  • Florida Mall takes appointments online for meeting Santa.  This is a great way to avoid the long lines and unnecessary stress of the Christmas season.
  • Bass Pro Shop is offering a FREE photo with Santa at all their retail locations nationwide.  Check out the schedule and head down to the Bass Pro at the Artegon Marketplace for kids crafts and other holiday activities.
  • Gaylord Palms has major Christmas happenings, including Alpine Rush Snow Tubing, a Charlie Brown Christmas show and of course pictures with Santa.  Check out their website for a list of all the events and attractions and how to reserve tickets.

December is upon us and the North Pole is getting overloaded with requests. Make sure you get your kids to see the big guy today!

Credit to DF Clifford, Illustrator.  www.dfclifford.com 

Cubs, Indians and Florida

Chain of Lakes Park in Winter Haven (Polk County)

The World Series starts this week and in case you haven’t heard, it will feature two teams with combined 176 years without a championship.  The Cleveland Indians last won the World Series in 1948; the Chicago Cubs, 1908.  As baseball has been a part of the fabric of America for a century and a half, the state of Florida has played a major role in the games history.

Spring Training has been host to most MLB franchises throughout the years, but the Cubs have spent little time here.  From 1913-1916, the Cubs held their Spring Training in Tampa.  However, their Advanced A minor league franchise the Daytona Cubs, played in Daytona from 1993-2014.  The Indians spent time in Lakeland (1923-27), Fort Myers (1940-41), Clearwater (1946) and most recently Winter Haven (1993-2008).

And who can forget the heartbreak brought upon both franchises by the Florida (Miami) Marlins?  The 1997 Cleveland Indians looking to end their 49 year drought, lost to the Marlins in the bottom of the 11th in Game 7 of the World Series.  Or the 2003 Cubs, who were just 5 outs away from clinching the National League Pennant, before the famous Steve Bartman Incident.

Similarly, the home state’s of the Cubs (Illinois) and the Indians (Ohio) have contributed to the makeup of Florida’s diverse population.  A study done in 2014 reveals that 3% of Florida residents are Illinois natives and 3% of Florida residents are Ohio natives.  Only New York (8%) and Pennsylvania (4%) have higher numbers.  Throughout the state, you’ll find some famous sports icons of Chicago like Mike Ditka in Naples or Jack Nicholas (Columbus) in West Palm Beach.

You don’t have to go far to find a bumper sticker, flag or cap touting support for a Cleveland sports team (or Ohio State) or for a Chicago team, most notably the Bears or Cubs.  I bet you’ll find plenty of Cubs fans to watch the World Series with at the Orlando area’s chain of bars, the Friendly Confines.

As both teams set out to end their respective curses this week, you can bet plenty of Floridians will be tuned in to witness the history unfold.  After that, the older residents will escape the frosty cold of the Midwest and enjoy their winter homes in the Sunshine State.