Orlando, Florida

March 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Travel Blog

Beyond Mickey
Tee off and kick back in Orlando, Florida
by Joel Mathiason

Let us travel to a world of magic kingdoms and Cinderella stories; a place where it’s okay to be Goofy and befriend a mouse named Mickey. But on this trip, you’ll unwind with a hot stone massage after shooting a few birdies, and fresh fish is par for your four-course meal.

The sprawling Orlando Omni Champions Gate Resort is a golfer’s paradise, complete with two courses designed by Greg Norman. The National Course features a traditional, American-style layout with lush, tree-lined holes and challenging dog legs. The International Course boasts an open links-style design where generously sprinkled bunkers and strategically shrinking fairways keep you double guessing each shot. If you’re looking to perfect your swing, the Omni plays host to the prestigious David Leadbetter Golf Academy. Lessons ranging from a one-hour clinic to a 3-day Mini School are available.

But golf isn’t the only attraction at this four-diamond retreat. The soothing Serenity Spa, lazy river, private pool and a Kids Play area are prime for family fun and relaxation. Seven-hundred and twenty rooms, 40 luxury villas and 70,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space accommodate families, wedding parties and conferences.

Photos by: Joel Mathiason

The fun, luxurious ambiance is matched with equally impressive dining. Gourmet Pan-Asian cuisine awaits you at Zen, where hot sake and sushi are served in a calming atmosphere. If a livelier scene, steak and perhaps a cigar are on your radar, give David’s Club a try. The resort is becoming a popular wedding destination. Newlyweds Jeremy and Rachael Bastacky profess they were “treated like royalty” during their stay. Trips to nearby Walt Disney World and access to Omni’s world-class golf helped the wedding party enjoy their time in the central Florida sun.

There is more than theme parks to enjoy outside the Omni. A 20-minute drive leads you to the fresh, cool spring waters of Wekiwa Springs State Park. Another popular getaway sends you aloft. A hot air balloon ride courtesy of Blue Water Balloons will lift you and your spirits above the picturesque Florida landscape.

Omni Championsgate

Walt Disney World

Weikiwa Springs State Park

Blue Water Balloons

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