Sunday, July 15, 2012

Orlando's magnetic and confusing personality

Orlando Florida has for years trumped many other FL towns in it's ability to pull in tourists ( state, national and international). The lure of this enchanted area is on several levels understandable and then on other levels quite mysterious and even dangerous to those who visit. Yes, there is a poison apple or two. Home to numerous theme parks (as varied as Disneyland, Universal Studios, Sea World and The Holy Land Experience) Orlando never ceases to expand the attractions available to the adventurous tourist. As a connoisseur of the underbelly of this town( working as a scenic artist ) I gravitate towards the run down remains of would be money makers that rot on highways such as I192. Here is a sample of one early evening's drive to a Home Depot on 192 to stock up on brushes for a mural project.

This one really puzzled me. The Home Depot parking lot is patterned with these black marks, like scales. Someone took some time to do this and I initially wondered what it was about. I realized that this was a patch job for cracks in the concrete. Maybe they had overstock in the patching material. Maybe there was a sink hole situation- who knows.
Highway 192 is full of old run down themed attractions and themed hotels. This is where you will find Medieval Times Restaraunt and the Capone Dinner show, Above is the mascot for the Gator Motel.
The run down sign that still stands outside the Gator shows that this used to be a themed attraction called Jungle World.
The Paradise Inn entices with painted missiles.

Close by the derelict put put golf coarse that shares the property with the abandoned Viking Motel.
The Viking is a large property and one can imagine it in its better days. How does such a large business get to this point without some change in ownership? It is like a ghost town. I wondered how many squatters must be in this place but kept my distance- I'm not that curious.

Another interesting thing about working in Orlando is the people who you meet. Everyone in the scenic industry has several different talents and scenic work usually just pays the bills. Here, Travis Martin displays some cast eyes for special effects work. Travis is a trained make-up artist turned muralist in Orlando's crazy stew of the scenic industry.
My next post on Orlando will be based on my search for another failed attraction, the Xanadu House of the Future, which I know was off of the very same HWY 192.