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On 8/11/2022 at 1:25 PM, angela1117 said:

Bless their hearts....I can't think of a more miserable vacation prospect...and I love a good cruise!

As someone who cruised on them without kids I will say two things. 

  1.  Say what you will about the sheer volume of children on board, but they did an amazing job keeping the kids with the kids and the adults with the adults.  I've cruised on other lines and spent more time around kids than this, except my time on NCL in The Haven.  That's truly kid-free.
  2.  Their private island is the best in the business, hands down.  Including the revamped RC island.
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Posted (edited)

Why is a restored downtown worth having? Take a look at Savannah:

“Spend a few hours in town and one will quickly understand why there were more than 8 million overnight stays, with 68 percent of guests being repeat visitors, with $3.3 billion spent in the community by visitors in 2021.”

Keep in mind, these are folks not going to some ersatz theme park miles from anything. These were visits to the beating heart of Savannah’s core, the actual city itself.

https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/six-jacksonville-day-trips/

From The Jaxson (while you’re there, take a look at other great spots in North Florida and South Georgia to visit, like Alexander Springs. Florida’s springs are something unique to us if we don’t let the Tallahassee idiots destroy them (a concrete plant was proposed cheek by jowl with one - who elects these people?)

Edited by spenser1058
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2 hours ago, spenser1058 said:

Why is a restored downtown worth having? Take a look at Savannah:

“Spend a few hours in town and one will quickly understand why there were more than 8 million overnight stays, with 68 percent of guests being repeat visitors, with $3.3 billion spent in the community by visitors in 2021.”

Keep in mind, these are folks not going to some ersatz theme park miles from anything. These were visits to the beating heart of Savannah’s core, the actual city itself.

https://www.thejaxsonmag.com/article/six-jacksonville-day-trips/

From The Jaxson (while you’re there, take a look at other great spots in North Florida and South Georgia to visit, like Alexander Springs. Florida’s springs are something unique to us if we don’t let the Tallahassee idiots destroy them (a concrete plant was proposed cheek by jowl with one - who elects these people?)

Just a small comment on this.  I love both Charleston & Savannah and I'm a repeat visitor to both.  Let's be real, though, they have very little to compete with.  They have military items (forts, ships to tour, etc.) and beaches nearby.

Restoring Orlando to whatever glory you might think it should be restored to would be awesome.  It won't make it the destination for this area.  It might add some great interest, but it won't tip the scale here.  It's not that sort of town and Orlando doesn't have the history.

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, HankStrong said:

Just a small comment on this.  I love both Charleston & Savannah and I'm a repeat visitor to both.  Let's be real, though, they have very little to compete with.  They have military items (forts, ships to tour, etc.) and beaches nearby.

Restoring Orlando to whatever glory you might think it should be restored to would be awesome.  It won't make it the destination for this area.  It might add some great interest, but it won't tip the scale here.  It's not that sort of town and Orlando doesn't have the history.

No, actually, besides their historic cores, both cities have thriving ports and manufacturing is exploding out in the Savannah ‘burbs.

You’re right that we don’t have as much history as those cities (not least because Bulldozer Buddy keeps tearing down what we did have). Starting with CSS in 1974, however, the city began to leverage what we did have. It led to CSS being the state’s fifth largest attraction at one point.

It became important to go local as Disney took aim at CSS. Also, CSS was hurt after Bill McCollum “saved” our navy base (Bob Snow counted on the NTC from the beginning just as he did at the original Rosie’s in Pensacola - CSS was one of the “approved” spots for sailors who wanted to party).

Mayor Bill encouraged mom and pop retail along Orange Ave. and encouraged Lincoln to “think local” when they built Church St. Market even as Snow was thinking more of tourists at his adjoining Church St. Exchange.

It didn’t help when Snow sold CSS to a Baltimore utility with zero background in the attractions business but, by that time , the retail/entertainment mix had spread east on Church St. and north along Orange Ave.

What brought downtown back from the dead was folks having a renewed in the city’s past as showcased in “Light Up Orlando”. The assumption was there would be more family friendly stores and restaurants appearing as more and more of the historic buildings were restored. A streetcar was envisioned to move folks around (Lynx dropped the ball on that and gave us the functional but boring Lymmo).

The problems picked up from the weak spots while Glenda was mayor as she got bogged down by her own party on light rail, issues with the I-4 redo planning and making sure Baldwin Park went live instead of sitting empty as most old bases had a tendency to do.

Glenda and the neighbors in Eola Heights knew bar owners were taking advantage of the down market on the historic buildings and bringing in dive bars due to the cheap rent. They all but ran Glenda out of town on a rail when she attempted pushback. She took her opportunity to become Secretary of State and the bar owners found a replacement candidate for mayor who gave them carte blanche to continue. The rest, as they say, is history.

Our resurgence of our admittedly small core was stillborn by 2002 and has never recovered. It was not inevitable- it was the choice of this administration. 

If you like what downtown has become, that’s fine. It’s going to continue to decline and the high rise apartments will continue to be high-priced dorms for the party ‘til you pukers. As soon as they grow out of that (it’s almost a remake of St.Elmo’s Fire), they move. It didn’t have to be this way.

Even I finally gave up and no one was more dedicated to Downtown Orlando than I was. Fortunately, WG is doing most of the things I hoped downtown Orlando would do. Ironically, WG’s next step is to figure out how to leverage the 438 and Dillard St. corridors to do some vertical and become a complete downtown. But, unlike Orlando’s woefully vision-challenged staff, WG is already thinking about that.

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44 minutes ago, spenser1058 said:

No, actually, besides their historic cores, both cities have thriving ports and manufacturing is exploding out in the Savannah ‘burbs.

I'm not sure how this relates.  Do the "thriving ports and manufacturing" compete for tourist dollars with the historic cores?  What am I missing here?

Carnival does some cruises out of Charleston, but it was never a thriving thing and they are ending in a year or so.  I just looked it up and it's the 2nd oldest ship in the fleet (in less than 60 days it will be the oldest when the current oldest is retired) that only does short out & back Bahamas trips.  That seems a bit like telling me that downtown Orlando is only competing with Old Town in Kissimmee.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, HankStrong said:

I'm not sure how this relates.  Do the "thriving ports and manufacturing" compete for tourist dollars with the historic cores?  What am I missing here?

Carnival does some cruises out of Charleston, but it was never a thriving thing and they are ending in a year or so.  I just looked it up and it's the 2nd oldest ship in the fleet (in less than 60 days it will be the oldest when the current oldest is retired) that only does short out & back Bahamas trips.  That seems a bit like telling me that downtown Orlando is only competing with Old Town in Kissimmee.

Just responding to the thought is that all they have is military. Busy ports are more important than ever. Unlike Port Canaveral, not just for cruises but for cargo.

The ports of New York/New Jersey, Savannah, Virginia (I assume that means Virginia Beach/Norfolk), and Charleston are the leading container ports along the Atlantic coast.”

-Bureau of Transportation Statistics (they’re part of USDOT, which, of course is headed by Secretary Mayor Pete, so they must be wonderful!)

 

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2 hours ago, spenser1058 said:

No, actually, besides their historic cores, both cities have thriving ports and manufacturing is exploding out in the Savannah ‘burbs.

I don't understand this point, but regardless, it's not all perfect in Savannah.  Nearly a decade ago a wealthy developer (Ben Carter out of Jax) invested heavily (purchase and rehab) in a lot of retail building in downtown- primarily on Broughton Ave. His plan was to fill those with national retailers, which he did- much to the chagrin (at the time) of the local businesses that had remained there. Things went swimmingly well for the first 5 years and soon enough the local retailers started filling up the smaller off the ave places, but when it came time for those nationals to re-up leases, most did not and most of those nationals have left or are in process of doing so.  Of course, this does not impact Mr. Carter because he sold the properties to other concerns shortly after he originally filled them up.

This shouldn't be a problem because you now have old buildings that have been through some portions of rehab. New, local retailers can move it- right? Well, not many locals want a space as large as these are. Ok, so maybe they can get more fancy restaurants (Savannah has an unusually high number of these considering their size). Unfortunately, much like the old buildings in downtown Orlando, buildout for a full restaurant is close to impossible (code issues).

So you know what can go into those spaces... bars.

Savannah is trending upward as a party city and is a huge draw for bachelorette parties. Wandering through downtown Savannah on a weekend night just a few months ago I was surprised at how "wild" things were (downtown is an open container area, so drinks are everywhere).

Oh, and local businesses are getting pretty loud about the homeless problem https://www.wtoc.com/2022/08/03/savannah-businesses-police-work-address-crime-linked-homeless-population/ 

Much of the new growth (and the more moneyed crowd) has been along the river and it seems to be leaving the central core floundering, at the moment.

Let's see how successfully Savannah navigates this over the next 5 years.

Regarding manufacturing in the burbs- this is true, but those folks seldom wander downtown, much like can be said of Orlando.

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2 hours ago, spenser1058 said:

Just responding to the thought is that all they have is military. Busy ports are more important than ever. Unlike Port Canaveral, not just for cruises but for cargo.

The ports of New York/New Jersey, Savannah, Virginia (I assume that means Virginia Beach/Norfolk), and Charleston are the leading container ports along the Atlantic coast.”

-Bureau of Transportation Statistics (they’re part of USDOT, which, of course is headed by Secretary Mayor Pete, so they must be wonderful!)

 

Again.  I'm not sure  anything you've said in either post relates to what I was saying about taking tourist dollars?  I think you took my word military and didn't realize I was talking about military tourist items like Fort Pulaski and the Yorktown.  Where you go to a museum as a tourist item, not that the military is based in those towns , although they have/had that, too it isn't related to tourism.

 

Maybe I should rephrase?  

I'm saying that Orlando's downtown has to compete with multiple world class theme parks, multiple sub-world class theme parks & attractions, beaches, more dining places than you could ever need, and the like.  It's beyond extremely competitive.

I'm saying that Charleston  & Savannah's downtowns have much less to compete with.  They have plenty of places to eat and beaches and some military history tours.

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18 hours ago, HankStrong said:

Again.  I'm not sure  anything you've said in either post relates to what I was saying about taking tourist dollars?  I think you took my word military and didn't realize I was talking about military tourist items like Fort Pulaski and the Yorktown.  Where you go to a museum as a tourist item, not that the military is based in those towns , although they have/had that, too it isn't related to tourism.

 

Maybe I should rephrase?  

I'm saying that Orlando's downtown has to compete with multiple world class theme parks, multiple sub-world class theme parks & attractions, beaches, more dining places than you could ever need, and the like.  It's beyond extremely competitive.

I'm saying that Charleston  & Savannah's downtowns have much less to compete with.  They have plenty of places to eat and beaches and some military history tours.

Assuming you mean that the big driver for both those cities are their historic cores. That is their tourist attractions and where all of the money is spend. Its like our I Drive and Attractions areas. 

I enjoy both of those cities but they do not feel real. Good place to have a good time on vacation. 

Savannah also has had lots of redevelopment on the waterfront. Kessler built a major complex on the water front where the power plant was. 

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3 hours ago, jack said:

Assuming you mean that the big driver for both those cities are their historic cores. That is their tourist attractions and where all of the money is spend. Its like our I Drive and Attractions areas. 

I enjoy both of those cities but they do not feel real. Good place to have a good time on vacation. 

Savannah also has had lots of redevelopment on the waterfront. Kessler built a major complex on the water front where the power plant was. 

Spense was saying that we should build up the Orlando historical core like Savannah.  I added Charleston because in many ways the two are so similar it's scary.  

My points were that first Orlando is no Savannah or Charleston and second that it's simply not going to happen that Orlando pivots to Sav/Ch-like historic charm.  Those cities have built themselves a niche and they do it well.  They are no Orlando is volume/number of experiences, but they don't have to compete like a historic Orlando would.  They are apples & oranges.

 

Let's sandbox that.  A billionaire comes in and revamps *HISTORIC ORLANDO* with all the charm in the world.  We have 20 city blocks of charm.  Let's be honest, at this point that charm and historic value is pretty much all fabricated.  This historic Orlando is about as real as Holy Land was to Jerusalem.  Let's ignore that.  Let's say is has insane curb appeal and charm.  IT DOESN'T MATTER.  That's not going to be why the bulk of people come to Orlando.  It's going to be "Hey millions of tourists who are here for the theme parks, nearness to beaches, space center, I-Drive, shopping, hot weather, and so much more!  Please come also look at Historic Orlando!  Please?"

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On 8/15/2022 at 1:04 PM, spenser1058 said:

Just responding to the thought is that all they have is military. Busy ports are more important than ever. Unlike Port Canaveral, not just for cruises but for cargo.

The ports of New York/New Jersey, Savannah, Virginia (I assume that means Virginia Beach/Norfolk), and Charleston are the leading container ports along the Atlantic coast.”

-Bureau of Transportation Statistics (they’re part of USDOT, which, of course is headed by Secretary Mayor Pete, so they must be wonderful!)

 

As someone from the City of Norfolk, I never knew we were one of the leading cruise ports for the Atlantic, however with the cargo side, its no surprise that the Port of Virginia is up top with it being one of the biggest in the nation. 

Now, as a addition question, My family and I are planning a trip down to the Orlando area (Of course it includes Disney) , which is soon. Any ideas for good restaurants which may or may not be away from the tourist loaded areas? 

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3 hours ago, mintscraft56 said:

As someone from the City of Norfolk, I never knew we were one of the leading cruise ports for the Atlantic, however with the cargo side, its no surprise that the Port of Virginia is up top with it being one of the biggest in the nation. 

Now, as a addition question, My family and I are planning a trip down to the Orlando area (Of course it includes Disney) , which is soon. Any ideas for good restaurants which may or may not be away from the tourist loaded areas? 

I generally try to avoid the attractions area, but they do have an amazing amount and diversity of restaurants out there.

Questions: how far off campus do you want to go? Is it a dinner out or a day trip? Does it involve kids? Do you have a genre/ experience in mind? If you're not spending all your time in the attractions area, what area will you be in?

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“Spurrier’s (Gridiron Grille in Gainesville) has, in one year, rapidly climbed the polls and is now ranked as the No. 5 busiest restaurant in Florida with 311,696 dinners served, 128,962 cocktails sold, 38,644 bottles of wine uncorked and 57,788 beers poured.”

From The Sentinel

 No word yet if the staff are required to wear visors…

 

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According to the final poll over the weekend by St Pete Polls (Florida Politics), Charlie’s ahead of Fried in all sections of the state except Gainesville (2% lead for Nikki - dadgum Gators!) and Panama City (has anyone actually ever seen a Democrat in Panama City?).

GO VOTE- Polls open until 7pm.

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“About 13% of the county has already voted prior to Tuesday in early voting. Cowles said Orange County’s 2018 Primary Election saw a 26% turnout. He anticipates Orange County could surpass that turnout today.” - GOAT OC Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles in interview with the Sentinel.

Btw, about a dozen folks showed up on Kaley this morning to vote at the SoE office in Beautiful Downtown SoDo. Folks, you can’t do that. On Election Day, you have to vote at your designated precinct.

You CAN drop off your mail-in ballot there if you forgot to mail it. Take it inside, though, DeSatan and his toadies disallowed the drop-in boxes.

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They ain’t messing around out in Oakland:

“By 9:45 a.m. 132 voters had turned out at the polling station (located at the town’s First Presbyterian Church)according to the Supervisor of Elections Office, which was about 32 more voters than the next busiest station. “

From The Sentinel 

GO OAKLAND- GO VOTE!

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Bill Cowles turned out to be a little too optimistic on turnout yesterday, with the numbers struggling break 25% of registered voters across the metro:

“Orange County reported the lowest turnout in the region, with just under 188,000 people voting, less than 22% of those registered, and behind the 2018 primary, when a little more than 25% of voters cast ballots. In Osceola County, just over 20% of eligible voters participated in Tuesday’s election. Turnout was slightly better in Seminole County, where about 25% of eligible voters cast ballots, and in Lake, where about 24% of voters did so.”

From The Sentinel 

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Posted (edited)

Here’s an interesting comparison - the OCPS tax extension passed overwhelmingly 81-19%. Meanwhile, a similar levy for Hillsborough (Tampa) County schools is going to a recount and is slightly losing at this point.

And here we thought Hillsborough was finally getting blue - they ain’t got nuthin’ on us!

http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/2022/08/24/hillsborough-school-tax-vote-headed-for-recount-heres-what-happens-next/

From The Tampa Bay Times 

Of course, the eastern part of Hillsborough along the I-75 corridor has a lot of retirees and the Dover/Seffner area along I4 is Bubba Central, so they must have come out in droves. Fortunately, our wackadoodles have mostly moved to Lake and Brevard counties by now, which helps.
 

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On 8/16/2022 at 2:31 PM, HankStrong said:

Spense was saying that we should build up the Orlando historical core like Savannah.  I added Charleston because in many ways the two are so similar it's scary.  

My points were that first Orlando is no Savannah or Charleston and second that it's simply not going to happen that Orlando pivots to Sav/Ch-like historic charm.  Those cities have built themselves a niche and they do it well.  They are no Orlando is volume/number of experiences, but they don't have to compete like a historic Orlando would.  They are apples & oranges.

 

Let's sandbox that.  A billionaire comes in and revamps *HISTORIC ORLANDO* with all the charm in the world.  We have 20 city blocks of charm.  Let's be honest, at this point that charm and historic value is pretty much all fabricated.  This historic Orlando is about as real as Holy Land was to Jerusalem.  Let's ignore that.  Let's say is has insane curb appeal and charm.  IT DOESN'T MATTER.  That's not going to be why the bulk of people come to Orlando.  It's going to be "Hey millions of tourists who are here for the theme parks, nearness to beaches, space center, I-Drive, shopping, hot weather, and so much more!  Please come also look at Historic Orlando!  Please?"

I would suggest that Florida’s offering comes in the way of Key West, no less charm or historical significance than Savannah or Charleston, including it’s own unique architectural flavor and cultural identity.

If there is another city in Florida with the potential to capture some of those elements it would be Pensacola but there are no signs of that happening.

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A lot of it is will. In the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, downtown St. Augustine had more in common with US192 than Colonial Williamsburg. Sure, they had the fort and the Flagler hotels, but much of the area was pure tourist trap.

Fortunately, some folks got together and made the decision to enhance the colonial-era features they had and cut down on the schlockiness. It totally transformed the area. Most importantly, it all happened because someone realized that, with vision, things could be very different. Did I mention downtown property values there soared?

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9 hours ago, prahaboheme said:

I would suggest that Florida’s offering comes in the way of Key West, no less charm or historical significance than Savannah or Charleston, including it’s own unique architectural flavor and cultural identity.

If there is another city in Florida with the potential to capture some of those elements it would be Pensacola but there are no signs of that happening.

St Augustine get my vote. Sure, it's a tourist trap but it still is lovely. 

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