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Every January the world's largest auto auction, Mecum, returns to Kissimmee, Florida (adjacent to Orlando and Lake Buena Vista) and auctions off millions of dollars of muscle cars, vintage cars and specialty vehicles in the huge Osceola Heritage Park (convention center).
There were over 3,000 cars for auction in 2013 and over 2,200 sold. A 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster sold for $735,000 the weekend I was there.
The event was held over 7 days with the final Saturday being the premier day to see the best of the best being auctioned off.
Ticketholders can both view the live day-long auction from inside the arena (convention center) or enjoy walking through the various tents that display auto memorabilia and related items or even cars in a queue waiting to be auctioned off or those that have sold
For anyone that loves cars, old or new, then spending a day here will certainly fulfill one's interest you will share in the energy of a car every 2 minutes being auctioned off.
Updated Mar 20, 2013
Address: 1875 Silver Spur Lane, Kissimmee, FL 34744
Well, you know us Americans. We are scared of SARS... having said that, I suggest -- Americans, that you just bring your fat bottoms down to Kissimmee's Splendid China and you can save TIME and MONEY! And isn't it the same, anyway?!
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: 3000 Splendid China Blvd. Kissimmee, FL
With less than five minutes to spare before the last Big Toho airboat tour of the day is scheduled to leave, my companion and I arrive in the parking lot. I run to the bathroom while she hides behind the car to change her shirt into something a little less formal. We quickly walk/run across the muddy grass, climb on board the boat, and sit down beside the other passengers. I am ecstatic right now!
When I first told my Floridian friends that I was coming to visit they suggested a kayaking tour of the swamps. "Wait, aren't there alligators in there?," I wrote back. Not concealing my trepidation at paddling alongside my most feared creature, I offered an alternative, "Don't you guys have those boats with the giant fans attached to the back, like I see on TV? They look like fun!" Once a novel idea gets in my head, it's stuck there permanently--I wanted to ride an airboat no matter what! Before I left, I bragged about it to friends, coworkers, and anyone who would listen--"We're going to do one of those giant-fan-swamp-boat things in Florida." "Cool! Those look awesome!," was everyone's jealous reply.
And here I am with the biggest Cheshire cat grin on my face, sitting beside a beautiful red-haired girl, when the operator gets on board, climbs to his elevated seat, and announces, "My name is 'Captain Joe'!" He turns the key in the ignition, the huge fan blades whirl into action, and just like that, we're off--tearing across the lake. Could life possibly get any better than this?
Normally I'm an environmental sympathizer, and most people wouldn't dream I'd entertain the thought of racing through protected wet lands, scaring the hell out of all the wildlife, on a giant, diesel-powered machine.... But in this case, I'll easily make an exception.
When Joe stops the boat at the other side of the lake to collect fare from us passengers, I decide he is exactly the sort of man I want powering an airboat--a hardened outdoorsy guy with a sense of humour echoed through a heavy southern drawl. He hands me a wireless credit card machine and I pay him our admission. Woah, high-tech hillbilly'n!
The captain manoeuvres the boat through some thick swamp grass and winds us around a bend into a river. My jaw drops open in awe! Set before me is one of the most surreal scenes I've ever laid my eyes on. The channel is flanked on both sides by tall trees, Spanish moss drapes from the highest branches all the way down to the river banks, crystal still water mirrors the image back in negative as the sun sets in pinks and purples somewhere over the wooded horizon. It's an alien world beyond my wildest imagination! ...A scene from a creepy yet wonderful Tim Burton movie. This is the land that time forgot.
As if to add its own crescendo to this fantastic landscape, a bald eagle abruptly swoops down from the thick forest to cross the bow of our craft. Surprised passengers gasp in astonishment and we all begin scrambling for our cameras. Then there's another! A second eagle follows the first and together they soar magnificently off into the sky. I glance back behind me and even salty Joe himself even seems a little astonished by the display we just witnessed. But eagles aren't gators, and since Big Toho guarantees an alligator sighting, the captain turns the boat around in search of the giant, prehistoric reptile.
Finally, the eyes and snout of a gator are spotted peeking from some grass in the distance off our starboard side. Joe slowly moves the boat forward for a better look and the creature retreats, swimming further and further out into the dark, open water of the Lake Tohopekaliga. I find myself suddenly feeling sorry for the poor beast. My most feared creature isn't anything like the angry, gnashing cartoon shown on the Big Toho web site--instead, it's timid and very frightened of us.
As the tour finishes, the captain docks the boat and proceeds helps us all out. I leave him with a warm "Thank you," and $10 tip. This was a fantastic tour--one of my all-time favourites ever. The only thing that could have made it better if it was me up in the captain's seat! ...But I can save that for next time.
See my "Big Toho Airboat Rides" video.
Updated Jan 12, 2011
Address: 100 Lakeshore Blvd, Kissimmee, Florida 34741
most visitors to kissimmee miss the real kissimmee old town. the kissimmee historic district has an interesting collection of historic homes and buildings as well as shops, restaurants, and bars. an area worth visiting when in the disney world area.
Updated Jan 4, 2009
Address: broadway street
old town is a collection of shops, restaurants, and bars located on US192 just east of the I-4 exit. there also is a haunted house and amusement rides. on friday and saturday evenings they have a classic car show. admission and parking to old town is free. this tourist attraction should not be confused with the kissimmee historic district.
Written Mar 30, 2008
Address: 5770 w. irlo bronson memorial hwy (US192)
highway 192 also called irlo bronson memorial highway and within the city limits of kissimmee vine street is the main road between disney world and downtown kissimmee. US192 is probably the tackiest and the most touristy 20 miles in america. US192 is lined with gaudy tourist shops, discount attraction ticket sellers, miniture golf courses, fast food restaurants, cheap motels, and low end amusement parks. but if you are a real tourist this street should not be missed. children will love it and anyone with culture and class will hate it but still it is an american phenomenon that is worth a visit.
Written Mar 30, 2008
gatorland opened in 1949 and is one of central florida's oldest tourist attractions. gatorland is a zoological park that displays reptiles and other animals. an interesting pre-disney attraction to visit.
Updated Mar 30, 2008
Address: 14501 south orange blossom trail (US441)
lake tohopekaliga or also known as just lake toho is located two blocks south of broadway in downtown kissimmee. there is a very nice park that has picnic tables and a walking trail along the lake. lake toho is one of central florida's best fishing lakes. you can hire fishing guides at the kissimmee marina. another reason to visit kissimmee's other "old town".
Written Mar 30, 2008
Returning to Gatorland 15 years after my first visit I was pleased to see that other than the introduction of "feed the gators" (where you buy sausages and lob them at their heads!) nothing had changed at all!
There's still the little Gatorland train trundling about the park.
There's still the opportunity to have your photo taken with a snake and a baby gator.
There's still the Wrestlin' Gator show which is so lame - it's only saving grace is the kind of cute guy with the gator!
There's still the Jumparoo Show where the gators leap out of the water to get their decaying food.
There's the disabled gator pen when deformed and mutilated gators can merrily live out their lives.... if they are not maed into nuggets first! Yes, Gatorland breeds alligators for food... being a vegetarian I declined the opportunity to try the gator nuggets!
It's kind of a fun place and what's nice is it's size - it's not got anywhere near the enormity of places like Sea World and Disney and as such, it's quite a gentle, less tiring day out. Definitely a good thing to do on a day following one of the biggies!
Written May 3, 2007
Address: 14501 S Orange Blossom Trail
Phone: 407 855 5496
I rang them before we went to Florida to check to see if we needed to make a reservation. The answer is "no" but when I asked them to tell me a little about themselves they said (and I quote) "Madam, our helicopters are big & red"... and when we got there, yes... indeed they were!
In 2004 the prices were adult/child $65/50 for a 15 minute flight which was tour 3 out of a possible 6. We were given headphones to wear because it was so loud but the children didn't like them. Our, then 2 year old was frightened by the noise and our, then 4 year olde wasn't sure. We, as adults loved it.
We were flown all over Orlando - except over Magic Kingdom due to security measures.
Would recommend it!
Written May 2, 2007
Address: 5519 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Way
Phone: (407) 397 0226
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