Best of ORL 2019 - Fun & Leisure




Bronze Kingdom African Art Gallery

Roberto Gonzalez

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Spectacular Kingdom

Living in Los Angeles 40 years ago, Rawlvan Bennett routinely stopped at the same store on his way home from work.  And each time he pined for the same African mask.

The mask cost $200. His rent was $300. The store owner said he’d sell it to Bennett for whatever he had in his pocket. He had $50—his food money for the next two weeks.

Today, the mask hangs in Bronze Kingdom, a gallery teeming with 4,000 rotating pieces of African art—dramatic thrones, weapon-wielding warrior statues and cowrie shell-adorned drums—all from Bennett’s private collection or by featured artists.

Bennett later learned that the first mask he purchased hails from the Congo—the same place, he found through DNA testing, that he is from.

“That mask was calling me. I was really searching for my heritage,” he says.

Bennett opened Bronze Kingdom in Fashion Square Mall last year and plans to move to a 30,000-square-foot location on International Drive, where he hopes to offer virtual experiences, an African-based arcade and ultimately, a performing arts center.

“We want Bronze Kingdom to become a cultural destination,” he says. bronzekingdom.com


Public Golf Course

1 Dubsdread Golf Course
College Park
historicaldubsdread.com

2 Twin Rivers Golf Club
Oviedo
twinriversgolfclub.com

3 Shingle Creek Golf Club
Rosen Shingle Creek
Orlando
shinglecreekgolf.com

Private Golf Course

1 Interlachen
Country Club
Winter Park
interlachenccfl.com

2 Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge
bayhill.com

3 The Country Club of Orlando
countrycluboforlando.com

Art Gallery

1 Bronze Kingdom
African Art Gallery
Orlando Fashion Square
bronzekingdom.com

2 Snap! Space!
Snap! Downtown
East Colonial Drive; East Church Street
snaporlando.com

3 CityArts Orlando
South Magnolia Avenue
facebook.com/cityartsfactory

Museum

1 Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Winter Park
morsemuseum.org

2 Orlando Museum of Art
Loch Haven Park
omart.org

3 Orlando Science Center
Loch Haven Park
osc.org

Business Hotel


The Alfond Inn (Courtesy of The Alfond Inn)

1 The Alfond Inn
Downtown Winter Park
thealfondinn.com

2 Grand Bohemian
Hotel Orlando
Downtown Orlando
grandbohemianhotel.com

3 The Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
ritzcarlton.com/Orlando

Place for a Staycation

1 Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney
World Resort

fourseasons.com

2 Walt Disney World
disneyworld.disney.go.com

3 The Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
ritzcarlton.com/orlando

Place to Get Married

1 Harry P. Leu Gardens
Orlando
leugardens.org

2 Casa Feliz Historic Home & Venue
Winter Park
casafeliz.us

3 The Acre Orlando
College Park
theacreorlando.com

Performing Arts Group

1 Central Florida Community Arts
Orlando
cfcarts.com

2 Orlando Ballet
Orlando
orlandoballet.org

3 Sak Comedy Lab
Downtown Orlando
sakcomedylab.com

Entertainment Experience

1 The VOID  (Virtual Reality Experience)
Disney Springs
thevoid.com

2 I Drive NASCAR
(Indoor Go-Kart Track)
Off International Drive
idrivenascar.com

3 The Escape Game (Escape Room Experience)
International Drive
theescapegame.com/orlando

Non-Theme Park Attraction

1 Gatorland
South Orange County
gatorland.com

2 Black Hammock Airboat Rides
Oviedo
blackhammockairboatrides.com

3 Orlando Science Center
Loch Haven Park
osc.org

Movie Theater

1 Enzian
Maitland
enzian.org

2 Regal Winter Park Village Stadium 20 & RPX
Winter Park
regmovies.com

3 Epic Theatres
at Lee Vista
South Orlando
epictheatres.com

Festival

1 Winter Park
Sidewalk Art Festival
Park Avenue, Winter Park
wpsaf.org

2 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
Walt Disney World
disneyworld.disney.go.com

3 Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival
Loch Haven Park
orlandofringe.org

Charity Gala

1 Runway to Hope
Spring Fashion Soiree
Benefits children & families affected by pediatric cancer
runwaytohope.org

2 Hats & Heroes Ball
Benefits Kids Beating Cancer Pediatric Transplant Center
kidsbeatingcancer.com

3 Wishmaker’s Ball
Benefits Make-A-Wish, granting wishes to children with critical illnesses
wishmakersball.com

Trivia Night

1 Graffiti Junktion
Various Orlando-area locations
graffitijunktion.com

2 Curtis Earth at Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux
Audubon Park
bikesbeansandbordeaux.com

3 Mellow Mushroom
Rinehart Road
Sanford
mellowmushroom.com

Live Music Venue

1 Jazz Tastings
Maitland
jazztastings.com

2 House of Blues Orlando
Disney Springs
houseofblues.com/orlando

3 The Plaza Live
Milk District
plazaliveorlando.com



The VOID (Courtesy of The VOID)

Workout for the Senses

Curtis Hickman obtained the education that would help him create The VOID, a virtual reality experience, when he was 12 years old.

That’s when he discovered magic theory, which uses psychology to create illusions. As an adult, he performed magic for a decade and worked on teams that created illusions for David Copperfield and Criss Angel. Then he decided to study digital effects.

The VOID—with 11 locations globally, including Disney Springs—uses technology to help immerse guests in the experience. Computer display headgear paired with vests that react to stimuli within the game help people feel what they see.

But The VOID also utilizes the magic theory Hickman learned as a kid.

When guests see lava boiling below a bridge, they also feel radiating heat and smell burning debris. When they see a chair or a wall, both objects really do exist—and creating that sensory confirmation tricks the mind into believing that the fictional things are there, too, such as an approaching Darth Vader in the “Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire” experience.

“I’ve seen all sorts of reactions. People have dropped to the deck. I’ve had people who have tried running from him. It takes a little bit of reality to convince people that he’s actually coming for you,” Hickman says. thevoid.com/locations/disney-springs-orlando

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