Top 7 Orlando Escapes

Filed Under: Orlando
Orlando's most popular tourist spots can easily take up an entire day between planning, picking up tickets and waiting in long lines. Skip the hassle, and consider a quick escape instead. These 7 speedy getaways are designed to help visitors to central Florida relax, get some fresh air and experience something new.

Need more Orlando trip tips? Get more details with Travel Channel's Guide to Orlando.
Walt Disney Wine & Food Classic

Wine & Food Classic

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Attend the 3rd Annual Food & Wine Classic at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Sample wines from around the world and experience the culinary artistry from pastries to pasta. The event -- held on Friday, Oct. 12 and Saturday, Oct. 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. -- also offers seminars to expand your knowledge of wines, cocktails and beer.

Enjoy live entertainment while you eat, drink, mingle each night -- and end your evening watching fireworks under the stars.
Palm Golf Course

4-Man Scramble at Palm Golf Course

Walt Disney World Golf Resort

Enjoy a friendly round of golf with industry colleagues at Walt Disney World Golf Resort. The 4-Man Scramble, on Sunday, Oct. 14, takes places at Palm Golf Course. Golf Digest rated the course “one of Florida’s top courses.” The 4-star facility with fairways through a pine forest meanders through a network of waterways and large greens.

Tee off is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eager golfers should register now to enter for 18 holes, which includes one of the most challenging holes on the PGA Tour. Registration includes a golf cart, box lunch, transportation to and from the conference hotel, a chance to win various prizes and much more!
Ritz-Carlton Spa
Ritz Carlton

The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton

Don't let the subtle scent of citrus surprise you -- this is Orlando, after all. And as such, it's an element kept mindfully intact at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando's spa. A mixture of indoor and outdoor features -- including some of central Florida's vivid flora and a private heated lap pool -- help guests remove themselves from the world outside.

This extensive space features 40 treatment rooms where pampering is the order of the day. Among the extensive menu listings is the Spa Diva package, which includes poolside cabana amenities, lunch for two at Vitale, and a 50-minute service at the spa itself. For starters, choose something from the Art of Well roster, which is themed around Balance, Energy and Vitality. You can pick from a myriad indulgent options. The Ritz-Carlton spa is just off International Drive on the Central Florida Parkway.
Orange County National Golf Center
Orange County National Golf Center

Orange County National Golf Center

Play a round or two where scores of PGA hopefuls tested their mettle at Q-School. Two championship courses and one 9-hole short course make this public course the perfect place to get out for a few rounds. The Panther Lake course takes golfers through rolling meadows, native pines, wetlands and dramatic elevation changes.

Panther Lake is also a rarity in Florida: A golf course without any development or homes on it. The greens are well-guarded and elevated, so risk is well-rewarded. The Crooked Cat course presents fewer trees throughout, but as a links course can lure golfers into ripping it out into the seemingly open fairways. That's when overlooked bunkers appear, adding extra challenge to this versatile course. The Tooth course is a 9-hole, short course, yet remains as challenging as the championship courses.
Cirque du Soleil La Nouba
Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba

A sensory overload of color, sound and surreal performance, this Cirque du Soleil show is unveiled through the telling of fables and fairy tales. A flightless bird, a strongman, whirling dancers, clowns and fools create a dreamlike performance using gymnastics, theater, music and acrobatics to present a typically exhilarating Cirque du Soleil performance.

La Nouba, a French phrase meaning “to party” or “live it up,” is performed twice nightly at the free-standing, permanent theater in Downtown Disney's West Side. Watch for the massive white, tent-like theater -- the tallest and most dramatic structure in the shopping and dining district, just minutes from International Drive.
iFLY Orlando
iFLY Orlando

iFLY Orlando

Jumping out of a plane is so 2011. Skydive without ever leaving International Drive at iFLY Orlando -- an indoor vertical wind tunnel that gives the very real sensation of flight. Work up a little sense of adventure, learn a little about what it takes to get airborne, gear up and take to the (indoor) skies. Here's how it works: A column of air shoots up through a flight chamber, lifting guests gently into the air. Flyers use techniques taught in a pre-flight training session to steady themselves, change elevation and stay in control. There's no jumping or falling -- participants just step into the flight chamber, lean over and fly. (Or hover about 5 feet off the ground -- it's just that flying sounds better.)

An instructor stays on-hand to help, and the entire adventure is photographed and videotaped. Earn your wings with 2 one-minute flights or arrive with a group of up to 5 and experience 10 one-minute flights. The entire adventure can be experienced in the time of a midday break and promises to be a bit more memorable than a boxed lunch in a conference room.
Faldo Golf Institute
Faldo Golf Institute

Faldo Golf Institute

Whether you're looking to tame that maddening banana slice or shave a bit off an already admirable handicap, the Faldo Golf Institute caters to the specific needs of golfers of every level. The curriculum is based on the philosophy of 6-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo, and instructors are schooled in the legend's methods.

New players are introduced to the game and provided with instruction to keep frustration from setting in. Core players are taught a plan to get that double-digit handicap into the single digits. Advanced players are provided routines by Faldo-certified instructors to develop consistency and elite players are coached to maximize tournament skills.

Sessions -- at Marriott's Grande Vista course -- range from 3-day golf school to an afternoon 3-hour session. You'll be back before anyone notices you're gone. Though they may see the renewed confidence and suspect something.

About the Author

Bill Burke is an award-winning humor columnist and writer with 20 years experience in the newspaper and magazine industry. He is the author of Mousejunkies (Travelers' Tales 2009) and Mousejunkies: Second Edition (Travelers' Tales 2011) --a humorous look at Walt Disney World addiction.