ORLANDO - Much more than Mickey Mouse

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Editor's Note: Tiger Rag staff writer Tim Rodrigue takes a look around Orlando and informs you the Tiger fan on things to do while visiting the Sunshine State for LSU's new Year's day date with the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Capital One Bowl. - MD

In case you're staying in Orlando, Fla. for a couple of days prior to and/or after the Capital One Bowl instead of flying in and out on January 1, 2005 like Tiger Rag Editor Matt Deville, you might want to check out just some of the things you can do and places you can go while in the Sunshine State.

While the waterparks are out because of the time of year, there are a couple of other places you may want to take a look at.

Let's get the obvious out of the way, shall we?

WALT DISNEY WORLD

A lot has changed here since LSU's last Orlando excursion, a trip to the Tangerine Bowl in 1979.

In addition to the Magic Kingdom, you also have Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, and Pleasure Island to visit.

Made up of Future World and World Showcase, Epcot offers a look at high-tech gadgetry and the world of tomorrow, while also providing a taste of the world of today.

Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and America are all featured in the World Showcase and there are opportunities to dine in restaurants of each nationality.

Disney-MGM Studios provides a variety of aspects of the entertainment industry, from going behind the scenes of a real movie studio to seeing the secrets of Disney animation.

Be sure to check out the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Star Tours while you're there.

Animal Kingdom is the latest Disney park to open, and basically it's one big zoo, but only like Disney could do. Think Jurassic Park if everything had actually worked.

Aside from exploring the animals of Africa and Asia, there is a section called DinoLand U.S.A.

Pleasure Island is Disney's nightclub/restaurant complex and New Year's Eve themed street party. Convenient, huh? There are fireworks nightly.

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT

If you've decided Disney is a small world after all, Universal Orlando Resort is probably the next step to take.

Comprised of Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Universal City Walk Orlando, this relative newcomer is worth a look-see to say the least.

Universal Studios places you in some of the most famous movies of all time such as Back to the Future, Jaws, and Terminator, and like at Disney-MGM Studios there are some stunt shows featured.

Islands of Adventure is where those no longer satisfied with riding Dumbo's Flying Circus can take on a T-Rex, brave white water rapids, and take a spin on the world's first inverted dueling roller coasters.

Probably don't want to eat too much before doing that.

Universal CityWalk is the alternative to Pleasure Island.

SEA WORLD

While you might not want to get into the water, there are a couple of Orlando residents who don't have a choice.

Located at Sea Harbor Drive near the intersection of I-4 and Bee Line Expressway, is Sea World.

Sure there are other marine parks around, but no where else can you see the Shamu Adventure show.

Other attractions include the Wild Arctic complex, and the park's first thrill ride – Journey to Atlantis. Additionally the Penguin Encounter, the Dolphin Pool, and Terrors of the Deep are must-sees.

NIGHTLIFE

Although Pleasure Island and Universal CityWalk aren't for kids, you may want to get away entirely from Mickey Mouse and Spiderman. There are definitely a lot of opportunities to do so.

The Palladium: Located at 7430 Universal Blvd., the Palladium is one of Orlando's hottest places to be. Latin nights are featured at the club ever Wednesday and Saturday from 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. (Good thing this isn't the Cotton Bowl and it's 10 a.m. kickoff).

Blue Room: If you find yourself at 17 W. Pine Street, you'll have your pick from three rooms where dance music, disco and reggae are the options. For you ladies there is no cover charge, and you'll drink for free until 11:30 p.m. on Friday night.

Roxy Night Club: The club scene in Orlando is indeed dominated by those recently free of the strings of college. For those trying to avoid that group, head on over to 740 Bennett Road. The Roxy has a Top 40 dance room and a retro dance room. Unlike the majority of clubs the crowd is pretty ethnically mixed, and while there is boxing on Monday nights, Wednesday is Latin Night.

Obviously there are more clubs, but this should get your night started.

"FORE" THE GOOD TIMES

In case you've managed to bring along your sticks (as all good golfers do), you have several options on where to get a tee time.

Although there are quite a few private courses, here are arguably five of the best public courses you might want to take a swing at. If your handicap is anything like Deville's, you may need to take plenty more swings.

1. Championship Course at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, 9000 Bay Hill Blvd.

Though basically a private course, guests of the resort are allowed to play without the accompaniment of a member. Wide fairways, firm greens guarded by mounds and bunkers challenge even the best golfers.

2. Grand Cypress Resort, 1 North Jacaranda, Grand Cypress Resort: There are three 18-hole configurations to choose from thanks to the three 9-hole layouts. Traditional courses feature lateral hazards and fairway bunkers in the landing areas. There is also a new links-style course at the resort.

3. Palisades Country Club, 10649 Masters Drive, Clermont, FL: Features rolling hills and changes in elevation that provide players' views of surrounding landscape to make them forget even the most disastrous double bogey. Quick greens are paired with water that is in play on over half of the holes on the course.

4. Timacuan Gold and Country Club, 550 Timacuan Blvd., Lake Mary, FL: For you historical fans of the game, this course features the classical Scottish links-style design on the front nine with rolling fairways, pot bunkers and open, windswept areas. The back nine features more traditional course characteristics with mature trees, woodland areas, and doglegs.

5. Walt Disney World Golf ComplexEagle Pines, Magic Kingdom/Disney Village, Lake Buena Vista, FL: There are numerous courses at the golf complex. This Pete Dye course features generous fairways flanked by a multitude of hazards. Multiple grass and sand bunkers protect undulating greens, and water is in play on nearly every hole. Saying there are a lot more courses to choose from would probably be as gross an understatement as stating the Bowl Championship Series doesn't really work.

Unbelievably it seems there are more courses in Orlando than there are Waffle Houses in Atlanta, GA. The biggest problem it appears you will have is just trying to decide where the heck to play.

BRING BACK THE MAGIC

Maybe while you're in Orlando you might want to take in some action other than on the gridiron.

If you don't mind taking the chance of having professional athletes coming into the stands and potentially attacking you, then perhaps you should consider the NBA.

Okay, all jokes about the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers aside, the Orlando Magic will host two games the last week of December.

On Monday, December 27, the Magic get a visit from the New York Knicks. Two days later on Wednesday, December 29, Orlando will go up against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. tip-offs, and a quick peek at the Magic's website assures that tickets are still available for each game.

WHAT, NO COCOANUTS?

It isn't the Tournament of Roses Parade, but on December 30 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., you may want to head to Downtown Orlando for the Orlando Citrus Parade.

The Golden Band from Tigerland will be participating in this event, as will Iowa's band, but they won't be the only ones.

Bands from across the nation will take part, and while you may have been blown away by seeing floats made out of flower petals in the past from Pasadena, nothing can beat floats made entirely out of Florida Citrus.

Don't expect beads, doubloons, or cocoanuts to be thrown though.

THE DAY OF THE GAME

To begin with, the official bowl patch the players will be wearing on their uniforms is available at www.fcsports.com for a price of $10.

Purchasing the patch will allow you free admission to the Capital One Bowl Fan Fest located outside of the stadium. The Fan Fest will begin at 10 a.m. on January 1, and will come complete with games, a food court, and live band.

Just to make the patch even more lucrative, it will also get you free beverages at the club house at Mystic Dunes Golf Course and discounts at several golf courses, restaurants and night clubs in Orlando.

In addition to the Mystic Dunes, a 20 percent discount at Falcon's Fire and MetroWest await you. Discounts at T.G.I. Friday's, Friday's Front Row, One Eyed Jack's and Wall Street Plaza will also be given.

The patch also gives its holder a two-for-one Party Pass to Universal Studios City Walk.

You're a Tiger fan. Do you really need us to tell you how to have a good time?

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