A flapper on stilts and a steampunk man whose schtick involves trying to sell you ludicrous “inventions” he clearly bought at a museum store mingle among and amuse the crowd at The Edison (they’ll also pose for photos out front), which is stunningly designed with giant clock parts, antiques, and steel beams. The food is average, but its big draw is a nightly adults-only burlesque show replete with aerialists.
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar (The Landing, Disney Springs. Tel: 407-939-6244. www.disneyworld.disney.go.com), is themed after a character from the Indiana Jones movies, and Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar (1560 E. Buena Vista Drive, Disney Springs. Tel: 407-560-3696. www.patina-group.com/enzos-hideaway) is a rather sizeable speakeasy with solid craft cocktails.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, absolutely book tickets for Disney Springs’ The Void: Star Wars Secrets Of The Empire (1732 E. Buena Vista Dr. Tel: 385-323- 0090. www.thevoid.com), a wild, immersive virtual reality experience that allows you to become a rebel in disguise as a Storm Trooper and infiltrate the Empire. Darth Vader shows up, and it’s absolutely thrilling.
While there’s plenty of drinking at Disney Springs, the city of Orlando is where you’ll find the locals and really fantastic speakeasies, from high concept to dive bars.
Possibly Orlando’s oldest standing building, a former 19th-century shoe repair shop, is home to Prohibition-era-style Hanson’s Shoe Repair (27 E. Pine St. 407-476-9446. www.thehansonbuilding.com/hansons-shoe-repair), and requires a daily-changing password for entry, which you can get via their Twitter account, @hansonsshoeshop, or by calling in advance.
It’s your favorite time of year every single day at kitschy Frosty’s Christmastime Lounge (50 E. Central Blvd. Tel: 407-969- 0911. www.frostysorlando.com), where you can savor a snow cone cocktail, Frosty’s Nog shot, or winter beer. Frosty’s several sibling watering holes include Aku Aku Tiki Bar (431 E. Central Blvd. Tel: 407-839-0080. www.akuakutiki.com), where rum is king, and, downstairs, the retro Las Vegas-y Star-dust Lounge (431 E. Central Blvd. Tel: 407- 839-0080. www.stardustorlando.com), where you can win porn movies, magazines, and sex toys during Tuesday night’s Dirty Bingo or catch a monthly “Peek-a-Boo” burlesque shows on third Wednesdays.
One afternoon, I stumbled into Boom Art (1821 N. Orange Ave. Tel: 407-895-0280. www.facebook.com/boom-art-by-rogers-studio-431730773506654), an eclectic shop dedicated to campy, colorful artwork and home items fashioned from found pop culture items by equally eclectic Orlando denizens, Glen, and Sandy Rogers. Glenn’s resume represents 20 lifetimes: he wrote for SNL, storyboarded commercials, did set design (The Wiz), and literally clowned around with the Ringling Brothers Circus. From there, I headed to Corrine Drive, whose strip malls are populated by amazing, curated thrift stores including The Lovely (2906 Corrine Dr. Tel: 407-270- 7729. www.thelovelyboutiquemarket.com) that divides its space between vintage and local artisan-made goods.