THE GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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With an attitude that's distinctly non-Disney, Universal has created nightlife for adults who want to party. The epicenter here is CityWalk, a 30-acre entertainment and retail complex at the hub of promenades that lead to both Universal parks.
When it comes to retail, much of the merchandise includes things you can find elsewhere—and most likely for less. But when you’re swept up in the energy
of CityWalk and dazzled by the degree of window-shopping (not to mention the fact that you’re on vacation and you’re more inclined to spend), chances are you’ll want to drop into stores selling everything from surf wear and cigars to tattoos and timepieces.
In addition to stores, the open and airy gathering place includes an over-the-top discotheque, a theater for the fabulous and extremely popular Blue Man Group, and a huge hall where karaoke's king. There's a New Orleans bar, a Jamaican reggae lounge, a casual Key West hangout and, as of 2012, Hollywood Drive-In Golf, a pair of fun-filled 1950s sci-fi movie–themed miniature golf courses. On weeknights you find families and conventioneers; weekends a decidedly younger crowd parties until the wee hours.
Clubs have individual cover charges, but it's far more economical to pay for the whole kit and much of the caboodle. Choose a Party Pass (a one-price-all-clubs admission) for $11.99, or upgrade to a Party Pass-and-a-Movie for $15.98 (tax included); a Party Pass-and-a-Meal for $21; a Movie-and-a-Meal for $21.95; or a Meal and a Mini-Golf Deal for $23.95
At AMC Universal Cineplex, with its 20 screens (including IMAX), there's certain to be something you like—including nightly midnight movies. Meals (tax and gratuity included) are served at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, the Hard Rock Cafe, NASCAR Sports Grille, and others. And as if these deals weren't sweet enough, after 6 the $15 parking fee drops to $5. Nevertheless, it's a long haul from the garage to CityWalk—if you prefer, simply call a cab. They run at all hours. 407/354–3374, 407/363–8000 Universal main line www.citywalkorlando.com
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