After a hard day at Disney World, Universal or spending a lot of time at any of the area’s theme parks or other attractions, you owe yourself a break…or even a drink. So what do you do to relax? Choices:
- Spend a quiet evening at home watching “Mickey Mouse Club” re-runs on television.
- Get to bed early, even before the sun sets to get ready and rested for a new trek the next morning into theme park world.
- Get yourself and your group together for a pub crawl.
For people these days, the later (C) has become a more common option.
At least for those of drinking age: 21 and over.
Beer-drinking not required
You probably associate these events with beer-drinking. And a certain amount does go on.
But these trips also have some major advantages.
They are often inexpensive.
And they can include free beverages.
Not only that, but you don’t have to drink beer or any alcoholic beverages. Many people find these trips socially productive.
In other words, you meet: A. girls or B. boys.
And perhaps one of the best parts is that these crawls are often not widely known, recognized or well publicized. But they are growing in popularity.
And there are more choices than you might have realized.
Some of these are highly organized affairs, but others are up to you as an individual or to go with your own immediate companions.
Pub crawls are worldwide, of course, and the best ones may be in London or Dublin. That’s partly because of the centuries-long history of Europe.
But theme park-goers are no strangers to pub crawls.
Both “Star Trek” and “Harry Potter” characters so familiar to Universal in Orlando are themes of bar or pub crawls.
You do have to go to Minneapolis for the “Star Trek Bar Crawl,” which jokingly (or maybe not) calls itself “an annual gathering between Trekkies and Alcoholics.”
They have reported some couples who met and married there. “Proving something good can come of drinking all day,” the site says.
The “Harry Potter Bar Crawl” each year transforms Philadelphia’s upscale Chestnut Hill neighborhood into Diagon Alley for a festival which includes theme characters and darts competition.
Best Orlando crawl
Here in Orlando, the best known organized pub trip is the decade or-so-old Orlando Pub Crawl.”
“One does not just attend an Orlando Pub Crawl – one must live up to the group’s expectations for what makes a pub crawl special. Sometimes, that means dressing up like a zombie, or pulling your old ’80s gear out of the closet, or going out in a full masquerade ensemble,” the site says.
Anywhere from 300 and up revelers join Orlando Pub Crawl’s themed events. There are about a dozen events annually. There are various options here such as “Black Lil Black Dress,” where any clothing black colored meets the standard or an “Endless Bar Cruise to the Bahamas.”
Yes, free drinks
Free drinks such as Coors Light or Three Olives vodkas come with the usual $10-15 user price at the event started in 2004 by locals who call them “great ice breakers…a great way to meet people.”
For specific information, try orlandopubcrawl.com.
If your main concern is cost, the event for you locally is what’s known as “Drink Around the Hood.”
“It’s part pub crawl, part happy hour, part any-excuse-for-a-fun party, this event allows you to explore a neighborhood, one business and one drink at a time,” according to the site.
The monthly event takes place on the third Wednesday of every month. The cost is $10 in advance. Drinks are complimentary as the group tours various bars and restaurants at participating locations at Ivanhoe Village near downtown Orlando.
For more information, try [email protected], or call 407-484-5839.
In areas surrounding Orlando, Mount Dora and Sanford have pub events. The later is of particular interest because it is pedal powered (no real need to crawl on this one).
Drinking outside of Orlando
The Mount Dora Tavern Tour scheduled each month says it “peels back the layers of…a surprising illustrious past when speakeasies and clandestine moonshine operations thrived in this quant and unassuming town during prohibition.” Ghost and Al Capone stories are promised. Tickets at $12 do not include drinks.
For more information, see mountdoratours.com.
Sanford, the small city about 30 miles from Orlando, has its own eco-friendly tour.
It’s a Limo Cycle tour that is “part leisurely bike ride and part bar-hopper.” It involves a group powered party bicycle that travels about 5 miles per hour. The $35 price includes drinks at three bars during a two-hour trip.There are both private rentals and public tours.
“A navigator/bartender makes sure drinks are always full and the party tunes are playing is included,” the site says.
For more information, see limocycle.comor call855-756-9FUN.
Going on your own
If you prefer to go on your own, or organize your particular group, the Monorail Pub Crawl at Disney will whisk you there, as has been documented by various bloggers.
You simply take the train…or really monorail…to Disney’s Grand Floridian, Contemporary, and Polynesian resorts for a beverage or two.
Advantages include easy access and a surefire ride (no crawling here, either). That is particularly convenience if you are already staying there.
You can also time your trip to coincide with the evening fireworks.
One participant makes the point that the down side is time being spent waiting and not drinking.
“Then comes the waiting for the monorail. Then the struggle of finding an empty monorail cabin. Then the walking to the next lounge. Before you know it your buzz is wearing off and the excitement is hard to keep up,” he complains.
Another disadvantage is the stops at the Magic Kingdom (not much for pubs, of course). Here, “Everyone around you is asking ‘what is this place?’ and ‘Do we get off here?’”
And they have not even been drinking.
Non-drinkers may wonder
Drink menus do not change much at the various stops, either, but the Grand Floridian is tops for classiness. It has a jazz band in it multi-story lobby.
You can also always transfer on the monorail to get to EPCOT, which does not organize pub crawl groups but is a stand-alone fantasy heaven.
You can truly drink around the world at almost a dozen countries. You could aim for a goal of one drink in each country. Try a Margarita in Mexico or a Sam Adams beer in Germany.
The disadvantage here is the cost of typically $10 and more for a beer.
But you can also stop to buy funny hats and country costumes.
Even save them, if you want, for one of the downtown Orlando pub crawls.