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Old 20 Aug 21, 12:13 PM  
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Laner
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The First Trip 1993 – Day Four – Church Street Station – 13th September 1993

The photos I have on this day tell me that we visited Church Street Station and the area around there in Downtown Orlando. I have to be honest and say that my recollections of this day are vague to say the least so bear with me. I remember that we headed into Orlando and drove past Church Street and parked in a multi-story car park and walked back towards Church Street Station. Back in the day, this was one of the most visited attractions in Orlando and featured a number of bars and shows and a shopping complex on the other side of the road. The below is taken from the Orlando Weekly website:

Believe it or not, there was a time in the not-too-distant past when downtown Orlando was indeed a tourist destination right up there with the Mouse and SeaWorld. That was when Church Street Station, the now-defunct nightclub/entertainment complex was still in operation. Developed in 1972 by Pensacola entrepreneur Bob Snow, the space housed a number of businesses in a Dixieland Jazz Era-themed complex. The place contained five showrooms that offered live jazz, blues, country and Top 40 music, as well as retail stores, a midway and restaurants. In 1985, it attracted more than 1.7 million visitors, making it the fourth-largest tourist attraction in Florida, after Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens.

But by the 1990s, Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando perfected their own downtown entertainment districts, which drew business away from Church Street, and by 2001, most of the businesses that were part of Church Street Station were failing or closed. After changing hands several times, the property was foreclosed in 2009. These days, Church Street Station's most notable rooms, the Cheyenne Saloon and the Orchid Garden Ballroom, are available for private functions, including Orlando Weekly's Whiskey Business.

Images of Church Street Station and particularly Rosie O’Gradys Good Time Emporium were used heavily in the travel agent brochures at the time, but the site also housed Apple Annie's Courtyard, Lili Marlene's Aviator's Pub and Restaurant, Phineas Phogg's Balloon Works, and the Cheyenne Saloon.



So we decided to head down there in the daytime to check it out with a view to buying tickets for one of the shows and revisiting later one evening into the holiday. I remember that when we got there it was lunchtime and all the attractions were open, but it was empty as the shows took place in the evening, so we were left free to explore the empty rooms.



We took a few photos and headed across to the other side of the road which housed a large bar and small retail outlets over several floors. We bought a few t-shirts as gifts for people back home and then left. All in all, we probably spent 3 or 4 hours there.



We never did go back for one of the shows, so evidently, we didn’t think much of it. I think its star was starting to wane as Pleasure Island (which turned into Downtown Disney and in turn has turned into Disney Springs) had been developed and as people started to stay nearer to Disney itself, the trip to Orlando city centre was becoming too much. As we went to Pleasure Island a bit later in the holiday, we could see why it had overtaken Church Street.



I have no idea where we ate that evening, but I remember that one night we went to the restaurant that was shaped liked a volcano on the 192 and I remember there was a model train set as you walked in and a mini golf course to the side and on the roof I think. Let’s say we ate there that night and the food was great!
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Trip report 1993: The First Trip 1993
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Old 20 Aug 21, 12:40 PM  
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mickeyspal
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Not somewhere we ever went, just never fancied it
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Old 20 Aug 21, 12:57 PM  
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EssexSue
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Loved Church Street Station. Still have my souvenir glass and it was the first place I saw Line Dancing. There were some fantastic street performers too.
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Old 21 Aug 21, 10:01 AM  
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I went to Florida on a school trip in 1986 and I’m pretty sure they took us to Church St Station for a dinner show in the evening.
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Old 22 Aug 21, 07:16 AM  
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We never went there . Anyone remember Cypress gardens ? We never went there either
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Old 22 Aug 21, 11:19 AM  
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We went to Church St late 80's and Early 90's watched the show in the Orchid Garden and were waited on by roller skating servers. Then we went into Phineas Phoggs Nightclub. Really enjoyed it.

The area has had a bit of a revival, we went a few years back when the Cheyenne Saloon had reopened the place us spectacular and a real shame its closed again. Happy memories, thanks for posting.
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Old 22 Aug 21, 11:22 AM  
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Originally Posted by Disneycraft View Post
We never went there . Anyone remember Cypress gardens ? We never went there either
We went there on our first trip in 2001. I have some lovely photos of my Dd
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Old 26 Aug 21, 12:23 AM  
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scottish mama
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We had our wedding meal at Church St Station in 1999. We got married at the hotel and had a wee buffet there, then took everyone on a surprise bus trip to CSS. We had a meal in Rosie O’ Grady’s then ent to a couple of the shows. Had a great night!
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Old 26 Aug 21, 06:31 PM  
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Presumably that’s where Terror On Church Street was too? A forerunner to the Horror Houses you get now…..we went in 95 and it was one of the best experiences of the whole holiday but utterly terrifying 😂
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