Unless you’re a native Floridian (or an avid geographer), this city probably doesn’t ring any bells. And who could blame you, given the glitzy neighbor studded with theme parks, Orlando?
But if you’re coming into Disney World from the southeast, you’ll likely pass through Kissimmee and the highway that halves it: US-192, the Road to Disney. And so long as you haven’t already slapped on mouse-ear-shaped blinders, you’re bound to see some larger-than-life sights along the way.
Such as the World’s Largest Orange, Orange World. Yes, you can buy oranges here, and you might as well considering that Florida is known for them. If citrus isn’t your thing, though, a plethora of novelty gifts await inside.
Couldn’t swing the Wizarding World? Find some solace in this wizard and his wares at Wizard Gifts. Or you could visit his brother further up the road, but be warned: picking sides will strain an already testy family dynamic. Probably best to split the difference and visit the menagerie at Fun Time Gifts instead.
And so we arrive at the main shooting location for the film that inspired today’s blog post, Magic Castle Inn and Suites. The Florida Project is a portrait of American poverty playing out a mere stone’s throw from the happiest place on Earth. We witness this struggle through fiery six-year-old Moonee and her devil-may-care mother Halley over the course of a single Floridian summer.
I saw the movie shortly after visiting Kissimmee and honestly wish I had seen it before as it would have inspired a couple of more shoot locations. Though to be honest, by the time we reached the Magic Castle, I was so wiped out I don’t think I could have made it any further. Behind-the-scenes fun fact: I walked four miles overall to get these photos. And believe you me, Kissimmee miles are nothing like Manhattan miles.
In any case, maybe the added inspiration from seeing the movie leaves the floor open for a sequel to this post upon my next visit to central Florida. To be continued…
Update (4/17/20): “The Florida Project” is now streaming on Netflix. 10/10 would recommend checking it out.