Kennedy Space Center! And... the BIG Food Finale!

Enter to Win - Friday, August 2nd - 5am to 6pm

Maybe it was computer error. Or someone in administration messing with me. But in high school, I somehow ended up in advanced placement physics.

I know, right?

The teacher, Mr. Michaelson, was a really nice guy. He looked like John Denver and would talk about velocity per minute like fifth grade girls tweak about the color of Taylor Swift’s lipstick.

Anyway, when he saw me, Miss Remedial Math, sitting in his class that fateful September morning, he blurted out: “What are you doing here?”

Good question, Mr. Mike.

I ended up staying - a body at rest stays at rest - and I didn’t fail. But let’s just say I wasn’t invited to the NASA Club meetings.

So, you can imagine my intimidation when I headed over the the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to check out the brand spankin’ new, $100 million exhibit “Space Shuttle: Atlantis."

The complex is about an hour away from The Hilton Bonnet Creek and it took me that long to bone up on Americans In Space. The video they played on the way in the bus helped.  (Hey! Corbin Bernsen! Hosting Kennedy Space Center videos! That’s where you’ve been!)

For a girl who can’t handle long division, the Atlantis exhibit is beyond impressive. Right there in the middle of the room IS the Atlantis, the $2 billion orbiter with 33 successful missions under her belt. The 90,000 square foot exhibit is a celebration of NASA’s 30 year space shuttle program. You’re surrounded by man’s mission to explore space and time. Do you know the Hubble Telescope actually takes pictures of time travel? Really. Try to wrap your head around this:

The Shuttle Launch Experience simulates what a real astronaut feels when you lift off. It’s a cool 5 minute ride that shakes you like you’re a martini during happy hour at The Palm. Let’s just say I was VERY aware of how much skin was moving around during “flight.” This is why I would I make a lousy astronaut. “Houston, we have a problem. This launch makes my neck feel fat.”

Worth mentioning: Outside Space Shuttle Atlantis, guests are greeted by a full-scale, 184-foot-tall vertical replica of the space shuttle’s external tank and two solid rocket boosters. The thing is HUGE. This guy standing in front of it is 6’ 5” and he looks like a Minion.

The Kennedy Space Center has other attractions, including an Angry Birds Space Encounter, with rides and interactive games for all ages. There’s an IMAX film, too. And best of all, you can have lunch with a real astronaut.

After all of that, my brain was exhausted, so we headed back to the hotel, where a seven course meal awaited, but I’ll get to that in a moment, because I want to talk about golf.

Yes, I golfed. For the first time, ever. In the 95 degree, noonday sun, as a kind man named Chris (from Plymouth!) taught me how to hold a golf club and swing. The 18 hole course is at the Hilton Bonnet Creek's adjacent resort, the Waldorf Astoria. (I can’t wait to tell my grandkids the first place I ever golfed was the Waldorf. Posh!)

What I learned is that golf, or at least learning how to golf, is filled with innuendo that would make even Tom Doyle blush. But I was Chris’ best student (hey, golf pros don’t lie!) and I may just try it again.

OK, back to the meal. The two properties boast 12 restaurants and bars and we were treated to samples from many of them. Instead of describing them, here are some shots. Salivate away!

And that, my friends, was my vacation in Orlando. Congratulations to the winners! AND, THANK YOU VISIT ORLANDO!

- Visit Orlando's Deal Season