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Interstate 4 shield
Interstate 4
Main route of the Interstate Highway System
Maintained by FDOT
Length: 132.30 mi[1][2] (212.92 km)
Formed: 1957
West end: I-275 in Tampa
Major
junctions:
US 92 / US 301 near Tampa
I-75 near Tampa
US 98 in Lakeland
US 27 near Davenport
US 192 in Celebration
Turnpike in Orlando
SR 408 in Orlando
US 17 / US 92 / US 441 in Orlando
East end: I-95 / SR 400 in Daytona Beach
Counties: Hillsborough, Polk, Osceola, Orange, Seminole, Volusia
Florida State and County Roads
< SR 3 SR 4 >

Interstate 4 (I-4) is a 132.30-mile (212.91 km) intrastate Highway located entirely within the state of Florida, United States. It goes from Interstate 275 in Tampa, Florida (27°57′54″N 82°27′11″W / 27.965°N 82.453°W / 27.965; -82.453) to Interstate 95 at Daytona Beach, Florida (29°09′18″N 81°04′34″W / 29.155°N 81.076°W / 29.155; -81.076). It also has the Florida Department of Transportation designation of State Road 400, but only a small portion of the route is signed at the east end.

I-4 is currently the lowest-numbered Interstate Highway in the contiguous 48 U.S. states.

The combination of the Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando, and Daytona Beach metropolitan areas is often referred to as the I-4 Corridor, since the freeway connects all four.

Contents

Route description

I-4 maintains a diagonal, northeast-southwest route for much of its length, although it is signed east-west. The 132 miles (212 km) route begins with an interchange with I-275 (aka Malfunction Junction) in the Tampa, St. Petersburg area and continues east toward I-75. There is also a 30'x50' Confederate Flag standing on top of a 140-foot (43 m) flagpole located at the crossing of I-4 and I-75 in Hillsborough County. Even though pressures have been on to remove the flag, it was determined that Hillsborough County and the state of Florida have no legal right to remove the flag because it is owned by a private organization and flown over private land.[citation needed]

After passing through the eastern suburbs of Hillsborough County, it crosses into Polk County, entering the Lakeland area, intersecting with the Polk Parkway twice before entering Polk City.

At this point, the interstate starts a turn toward the northeast where it intersects with the Orlando area cutting the city through at a diagonal direction going northeast/southwest. The route provides access to all of Orlando's theme parks including Disney World and Universal Studios, as well as nearly all of Orlando's toll roads, including Florida's Turnpike. Throughout most of Orange County and Seminole County, I-4 travels in a roughly north–south direction.

Right before the eastern terminus, I-4 switches to a mostly east/west route in order to connect with traffic from and to I-95. At an interchange with I-95 in Daytona Beach, I-4 terminates; however, SR 400 continues eastward into Daytona Beach.

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Daytona Beach

SR 400, unsigned while concurrent with I-4, becomes signed east of I-95. The road extends for three miles (5 km) from the northeast terminus of I-4, on the south side of Daytona International Speedway and Daytona Beach International Airport, to an intersection with U.S. Route 1 (SR 5) in Daytona Beach. Named Beville Road, it runs along the boundary between the cities of Daytona Beach and South Daytona.

History

I-4 was one of the first Interstate Highways to be constructed in Florida, with the first section opening between Plant City and Lakeland in 1959. By early 1960, the Howard Frankland Bridge was opened to traffic, as well as the segment from the Hillsborough Avenue/ US 301 junction in Tampa to Plant City. The stretch from Lake Monroe to Lake Helen, including the original St. Johns River Bridge also opened during that period. The segment from Lakeland to Orlando was complete by 1962. By the mid 1960s, several segments were already complete, including Malfunction Junction in Tampa and parts of I-4 through Orlando. The original western terminus was set in South Pasadena in the late 1960s, but this plan was rejected due to local opposition. As a result, I-4 only went as far southwest as 9th St N in St. Petersburg.

The entire Interstate Highway was completed by the late 1960s, however, the western terminus was truncated to Malfunction Junction in 1971 when I-75 was extended over the Frankland Bridge. Eventually, that stretch was again redesignated to become part of I-275.[3]

In maps and atlases dating to the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, The Tampa/St. Petersburg section of Interstate 4/Interstate 275 was marked as the Tampa Expressway. The Orlando segment was marked as the Orlando Expressway. Both names have since faded from maps.

Although many post-1970 interchanges along I-4 were constructed before the recent widening projects, they were designed with I-4 expansion in mind. In other words, there is enough room available to widen I-4 to up to ten lanes without extensively modifying the interchanges. Some of these interchanges include the Interstate 75 stack (constructed in the 1980s) and several interchanges serving the Walt Disney World Resort (constructed in the late 1980s/early 1990s).

In the 2004 U.S. presidential election, the I-4 corridor, a site of significant growth, was a focus of political activity within the swing state of Florida. Communities along the I-4 corridor were perceived by both major political parties as having higher proportions of undecided voters as compared to more Republican- or Democratic-leaning portions of the state. It played an equally key role in the 2008 U.S. presidential election, but whereas the corridor had voted heavily for Bush in 2004, which helped Bush win the state, in 2008 it swung behind Democratic candidate Obama, helping Obama win Florida.[4]

A section of I-4 called the 'dead zone' is rumored to be haunted.[5]

Tampa area

The I-4/I-275 interchange (Malfunction Junction) was rebuilt from 2002 to 2006, and I-4 is under staged renovations to be widened from four to six lanes (with eight lanes in certain segments). Much of this work is complete, and all new travel lanes are now open. Eventually, I-4 will be widened again to a total of at least ten lanes (five in each direction). Studies for this project are already underway and construction should commence sometime in the 2010s. Completion of the project should be around 2020.

Eastbound I-4 shifted to its new, permanent alignment between Malfunction Junction and 50th St on Tuesday, August 8, 2006 at 5:30 am. The new alignment includes a right-lane ramp exit/entry at the 22nd St/21st St Interchange (The previous left-lane configuration was causing hazardous conditions to commuters since its opening in 2005). On Friday, August 11, 2006, a fourth lane opened on eastbound I-4 between the downtown junction and 50th St (led in by a newly opened third lane on the eastbound I-4 ramp from northbound I-275). And on Friday, August 18, the new westbound alignment, just west of 50th Street, opened. The newly opened lanes will improve flow throughout the interchange. The 50th St overpass however, will not be complete until late 2007.[6][7][8][9] Also, the eastbound I-4 exit ramp to Columbus Drive/50th Street is situated to the left-hand side of the highway (as opposed to its former right-hand side exit). This exit shift went into effect in spring 2006 and is part of the new, permanent interstate configuration.

In Tampa, the exit to 40th Street (State Road 569) has been closed since late 2005 due to the ongoing reconstruction of I-4; it will not reopen due to a proposed connector highway with the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway.[10]

The interchange with what is today Interstate 75 was constructed in the early 1980s.

Orlando area

As Orlando grew in the 1970s and 1980s, traffic became a growing concern, especially after the construction of the original interchange with the east–west Expressway in 1973, which proved to become a principal bottleneck. The term "highway hostages" was coined in the 1980s to describe people stuck in long commutes to and from Orlando on I-4.

An old I-4 shield in Orlando

In the early/mid 1990s, several interchanges near Kissimmee were constructed/upgraded to accommodate increasing traffic going to and from Walt Disney World. However, I-4's main lanes were not widened in the process. Around the same time, the Southern Connector was extended to I-4.

The St. Johns River Veterans Memorial Bridge, a two-span six-lane replacement to the original four-lane bridge over the St. Johns River northeast of Orlando, was completed in 2004.

Tolled express lanes were being planned in the Orlando area as a traffic congestion relief technique for rush hour commuters. The name for them was to be Xpress 400, numbered after the state road designation for I-4, SR 400. However, due to U.S. Representative John Mica, they have been banned by a recently passed rider in the SAFETEA-LU Federal transportation bill in 2005.

The eastbound exit to Robinson Street (State Road 526) permanently closed at 11PM on April 25, 2006, to make way for construction of the new eastbound onramp from State Road 408.[11] The westbound offramp to Gore Street was permanently closed in the same project on 2008-02-11.

The new overpass from I-4 west to John Young Parkway (County Road 423) opened the morning of April 27, 2006.[12][13][14]

Halifax River Bridge

There have been a number of proposals for a bridge that would carry SR 400 (Beville Road) across the Halifax River to Daytona Beach Shores. Proponents say that this would improve traffic flow and assist in hurricane evacuations, while opponents claim that a bridge would lead to congestion and environmental damage.[citation needed] Somewhat of a hot topic in the local area in the 1990s, the bridge proposal currently appears to be dormant.[citation needed]

2008 Pileup

On January 9, 2008, 70 vehicles were involved in a large pileup on I-4 near Polk City. The pileup was caused by an unexpected thick morning fog that was mixed with a scheduled—and approved—environmental burn by the Florida Wildlife Commission. The fog drifted across I-4, mixing with the smoke, reducing visibility to near-zero conditions. Four people were killed, and 38 were injured. The section of I-4 did not re-open until 6:30pm the next day, January 10.[15]

Future

Interim improvements to the interchange at State Road 408 were completed at the end of 2008.[16] The rest of the SR 408 improvements are scheduled for the next decade. Intersections at US 192[17] and I-275[18] were completed in 2007. Interstate 4 is currently also being widened in Volusia County from SR 472 to SR 44, with the intersection at SR 44 being rebuilt[19]. The remaining four-lane segment, from SR 44 to I-95, will eventually be widened to six lanes, with construction anticipated to begin in 2012.[20]

Planning is underway for "ultimate" improvements to Interstate 4 through Orlando from SR 435 (exit 75) east to SR 434 (exit 94).[21] These plans involve adding express lanes to the highway, and the reconstruction of several major interchanges. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014. Right-of-way procurement alone will top $400 million.[22]

Exit list

County Location Mile[23] Exit # Destinations Notes
New Old
Hillsborough Tampa 0.000 I-275St. Petersburg, Ocala, Tampa International Airport westbound exit and eastbound entrance
1.046 1 SR 585 (22nd Street) / 21st Street
2 South plate.svg
Toll Florida blank.svg I-4/Crosstown Connector south
To plate.svg
Toll Florida 618.svg to Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway/Port of Tampa
Connector under construction as of 2010, scheduled to open in 2013
3.260 3 3 US 41 / 50th Street, Columbus Drive Eastbound left exit, westbound left entrance. Eastbound right entrance and westbound right exit.
4.704 5 4 SR 574 (Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard)
5.567 6 5 Orient Road eastbound exit and westbound entrance
East Lake-Orient Park 6.661 7 6 US 92 (Hillsborough Avenue) / US 301Riverview, Zephyrhills Congestion may occur on days when the state fair is on. Traffic delays on the interstate can be common with major tailbacks in either direction.
8.613 9 7 I-75Ocala, Naples
10.136 10 8 CR 579 / Mango Road – Mango, Thonotosassa
13.866 14 9 McIntosh Road
17.421 17 10 Branch Forbes Road
Plant City 19.507 19 11 SR 566 (Thonotosassa Road)
21.276 21 12-13 SR 39 (Buchman Highway) / Alexander Street – Zephyrhills
22.580 22 14 SR 553 (Park Road)
25.563 25 15 County Line Road
Polk Lakeland 26.541 27 15A East plate.svg
Toll Florida 570.svg SR 570 East (Polk Parkway) – Winter Haven, Bartow
28.128 28 16 No image wide.svgTo plate.svg
SR 546 to US 92
30.684 31 17 SR 539Kathleen
31.988 32 18 US 98Dade City
33.421 33 19 SR 33 / CR 582
37.877 38 20 SR 33
Polk City 41.195 41 20A West plate.svg
Toll Florida 570.svg SR 570 West (Polk Parkway) – Auburndale, Lakeland
43.960 44 21 SR 559Polk City, Auburndale
47.941 48 22 CR 557Lake Alfred, Winter Haven
54.681 55 23 US 27Haines City, Clermont
57.719 58 24 CR 532Kissimmee, Poinciana
Osceola
59.585 60 24B North plate.svg
Toll Florida 429.svg SR 429 North – Apopka
Celebration 61.747 62 24C-D-E East plate.svg
Toll Florida 417.svg Toll SR 417 east, World Drive – Disney World, Celebration, Sanford, International Airport
64.158 64A-B 25 US 192Celebration, Kissimmee, Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios
65.297 65 26C-D Osceola ParkwayAnimal Kingdom, Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex was only 26C eastbound
Orange Lake Buena Vista 66.553 67 26A-B No image wide.svgTo plate.svg
Florida 536.svgToll Florida 417.svg SR 536 To SR 417Epcot, Downtown Disney
68.102 68 27 SR 535Kissimmee, Lake Buena Vista
70.932 71 27A Central Florida Parkway – Sea World eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Orlando 71.682 72 28 SR 528 east (Martin Andersen Beachline Expressway) – International Airport, Cape Canaveral
73.737 74A 29 SR 482 (Sand Lake Road) was 29A westbound after 29B (current 74B) opened
73.737 74B 29B Universal westbound exit and entrance
75.032 75A-B 30A-B SR 435 (Kirkman Road) – Universal
76.363 77 31 Turnpike / SR 91Miami, Wildwood
77.774 78 31A Conroy Road – The Mall at Millenia
79.154 79 32 CR 423 (John Young Parkway)
80.463 80A-B 33A-B US 17 / US 92 / US 441 (Orange Blossom Trail)
81.022 81A 34 Michigan Street westbound exit and eastbound entrance
81.478 81B-C 35 Kaley Avenue was split into 35A and 35B westbound only
82.116 82A 36 SR 408 (east-west Expressway)
82.235 82B 37 Gore Street (Closed permanently on February 10, 2008) westbound exit and entrance
82.654 82C 38 Anderson Street East Temporarily Closed for construction of the new Anderson Street Bridge
82.803 83 39 South Street westbound exit and eastbound entrance
83.802 83B 41 US 17 / US 92 / SR 50 (Colonial Drive) / Amelia Street , Amway Arena
84.328 84 42 Ivanhoe Boulevard
85.134 85 43 Princeton Street Continues as SR438 after the intersection with US 441
Winter Park 85.890 86 44 Par Street eastbound exit and westbound entrance
86.796 87 45 SR 426 (Fairbanks Avenue)
87.773 88 46 SR 423 (Lee Road)
Maitland 89.517 90 47 SR 414 (Maitland Boulevard) split into 90A and 90B eastbound
Seminole Altamonte Springs 91.638 92 48 SR 436Altamonte Springs, Apopka
93.617 94 49 SR 434Longwood, Winter Springs
Lake Mary 98.420 98 50 Lake Mary Boulevard – Lake Mary, Heathrow
Sanford 100.634 101A 51A CR 46A (Paola Road) – Heathrow
102.521 101B South plate.svg
Toll Florida 417.svg SR 417 South (Central Florida GreeneWay) – International Airport
102.521 101C 51 SR 46Mount Dora
104.019 104 52 US 17 / US 92
Volusia Deltona 107.824 108 53 CR 4162 (Dirksen Drive/DeBary Avenue) – DeBary, Deltona
110.646 111 53CA-CB CR 4146 (Saxon Boulevard) – Deltona, Orange City split into 111A and 111B eastbound
Orange City 113.802 114 54 SR 472Deltona, DeLand
Lake Helen 115.920 116 55 Volusia County Road 4116 FL.svg County Road 4116 - Orange Camp Road - Lake Helen
118.481 118 56 SR 44 (New York Avenue) – New Smyrna Beach
Daytona Beach 129.131 129 57 East plate.svg
US 92 east
eastbound exit and westbound entrance
132.001 132 58 No image wide.svgEast plate.svg
I-95 / SR 400 east – Jacksonville, Miami, South Daytona
eastbound exit and westbound entrance

See also

References

  1. ^ "Route Log and Finder List: Table 1". Federal Highway Administration. 2002-10-31. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reports/routefinder/table1.cfm. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  2. ^ FDOT GIS data
  3. ^ Historic Florida Interstate Information
  4. ^ CNN, Candidates eye voters on Florida's I-4, October 11, 2004
  5. ^ Ghostly Images Seen, Photographed On 'Deadly' Stretch Of I-4 - Orlando News Story - WKMG Orlando
  6. ^ Tampa Bay Interstates, Eastbound I-4 in new alignment, August 8, 2006
  7. ^ WTSP, Eastbound I-4 traffic: New lanes, new exit through Ybor City, August 7, 2006
  8. ^ WTSP, New I-4 lanes help drivers get to concert early, August 10, 2006
  9. ^ Tampa Bay Interstates, New eastbound I-4 lane open!, August 8, 2006
  10. ^ Tampa Bay Interstates, I-4/Crosstown Connector Project Page
  11. ^ Central Florida News 13, On The Move, April 25, 2006
  12. ^ Orlando Sentinel, Rising above I-4 crowds, April 26, 2006
  13. ^ WESH, Changes Under Way On I-4, April 26, 2006
  14. ^ Central Florida News 13, On The Move, April 26, 2006
  15. ^ Interstate 4 has reopened in both directions - Bay News 9
  16. ^ I-4 Trans4mation (FSTR 408 Interchange Project)
  17. ^ US 192 Interchange_Project Overview
  18. ^ MyTBI - Construction Projects - I-4/I-275 Interchange (operational improvements, completed December 2006)
  19. ^ SR 472 to SR 44_Project Overview
  20. ^ Volusia County road construction projects from Florida DOT
  21. ^ Kirkman Road to SR 434_Project Overview
  22. ^ Orange County road construction projects from Florida DOT
  23. ^ "Florida Department of Transportation Interchange Report" (PDF). Florida Department of Transportation. 2008-11-24. pp. 12–13. http://www.dot.state.fl.us/planning/statistics/hwydata/interchange.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 

External links

Interstate 4 travel guide from Wikitravel

Main Interstate Highways (major interstates highlighted)
4 5 8 10 12 15 16 17 19 20 22 24 25 26 27 29 30
35 37 39 40 43 44 45 49 55 57 59 64 65 66 68 69
70 71 72 73 74 75 76 (W) 76 (E) 77 78 79 80 81 82
83 84 (W) 84 (E) 85 86 (W) 86 (E) 87 88 (W) 88 (E) 89 90
91 93 94 95 96 97 99 (238) H-1 H-2 H-3
Unsigned  A-1 A-2 A-3 A-4 PRI-1 PRI-2 PRI-3
Lists  Primary  Main - Intrastate - Suffixed - Future - Gaps
Auxiliary  Main - Future - Unsigned
Other  Standards - Business - Bypassed

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

This is an experimental article for the Routes Expedition.

INTERSTATE 4
Length: 132 miles
States: Florida
Western terminus: Interstate 275, Tampa, Florida
Eastern terminus: Interstate 95, Daytona Beach, Florida
Major junctions: Interstate 275, Interstate 75, Florida's Turnpike, Interstate 95

Interstate 4 ("I-4") is part of the U.S. Interstate Highway System running through Florida. Interstate 4 runs diagonally from Interstate 275 in Tampa to Interstate 95 in Daytona Beach. It is the most traveled freeway in Florida and is important in connecting the Orlando and Tampa Bay regions, both with over 2 million residents. It is also important for tourism, serving millions of tourists arriving to Orlando from via Interstate 95. Also, Interstate 4 is the only toll-free freeway in the Orlando area, and is the Orlando area's largest traffic artery.

Route

Tampa area

See also: Hillsborough County.

Tampa to Orlando

See also: Hillsborough County, Polk County.

  • Exits 19-22Plant City — Dinosaur World, exit 17 [1], is a small theme park with over 150 life-size dinosaur sculptures.
  • Exit 44 — Fantasy of Flight — [2], billed as "the world's largest private aircraft collection" and has numerous aircraft on display, exhibits highlighting the development of flight & aircraft, and interactive displays and simulators.
  • Exit 55 — US 27 — major highway marks the western edge of greater Orlando. Provides access north to Lake; south to eastern Polk counties & Lake Okeechobee.

Orlando Area

See also: Osceola County, Orange County.

In honor of Disney World's 25th anniversary, Florida Power & Light erected this power pole at exit 62.
In honor of Disney World's 25th anniversary, Florida Power & Light erected this power pole at exit 62.
  • Exits 62-68Walt Disney World — the resort includes 4 amusement parks, 3 water parks, several hotels, a campground, a shopping district, and many restaurants.
  • Exit 64 — US 192 — leads west to Disney World; east leads through a very commercial area, numerous hotels, Kissimmee, and to Melbourne. Arabian Nights, [3], is a famous diner show 1/2 mile east of the freeway.
  • Exit 71 — SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove — marine-life-themed amusement parks offering rides, a water park, and animal shows and exhibits.
  • Exit 74 — Sand Lake Road — Access to the south end of International Drive. The world's largest McDonald's is located less than a half mile east of the freeway has a massive play area, many video/arcade games, & a McDonald's Bistro serving pasta dishes & fine desserts.
  • Exits 75A&B — Universal Orlando Resort — 2 amusement parks aimed at youth and young adults as well as a free-admission entertainment and shopping district. Less than 1 mile to the east of this exit is International Drive—a long road known for inexpensive shopping and the Wet-n-Wild waterpark.
  • Exit 78 — Conroy Road — Holy Land Experience, [4], best described as a "Christian theme park". On the east side of the interstate lies a large mid to upscale shopping district, including the upscale Mall at Millennia.
  • Exit 83B — US92/US441/SR50 — heading west (continuing on SR 50) leads to Little Saigon Vietnamese district, Lake County, and the Nature Coast; east leads to Titusville.
  • Exit 88 — Eatonville — very small town with a long history as an African-American town, home to author Zora Neale Hurston
Interstate 4 crossing the St.John's River between miles 104-106. The river widens into Lake Munroe just north of this bridge, opened in 2004.
Interstate 4 crossing the St.John's River between miles 104-106. The river widens into Lake Munroe just north of this bridge, opened in 2004.

Orlando to Daytona Beach

See also: Seminole County.

  • Exit 101 (A-B-C) — heading east on SR 46 leads to Orlando Sanford International Airport.
  • Exit 104 — US 17/US 92 — heading south leads to the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Sanford, and recreation areas at the southern shore of Lake Monroe.

See also: Volusia County.

  • Exit 118 — SR 44 — heading west leads to Stetson University in downtown DeLand and eventually Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge; heading east leads to the Volusia County Fair and Expo Center, the New Smyrna Speedway and New Smyrna Beach.
  • Exit 129 — US 92 — heading west leads to Tiger Bay State Forest; heading east leads to LPGA International Golf Club and Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach.
  • Exit 132 — Interstate 95/SR400 — the eastern terminus of Interstate 4, I-95 provides access north to St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Georgia, and the eastern seaboard of the United States to Maine; south to South Florida. SR 400 continues into Daytona Beach to US 1.
  • Florida State Fair(exit 7), [5], occurs every year in February (Feb 5-16, 2009) at the Florida State fairgrounds located off exit 7 (US 92). The fair offers exhbits showcasing each county in the state, citrus, livestock, and equestrians and has a model of a 19th century "cracker" village, numerous rides, and a convention hall filled with vendors. The fairgrounds are also host to several other events throughout the year, including exhibitions (car, boat, & home shows), equestrian competitions, and concerts at the Ford Amphitheater (highly visible from the interstate).
  • Plant City Strawberry Festival(exit 17), [6], usually runs the last week of February and first week of March(Feb 26-Mar 8, 2009). The festival has many vendors making delicious treats with strawberries, several concerts, rides, and exhibits. Exit 22-Park Road.
  • Sun 'n Fun fly-in(exit 27), [7], is held every April (April 21-26, 2009) at Lakeland Lindner Regional Airport located just 5 miles off I-4. The fly-in attracts hundreds of private aircraft, many unique or antique, and thousands of visitors each year. On display are numerous aircraft, displays concerning aviation, and most years a military jet makes an appearance (a Fl. Air National Guard F-16 in 2008).
Historic Ybor City.
Historic Ybor City.

There are several entertainment districts along the highway. Ybor City, a district within Tampa off exit 1, is mostly known for its nightlife, ethnic foods, Cuban flare, and small businesses which sell everything from fine, freshly-rolled Cuban cigars to antiques, clothing, and unique, hand-crafted furniture. Downtown Disney, exit 68, has DisneyQuest interactive/virtual theme park, La Nouba-Cirque du Soleil show, House of Blues dance/club, a large Virgin Records store, a Disney store (with lower prices than in the parks), and a Hard Rock Café, Rainforest Café, Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory and much more. CityWalk(on the Universal Orlando Resort property), exit 75, has a Blue Man Group show, a NASCAR cafe, several nightclubs, and some shopping. Orlando's CBD has numerous small businesses, great restaurants, and several great spots for nightlife for all ages.

There are also a couple of ethnic areas near Interstate 4 and worth visiting for a simple meal or some shopping. Ybor City, off exit 1, is a district with a mostly Cuban with cigar factories dating from the turn of the 20th century, numerous Cuban restaurants, streetscaping to provide a historical ambiance, many antique shops, latin-themed night clubs, and small gift shops. In addition to Cuban/Hispanic culture, the district also has a history of Italian influence and there are a handful of French restaurants as well. Little Saigon is located off exit 83B, then west on Colonial Drive (SR50) just 1-2 miles east of the freeway. There are about 100 oriental (overwhelmingly Vietnamese) restaurants and shops, mainly groceries, during a few mile segment.

This is a usable itinerary. It explains how to get there and touches on all the major points along the way. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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