Monday, February 20, 2012

Hey Basketball World, Get Ready to Party it Up in Orlando

Oh don't worry folks, Amway Center and its surrounding area won't look at all that serene. Locals, sports figures, outside media spending time in Orlando: Get as much sleep as you possibly can these next few days. Once Thursday comes around, NBA All-Star Weekend madness will have officially descended upon Orlando. It'll be a 4-day test of wallet capacity and a marathon to see and do as much as possible. A spread out population of 2 million people will have tens of thousands of guests enjoying our wonderful city (some for the first time). Citizens of Orlando, just like with the astounding Wrestlemanias and World Cup types of events our supposed little town has hosted in the past, it's our unofficial duty to assist in making this the best NBA All-Star Weekend ever. This isn't 1992, we're much more than just theme parks and a lot of open grassy lands. We have the best basketball arena in the world now and we get to flaunt the hell out of that and our underrated club scene. It's a chance to see millions of dollars get pumped into our local economy at a period in time where it's vastly needed. 

I'm only blogging the main party attractions. Also, if you're that hellbent on visiting the theme parks, it's a piece of cake to navigate yourself there. You don't need my assistance in that department. Keep in mind as I list these parties off, changes can always occur (for good or bad). Events can be cancelled or tweaked. New events and ones I haven't posted here will be out there so do some homework if you're on a budget. Unfortunately for economically hindered men, pricing wise, it's great to be a female. I'm expecting a feast of eye candy. There are literally dozens upon dozens of special events dedicated to this basketball spectacle. Also, I'm not intentionally showing bias to any specific club party or any ticket buying website. This is meant to be informative. A good chunk of the celebrity-filled events throughout Orlando are listed here including being able to actually buy tickets to these parties. 

For the most part, this is where you'll live and breathe. Here's a map of the Downtown Orlando area, as well as a relatively simplified directory that shows you how and where to go to. There are map directories around our busy business district, but know when and where you want to be attending a venue ahead of getting out of your homes or hotel rooms. Of course, we're all smart enough to know how to do a Google search to get a better idea of the types of bars and clubs exist. The weather in the 32801 downtown area should be more than satisfactory. Note also that the Orlando Executive Airport is about a 5 to 10 minute drive East of the downtown epicenter. I only reference it because of the few private airplane hangar bashes. Also, you'll see a few Roxy parties out there which is located a few minutes from the hangars.

In fact, I don't advise strangers venture out of Downtown Orlando *cough* OBT *cough* unless they know what to expect, a single club separated from everything. My only exception would be if indeed you're hitting up a hangar party. Otherwise, I would just stay in the downtown area since most of the events are in walking distance. Plus there are countless clubs up, down, and around Orange Avenue that you won't need to pay an arm and a leg to get into, such as Wall Street Plaza. I have it on good authority that the Florida Highway Patrol will be looking to make bank and will be on a mission to pull over as many drunk drivers and speeders as possible. So yes, drink responsibly and drive safe. Or get a hotel room within walking distance would be a better idea (and those are all booked to the max). If desperate for a lap dance on Friday or Saturday nights, well then Plies and some NFL players (I see you, Asante Samuel) can assist you with the 4th Annual Strip-A-Thon at Cleo's. There's also a car show and day party in between that. Can't make this stuff up.

On Sunday, if you love basketball and racing and have tickets to both the Daytona 500 and All-Star Game, sell one or the other because the type of traffic and road mayhem that will occur has never been seen in the history of the Central Florida area and your chances of seeing both events live in their entirety are slim to none. Let's get down to the celebration.


For those of us who have to work on Friday morning, you're basically mostly relegated to what is occurring at the Orange County Convention Center, where NBA Jam Session is being held Thursday through Sunday. You'll see the schedule of events here. Our convention center is massive and will contain a plethora of activities and memorabilia to enjoy.

The title speaks for itself, welcome to Orlando. As listed above, I'm not a fan of Roxy nightclub and I would be stunned with Dwight spent a lot of time here. But this is one of the very few large celebrity bashes that'll be ongoing Thursday night. Also, Dwyane Wade has his 5th Annual All-Star soiree at Vain. Then there's this Chris Brown-Kemba Walker-John Wall super random combination. I don't like the way this one has been quietly organized at H20


As far as I know, I've never seen or heard of an airplane hangar party ever occurring in Orlando. Orlando International Airport is a good 20 minutes away from downtown. So the much closer and smaller Executive Airport has been tapped as the lucky experimental destination. Kevin Durant, Fabolous, and Lil' Jon are your main attractions. Tickets are running between $55 and $200 (Open bar!). This may be one of my favorites of choice you could attend. The only truly 'closed' event I've seen is the LeBron, Carmelo, and CP3 'Ball So Hard' invitation only party that many will kill to get into it. 

Should I trust a celebration that can't spell 'birthday' correctly? I guess in this case you should. This is basically Dwight Howard's and Floyd Mayweather's official warm-up to the weekend. Howard will have the world try and keep an eye on his whereabouts (as will Adidas) so you know this will be a legit party. Don't expect D12 to be there very long, he's still not much of a drinker. February 24th will indeed be the boxing great's 35th birthday. Vain Nightclub in particular is notorious for having basically 3 stories of phenomenal light shows, hip-hop & techno music, and lines that can wrap around two blocks. The $75 entrance fee isn't too bad considering it's usually $20 for gentlemen to get in on a normal weekend.

This is where things get tricky and possibly sketchy. Supposedly Dwight is also supposed to be at the Majestic way out on John Young Parkway that same evening. Either way, again, I wouldn't venture far out since you're leaving the downtown atmosphere. Then you have Superman's teammate, Jameer Nelson. Even in the promotional poster Jameer looks sad. Mighty Mite's All-Star party is at Dragon Room where the Magic and their visiting NBA teams usually venture off to after games. So I hear the Latinas love this Miguel guy. My only questions are: Is he hosting a performance or a party and is it at Terrace 390 or Amway Center's 180 Grey Goose club? Either way, you can't go wrong with both of those top notch clubs. It is indeed being hosted at Terrace 390, but that's a confusing poster. If it's just a performance, Miguel will probably be in and out after 3 songs.


The other big hangar event that has Dwight's and Lil' Wayne's names plastered all over it. Saturday is by far the biggest club hopping night of the weekend. So much variety to choose from. Here's something I like seeing, parties open until 4 a.m. This is where Orlando falls behind in comparison to L.A., New York, Miami - Orlando bars and clubs have to stop the music by 2 a.m. City officials though have made an exception for this very special weekend. Even though P-Diddy is inexplicably hosting a party at the Cheyenne Saloon, it's almost completely sold out. The Ciroq party is clearly the 'wild card' of the bunch and no one has a clue what to expect. At least it puts you on Church Street. Roxy is at least keeping itself busy. First Dwight Thursday, then Rick Ross & Amber Rose on Friday, and now Chris Brown's get-together on Saturday. I found it hilarious that it's called 'Takers II'. Better than a slapfest I guess. 

So, um, I don't think Ricky Rozay realizes he's competing against Dwight and Lil' Wayne. The $125 general admission isn't exactly a bargain option either. There are a few cheaper options though, but no where near downtown. Former Magic man Chucky Atkins is actually having a party way over in Metrowest at Tavern on the Lake. Current Orlando pinstriped player Glen 'Big Baby' Davis is also hosting a Tavern on the Lake bash. Hopefully he'll be in a happy mood considering the rocky past few months he's faced. 

I guess if you love Vain and have a New York State of mind, then this Carmelo Anthony-Fabolous event is perfect for you. Also, Club Firestone has finally reared its head into the festivities with J-Cole and John Wall being the faces of the 'Rookie of the Year' party. In what I think will be the best venue to go to, Tier Nightclub by All-Star Weekend, will only have been open 3 weeks. It's already getting praise and hype through the roof. It's warranted. You saw above the closed party they're hosting Friday, but Saturday I have heard through the rumor mill that they're hosting a Rubio-Lin bash. 'Rickdiculously Linsational' is what this could potentially become. Heed this, Lin isn't on the poster yet. If you only want to see Jeremy, I would hold off on reserving tickets and VIP tables until it's official. If Lin does join the festivities, why on Earth would any basketball junkie not want to be here?!

Then there's Bliss Ultralounge, another Church Street place that is located next to the train tracks. Normally this is a techno/house music type of place, but All-Star Weekend can make exceptions as I guess we'll be seeing Derrick Rose in the building.

The most interesting 3-headed celebrity monster of the weekend definitely goes to this 'Undisputed' event. Kevin Hart, Floyd Mayweather, and LeBron. The cockiness and arrogance is just dripping off that flyer. But why The Ballroom? That's almost as odd as using the Cheyenne Saloon. Almost. D-Wade looks to be staying separate from LeBron once more at the Majestic. 


After the actual NBA All-Star Game you'll find few celebration venues. Maybe most of the celebrities and players will be looking to fly out of Orlando immediately. There is hope though for all you Mary J. Blige and R. Kelly fans, they'll be closing out the weekend together. The Majestic to my surprise again has been chosen. I'm sure by now you've noticed Grey Goose has sponsored a vast majority of these bashes. Shockingly too, Biz Markie has kind of been snuck into the event almost as a throwaway. Suitably, you'll find one final private airplane hangar party at the Executive Airport. It's assumed Drake will be there as long as his legs don't buckle by Sunday. Rick Ross will also close out his marathon weekend at The BeachamNow I know Terrace 390 will win some people over with their Playboy 'Bunny Bunch' party. I see our UCF Knights girl Shanna McLaughlin will appear at the alumni establishment. Finally, I notice the rare International Drive party over in Pointe Orlando. Young Jeezy will occupy BB KingsSo that was just a sneak peek taste of what's expected to happen in the City Beautiful this upcoming weekend. I'd imagine the non-planned hotel gatherings at places like the Grand Bohemian will be fantastic. Make sure your bank accounts are prepared, and please safely enjoy yourselves to the fullest. It's not like this happens every decade in our town. 

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