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Live Active Cultures

Goodbye to downtown art bar Blank Space and Disney darkride Snow White; hello to I-Drive "indoor sports arena" WhirlyDome

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Snow White closed May 31 and will be transformed into yet another character meet-and-greet; the dwarves will return in 2014, when they will get a new family-friendly mine car roller coaster in the newly expanded Fantasyland. Unlike when Mr. Toad closed, I won't be shedding many tears for Snow. But I'm thrilled that the final voyage went to Ben, an autistic teen who's ridden 3,500 times since age 8, when his parents discovered he responded to the attraction's sights and sounds. A decade later, his obsession with Snow White has helped his social skills blossom; that's a happy ending I think Walt would appreciate.

Between the two sad extinctions, I visited I-Drive's newly opened WhirlyDome,an indoor sports arena that combines bumper cars and lacrosse in Florida's only outlet for WhirlyBall, “the world's first totally mechanized team sport.” Though I didn't play myself, the staff from a local hotel who were sliding around the court seemed to be having fun, despite their 0-0 final score.

With laser tag, a Ferrari-approved F1 racing simulator, and a full liquor bar and restaurant also on site, I could see spending a Saturday evening here slinging whiffleballs at buddies. But I'm still waiting for the next Blank Space to bring a breath of the offbeatback to Orlando.

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