Inside the WhirlyDome
The old Sports Dominator on International Drive is gone, but WhirlyDome resurrected the property to make it fun again with a pair of Whirlyball courts. I've heard of Whirlyball before, but to be honest, I never really knew what it was all about. Last week, the folks at WhirlyDome invited members of the media to come visit and I decided to check it out.
Let me use other sports to explain it. Imagine that you combined bumper cars with Basketball and Jai Alai. That pretty much sums it up for me. You divide up into two teams of five players, hop into your ride along with a scoop and try to move the ball into your opponents…well, you stick it in the hole up there. It's not really a basket, per se. Along the way, you can pass the ball, bounce the ball, and you shoot the ball into the…hole. No hands, though. It's all done with the scoop.
The cars have a handle for steering, so one hands stays there while the other holds your scoop. Maneuvering is like steering from the bottom of a car's steering wheel. Pay attention to where you're going, though. These cars don't have any brakes. If you get distracted in the game, you could end up plowing into the wall.
There's a pretty intense Laser Tag system on the upper level. You get vests with blinking lights and laser guns to run around this surreal course. Plenty of black lights and lasers inside to keep you guessing if the light changed because of movement. It reminded me of a cross between The Little Mermaid and Dr. Evil. You see, it has this “Under the Sea” theme with sharks, whales and turtles, but you're the one with the fricken laser beams. There are plenty of places to hide, but don't worry too much about getting hopelessly lost. There are arrows on the floor to guide you if you just have to get out.
Video Gaming & Other Attractions
Rounding out the interactive entertainment – video games, pool tables, and an incredible F1 race simulator. I'm told it's approved by Ferrari. You climb into a long red race car and face three video screens to show you a wide view of the track. Sadly, it was having some problems when I arrived and I didn't get to try it. Perhaps that's a sign of authenticity – Italian race vehicles are notoriously finicky.
WhirlyDome uses a card system for payment. You pay a given amount of money to have credit put on the card, and then you can use that at each of the different stations.
Bloodhound Brewpub & Eatery
There's a full bar on the first level and a smaller bar upstairs. The menu is full of comfort food, but they can also accommodate large groups. Right after I took this photo, the staff started setting up a buffet line for a group that came along.
Corporate groups use the facilities for team building and they have a meeting room large enough for 25 people. Birthdays and other events are also common, but that doesn't mean you have to be part of a large group to enjoy the place. There's live entertainment in the evenings, too.
One of the things I noticed is that the old Sports Dominator remains out front. They would like to see about converting that to something more appropriate for their business – perhaps turn him into a WhirlyBall player. He's definitely hard to miss and it seems like a shame to lose an icon, so I hope they can convert him.
One really good thing about this property is that they have plenty of parking space. International Drive can get very crowded, so it's good to know you won't be stuck driving around hunting for a parking space.
WhirlyDome is one of Orlando's newest entertainment facilities with a variety of games and a full service restaurant.
WhirlyDomehttp://whirlydome.com/ 6464 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819 407-212-3030