Eli Sfassie was sitting in the Waffle House next door to his round gift shop when the idea of topping it off with a giant orange dome came up. That was back in the early 1980s, and designing and building a humongous fiberglass half-an-orange turned out to be a longterm project with lots of delays and unforeseen problems, but when it was finally finished, it worked. It captured attention, attracted customers, and as Eli can tell you, "It probably tripled our business within two months."
Even though all the conventional signs outside this place say it's a GIFT SHOP, lots of folks still expect to find a fruit stand inside. Actually, Eli and his family sell and ship tons of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and other citrus every year, but most of that is taken care of outside the front door. Inside, there are knickknacks and T-shirts, jars of jelly and jams, and all sorts of souvenirs, many with oranges on them.
Sometimes the heat of the central Florida sun makes the fiberglass dome on Orange World buckle and appear dented. Eli says he once heard a family talking about these imperfections in the orange, and one of the kids offered an explanation: "Well, Mom, maybe they squeezed the orange to get some of the juice."
Central Florida is now home to some of the best big goofy buildings and outrageous decorations designed to tantalize tourists, and you can just drive along Highway 192 toward Kissimmee to see several other special structures. Stop and visit several. And be sure to shop at this big orange if you're thirsty for some real OJ or if you want to remind people at home that you're enjoying the fruits of Florida.
5395 W. Irlo Bronson Highway
US Highway 192
( 2 1/2 miles east of DisneyWorld)