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Where Uber riders go: Universal, Fontainebleau, MacDinton’s

Where are you most likely to go to via Uber in Orlando, Miami, Tampa?

Uber riders prefer Universal Orlando Resort to any particular Walt Disney World location.

They prefer Fontainebleau Miami Beach to Dolphin Mall.

They prefer MacDinton’s Irish Pub & Restaurant to Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

Or maybe, Universal, Fontainebleau, and MacDinton’s patrons just prefer ride sharing to driving, more often than do visitors to other shopping and entertainment spots.

The ride share giant on Monday announced its 2019 top five destinations for riders in Orlando, Miami, and Tampa, not including airports.

For Orlando, Universal Orlando was the most sought destination, followed by Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs, Disney’s Magic Kingdom,  Orlando International Premium Outlets, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

While Disney World landed three of the top five spots, the Uber report adds credence to the notion that Universal’s CityWalk collection of nightclubs, restaurants, entertainment venues, and shops may be the bigger draw for Orlando nightlifers, particularly for local patrons, who tend to view Disney Springs as more for tourists.

Then again, the Uber report does not address origins of rides. Given that a high percentage of Walt Disney World visitors arrive at their hotels via Magical Express buses, the ride share data may be showing those wheel-less tourists at Disney hotels who use Uber to escape to Universal or other points outside the Disney empire, while tourists outside Disney are more likely to have rental cars to get around.

In Miami, the Fontainebleau was followed by Dolphin Mall, Aventura Mall, Bayside Marketplace, and 1 Hotel South Beach.

In addition to being a high-end hotel in Miami Beach, the Fontainebleau also houses one of the most popular nightlife spots in the region. LIV Nightclub is a favorite of athletes, musicians and the general populace alike.

Bayside Marketplace is also a highly-trafficked social hub. It’s populated with a slate of shops and restaurants and is adjacent to the AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat. The nearby Bayfront Park hosts various events, from free yoga to concerts at the park’s amphitheater. And Bayside also sits near a series of cruise ports, attracting travelers and tourists looking to hit the high seas.

In Tampa, MacDinton’s was followed by Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Armature Works, International Plaza and Bay Street, and American Social.

All of the locations on the Tampa list are places where imbibing is often on the agenda. MacDinton’s is widely considered one of Tampa’s top party spots for millennials. Armature Works is one of the hottest new hangouts on Tampa’s Hillsborough Riverfront with a variety of dining and drinking options in a food court-like setting. Patrons can grab a bite and a beverage and enjoy outdoor seating with views of the river as well as outdoor games.

American Social is a popular swank sports bar on Harbor Island. International Plaza and Bay Street is not only one of Tampa’s hottest shopping destinations, it’s also home to several dining and drinking establishments including the Cheesecake Factory, Capitol Grille, Bar Louie and many others.

Ryan Nicol and Janelle Irwin Taylor of the Florida Politics staff contributed to this report.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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