Yesterday, my girlfriend and I visited a new attraction here in the Orlando area. Orlando Tree Trek, located off exit 1A from FL-429 (about 7 miles south of Walt Disney World), opened in December 2014. They describe themselves as “aerial adventure course”, “an elevated obstacle course”. We decided it’s equally well described as a playground for adults.
The four courses at Orlando Tree Trek (plus 2 kids-only courses) dare guests to complete a series of challenges and obstacles anywhere from 20 to 45 feet in the air, while safely secured via a harness system. Guests use a dual latching system on their harness, which is magnetically connected such that once you connect yourself at the bottom of the course, at least one of your two harness latches must be attached at all times. The system does not allow both latches to be open at the same time. In order to open one, the other one must be secured to the cables. In this way, you are never in danger of falling. When you reach each platform, you disconnect one of your harness latches from the previous obstacle, and connect it to a transition cable. This then allows the other harness latch to be disconnected from the previous obstacle, and connected to the transition cable as well. When you’re ready to begin the next obstacle, you disconnect one latch from the transition cable and attach it to the next obstacle, then follow suit with the other. Throughout the entire roughly 3 hour experience, I never once felt unsafe or unsecured. Indeed, on the final course, my arms did give out on me and I slipped and fell off the obstacle. The harness caught me immediately, and I fell no more than a couple inches, resulting in just sitting in midair until I was able to pull myself back onto the obstacle.
The adventure is divided into the four courses (color coded as the Green, Blue, Silver, and Red courses), giving you both time to relax and catch your breath between courses, as well as steadily increasing the level of your physical exertion. Each course is divided into 10-15 “games” or obstacles. The obstacles are varied in style, design, and challenge level. Throughout each course, you will climb along swinging logs, walk on tightropes, duck under and between cross beams, crawl through a series of sideways barrels, take a midair “skateboard”, do a “Tarzan”-style rope swing, and much more. Each of the four courses ends with a zip line. Once you connect both of your harness latches to the zip line cable, you then connect your zip line carabiner to the cable as well. Sit down in your harness, lean your head back, and you’re off. When you reach the final platform, stand and move your two harness latches to the transition cable, then replace your zip line carabiner on a loop on your harness. Only when you descend the final ladder on each course can you disconnect both latches, as you’re safely on the ground.
Throughout all the courses, there are several guides on the ground below, available should you get stuck or need help. Indeed, on the final course, about three quarters of the way through, my arms simply gave out on me. This is where I “fell” as mentioned previously. After the second attempt at righting myself, with the guide’s assistance, I decided I would have to admit defeat for the day. The guide came over immediately (watching him fly by all the obstacles was impressive to say the least). He connected me to a new pulley system and lowered me slowly to the ground, where I watched my girlfriend finish off the red course like a pro. 🙂 While it was mildly disappointing to not complete all four courses, we both had such a good time that I know we will be back, and I’ll make another run at that course. Indeed, as of this writing, Groupon is offering a 32% off deal for two people to visit Orlando Tree Trek, and we’ve already purchased it. Allow me to suggest you do the same!
Now, the bad news – I brought my GoPro camera, and my chest mount, intending to get lots of great pictures and video of the course. Unfortunately, I forgot to charge the GoPro before leaving home, and the battery died while my girlfriend was still on the demo course, before I even connected my harness latches for the first time. So I have no pictures nor video to show you. However, as I said, we will be returning at some point in the next 90 days, and when we do, I’ll be sure to have the GoPro charged and ready, and will update this post with pics and video at that time!
Orlando Tree Trek is open 7 days a week. New groups begin the courses every half an hour, starting at 8am, with the last group departing roughly 2 hours before dusk. The courses are open to everyone age 7 and above (7 & 8 are confined to the two kids courses, 9-11 can do the kids courses plus the first three adult courses and the giant zipline at the end, 12+ can do all four adult courses plus the giant zipline). Regular price for adults is $49.95, but again, check out that Groupon above for a discount!
We had a great time at Orlando Tree Trek, and cannot wait to go back. It is yet another new adventure waiting for you here in the Orlando area. Whether you live here or are on vacation, I recommend you take 3 hours out of a day and head over to Kissimmee to experience it, you won’t be sorry you did!