The Player's Guide: Orlando

With a trip to Florida set for the holiday break, the LSU football team has a cast of tour guides ready to show you what Orlando has to offer.

If you are headed to Orlando for the LSU football team’s bout with Penn State, you might want to make a week vacation out of the trip.

That’s what the LSU football team will do.

Sure, there will be the hard-hitting practice sessions and intense film sessions. There will be the New Year’s Day game, which pits the No. 13 LSU Tigers against the No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions.

The curfews for players will be set, and most guys will probably be into bed before the Late Show comes on the tube.

Yet, for an afternoon or two, the Tigers will experience Orlando for what it is best known – the amusement capital of the United States.

The choices are can’t miss.

There is Sea World and Discovery Cove, if you are into the aquatic side.

There is Magic Kingdom and Epcot, and Hollywood Studio’s and Animal Kingdom.

Don’t forget that Universal Studios is in the mix.

Yet, if you want to travel with the LSU football crowd, there is a wildcard in play, which happens to be part of the Universal Studios theme parks.

“Islands of Adventure,” said sophomore cornerback Patrick Peterson, when asked the ultimate Orlando attraction.

A Miami-native, Peterson, one of the nation’s premier defensive backs, also happens to be one of the most well schooled Tigers on the ins and outs of the city.

“I would go [to Orlando] nine times a year, seriously,” Peterson said. “I have been going since I was five years old to up until I was 16. I can remember being an only child in the beginning, and being ready to just get there.”

That means that with the microphone in one hand and a park map in the other, Peterson is leading the team’s unofficial tour.

“I have never been out there, so I guess I am going to be on Patrick’s bus,” said running back Stevan Ridley. “I don’t have a clue where I am going. I am just the 20-year old kind who is going to be running around the park having fun.”

Offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert said that he and his father, Bobby, have made five trips to Orlando over the years, and each time experienced the thrills of the theme parks.

Yet, math tells the truth.

Only one man can lead the LSU team tour, and Hebert might have to take a backseat.

“I feel like I have park knowledge, but Patrick has more visits,” Hebert joked. “I might have to take more of an assistant role.”

So far, Hebert has passed Peterson along some notes of wisdom he has gathered during his years of experience.

“I go with him on the choice, because Islands of Adventure is amazing, no other way to put, it,” Hebert said. “But, you go to the back of the park right away, and then you make your way up and miss all the lines.”

And, worry not fans of the Harry Potter series, the Tigers have not forgotten about you.

“Dueling Dragons is becoming a part of the Harry Potter rides, which might not be ready yet,” Hebert said. “It might not be ready until the spring, so just something to consider.”

If you are crunched for time, the waiting lines might force the choices to become limited. If so, follow the Tigers lead once more.

When it came to must-see rides, everyone seemed to be in agreement.

“Splash Mountain,” Peterson said. “It is a classic.”

One thing is certain, the time spent away from the practice field during the LSU team’s time in Orlando won’t be all about roller coasters and the likes.

“I am going to have fun building relationships with teammates,” Ridley said. “That’s what I am looking forward to.”

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