Orlando-Circus World: Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge and Restaurant
Brochure circa 1980s Dan Donahue
Orlando-Circus World
AKA Southwest or Barnum City
 -- 43824 U.S. 27 @ I-4

Also known as Baseball City, Orlando-South, and Davenport this complex opened in 1972. It was designed to capture some of the many tourists attracted to the region after the opening of Walt Disney World. Additionally it was located across from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus World attraction. The themed attraction featured a circus performance as well as a "participation" circus where visitors could learn to perform circus acts. There was also a midway that included elephant and roller coaster rides.

Above & left: Note that the Mansards of both the Lobby and Restaurant faced I-4 so that motorists were able to catch a good view of the gleaming Orange Roofs.

Advertisement ca. 1970s: John Brett Glowacki
Photos 1977: Bob Venditti

Circus World morphed into the short lived Boardwalk and Baseball attraction, but by the early 1990s it was closed and abandoned. Eventually evidence of Circus World and Boardwalk and Baseball was erased from the roadscape, and what had been a mecca of hospitality establishments built at Orlando/Disney's western gateway experienced profound change.

Photo April 2003: Kummerlowe Archive
The Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge lost its lease on life in 1995 and was eventually converted into a disguised Holiday Inn Express. However like other roadside businesses sited at the U.S. 27 and I-4 interchange, it was victim to yet another conversion. By 2005 it had lost its Holiday Inn banner in favor of Choice Hotel's Quality Inn badge.
Photo 2007: Larry Passaro
Photo ca. 2006: Bob Venditti

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